Chapter 1 - And So, The Adventure Begins...
Saturday 22nd September
Erica woke up. Her phone was ringing. She looked at the clock. She looked at her phone and saw who was calling. Had it been anyone else she would have rolled over and went back to sleep. But it wasn’t anyone else. She picked up her phone and answered it.
“Do you have any idea what time it is?” she said sleepily.
“Erica, I’ve got a job for us,” said the voice on the other end of the phone.
“What is it?”
“Meet me at the bar tonight at seven, you know, the usual place. And tell the others.”
“Okay Jay, but wha-”
Before she could finish he had hung up.
Saturday 22nd September
Erica was sitting at a small, round, wooden table in a practically empty bar. On her right was a man with light brown hair and grey-blue eyes, wearing an old pair of jeans with paint spilled on them, and a dark blue denim jacket. He had a black eye, with stitches just under it, and a split lip. On her left was another man, this one with short black hair and lighter blue eyes, he wore sandy coloured trousers and a red check shirt. Erica had long brown hair that fell gently down her back, and dark blue eyes. She was wearing dark blue jeans and a plain, cream shirt. All three of them had a beer sitting in front of them.
“Where the hell is your bloody brother?” asked the man with black hair, in an English accent.
“He’ll be here, James,” answered Erica, and she picked up her bottle and took a drink.
“Yeah, have a little faith,” said the other man.
Just then a third man sat down at the table. He wore light blue jeans and a brown leather jacket. He had dark brown hair and the same dark blue eyes as Erica.
“It’s about time, mate,” said James,
“What happened to you?” he said, turned to the man on Erica’s right,
“You should have seen the other guy,” he said, and smiled mischievously “So, what do you have that’s so exciting?”
“This one is real Will, not just another dead end, it’s-” started Jay, he looked around and asked, “Where’s Dani?”,
“Dunno, she hasn’t showed,” answered Will,
A voice came from behind them, “I’m right here,”
They turned around to see a woman in black leather trousers and a black leather biker jacket, she had long, dirty blonde hair and brown eyes.
“Sorry I’m late,” she said, and sat down with them and picked up Will’s beer, “What happened to your face?” she asked, and took a drink.
“Never mind that,” said Jay, “listen to this,”
“Is this just another job where we work for some rich guy, steal something, and end up either in prison or getting screwed over?” asked James,
“Yeah,” continued Dani, “it is very rare that any of your ‘jobs’ actually pay, Jay.”
“We’re not working for anyone this time,” answered Jay,
“Then what are we doing?” inquired James,
“How about we just let him tell us?” said Erica,
“Thank you! As I was saying, we’re not working for anyone, this one’s all us. My client happens to be a collector of rare historical artefacts. About two months ago he asked me if I could acquire a certain piece for him. Thing is, I don’t think he knew exactly what it was.”
“So? Go on then, what was it?” insisted Dani.
“Alright, picture this, in 1487, Bartholomew Diaz led an expedition of three ships down the coast of Africa. In January 1488, after a thirteen-day delay, the ships rounded the tip of Africa. Now, Diaz claimed that a violent storm had thrown him off course and they lost sight of land for those thirteen days,”
“But you think it was something else.” finished Erica,
“Classic Jay, going against history,” laughed Will,
“Wait guys, listen, Diaz didn’t lose a single ship or crew member during this ‘violent storm’, I mean, what are the odds of that?” argued Jay,
“As much as I hate to admit it, he’s got a point,” said Dani,
“So, what was he doing down there then mate?” asked James,
“He was looking for something. He recorded every detail of his journey, except for the thirteen days when he supposedly lost sight of land.”
“So, basically what your saying is that you think Bartholomew Diaz lied about the storm and was looking for something in Africa, but you have no evidence to back this up, and even if it is true, you have no idea what he was looking for or where?” said James,
“Well actually, if people would stop interrupting, I was about to show you my evidence,” he took a small, old book with a worn, brown leather cover out of the inside of his jacket, “and here it is. This, my friends is the journal of one of Bartholomew Diaz’s crew members, who did record every detail of the voyage, including the thirteen days missing from Diaz’s logs.” he said proudly, “It’s written in an early form of modern Portuguese, and there was some parts I couldn’t make out, but the key thing is that Diaz was looking for something down there, something big.”
“So why turn back after only thirteen days?” Erica asked,
“The crew didn’t give him a choice, he wouldn’t tell them what he was after, and when they ran out of food they forced him to go back.” Jay answered.
“He was after gold, and lots of it. We’re talking tens of millions here!” said Jay in excitement, “But we might want to get moving on it, ‘cause once my client figures out that I stole this from him, he’ll be after us big time.”
“Who is this client of yours, Jay,” asked Erica suspiciously,
“He’s a gang leader called Draco Tyler, except his gang is more like a small army, they’ve got guns and explosives and lots of them.” He answered.
