The Darkroom Mystery

Morgan, a young adventurer with a gorgeous girlfriend by his side, has it all. But his world is turned upside down when his friend tells him of a closed off tunnel deep inside the mine quarry only miles from his home. After much work, he and his freinds make it to the quiet mining town and despite a prophetic warning from a local, they enter the tunnel. The deeper they go, the more they realize how in trouble they are. Soon, they are caught up in a world of political cover-ups, treasure, greed and the unshakable predicament of death itself.

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4. The Vagrant Strikes Again

As we crossed through the waterfall and landed in a pool of knee deep cool water I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated by the fresh water. We frolicked in the water, washing our face and celebrating in its splendour. When we were done washing down we pulled ourselves out of the pool and looked around for the first time. What we saw amazed us. Large wooden crates covered in vast amounts of canvas clearly held grand religious treasures that had not seen natural sunlight in decades. We threw our arms into the air and I yelled, “We found it!” Around us, golden chalices, large silver coins and many ancient looking scrolls lay strewn about carelessly, I followed the trail of relics and it ended at a large cavern like room enveloped in darkness. All of a sudden I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye and I looked down. There was a red laser dot aimed at my chest! I took a deep breath and whispered to the others, “There are red laser dots aimed at our chests, don’t move a muscle.” With that, Ashley gripped my hand and I scanned the laser lines. Three snipers lay in wait, hidden atop wooden perches disguised as scaffolding. They were loading glinting bullets into the gun chamber. Before they finished loading I yelled to Ashley and Ty, “Duck!” We ran with our hands covering our heads and dove behind a large boulder that had fallen in on a tunnel and rolled away. We were in a corner, so I knew we were safe. Breathing heavily, my head resting on the cool rock I felt the first shell explode on the rock and out of the corner of my eye I saw it exploding. I realized that we couldn’t sit here and take the bombardment: we had to fight back! I motioned to Ashley and we readied our guns, flicking off the safety. As soon as their last bullet was fired we leaned over the makeshift parapet, put two of the Snipers in our cross hairs and pulled the trigger. Three shells erupted from our pistols as the two snipers began to fall dead from their perches, their blank eyes staring blankly into nothing. As they fell they pulled the trigger one last time. As if in slow motion, I watched as the bullets zoomed through the air and hit the crates draped in canvas. Suddenly a deafening explosion filled the chamber! The chamber was momentarily bathed in light from the fire and as the contents of the crate spilled onto the floor I saw a flash of silver. At first I thought they were religious relics but I realized quickly that it was the silver barrel of a gun. I yelled to my left, “This is a treasure trove and an armoury; they have been stashing stuff here since the end of the war!” I did not hear anything but before I could react I was blinded by a flash of smoke and fire. The canvas was in fact made from hide dipped in kerosene. It became engulfed in flame and soon all three crates were on fire burning military issue guns. As the boxes blew one by one, ignited by the powder, the great bangs of smoke and fire rose to the roof of the cavern in long snaky tendrils. Then, out of nowhere, the crate nearest me exploded and I saw the bright silver barrel of a gun come tearing towards me. Suddenly I felt the cold, destructive feeling of metal as it connected with my jaw bone and I blacked out. After what seemed like hours (although in truth it was only a few minutes) I slowly began to function. Slowly, my eyes wrenched themselves to a somewhat open position. I felt blood pouring from my mouth at a steady rate and I knew I had broken something. I clenched my teeth and pulled myself to a sitting position, leaning against the rock and resting my head on the cool limestone. Suddenly a movement to my left alerted me that Ty was lying not three feet away from me, they had been there. I turned sideways to look at Ty and what I saw made a tear roll down my cheek. His hands were lacerated and bleeding and his face was grisly, bloodied, his eyes bloodshot and filled with tears of pain and emptiness. A large cut ran from his ear to his lower lip, clearly caused by the dangerous piece of bloodied shrapnel lying beside him. I whispered vigorously, “Where is Ashley!” Swallowing the pain he removed his hand from his stomach and revealed his hand glinted bright red blood, he had been shot not by a sniper, but by a pistol. I quickly realized that Ashley or I must have dropped our guns and set it off. He jabbed his bleeding and clearly broken thumb in the direction of the now smouldering crates and whispered in a hoarse, gravelly tone of voice, “They took her. There was one guy left with a UZI, he is going to kill her. She is in that room, good luck and don’t worry about me!” With that he outstretched his hand in a sign of leave and I gripped it tightly, I knew I was doing this for Ty! I pulled myself to a standing position and cocked my gun at the ready. Then, I quietly limped and crawled over the debris and made for the cavern I knew was the treasure room. I neared the entrance to the room and so I scanned the room for the enemy. Through my cross hairs I saw mountains of gold covered in dust and cobwebs, millions of treasures looted from the European People and hidden in the most unlikely of places. After much searching and still out of sight I found the enemy. He was a German soldier wearing what appeared to be Canadian Uniform (I distinguished him due to the type of gun he was using). I flicked off my safety and just as I was about to pull the trigger I felt the cold metal barrel of a gun on my neck and a hoarse voice that said, “Don’t move!” I gently lay the gun down without a fight because I knew if I did not cooperate I would end up with a bullet in my skull. I felt the safety being flicked off and I shut my eyes and said my last prayers. Suddenly a huge crack echoed throughout the vast chamber and I realized it was not from the soldier’s gun.  