. Raiders of the Forbidden Valley
Chapter 7: Shades of the Apocalypse

An original story by Hannibal King, told in serial form

The floor beneath Indy and Susan was getting hotter and hotter. Indy's heavy leather boots was protecting the soles of his feet. However she was wearing a pair of shoes, not suited to this kind of treatment.

The fumes were beginning to stink.

Indy swung his arm in an arc, the end of the whip lashed around the pipe and held securely.

"Susan, we have to get out of this pit . . . now!" he looked at the floor. The gasoline was beginning to throw off fumes. It was heating up.

"Indy, what's that smell? It's like petrol!" Susan looked at him. He looked into her eyes, his expression saying everything. She ran over to him and threw her arms around his neck.

Indy started climbing up his whip. It was old, but well cared for and wouldn't struggle too much under his and Susan's combined weights. However, he was getting old and didn't lavish half as much attention onto himself and whether he could take their combined weights was not a foregone conclusion.

He grasped the whip with his gloved hands and started hauling himself and Susan to the pit's edge. His arms were trembling with the exertion and his face was beginning to sweat. Susan was helping as much as she possibly could, but was wearing the sensible and sober dress that she'd had on at her brother's funeral.

Below them the gasoline was beginning to bubble.

Indy grasped the edge of the pit with one hand and started to haul him and Susan onto the floor. He rolled onto his side and Susan clambered off of his back.

The gasoline caught fire below them.

Indy relaxed the tension on the whip and started coiling it up.

Below them parts of the floor started sliding under other parts. A gust of air rushed up from the depths of Qwam Sung Ho's lair. This sudden influx of oxygen caused a surge of flame that shot up from the pit. The fire immediately incinerated the Dragons' Jaw death trap. Indy and Susan watched as the ceiling above the pit became blackened and charred. The heat was making the skin on Indy's face feel tight and raw.

"Jesus, that was a close one!" Indy looked at Susan and pushed his hat slightly back on his head.

She smiled with relief.

Suddenly, and without any warning, they both heard the muffled sounds of explosions. The explosives that Sung Ho's men had planted were beginning to ignite.

Indy grabbed Susan's hand and they started running along the corridors of the abandoned lair. The continuous sounds of faroff explosions accompanied their escape.

Qwam Sung Ho's elaborate and opulent throne room was smashed and crushed by a sudden influx of water. An explosion causing vast amounts of river to cascade into the lair had breached the ceiling. Sung Ho's throne and ornamental urns and dragons were like matchwood against the deluge. Priceless silk tapestries and oriental rugs were lost in the flooding.

This process was happening throughout Sung Ho's entire lair. Everything was being sacrificed in an attempt to obliterate Indiana Jones.

Indy and Susan were running at breakneck speed through the corridors. Heading towards the tunnel that would take them to safety. The eerie, muffled sound of the explosions accompanied their escape. Indy and Susan were running for their lives. There was the sound of an explosion in front of them and a torrent of water came cascading through the corridors before them. Indy's mind was instantly cast back to a different time and a different place. He grabbed Susan's hand and they both turned and tried to outrun the flood of cold river water. The last time this happened he had an opening to run through - this time he was actually under the river.

This time there was nowhere to run!

However, it wasn't going to stop him from trying.

There was an explosion in front of them again. Indy and Susan both skidded to an ungainly halt.

"Indy?" Susan looked at him and he managed a reassuring smile before . . .

The water hit them!

It was a curiously painless experience. The cold was numbing and the amount of water was so vast that it enveloped them, washing over them rather than hitting them. Indy felt himself being pulled forward and being pushed upwards. His limbs had no power, strength or meaning against the deluge. He felt his hand brushing against Susan and then he felt cold nothingness.

As they were pushed forward they hit the second wave of floodwaters. This pushed them upwards. Away from the subterranean tunnels and into the river itself.

