Florida Crane And The Temple Of The Amazons (Complete!)

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    Apologies for the blatantly ripped-off title! 😉


    Deep in the Amazonian jungle, a lone archaeologist muttered to herself. Dr. Florida Crane was cutting a path through the dense foliage with a machete.

    "Jerks," she said. "I know I'm right. I just know it." She walked on for a couple more minutes, hacking things out of her way, stepping over tree roots and keeping a sharp look-out for snakes. Then Dr. Crane found a clearing and stopped. She wiped the sweat from her forehead, brushed a loose hair out of her face and set her backpack on the ground.

    Say "female archaeologist" these days and most people think of Lara Croft, the stick-thin balloon-breasted heroine of the Tomb Raider videogames. 26-year-old Florida Crane is almost the exact opposite. She stands at a modest five feet tall, with straggly, greasy black hair tied in a short ponytail. Her eyes are brown and obscured by thick glasses, which she constantly has to push up her small nose. This isn't her first work in the field; she has a 'working' level of fitness but is nothing like the lithe Amazon of Tomb Raider: there are pockets of fat in various places on her body. Despite this, her breasts are A-cups. At the moment, she's wearing a sweat-soaked white T-shirt and khaki trousers. The outfit is not designed to blend into the background but she is at least cooler than she would have been in proper camouflage.

    Dr. Crane leaned over her backpack, rummaging around inside it for water and her map. She remembered that getting to a clearing meant she was close but couldn't remember how to proceed. The young woman pulled a water bottle out and started to drain it. She reasoned that the more she drank, the lighter her backpack would be, so gulped the last of the water and put the bottle back. The young archaeologist then brought out her map. She pushed her glasses up her nose and peered at the markings on the paper. She found the clearing she was in.

    "Turn to the north and walk forward forty paces. You will find what you are looking for," she read and then sighed. The translation of the document that her fellow academics had dismissed as a "comic-book treasure map" had taken up the last six years of her life. There was no way that Florida Crane was going to leave the expedition to anyone else. With the money left from her research grant, she had paid for a small team of undergraduates to join her. However, it soon became apparent that they were only in it for money and prestige. They had abandoned their professor a day ago. She had taken the necessary supplies, left the rest for her 'team' to get back to civilisation and carried on alone.

    Sighing once more, Florida put the map back in her backpack and drew out a compass. She found north, picked up her backpack and began counting paces. Her mood changed from one of sullen anger to mounting hope. She even began to smile. "… twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five…" She strode more and more confidently towards her goal, whatever it was. The weather-beaten and visibly ancient scroll she had translated ended with those enigmatic words: "You will find what you are looking for." They had haunted Florida's dreams ever since and now she was so close! "… thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-thOWWWWW!" Deep in the Amazonian jungle, Dr. Florida Crane screamed. The snake slithered away and Florida fell to the ground in pain. The stricken woman cursed her luck. So damn close she had let her guard down! "Moron!" she hissed, clutching her already-swelling ankle.

    Although Florida knew that moving was a bad idea, her curiosity got the better of her. She crawled forward, looking for the goal of her expedition. Pain immediately shot out in all directions from her foot. The archaeologist winced but carried on. She pulled herself forward a couple of feet before needing a rest to stop the stars exploding in front of her eyes. Slowly, carefully, Florida looked around. The jungle didn't look any more pleasant from the ground. She scanned the undergrowth for a clue as to her destination: there was nothing unusual anywhere. Unconsciousness was about to settle the issue of how Florida would manage her pain when, for no reason that she could ever recall, the young archaeologist reached out and grabbed a tree root that had burst through the ground.

    Despite her hard panting, Florida could now hear a powerful rumbling deep underground. The noise grew louder until the ground itself shook. Florida felt the vibrations rock her beaten body. Her ears wanted to shut down. Then a different noise joined in the general cacophony: the sound of ground being torn up and not simply shaking. Florida raised her head slowly and was rewarded with an astounding sight: a temple was rising out of the dirt in front of her! Fighting against her own weak body, the young woman stared at the incredible event unfolding ahead. The emerging temple looked like a pyramid made out of Lego. The rumbling got closer and closer to Florida until she was lifted from the floor on one of the pyramid's layers of rock. Curiously, as soon as the rock touched her, the pain tearing her body into pieces disappeared.

