Chapter 18: The Journey

2149 Words
Folow Orion in heaven, Place thy hands on the gate, Speak the lord's name thrice… As in heaven, so on earth…" He wondered why would anyone write such a poem- instructing exactly where to look and how to get there. Furthermore the Turkish word "Hoyuk" that was smudged out puzzled him too. The very existence of this word on an ancient text meant that someone in the modern world knew what this poem meant and had this text in his or her possession. Who knew that this old piece of ruin would hold so much mystery. He drew a deep breath and rubbed his eyes and began to wonder what the text meant - "The final place of the ancient must indicate one of the Tepes like the one here… but follow Orion? As in sky?", thought Patrick trying hard to make sense of the words. He looked at his watch again- it was midnight-12 a.m. He wasn't feeling sleepy anymore, so he decided to take a walk outside. "Is there really 'a gateway to anywhere'? But that would mean that there existed some kind of time portal in the ancient days…", he kept thinking as he walked towards the excavated mound. He looked around, the entire camp was silent and the security guards were patrolling the perimeter. Hans' tent was dark - "Old fox must be sleeping soundly now that I'm here to do his dirty work…", thought Patrick walking in the darkness towards the excavation site. Far away he could here the howling of a wolf in the barren mountains. He began to feel a strange kind of anxiety as he got closer to the mound. It was left unguarded with a single lightbulb hanging on a pole. He stopped for a brief moment and looked up towards the dark starlit sky. There was no moon that night and the constellations shone brightly. "Hmm.. Orion….Oh! I get it now ..the constellation…. ", whispered Patrick to himself. "Where is it? Ugh… " , he began to scan the night sky with his bare eyes. After a minute of looking, he saw it right above his head. It was shaped like a belt- which is why it was known as Orion's belt.But Patrick had to find out how the constellation would lead him towards the gate. "As in heaven, so on earth… hmm… heaven, earth… follow Orion… maybe I should find the pattern of Orion on land… but how? ", thought Patrick wondering if his assumptions were correct. "Ah!What the hell? White stones!", exclaimed Patrick as he noticed some bizzare stones on the entrance of the mound.He began to run towards the excavation site. "There it is… the stones are the markers on land… ", thought Patrick as he reached the entrance of the mound. Patrick had never seen anything like this ever. Small stones about the size of the human palm were lying perfectly arranged one after the other in a curved line like a road leading straight into the exacavated mound. It was a bizzare sight to witness the stones lighted up dimly on the ground amidst the ruins. Patrick followed them but after five stones the trail ended.He kneeled down and began to remove the dirt with his hand trying to find the rest. Sure enough he found another buried under the layer of sand. He kept doing this until he found another and then another. He kept following the trail until he stood inside the mound. There were no more stones to uncover. "Holy Christ! The text is indeed true… But what next?", thought Patrick as he looked around the site. It was dark and silent inside the mound. The lightbulb was a few meters away in the entrance. He suddenly began to feel cold as light breeze began to blow.It was getting creepy but Patrick was excited to uncover the rest of the mystery. He looked ahead and stretched his hand forward in the darkness trying to grab a pillar in front of him.He could barely see anything. "Damn I should have brought my flashlight!", he thought, immediately regretting his decision of being there at this ungodly hour. As his hand touched a pillar it felt warm. He raised his other hand behan to feel the ancient rock pillar. The warmth soothed him. He almost felt like hugging it! Then he turned towards his right and then left- there were two other pillars around him but they felt colder. He then realised that he was deep inside the excavation zone where the giant pillars stood. Somehow he felt like moving ahead and then his hand touched another pillar behind the first one- this one felt warm too. Patrick looked upwards. In the darkness he could make out the height of the two pillars stretching almost 20 metres upwards.He then touched one with his right hand and the other with his left. Both of them felt warm - "This must be the gateway… the pillars of the gate…", he thought. "The name of the God… I need to say the name of the God… Jesus?… no… what was the name of the ancient God… Anki? Yes!" he thought trying to remember the text.He then placed his hands on the pillars again and began to whisper- "This is it baby… come on show me what you got… ahem… Anki… Anki… Anki…", he uttered the name three times with his eyes closed and held his breath anticipating something miraculous to happen. But nothing happened. He tried again and then again but the ancient pillars stood silently in the dark. "Ugh! Bloody thing must be broken…", he removed his hands and kicked the ground with his right foot. Something cracked - like a clay pot. He looked down but could hardly make out what it was in the darkness. He touched it - it was indeed a clay pot- a small clay pot shattered on the ground. "Oh dear! I have ruined an ancient artefact …", he felt like a criminal inside his heart, after all he loved ancient ruins even though he stole them, he never broke or destroyed a single piece. He began to look for pieces on the ground and then it him- that cold desert breeze but this time he felt different - calm and quiet. He picked up the broken pieces of the pot and placed them in his hands. In the darkness he looked at them.He felt guilty as if he were a thief stealing from the graves of the ancient people. He drew a deep breath and thought