Indy was surrounded by a tenebrous darkness. He knew that he had been totally absorbed into the trunk of the enormous tree. He could hear nothing apart from his own heartbeat. He felt fear. Fear unlike anything he had ever felt before.

However, he knew that the fear wasn't his own.

The fear he felt belonged to the tree!

A thought struck him. The Wolf was released and the tree was afraid!

Indy tried to move, but found that his entire body was cocooned within the substance of the plant. This was strangely comforting and he closed his eyes.

Images of violence and destruction raged through his mind.

Jungle-bound Buddhist temples being torn apart by gunfire and explosions. African people starving in arid deserts. European cities were being bombed with weapons more powerful than he would ever have imagined. People dying! Cities dying! Fire! Plague! Famine! He tried to twist his mind away from these images but the more he tried the greater they became.

He saw terrible acts of violence taking place all over the world. The climate under the grip of frightening and unnatural forces. The ground being torn asunder by fierce geological upheavals.

Yggdrasil was afraid!

Ragnarok was coming!

Indy spun around. A marionette to the currents of the water. Susan swam towards him; she was convinced that he was dead. As soon as the waters had hit them Indy had just seemed to switch off. She grabbed his arm and started trying to swim to the surface.

The tree vomited him out and he fell onto the ground. He immediately felt vulnerable and very, very small.

"Jesus, what was going on?" Indy screwed his eyes shut. He didn't know where he was. He wasn't even sure what reality he should be in.

It felt as though someone were playing with his mind. And if it continued then it would snap under the pressure.

"Rest easy, adventurer." a voice filled his mind. A voice of three parts. Indy scrambled to his feet and turned around.

Standing at the subterranean spring were three women. One of them was old beyond belief, or so it appeared, her face was hooded with shadow, but Indy could see that her eyes twinkled with mischievous malevolence. The woman standing next to her had a round and cheerful face. Her complexion was ruddy and healthy - she smiled at Indy. The third woman was young and of awesome beauty. Her golden hair cascaded down her back; her eyes were as blue as Arctic ice. They were wearing uniformly drab grey cloaks and were looking at him as one.

The crone, the mother and the maiden.

"You are in no danger. Immediate danger. The tree was merely showing you what was to be! What will be! What might be!"

"Where am I?" Indy croaked through a dry throat.

"You are here and you are there! The wolf has been unleashed!"

"Who are you?" Indy looked at them.

"We are the Wyrd! We are the Norn! The twilight is nearly upon us! Look at the roots!"

Indy turned and glanced at the tree roots. They were still whole, but had been cracked and chewed by something.

"Nidhoggr! The serpent is succeeding! The tree has no strength! The twilight is near!"

Indy looked at the tree. It trembled violently.

"The wolf is abroad!" the Norn said as one. Indy looked at them, but they had vanished.

A voice echoed throughout the cavern.

"Indy! Indiana Jones!" He felt pressure around his shoulders and an immense feeling of coldness came across his body. He closed his eyes and fought against the chill.

Indy felt rough warmth around his body. He squeezed his eyes closed. The mighty ash tree needed him. A gentle hand touched the side of his face.

"Indy, come on! Please open your eyes!" Susan pleaded with him.

He reluctantly gave up his dream and opened his eyes. Susan was looking wet and bedraggled, but most importantly alive. She smiled with undisguised relief. Indy tried to sit up. They were sitting in a small boat in the middle of the River Clyde. By the sky, Indy surmised that it was almost dawn. Both he and Susan were wrapped up in heavy coarse blankets.

Again, he had survived against amazing odds. It never ceased to amaze him when he lived through things like that. He felt that the day he became too nonchalant was the day that he wouldn't survive.

"It's good to see that Qwam Sung Ho did not kill you Yankee." Xiangs voice drifted across the night to Indy.