    Dazed, she lay still until the disorienting, deafening sounds subsided. Then, very carefully, the young archaeologist got up. The pyramid looked like four sets of stairs, all leading up in the same direction and narrowing. First, intellectual curiosity getting the better of her, Dr. Crane descended to the bottom of the pyramid and walked all around its perimeter. During the walk, the professor checked on her injury. The snakebite had vanished from her skin. In fact, she felt better than when she had started the trip. Excitement stopped her worrying too much about it. The joy of success washed her pain and fear away. The pyramid's perimeter was about a kilometre; it took Florida about twenty minutes to walk around it. Occasionally she paused to take some photos of it with her digital camera.

    Halfway around the third side, Florida found the entrance. It was a large passageway, simply left to the open air. It was flanked by two statues. Florida took plenty of pictures of them: they were made from gold and depicted two identical women, both impossibly muscular and clad only in loincloths. Their naked breasts were larger than the biggest melons Florida had ever seen. They each held a spear that was about their own height. Florida chuckled to herself that she might like to have some of that strength, or better yet, cleavage, on her side. Instead of entering, Florida completed her circuit of the temple.

    "Hmmm," Dr. Crane mused to herself. "Should I go up to the top or go inside?" Florida did what she always did in such situations and flipped a coin. "OK, heads for the top of the temple, tails for going inside." The coin arced into the humid air and fell into her palm. Heads. "Temple top it is!" she said. As climbing the temple would expose her to the full glare of the sun, Florida put sunblock on before starting and drank a bottle of water. Then she started her ascent.

    It was nowhere near as arduous as Florida had feared. She was almost skipping up the side of the harsh grey rock. Florida climbed onto the last step with a grunt of triumph. She began a thorough search of the pyramid's top floor. There were markings on the floor: she frowned and crouched to get a better view of them. They were written in the language of the Amazons! Part of the reason Florida's research had been rejected was that she had proposed the existence of this whole new language. This would have caused a century of well-established research to be thrown out, so Florida had toiled alone. She translated the engraving out loud: "Find the blue stone inside and you will be rewarded." She stood again. "Guess that means I'm going inside!"

    — To Be Continued —

    Also… post 100! Yay! :mrgreen:


    An excelent story. I think that this can only get better.

    The only thing that bugs me is the archelogist's name. Please don't tell me that she, either now or as a kid, had a dog named Florida.  😉


    We're off to a rolling start.  😎

    And the name could be worse.  It could be New Jersey Brown, or Illinois Winkle, or Ohio Von Shtupp. 

    Or Tennesee Williams, Minnesota Fats or Georgia Peach.  😀


    Sorry I don't have much to say but it is a nice start.


    I wonder if she has a young Asian friend.


    Yeah. Sharp Long. 😉


    Eagerly waiting for more !!!!


    OK, a little bit of explanation is in order!

    First, the origin of Florida's name. Well, I obviously wanted to hit the 'Indiana Jones' thing. I have a vague memory that a parody called 'Alabama Smith' exists somewhere, so the trend was set: a state of the US that is seven letters long and ends in an 'a', followed by a common surname five letters long. I looked up the full list of American states and chose Florida. The surname was much trickier! When I started writing she was called 'Florida Scott'. That didn't sound good, so I thought a bit more and came up with 'Crane' and stuck with that.

    Second, there is no Small Square or Tiny Triangular lurking around! 😉


    The decision made, Florida headed carefully down the entrance side of the pyramid. The blazing sunshine gradually receded under the canopy as Florida approached her target. She landed on the ground, bending her knees to absorb the impact. Again she admired the enormous statues guarding the entrance. She shook her head wistfully, knowing that only a few small differences in genetics could have given her some strength or beauty. The archaeologist then fished a torch out of her backpack and headed for the entrance. She stopped just before the opening and looked back out at the jungle. "Well," she whispered, "can't stop now." She flipped the torch on and entered the Temple of the Amazons.

