Indiana Jones and the Sword of St. George by Susanna Chapter 1

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Chapter 15

Click. At first, nothing happened. Lauren looked around frantically, frozen in her place. Suddenly, however, the floor beneath them gave out and they were hurled into a dark, musty chamber below. Lauren blinked, trying to see through the cloak of darkness that enveloped them. She moved her hands along the ground, which was grimy and damp like the heavy air surrounding them that, she realized, probably hadn't been in contact with the surface in centuries. She shuddered instinctively at the thought. Then she reached out beside her and felt another damp object, but one that was immensely comforting.
"Hey," Indy whispered, taking out his cigarette lighter and flicking it on, "leave my hat alone." Lauren let go of it immediately, reassured by his presence and by the golden light his cigarette lighter cast around them. She had never liked the dark.
"Now what?" Lauren queried, getting to her feet. Indy followed suit, his cigarette lighter illuminating the relatively narrow passageway they were in. The walls were lined with greenish algae, and the floor, as Lauren had already felt, looked wet and slippery. Indy observed his surroundings closely as well. I always seem to end up in these underground passages, he thought, remembering his last escapade, in which he had almost gotten hopelessly lost in a mazelike structure. Let's hope this one is less confusing…still, Indy opened up his bag and pulled out a piece of chalk. It was slightly wet, but would be useful nonetheless. He placed it in his pocket for the moment.
"Now we walk," he replied at last, proceeding down the narrow corridor. For a while, it was as uneventful as Lauren would have wished. Maybe it wasn't going to be so bad, after all. Before long, however, the path came to an abrupt halt at the side of a long drop. Indy looked up and then carefully scrutinized the drop below. There was no way up…but there was a way down. For about halfway down, and close enough for a jump, there was a small platform coming out from the opposite wall. He waved the cigarette lighter about one more time. Oh wait. There was an easier way.
Lauren started at the cracking sound Indy's whip made as it flew through the air and caught onto an outgrowth on the wall.
"I'll throw it to you when I get down." Lauren nodded in agreement, watching as he slid down and made the slight jump onto the platform. Before sending the whip flying back towards Lauren Indy paced about on the slight platform, flipping the lighter back on. Yes, it would hold. He observed his surroundings carefully. The platform was situated across from another one of a similar size, which was the beginning of another passageway. Beyond that the light provided by the lighter's small flame could not penetrate. Indy flung the whip back up to Lauren, who ably caught it and made her way down unto the cramped platform. Lauren then tugged at the whip; jerking it loose from the outgrowth it was caught on, rolled it up, and handed it back to Indy.
"Thanks," he replied. "We're gonna need it here too," he continued, gesturing at the abyss that separated them from the continuation of the passageway. Indy caught another rocky outgrowth with his whip and swung his way across before leaping off onto the stone corridor. Once again grabbing the whip, Lauren nervously imitated him, taking a magnificent flying leap that sent her crashing into Indy, knocking him over.
"Sorry!" she exclaimed, getting up.
"You sure learned that quickly," Indy commented, wincing as he too got to his feet. "But you didn't hafta land on top of me." Lauren was about to apologize again, but Indy flipped the lighter on again, revealing his half-smile. "Don't worry about it," he added, reaching out to retrieve his whip before heading onwards. The path descended, going deeper and deeper into the damp earth below. For a while, it was practically silent, except for the sound of the water dripping from the walls. As they progressed, however, anguished wails began to emanate from further on down. Lauren jumped at the first one, quickly looking about her. She had never heard anything quite like it before. It was as if ten thousand years of torment had been distilled into one melancholy cry that shook her to her bones. Indy, too, was filled with sadness at the horrific sound drifting towards them, but he continued onwards.
Finally, they reached the bottom of an enormous open cavern. The wails were louder now, and more frequent. They crept towards the center, walking carefully over the slippery terrain, which was also made more dangerous by the sharp stalagmites that protruded from the ground. The lighter illuminated only their immediate surroundings, but Lauren suddenly caught sight of a stone table lying on the ground and pointed it out. Indy strode over to it, shining the lighter's small flame towards it. A beam of light reflected off a surface. Was it really going to be that easy, for a change? Indy whirled around towards the source, but was too late. A rumbling sound, and his subsequent observations, informed him that the glimmering sword had sunken down into the rock. I knew that was too good to be true, Indy realized reluctantly.
Lauren and Indy scrutinized the stone table into which the sword had vanished. It was seamless, perfectly shaped, but somehow the sword had merged into it.
"There has to be a way," Lauren muttered, looking around desperately.
"There always is," Indy replied, his eye settling on a small crevice in the rock. It looked about the perfect size for…
"The dragon's tooth!" Lauren exclaimed at the very same moment. Indy took the improvised necklace off and thrust the tooth into the crevice. Lauren held her breath - it was silent save for the awful moaning off in the distance. As nervous as it made her, her excitement overwhelmed all else as the stone began to rumble and the brilliant sword rose to the surface. There it was! Practically glowing, the silver sword radiated energy. It was calling for her! Impulsively, Lauren reached out to grasp it, but Indy prevented her.
"There's usually a catch with these things. It's best to look around first," he instructed her. Lauren crept back, chastened. She had indeed been reckless. "But I don't blame you," Indy finished, transfixed by the shimmering sword. But they tore themselves away and carefully investigated their surroundings. Where is that horrific moaning coming from, Indy wondered apprehensively while he searched the cavern…