“I’m not sure I like the sound of that mate,” said James.
Just then, seven men in suits, armed with handguns casually walked in and sat down at the bar. Jay looked up from his beer.
“S***,” he said, “We’ve got to get out of here,”
“Why, what’s wrong,” asked Erica, sounding concerned. She turned around and saw the men.
“I’m guessing those are some of your friends,” she whispered
“Don’t look at them. We’re casually going to walk up and pay, then leave, okay? Don’t look at them, don’t say anything.”
“And if they recognise you?” asked Dani,
“Then we’re screwed ‘cause I brought a gun but I’m guessing none of you have one.”
“I have one in my car, my apartment is just across the street, it’s parked outside,” said Erica,
“And I have one, it’s at my bike out front,” said Dani,
“Okay, we get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible, let’s go,” said Jay. They all got up, Jay walked up to the bar and payed, the others went outside. Dani went straight for her bike and Erica went to her car. Jay walked out, but the gunmen followed him.
It was cold, and the sky was cloudy. When he got outside the men pulled out their guns.
“Stop right there,” the first one demanded. Jay turned around. He reached for his gun in the inside of his jacket. The first man stuck his gun in his face and cocked it.
“I said stop,” he said, and smiled. A loud shot was fired. There was complete silence for a moment. It was Erica. The man fell to the ground. The shot had gone straight through the side of his head. His scarlet red blood slowly ran down his face and seeped into the cold, hard ground.
The men with guns immediately started firing at Erica, who hid behind her car. Jay moved around the corner, using the wall as cover and firing at the men. James, Will and Dani hid behind a car parked in front of the bar. Will and James were unarmed, but Dani was firing back. Erica moved quickly behind a post box which was close to Dani. Jay shot at the men to get their attention, and Erica moved to where Dani, Will and James were. Out of the seven gunmen, now only three remained. Jay took one out. Erica stood up to take a shot at another, but she got hit. Dani took one shooter out, and James shot the other with Erica’s gun.
Jay ran over to them.
“Is she okay?” he asked, sounding worried,
“Yeah, she’s good, bullet just skimmed her arm, she was lucky. We should leave, the cops are gonna be here any minute,” said Will,
“Yeah, okay, you two go with James in his car, Dani you take your bike, I’ll take my car. Head to my apartment,” said Jay,
“I’ve got a first aid kit in the glove box, you might be able to use some stuff in that for Erica,” James said to Will,
“I’m fine, honestly guys, it’s just a scratch,” said Erica, as they were getting into the car.
“You got shot Erica, you are not fine,” said Will,
“You’re bleeding,” added James,
“I’ve bled more than this from a paper cut!” complained Erica. They were now driving down the street. Two police cars quickly passed them.
“Must have been one hell of a paper cut,” joked Will, as he bandaged Erica’s arm.
Saturday 22nd September
Soon, they were safely back in Jay’s apartment. Erica’s arm was now bandaged. All the curtains were closed, and the door was locked. The five of them were sitting around the kitchen table, looking through a small pile of old looking papers. Some were photocopies or pictures, others seemed to be originals. They sat in silence. All they could hear was the sound of the cold rain beating against the windows. Will looked up,
“So, these guys with the guns, how the hell did they find us Jay?” Will inquired.
Jake stood up. He peeked out through the closed blinds at the city below.
“I don’t know,” he said, “but they did, which means they probably know we’re here, or at least they will. We need to move on this. Soon.”
He sat back down. Dani looked at him,
“So those guys, they were part of your clients ‘small army’? she asked,
“Yeah.” he replied, “We can’t stay here much longer. Got anything on the location?”,
“Yeah, I think I have something,” said Erica,
“What is it?” asked Will,
“A map,” she said, “It looks like South Africa, right?”,
“Yeah, where did you get this?” Jay asked,
“In here,” she replied, showing him an old envelope with no address or stamp, and nothing else inside. The map showed only South Africa, with a circle drawn around a small island off the coast.
“That’s it. That’s where we’re going,” announced Jay, “Go home, pack your bags, we leave in the morning. Travel light.”
“How are we getting there? It’s too late to book a flight for tomorrow morning now,” she said,
“What do you mean ‘we’,” asked Jay,
“I’m coming this time,” she said,
“No, you’re not,”
“Yes, I am Jay, I’m done being left behind,” Erica said firmly,
“Erica, you’re my little sister, and you’ve already gotten hurt. I don’t want to risk losing you,
“I’m not a little kid anymore, Jay. I’m eighteen. I’m legally an adult now. I’m done being your research assistant.” she paused, “How about we take a vote?” she suggested,
“Fine, all in favour of Erica coming, raise your hand,” said Jay. James was the first to put his hand up, closely followed by both Will and Dani.