    Florida was grateful for her torch. The temple seemed to have been undiscovered for centuries and was pitch black inside. The walls of the passage were made from the same grey rock as the exterior. They were covered in the Amazonian language, which Florida resolved to translate… just as soon as she'd found that blue stone. There were no signs of life and no thick layer of dust. The corridor was wide enough to fit a couple of trains. "The temple must have remained perfectly preserved underground," Florida thought. She proceeded carefully, running her left hand over the cold stone and feeling the rises and bumps of the engraved symbols. Her footsteps began to echo as the light from the entrance dwindled into nothing, leaving the torch as the only source of light. Florida gulped. She pushed her glasses up her nose.

    "Can't stop now," she repeated to herself. The young archaeologist was awash with emotions: triumph and excitement ranked pretty highly but fear was gaining strength. There was no way to get an idea of the structure's stability. For all Florida knew, it could collapse at any minute. Seconds after this thought, she came to a junction. The young woman paused and pointed her torch at the markings on the wall ahead of her. She frowned. "I don't recognise any of these symbols," she muttered. "That one looks similar to 'queen' but that one looks similar to 'pain'. Huh." She stood for a few seconds, wondering which direction to take. The entrance was now only a pinprick of light. Common sense prodded her brain to say that going in the 'pain' direction was probably a bad idea. The archaeologist grinned and turned right: the 'queen' direction.

    The scenery didn't change much in this new direction. The same grey rock, similar markings floor to ceiling. Florida had only taken a few paces when she heard a squeaking. Barely a second later a bat flew down the corridor towards her. She screamed but the creature passed just overhead. The young archaeologist leaned against a wall to get her breath back. "God," she whispered to herself. "Where did he come from?" Florida got a water bottle from her backpack. She took a big, calming slug and wiped her mouth. Then she heard it. A deep, animalistic roar echoed down the corridor towards her. Panic rooted her to the spot. The young woman only unfroze to push her glasses up her nose. The echoes died away. A mere minute later, Florida's heartbeat returned to something approaching normal.

    Deciding to make the best of the moment, Florida set her backpack on the temple floor and got out some of her rations. She ate quietly, sitting cross-legged on the floor, trying to keep her mind from the fear. Idly she started to translate the symbols on the walls. The messages were not comforting: "Death to those who enter." "Abandon hope if you have reached this far." "Better to live than die at our hands." Florida shuddered. Clearly the Amazonians were once very powerful. She wondered how they had died out.

    This thinking got the archaeologist's thirst for knowledge drooling hungrily. She finished her food and stood up, a newly determined expression on her face. She walked forward quickly and purposefully, shining the torch dead ahead and not stopping for any reason. Soon enough she reached another crossroads. There were no indications as to which way she should go; Florida was going to have to make a choice.

    "If I head right, I'll just be going towards the temple exterior again," she said to herself. "Logically, I should go right. Which is probably exactly what they want me to do." Florida took out her coin. "Heads for right, tails for left," she said to herself. Once again the coin flipped into the air. It came up heads. Unsure, Florida headed off in that direction.

    Again the scenery did not change. Florida had stopped translating the markings but still they were all over the walls, which were still very far apart. Her footsteps echoed loudly and the archaeologist felt quite small compared to the enormous size of the passage. "I wonder if I'm getting closer," she thought. "I sure hope so. My feet are killing me." The torch revealed another junction ahead. Florida's sense of expectancy increased. "Surely I'm close!" she breathed. She started to run forward. It was then that the spider dropped from the ceiling right in front of her.

    Florida couldn't get breath to scream, which was just as well. The spider was the size of a hatchback, all gleaming eyes, slimy body and hairy, twitching legs. Eyes wide in utter horror, she watched as it scuttled ahead of her and turned left at the junction. Dr. Florida Crane leaned against the temple wall, heart beating faster than it ever had before. A sly thought popped into her head. "No wonder the passageways are so wide," it grinned. Florida felt little comfort. Aloud she breathed: "I think I found what killed the Amazonians."

