. Raiders of the Forbidden Valley
Chapter 14: On The Wrong Tracks

An original story by Hannibal King, told in serial form

Marcus suddenly snapped his eyes open and looked at the sky. He stared blindly ahead for a few seconds and then suddenly groaned. It was a sound born of pain and disappointment. He supported himself with his elbow and pinched the bridge of his nose tightly between two fingers.

Indy took him gently by the shoulders

"Take it easy Marcus." He said softly. However the older man attempted to clamber to his feet.

"They got her Indy. I tried to stop them but they took Susan," Marcus said groggily.

"Who took her Marcus? More of these cheap hoods?" Indy began, but Marcus raised his hand and shook his head.

"No Indy, these fellows were Chinese. I think our friend Qwam Sung Ho has tracked us down!"

Indy and Grey Wolf exchanged glances.

The great sleek train hurtled down the tracks towards the American / Canadian border.

Fifteen or so miles in front of it, bound tightly to the railway line, Susan Kirkmuir struggled against her bonds. She was not at all enamoured with the prospect of being crushed under a train in a style more suited to an old silent movie than to real life.

She was getting seriously annoyed at having to be rescued by Indiana Jones as well! It was embarrassing and it was just so . . . stereotypical.

The tracks beneath her were beginning to vibrate with a greater urgency.

She looked down the track.

There was still no sign of the train.

Mae Ling and her thugs watched the bound girl awaiting her doom.

"Grey Wolf, you stay here with Marcus and wait for the police. I'm going to find Susan." Indy looked at both men.

"Indy . . ." they both began in unison.

"Indy nothing!" he countered "Neither of you are in any fit state to help. Marcus, I want you to look after these."

He put his hand into his knapsack and pulled out the Runes.

"Whatever happens, I don't want Sung Ho's goons getting hold of them."

He handed the artifacts to Grey Wolf who merely looked into his eyes and nodded. Indy smiled, trusting these men. He checked his gun and then looked around.

Where the hell had they taken Susan?

Under her back, Susan could feel the vibrating railway tracks getting stronger. She knew that the train could still be a fair distance away - but one thing was for sure . . . it was getting much, much closer.

She started trying to wriggle her wrists, which were bound above her head, free from the ropes -- but all she succeeded in doing was chafe the skin beneath the hemp.

Susan was stuck fast!

Indy had found his first clue to Susan's whereabouts almost as soon as he had started looking for her. Then clues started popping up with greater regularity.

He soon realized that Susan's kidnappers weren't trying to hide her from him.

In fact, it looked more and more like he was being lured into a trap.

The trail had been inexorably leading him towards the railway line. The morning sun was fully up and his sodden clothes were beginning to dry off.

A grim line was set across his mouth.

It was 7:47 am.

Indy came to a long, but not very tall grassy rise. He climbed it and looked down onto the railway line.

Susan lay bound hand and foot to the tracks, behind her were a number of Chinese thugs each one pointing a rifle at him - Mae Ling stood in between them.

"Dr. Jones, in five minutes a large train will pass here, turning Miss Kirkmuir into Chop Suey!" Mae Ling smiled maliciously.

Indy took a step forward and each of the rifles was levelled at his chest.

"Another step and you will be dead before her, Dr. Jones!" Mae Ling placed her hands on her hips and stood in a challenging manner. Indy looked at the rifles and then at Susan.

In the distance he could hear the sound of the train rumbling through the morning.

One of the Chinese thugs was beginning to struggle with the tension created by the stand off. The rifle he held was beginning to tremble - a bead of sweat trickled down the side of his head.

Indy felt his mouth go dry. This idiot was the dangerous aspect of the situation.

"Let her go, Mae Ling!" Indy shouted with as much authority in his voice as he could muster. She laughed derisively and moved over to Susan.

"Dr Jones, you have an option. Admittedly it is your only option, but it is an option that will safeguard Miss Kirkmuir's immediate future."

Indy narrowed his eyes.

"Go ahead, I'm listening?"

"I want you to help my father discover the Tree of life." Mae Ling said simply "You managed to get our best archaeologist eaten by a tiger in New York. I feel that you owe us."

Indy began to laugh.

"What's to stop me from refusing. I mean if I help you you'll just kill us anyway?"

"Probably," Mae Ling shrugged. "However, it will give you extra time in which to think of an escape plan. If you refuse the last thing that you will see is the lovely Miss Kirkmuir being crushed to death under a train! I know this puts you in a dilemma, but that was the idea. Time is running out Indiana!"

Indy looked at her and then at Susan. She twisted her head forward and looked at him - he cursed under his breath.

The trains whistle blew - it was almost on them!

"Come on Dr. Jones! Surely it can't be too hard a decision. You stood by and watched her brother die . . . do you feel so little for her?" Mae Ling sneered and Indy realized that he hated this woman.

"Indy?" Susan looked at him with imploring eyes.

She wasn't a coward, but she did not want to end her life tied up to a railway line. Indy looked to the skies and slowly dropped his gun.

"Okay Mae Ling. You win for now." He looked at Susan and shrugged - suddenly his world exploded into darkness!

Indy was back in the cavern. He looked down and saw that he was sitting on one of the trees branches, although he was far off the ground he felt extremely safe.

Ygdrassil would look after him.

He heard a curious scraping behind him and slowly turned his head around. Sitting on the branch next to him was a small grey squirrel. It was eating an acorn and looked up at him as if sensing it was being watched.

Indy smiled as the squirrels nose started twitching.

"Hi, little guy," Indy grinned.

"Hi yourself!" the squirrel spat out some fragments of nut and replied "So, what's a nice archaeologist like you doing in a place like this?" it continued "don't bother answering that. I was being rhetorical!"

Susan watched as two Chinese guards came out from nowhere and clubbed Indy's back and head with the butts of their guns. The adventurer crumpled to the ground and she heard Mae Ling's laughter.

"Untie the girl!" the villain said.

""You look worried, Doc," the squirrel said, "don't be. Yggdrassil wants you to know something and even though he can't tell you himself he asked me to give you some clues. They'll help you on your way."

"You're a talking squirrel!" Indy said dumbstruck by the animal.

"And you're an archaeologist up a tree!" the squirrel replied. "It is an odd world ain't it?"

"But squirrels don't talk," Indy reasoned.

"That's a good point well put, check your mythology. Animals talk all the time it's just you humans that choose not to listen!" the squirrel turned his back and ruffled his tail in disgust. The leaves of the tree rustled and the branches swayed in an agitated manner. The squirrel chattered back angrily. Not speaking but obviously communicating with the tree. A few moments passed and the squirrel turned and looked at Indy. It's tailed drooped slightly as if it had been chastised.

"Yggdrassil wants me to help you! He says that if I don't then he'll die and the wolf will get me. Okay, here's the clue. Think back to the time you were in Atlantis."

Indy looked at the creature, bemused and dumbfounded.

"The firestones! The Orichalum plays a big part in this. Energy and mysticism. Think of where the Atlanteans had a quarry."

"I'm not with you," Indy stuttered.

"Just think about it! It'll help in the long run." The squirrel turned and scampered off into a hole in the tree trunk.

Indy narrowed his eyes and struggled with the concept of a talking squirrel knowing that he had been on Atlantis.

A howl of bloodcurdling proportions echoed through the cavern and the tree started trembling violently.

Indy suddenly lurched forward and fell off the branch.

He plummeted towards the ground.

One thought struck him.


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Indyfan.com Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: Hannibal King
Created: Aug. 9, 1999
Last modified: October 4, 1999