“She’s right, Jay. She’s not a kid anymore.” said Dani,
“She can handle a gun, I’ll give her that,” added Will
“It’s settled then, Erica comes!” decided James,
“Fine,” Jay said, he turned to Erica and smiled, “let’s see what you got,”
“Great, I’ll fly,” said James, “I’ve still got that plane from that job in Peru.”
“That thing still flies?” joked Erica,
“More or less,” James laughed,
“I thought you guys totalled that it,” replied Erica,
“Nope, not completely!”
“Good enough for me,” Jay said.
Monday 24th September
Erica looked out the window. They were in a small seaplane flying above the ocean near the coast of South Africa.
“We’re pretty high up,” said Erica,
“Yep,” said Jay, “You ready?”
“For what?” Erica asked. Just then James opened the plane doors.
“To jump!” he laughed,
“What?!” she shouted over the noise of the wind outside the plane.
“We can’t land here,” said James
“Why not?” Erica shouted,
“Too many sharks!!” James teased her,
“SHARKS!?” she shouted back,
“Don’t mind him, the water’s too rough here,” shouted Will,
“Let’s go!” shouted Dani, and she jumped out the open plane door, with Will following closely behind.
“We have parachutes though, right?” asked Erica,
“Nope, too dangerous to parachute into water, you could get tangled up and drown,” Jay shouted back to her, “Our turn!” he shouted, and jumped.
“See you on the other side, kid!” James shouted just before Erica jumped. She tried not to scream after seeing how clam the others had been, but she just couldn’t help it. She shrieked the whole way down. And then with a huge SPLASH she was under water. She
swam to the surface where she was greeted by a laughing Jay, Will and Dani.
“You okay?” asked Dani, still laughing,
“HOLY S***!!” Erica shouted, the other three started laughing again. They all started swimming towards the small island.
“I hope James was joking about the sharks,” shouted Erica,
“Mostly,” Jay shouted back and laughed again.
Soon enough the four of them had swam to a small island. They stood on the golden coloured, sandy beach, looking into the dense jungle before them. It seemed to go on forever. They were dripping wet, but the scorching heat of the African sun soon took care of that.
“So, what exactly are we looking for?” asked Will,
“Where do we even start?” Dani added,
“Yeah Jay, this island looks a whole lot bigger up close.” Erica said, “How do we even know that there’s anything here?”,
“We’ll split up, Erica with me, we’ll take the east side of the island, Dani and Will, you guys take the west. Look for anything manmade. If you get lost, run into trouble or find something, use your radios, got it?” decided Jay,
“Yeah,” answered Dani,
“Got it,” Will confirmed.
They split up. Dani and Will set of towards the treeline. They were walking through the thick
jungle, Will was in front, swinging his machete, chopping away at the vines and leaves in their path. Dani
followed closely behind, her eyes moving from map to compass, back and forth. She stopped.
“Will,” she said,
He stopped and caught his breathe.
“Yeah?” he asked,
“Do you know where we are?”,
“No, I thought you were looking at the map?”,
“I was, but-,” she stopped,
“But what?” he asked,
“Nothing…” she said,
“Are we lost?”
“…There’s a possibility that we may possibly be a tad off course.”
“So that’s a ‘yes’ then?”
“Great,” Will said, and he sat down on a fallen tree.
There was a pause. Will took a drink from his flask. The
scorching heat of the sun’s rays cut through the leaves of the jungle trees and beamed down on them.
“Will. What happened to your face?” Dani asked,
He looked at her “Nothing. It was jus a dumb barfight,” he said,
“Don’t feed me that bullsh** Will,” Dani replied quickly, “Tell me the truth, you owe me that much at least.”
“Dani, I-” Will started, but was cut off by the sound of gunfire.
They both stood up. Dani took a silver handgun which was holster on her hip, and Will took out his
revolver. They listened silently to the gunfire, it seemed to be getting closer and closer. Suddenly Jay and
Erica burst trough the thick vegetation and ran right past them, both shouting “Run!”. The gunfire was
getting close now and they could hear voices shouting, so Will and Dani followed them, all four running as
fast as they could, but the others were catching up. Erica was in front and Jay was right behind her, and a
small gap between them and Will and Dani. They kept running, until Erica stopped dead in her tracks,
“Cliff…” she said, they all stopped, and looked down at the huge drop into the lake below them.
“Now what?” Will said, panicked,
“We jump,” said Dani,
“We what?” Reacted Jay,
“We jump,” said Dani,
“We’re jumping again?!” Erica asked,
“Come on, we can make that, it’s a straight drop into water,” argued Dani, as the pounding footsteps
of the nearby gunmen was getting louder,
“She’s right,” Will piped up, “Unless you guys have a better idea?” there was a moment of silence,
“Let’s go,” Dani said, and jumped, closely followed by Will, then Jay, and after a slight pause followed by
closing in gunfire, Erica jumped too.