    She had to reach a decision: either carry on and risk meeting more of the creatures or leave and risk never finding out about the Amazonians. The debate raged in her mind as, once more, her heartrate returned to normal levels. Eventually, despite a fear factor that was through the roof and halfway into space, Florida decided to carry on. She reached the same crossroads she had just seen the spider take. This time the symbols on the wall did offer clues. Florida translated.

    "'Blue jewel'," she read, her heart sinking. That was left too. There was no indication of what was right. Florida lifted her left foot to go left when fear stopped her. "Am I making the right decision?" it mused, knowing it held all the cards and then some. Florida lowered her leg and pondered. "The spider didn't seem to notice me," she thought. "Maybe it won't be interested in me." With that scant comfort, Florida Crane took the left turn.

    This passage was not as long as the others, though it was still very wide, covered in the same symbols and made from dull grey stone. Florida could see it open out into what appeared to be a large room ahead. She ran towards her target, footsteps echoing around the corridor. When she got close enough to clearly see the opposite wall of the huge room, Florida stopped dead, all breath expelled from her lungs. "S – S – Spiders…"

    The chamber ahead of her was huge, about the size of a football stadium. Around a hundred of the enormous spiders were creeping around, scattered over most of the floor, ceiling and walls. In the middle of the horrific scene, Florida could see a small altar, the top of which was glowing blue. She shut her eyes in an attempt to will the scene out of her mind. Her imagination hit her even harder and she stepped back from the chamber. Tears streaked down her cheeks. "I, I, I can't – carry on," she moaned quietly. She slumped against a wall and then down to the floor. Dr. Florida Crane wept.

    Her tears dried up. Florida turned again to the scene in the altar chamber, looking for any way to get to the blue stone. She frowned. "Is it my imagination," she mused, "or is there actually a path to the altar?" She looked again, screwing her eyes in concentration. The more she stared, the more she convinced herself that there was a way through to the altar. The spiders were large but did not cover the entire surface by any means. A kind of fearful determination filled Florida. "I'm going to run for it," she said quietly. "I've got to solve this puzzle!"

    Knowing that another moment's thought would only give her time to think of a few reasons not to put her plan into action, Florida stood up, pushed herself off the wall and ran into the chamber. The instant her foot hit the chamber floor the spiders roared deafeningly. It was the same roar that had chilled Florida to the bone earlier on, only a hundred times louder.  Horrifically the spiders started to skitter in slow motion towards the archaeologist as she ran to the altar, dodging, ducking and diving around the enormous arachnids.

    The spiders closed in on the fear-driven girl. The twitching hair on their legs brushed her as she ran past them through any gap she could find. Several of the monstrosities fell from the ceiling in front of her but adrenaline pushed Florida on and she ducked around them. She ran as she had never run before. The altar glowed like a beacon but, as Florida approached, she realised that a wall of spiders surrounded it. She circled them, looking for a weak point. It took about twenty heart-stopping seconds as the spiders closed in but she found it.

    Dr. Florida Crane took a deep breath and hurled herself at a slight gap in between two of the huge monsters guarding the shining altar. She held her breath and squeezed past their disgusting legs and slimy abdomens. The monsters turned their heads to bite at her as she ran through but Florida had proved too fast for them. Heavily sweating and almost dizzy from using so much energy, Florida made it through to the altar and slammed her right hand down on the blue stone embedded in its centre.

    — To Be Continued —

    Thanks for reading and all your supportive comments! I promise the next part will deliver the goods. 😛


    Good story. I definetly looking forward for the next part. I don't know why but I guess that Dr. Florida will soon become the "female archaeologist" that most people think in these days and more.

    I think that it will be Lara Croft turns to be jealous.  😆



    Great story! Speaking of Lara Croft, I caught a glimpse of one of the new Scooby-Doo episodes on Cartoon Network when my little cousin was watching TV. The episode took place in Egypt and one of the characters (a bad-guy) was a horrible parody of Lara. It was interesting, to say the least.

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