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Ancient Man Pt. 7

     As the party made their way down the side of the temple with Manuel in 
front, the first shock wave hit.  It was very high on the Richter scale.  
Immediately,  the trail below Manuel disappeared with a crash.  Manuel 
desperately clung to a small tree, but could not hold on.  He fell helplessly 
into the void left by the missing trail.  They watched in horror as more 
debris fell on top of him - crushing him.
     "Lie flat!"  screamed Patton.
     "We're safer here than on the ground."
     Watkins, who only thought that Emiliano had set off the dynamite ahead 
of time, continued on by a different path until he reached solid ground.  He 
didn't know where the others were, but he had what he had come for; Patton 
would never remember the crucial figures.  Now only he, Joshua Watkins, could 
plot the location of the Jaguar City.  He patted his pocket to make sure it 
still contained the precious map and Patton's notes.  He then headed for 
camp.  He tried to avoid being seen by the helicopter hovering above.

     From the helicopter, Peggie and Miranda watched the drama unfold.
     "What do you think's going on?"  Miranda yelled over the noise.
     "I don't know."  Peggie screamed back, "but, they're still on the 
     Miranda was pointing excitedly now.
     "Look, they're lying flat!  There's Declan and that must be Tamika and . 
. .and. . ."  Miranda broke off mid-sentence.
     ""Who's that with them?  Do you think that's Tamika's father?"  Peggie 
asked.  Miranda didn't know, but they did know  that they were very happy to 
see their friend alive.
     Suddenly, part of the pyramid slid away!
     "Oh, no!"  they both cried simultaneously.  After a few moments of 
suspense, the dust and debris cleared and they could see.
     "It's all right!  They're getting up, look.  See! They're all right!"
     They had grabbed each other's hands and would have done a little jig had 
they not been in the helicopter.
     As the pilot went in to land, it dawned on all three of them what was 
actually happening.

     Watkins was horrified at the sight of the ruined camp.  A tall ramon 
tree had fallen on the tents.  He was, however,  glad that no damage was done 
to the Suzuki jeep that he had rented in Flores.  It was full of gasoline and 
ready to go.
     He was still unsure about the arrival of the helicopter.  Even if it was 
full of Federales, they would be excited about finding the long-missing 
archaeologist, as well as news of the earthquake, to be worried about him.  
Thus, giving him time to escape.
     Getting out of Tikal had gone fairly well.  Only two of the hotel guests 
had noticed the Suzuki.  Now, he was on his way to Flores and then on to 
     Watkins' Suzuki pulled into Sayaxche' in late afternoon.  One of the 
things that Watkins noticed was that everyone was talking about the 
     "Amigo."  he began in Spanish.
     "I need two men to help me for an hour.  I will pay ten quetzales to 
each.  Anyone interested?"
     "Si, why not?"
     "Very well, hombres,"  Watkins said, "I want one of you to go over to 
town and fetch Eduardo Guzman.  I am a friend of his father Emiliano."
     Watkins peeled off the bills and gave it to the man.
     "Please tell Eduardo that Senor Watkins needs him to bring the motor for 
the boat and a can of gasoline."  The man acknowledged his instructions and 
was off.
     To the other man, Watkins said, "Come with me."
      The tiny airstrip at Tikal was not the only means of transportation 
Watkins had out of the area.  Because of the nature of his business, he had 
devised several ways out, in case something went wrong.  Thus, the dugout he 
had stowed.
     Because of the attention that had been drawn to him, he decided to move 
his smuggling operation to another part of the world.  The Jaguar City would 
have to wait for now, which would also help to take the heat off things.
     The man that Watkins had hired, found Eduardo and was now bringing the 
motor and gasoline as he was instructed.
     "Is my father not with you, Senor Watkins?"  Eduardo asked.
     "No, he is back at Tikal.  He will be here shortly."  Watkins lied.
     The stones are still here, Watkins thought.  Excellent.  The stones were 
wrapped in banana leaf and tied with heavy rope.
     "These are much too heavy, Senor.  We will need more men to help carry 
them."  Watkins didn't know if Eduardo was trying to stall for time, or what, 
but Watkins was losing patience.
     "You dumb bastard,"  Watkins shouted.  "I'll help you.  We load the boat 
     Eduardo stood quietly and gazed at Watkins' face.
     "Muy bien."  he said shortly.
     Watkins and Eduardo began the slow task of moving the stones.  When that 
was done, Watkins gingerly climbed aboard.  Next, Eduardo climbed aboard with 
the oar.
    Then, it happened.
     The reeds near the boat began to shake gently.  The man on shore that 
Watkins had hired began waving his arms and shouting.  There was only one 
word that Watkins could make out - temblor.  Another earthquake.
     Watkins felt as if the water was sliding out from under him like water 
being poured out of a bowl.  He fought hard to try to keep control of the 
boat.  What happened next was very frightening.  The river seemed to split in 
half and a great geyser of water broke through the surface and shot a hundred 
feet in the air.  This forced the boat into the air and closer to shore.  In 
the roar, a huge ceiba tree lurched forward and the handle of the tiller was 
knocked from Watkins' hand.  He tried not to panic, which proved difficult.  
I can out swim this, Watkins thought.  He moved toward the bow to be away 
from the propeller.
     He hesitated for the right moment, but it never came.  The ceiba tree 
caught the boat near the bow pinning Watkins' leg.  The combination of the 
trapped leg and the weighted down boat, took Watkins swiftly to the bottom of 
the river.
     Eduardo had survived.  When the boat was catapulted skyward, the boy was 
thrown out near the shore.  He watched in satisfaction as Watkins sunk below 
the surface of the water.

Ancient Man Pt. 8