I opened my eyes just in time to see the soldier who had only moments ago had his gun to my head, fall to the floor lifeless. I turned around quickly and saw Ty fall to the floor in exhaustion, the gun falling from his hand. Immediately, the soldier flicked off the safety but I reacted quickly and fired a bullet, hitting him in the hand. He dropped the gun to the floor and I saw my chance. I vaulted the rock ledge separating me from the soldier and landed in what appeared to be a flowing pile of gold and silver ingots from Mexico.  Sliding slightly on the coins I regained my posture as I neared the man. He had his fists ready but I knew fists were useless with my three touch drop manoeuvre. I slapped him hard around the ears so he was frozen for a moment, then bored my fist into his left kidney and then swung back around to pop his nose with my fist. With that he fell stone cold on the floor, dead. I leaned over his motionless body and said, “That’s how you do it without a gun!” With that I turned to Ashley, who lay bleeding on the ground. I pulled her up and she wrapped her arms around me, warm and meaningful tears running down her soft cheeks as she cried, “I was so scared, I never want to go through that again.” I stroked her face calmingly, whispering, “You won’t have to. It is all going to be okay, we are safe now!” After we sat for a good amount of time, crying, I helped her up and we ran over to Ty. I helped him to a sitting position and began to apologize like mad until he stopped me and said, “Apologize for what, we are the richest young adults alive!” With that he lay on the cold ground again and I dug into my bag. Ashley inquired as to what I was doing and I said, “Surgery. We have to get that bullet out and I have not used this knife once, good thing I aced dissection in high school.” Ashley looked petrified but held Ty’s hand for the pain, her face becoming steadily greener. I sterilized the knife and so began an agonizing hour of slits, stitches, blood and tweezing. Sometime later (we were too hyper focused to check the actual time) I had achieved victory, signified by the bullet that lay on the floor, covered in blood. I had done an incredible sewing job so that Tyler stood up painlessly and we began to walk toward a man-made metal ladder that led to the glorious surface. Since it was a ladder and our ropes were left hanging some length behind us we put on our grip gloves and began to climb precariously. Working much faster than on the way down (even with Tyler’s stitches) we found we had reached the top of the ladder in a record 15 minutes. I gripped the ladder tight and then letting go with one hand I nudged the hatch open. After a minute or so all three of us had found refuge on solid ground. We lay on the limestone ledge, soaking up the sun and relishing in the fact that we were alive, so I began to kiss Ashley. Tyler interrupted us rudely saying, “Can we get going before I bleed out?” With that, we got up off the ground and dusted our pants off (although it was pointless because much of our clothing was either burned or caked with mud). Then we began to climb the cliff wall lazily, happy to be out of that dreadful hole. About 10 feet from the top of the ledge I felt a raindrop roll down my cheek. I looked up and saw the sky was pitch black as if someone had rubbed charcoal across the sky. I yelled to the others, “We got to get out of here; I know these storms, they can take down trees.” Motivated by the fact that we could be killed, we tore through the last 10 feet and threw ourselves onto the soft, reassuring grass. Without wasting any time we looked around for a way to get out and what we saw made my prayers answered. There on the freshly paved road which was not there before, was a military issue truck with great green canvas covering it. We cheered and Ashley threw the bag in the back of the truck, Tyler wiggled into the truck and I yelled, “I will drive.” I got into the high seat and flicked open the visor, the keys fell right into my lap. I started the truck with a rev and backed out with much difficulty (the mirror was knocked out). As soon as I began to rumble down the bumpy road large rain and hail pellets began to cascade from the sky, and the huge amount of wind made the truck shake on its axles. We drove for about 15 minutes until Ashley reminded me, “This is getting dangerous, we can’t even see.” I nodded. She was right, the wind had made visibility nearly zero. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a great tree came crashing down in front of us, I tried to back up but it was no use as the engine lit on fire. Our plan was to drive as far as we could and then jump. I revved the screaming engine and tore down the road, taking turns tightly and sliding in the gravel. Suddenly, I heard a snap and I looked down: the brakes were jammed! All of a sudden Ashley began to moan and she said, “Those wires are live and disconnected, that fire hits them which it will and we will explode if this car doesn’t stop.” I snagged a look at the radio communication wires, the fire was nipping at the electric wires and I knew we had to get out. I yelled, “Jump now!” Ty and I opened our doors, Ashley wrapped her arms around me and we all jumped, hitting the hard gravel rolling. We got up in time to see the truck drive itself into the ditch and promptly explode. Out of the explosion, my bag came flying out of the back, not on fire. I caught it and said, “We are alive.” We began to run through the now hailing storm down the road, hoping we would find somewhere to wait out the storm. After stumbling mindlessly, our minds muddled from the cold we heard a gravelly and familiar voice to the left of us that yelled, “Come get out of this storm.” We followed the sound because we knew it was the man who had warned us. As soon as we followed him into his dimly lit shanty he threw me against the wall and yelled, “What the hell were you thinking, did you at least find the treasure.” He let go of me and began to make tea as I nodded and said, “We did find it and it is amazing, and we got out alive.” The man dropped the china kettle with a resounding crash and said, “You found it! Unbelievable.” After that all was silent except the sipping of our tea. As we sat in that dimly lit shack drinking tea with a strange old man, I knew all was well.  

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