"All right," Indy finally concluded, "it seems like there is only one way to find out about this. But it doesn't seem right. There's gotta be something more to it." Lauren's eyes widened as she watched him cautiously reach out towards the glowing reward. Indy clasped the hilt of the sword quickly. Ohhh yes…he thought triumphantly, a powerful sensation sweeping through him. Ohhh yes! Lauren felt like leaping up and down in elation, but she somehow didn't dare to. After all, it was never a good idea to start celebrating prematurely. They still had to get out of the place. Indy stood up straight, tremendous warmth spreading through his body as he held the sword. He took a step forward, but then stopped short.
Dr. Jones, turn around. You are not finished yet. A magnificent voice within him issued the warning with solemnity, and he whirled around. The cavern was suddenly filled with the sound of an enormous, soulful wail. Indy futilely reached for his cigarette lighter with his other hand, while Lauren paled and stumbled back away from the sound. Just as suddenly as it had been filled with sound, the cavern was filled with light. Lauren screamed. It wasn't light, she realized, but fire. For a richly colored dragon, roaring with fury, had materialized at the corner of the closed in cavern.
Now, Dr. Jones, this is your task. Indy stood staring for a second before the full impact hit him and sent him scampering to the side of the cavern alongside Lauren.
"I guess we missed something somewhere," he gasped out, terrified. Taking the sword really might not have been the smartest idea, he realized in retrospect. Lauren felt as though her heart would explode, it was beating so quickly. She stared in stark terror at the dragon. Strangely enough, she noted, the dragon was truly a beautiful creature. Its scales were in a brilliant array of colors, and its eyes looked like miniature oceans, deep, impenetrable, and horribly sad. What a shame, she thought in a bizarre state of total detachment as the dragon got closer, to be killed by such a wonderfully beautiful creature.
The dragon's mouth broke open to emit another gust of fire, and Lauren was jerked back to reality. Suddenly she felt a cold thing being pressed into her hands. She looked up from her position cowering behind an outgrowth of rock and saw Indy, who was giving her the sword.
"Wait for the right moment," was his only piece of advice before he crept towards the raging dragon, which had not yet spotted his approach. Instead, it was roaring blinding into the cavern. Like Indy before her, Lauren felt a great warmth flow through her as she held the sword. She strode out from behind the rock and stood watching and waiting. The sword comforted her, somehow.
Watch and wait. Only you can save me now. Lauren jumped as a rich voice resounded through her mind.
"What do you want of me?" she cried out, but the voice didn't answer. Where was Indy? She looked around frantically, finally spotting him raising his whip right behind the dragon. What was he doing? Crack! The sound of the whip resounded through the cavern, as did the yowl of rage that followed it. Indy had caught the whip on the end of the dragon's tail, and was being flung to and fro as the enraged creature, its eyes now burning as much as its breath, attempted to rid itself of him. The whip cut into the delicate flesh at the very end of the tail, driving the dragon to distraction. Indy held on with all his strength as the beast turned to try to roar at him. The end of its flames burst on him, burning his clothing. C'mon Lauren, he begged, NOW! Hurry!
But Lauren stood still. She felt the sword's presence. Not yet. Wait. Indy screamed out. The dragon had knocked him into the sharp walls.
"LAUREN! NOW!" he bellowed, his grip on the whip lessening. Not yet. Lauren looked to Indy and then at the sword. Not yet. "HELP! LAUREN!" What was she doing? Lauren started forward. NOT YET! Indy screamed again. Oh God. Oh God! SING! The voice spoke to her more firmly than ever. Sing! Now! Indy's screams resounding through the walls, Lauren opened her mouth. Oh God! She couldn't. But she did. With all her heart, Lauren began belting out the song she had heard last on the radio.
"I can't give you anything but love, baby. I can't give you anything but love…" she practically yelled, her voice becoming a screech. Keep singing. Lauren continued. What the hell is she DOING? Indy held on for dear life at the end of the whip, his shirt burned completely off his back. SINGING!?! But, though he could not see it, the mighty dragon had closed its eyes. NOW! Lauren rushed towards the beast, blinding trusting the deep voice in her mind. Towards the temporarily silent dragon she ran, holding the sword out in front of her. NOW! With a force she never knew she possessed, Lauren plunged the icy sword into the dragon's hard scales, penetrating them and causing the dragon to awaken and give a final wail. But the wail was not one of sadness this time. For as the dragon's eyes, closed, it vanished completely, sending Indy falling, whip in hand, hard onto the rock floor.
Lauren stood alone. Completely alone. Except for the dripping of the water…it was silent…even the sword was silent. Footsteps came slowly towards her, and then came a sudden embrace. Indy leaned on her, his shirt gone, and his back scalded with burns. She ran her hands along them…I'm sorry, she thought. But don't you see, I couldn't have done anything else. But Indy didn't mind. For a moment, as she passed the sword to him, the voice spoke to both of them.
Thank you. They froze and glanced at the spot where the dragon had been. A glowing apparition stood in its place. Thank you. For now I am free.
"St. George?" Indy gasped.
It is I. For when one kills a dragon, a spell is cast. To be born again, trapped, in a dragon's body. For centuries I have waited. Many have come to seek their fortunes only to unleash horrible things. Only you have triumphed. For that I thank you. Indy remained silent, and Lauren stared, transfixed, at the ghostly image. You may keep this sword as a token. Good-bye.
Indy and Lauren stood for several more seconds, and then blackness descended upon them both.


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