Casey pushed through the thick brush and motioned for Li to follow him. The temple rose up before them from the sunken cavern. The top was at eye level and even now Casey could make out the intricate scrollwork, the glyphs that had led him across continents in search of what lay deep beneath.
Li stood next to him, panting slightly from the exertion of pushing through the jungle.
“Remind me again why we couldn’t just use machetes?” she asked in between breaths.
Casey dropped his backpack on the ground and began pulling out rappelling gear.
“We have to be quiet. Any of the tribe hear us and our heads will be stuck on a spike.”
“When you put it like that.”
“Take this,” he said, wrapping a simple loop harness around Li and guiding her to the edge. “You’re going first. Straight down, wait at the bottom.”
“Right behind you.”
The edge they stood on turned out to be a lip, overhanging the cavern walls that plunged a hundred feet below. Casey slowly played out the rope until he felt the slack. A few seconds later two tugs came through on the rope. He stepped into his own harness and began a more rapid descent, leveraging his arm out to slow his descent.
He set down on the hard packed ground and took cover behind the nearest outcropping of rocks. He looked around but saw no sign of Li. He traced his steps back and found her rope, the end frayed from a sharp edge.
The scream echoed across the cavern, until it escaped through the narrow skylight that was the cavern’s natural opening and caused nesting birds to take flight. Li was there, half way up the pyramid, slung over the shoulder of a tribesman painted in the regal blue warpaint.
“Oh shit,” Casey muttered to himself.
Prompt originally posted by hokies220 on reddit and received 3 upvotes.