"These men found us floating in the river. As soon as the waters swept us away you seemed to go into some kind of a coma, Indy. I thought you were dead. I held onto you for as long as I could but nearly lost you. Then they came along in this boat and they fished us out. He told me that he had accompanied you into the lair when you came to rescue me." Susan was talking quickly and excitedly.

"They?" Indy asked. He sat up and looked at the occupants of the boat. Xiang and the bartender were the only faces that he recognized apart from Susan's "Where's Sung Ho?"

"He is gone! Vanished into the night as he always does!" Xiang spat over the side.

"Why do you hate him so much?" Indy looked at his ally with interest.

"He was a bad father." Xiang smiled cryptically and signalled his companions to start rowing to shore.

"My hat? Where's my hat?" Indy suddenly became aware that his beloved and well-worn fedora was not on his head and this shoved the import of Xiang's comments from the forefront of his concentration. Panic began to set in. He'd had that hat since he was thirteen. It'd been everywhere with him. He'd been through all kinds of scrapes with that hat. It had kept his head warm in some climates and kept his brain from frying under hot desert suns. Hell, after the Ark of the Covenant adventure he'd made a detour through Tangiers to pick it and his jacket from "The Bantu Wind". Simon Katanga had kept his stuff safe, convinced that . . .

"No goose stepping monkey would get the better of Indiana Jones!"

And now it was gone! He felt a hollow feeling invade his gut.

He'd loved that hat!

Then slowly and insidiously a thought struck him and his spirits sank even lower.

"We need to find my hat!" he looked at his saviours "It really is important!"

"Why?" Susan asked him.

"The runes were hidden in the lining!" he looked at her "I knew that Sung Ho's cronies would search me and then probably go looking' through my hotel room. Thugs never search inside a man's hat. They don't have the imagination." he looked at them all "Hey, listen! I'm sorry . . . okay?"

Susan groaned.

Eventually they found the drenched hat lying on a garbage strewn mud bank on the far side of the river. It had been a long and tedious task, searching for it. Xiang and his friends would occasionally bark at each other in Cantonese and although Indy knew what they were saying (about him, mostly) he chose not to answer.

The hat was covered in mud and had lost all its shape. However, with some work it would regain its well-worn and trusted shape. He examined the inside of the hat; the runestones were still nestled snugly in the lining of the hat.

Indy grinned and looked at his companions.

An hour later Indy, Susan and Xiang were standing in the streets of the riverside area of Glasgow called Patrick. It was light, but the streets were still very quiet, the only people were the occasional dockworker and milkman.

It was barely 6:10 am.

"Thanks for your help, Xiang." Indy looked at the scarred Chinese man.

"I was glad of the chance to cause Sung Ho's organization some damage. Even though it was limited to killing some of his men." Xiang smiled for the first time since Indy had met him. "Even though he is my father, I hate him more than anyone who has ever lived. Even that Nipponese swine who killed my wife!"

"You told me that your father used to tell you of all the evil things that Qwam Sung Ho did!"

"I did and he did! He was always a boastful man." Xiang turned and started walking away from the bedraggled adventurers.

"Hey Xiang!" Indy called out and the man turned and looked at him "You are such a bull-shitter!"

The Chinese man started to laugh and walk away.

"It's called being inscrutable, Yankee! You should try it sometime! Take care of yourself Indiana Jones!"

Susan looked at Indy.

"So, what do we do now?"

"We have to track down Alexander Hume, the guy who led your brothers expedition. First I want to meet up with an old friend. He's doing a series of lectures in Manhattan. Marcus knows more about Norse mythology anyone that I know."

Indy and Susan started walking towards a bus stop unaware of the small and nimble figure on the rooftops above them.

"Manhattan!" a voice whispered.

The figure darted off over the rooftops. His master would be displeased at Jones' survival. However, Qwam Sung Ho had an army of soldiers in Manhattan.

Soldiers who would obey his every word.

Indiana Jones was as good as dead.

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Indyfan.com Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: Hannibal King
Created: June 14, 1999
Last modified: October 4, 1999