about this entire mission- What if there's really an ancient portal here? What would a greedy dog like Hans do with this level of power?Was he not equally guilty for helping him? He knew whatever mystery this place held- once Hans and his men lay their hands on it, the result would be bad, really bad. Hans could have the power to destroy or control the world. And even if there was nothing there it wouldn't matter because Hans would blow this place up to find what he's looking for. "He will never find out the secret if this place, I won't let him know…", thought Patrick surprised at himself at this sudden change of heart. Something in the air made him realise the truth… "Who's there?", a loud commanding voice yelled from behind. Patrick was startled and he quickly turned around. The generator was broken and some men were trying to fix it while Hans toiled inside the makeshift tent in darkness and heat under the light of a hurricane lamp.A big strong man enters the camp strapped with a sidearm and a knife on either side of his waist. Hans was still stooped over the map with both of his hands on the table. "We need him Rocko...we need the expert.", said Hans looking at the man. "The Archaeologist sir?",asked Rocko. "Yes him...or else we will be digging holes in this desert for weeks...I need someone to interpret this map ...", said Hans sitting down on his chair. "But that would expose this project...we agreed to keep quite Sir...", said Rocko walking upto the table. "I know what we agreed him, pay him a s**t ton of money and tell him to be shut his mouth...and bring him here asap..", replied Hans annoyed at being questioned about his decision. "Heh..ok...I know how to keep him quite Sir..I will inform Hanna.." , said Rocko tapping his sidearm. "Remember we need him asap...we only have a few days here or else people are going to notice....and tell the men to fix the generator now... ", said Hans in a commanding voice while picking up his glass of whiskey. "Yes Sir ..." said Rocko and exited the tent "Ah!...", exclaimed Hans and took out the ancient scroll from his bag and carefully placed it on the table. "This ... my one of the dead sea scrolls...", said Hans. "No way!... you actually have a dead sea scroll ?" , said Patrick . "Yes ... acquired it from a gypsy who sold it to me for ten bucks...", replied Hans proudly. "Wow man... lemme see it...", said Patrick carefully untying the thousand year papyrus. It looked like it was made of old clay and had cracks on its surface. It was incomplete though as it appeared to have bern torn off at the top right corner. Upon it were a few lines of inscriptions in ancient Egyptian, Hebrew or Aramaic - about which Patrick was not quite sure of yet. At the bottom of the page however was a peculiar drawing of a round mirror shaped object with rays coming out of its edges and a spiral in the centre- three human beings were kneeling in front of it, as if praying. "Amazing...", whispered Patrick. "Ja? what did I tell you ? This is a clue ... a clue that tells me there is something more hiding beneath this ancient mounds...", said Hans lighting his cigarette. "Hmm... but how can you be so sure that this is the same place described in this text?", asked Patrick. "Look at the top right corner ... here... see something?", saud Hans pointing his finger on the torn off corner of the page. There appeared to be some word that has bern smudged overtime. This word was however not ancient but some modern Turkish word. "Yeah... Turkish....Hoyuk!..", said Patrick reading the smudged word aloud. "Exactly and what does that mean?", asked Hans knowing that Patrick could figure it out. "Hmm... it means a mound in the Turkish language...", answered Patrick. "Wunderbar! ...and how many such Hoyuks have been found in Turkey?", asked Hans "Well the only one other than this is the Catalhoyuk ...yes ... and Gobeklitepe means potbelly hill or mound... ohh....i see..." said Patrick finally realising the meaning. "I knew you'd get it, that's why you're the best...Now you see Catalhoyuk is a Neolithic settlement far north from here... It's unlikely that this scripture indicates that location for I've sent people up there to research for months and they found nothing that looked like that! .." said Hans pointing his finger at the drawing of the mirror shaped object. "Now, I can't read this scripture...", continued Hans, "and thats why you're here...translate this for me and find me this object..." . Patrick burst out laughing and almost fell off from his chair. "What is it thats so funny?", asked Hans apparently offended. "Funny?... Man I think old age has finally caught up to you, you're getting senile and delusional or maybe all these years of your obsession with the supernatural has turned you paranoid..." said Patrick still laughing. "You're basing your entire operation on a smudged our word and a thousand year old ruined scripture which God knows is written in which ancient language - a scroll that you bought for tenbucks from a wandering fool in the desert?" said Patrick handing the scroll back to Hans. "Then prove it! Prove me that I'm an old senile paranoid and translate this script. If you can prove that I'm wrong I will still pay you and book you a flight back home..huh?", said Hans with determination in his eyes. "Ah... very well...give me a few hours and a laptop and I will prove it to you that this scripture is nothing but some old religious stuff and there's nothing here but stones in this Tepe! ...And I will be out of this place tomorrow with my payment..." , said Patrick. "Very well then we have a deal", replied Hans shaking his hand. "Oh and btw what's Blackbird?", asked Patrick with a grin on his face. " Ah... so you've noticed it..." , replied Hans impressed by Patrick's observational skills. "Of course hard to miss the file you're trying to hide under you papers.", winked Patrick.
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