A mosquito sucked a thin stream of blood from Gerald’s arm. He killed the insect and peeled it off his skin while his nose wrinkled in disgust. The humid tropical air took a toll out on the middle-aged archaeologist. The digs had blurred from desert to tropics to desert, and he wondered why nothing interested happened in colder climates. Then again, if he wanted to find his Troy, he had to be here in the rainforest guided by two Mexicans who claimed to be of the Mayan descent.
We’ll see, he thought as sweat trickled down the back of his neck. He shifted his backpack while Pedro used a machete to chop down the dense undergrowth.
In the distance, he heard a howler monkey. A pair of brightly colored birds flitted through the trees. Insects buzzed and zoomed by them. Gerald swatted another mosquito while being thankful for all those shots he had to have.
His guides paused and yammered about something. He couldn’t keep up with their rapid Spanish. They’d been trekking through this jungle for two days, and he was considering a career change.
They changed paths, and he followed his guides. Without them, he’d be lost, and a tendril of fear chilled the sweat pouring down his body. What if they were taking him out here to kill him? Or kidnap him for ransom money? These things happened to people. Why couldn’t he have been an accountant or settled as a professor in some nice university?
A loud crack startled him, and his foot caught in a vine. He tripped, landing with a thud. “Ugh.” He groaned and lifted himself up.
His guides had disappeared.
He was alone in the jungle.
Panic seized him. He couldn’t breathe. The sweltering heat collapsed around him. His heart sped up, and he stumbled forward. He shoved aside large leaves and vines.
“Pedro! Juan!” His voice felt silenced by the dense undergrowth.
The ground dropped below his feet, and he tumbled down the embankment.
When he stopped, he stared up at the huge monolith before him.
“Wow,” he whispered the word like a prayer.
An entire ancient Mayan city lay before him, hidden by the jungle, but there. Oh, it was there.
He’d found his Troy.