The cloudy sky roars far at the horizon of the dense jungle located between Mexico and Guatemala. In a clear surrounded by tall trees and dense foliage, a figure climbs a small hill. The hundred feet tall hill looks green due the grass covering its sides.
The woman is dressed in kaki shorts with a shirt of the same color. She has short pink hair and a pair of flat boots. She ascends what it seems to be a rock stair at the hill’s slope while taking small hops and quickly steps. When she reaches the top, she drops herself face first on the ground and rests while panting heavily. As she rests, it can be seen her feet are restrained with some sort of primitive cuffs. The cuffs are made of hard wood pieces. They are tied between then with vines and fixed to the wood by a coat of transparent rubber. As she recovers her strengths, the explorer struggles to escape her primal, but effective restrains.
After resting a couple of minutes, woman turns around. Her arms are also restrained by similar cuffs. Her wrists are red after her desperate race. She picks up the large portable radio on her belt and turns it on. “Base, this is Karla! Come in, come in!” The woman shouts desperate. “I reached Saats pyramid. My friends and I need aid fast!”
“This… this is base, we copy!” The respond on the seventies model radio makes the woman sigh relieved. “That’s a negative… you crossed the border. We don’t have… permission by the government of… flying there.” “We need you here now, Esteban! We’ve been captured by natives. I escaped and they might be following me!” The explorer shouts desperate.
“Roger… We can’t land near there. A rescue group is on its way by land.” The static filled voice in the radio responds. “Remain in that position… until arrival… for a couple of days… Over and out.” “No, take me out of this hell! Please…” She begs frantic. “They were going to offer me in sacrifice!” The radio becomes silent. She tries several times to communicate, but there is no respond. She finally drops the radio on the ground filled with aligned square stone blocks partially buried in dirt and grass.
Karla has a flashback. Three months ago, she is in New York at a small coffee restaurant half block from the Metropolitan Museum. She is accompanied by two other women. One is a tall blond peppy lady in her late twenties. The other is a Latin burnet woman about the same age. They look at a map and some pictures as they enjoy their drinks. “This is a satellite photo taken last week. I believe that hill is Saats Pyramid, the lost rubber temple dedicated to the underworld god Itzamanaj. It’s located five miles past the border.” Karla comments while using bifocal glasses. “Hmm… It’s dangerous. It’s in the middle of a dense jungle area controlled by native tribes.” The Latin woman replies sceptical. “Exploration crews are not allowed entering that area.”
“Light up, Maria, You are not seeing the entire picture here.” The blond woman exclaims while placing her palms over her friends’ shoulders. “We have Karla, an expert in Mayan culture; You Maria, an experienced tracker in that area; and me, your guardian angel.”
“You said experienced tracker?” Maria says surprised. “I only accompanied Professor Ford a couple of times there. I even got lost the first time.”
“Maria, Maria, Maria.” Alice replies nodding her head and closing her eyes. “You wrote last year a study about the flora and fauna of that region. You attended a surviving seminar before your expeditions and you know first aids.” “Maria says it’s dangerous, Alice.” Karla adds worried.
“Hehe, relax you two. I’m going to make sure you don’t get yourself into trouble.” Alice replies confident. “This is our chance of living a big adventure, you two! Or you want wasting this opportunity and spending the next months in your museum cubicles regretting your lack of courage?”
Karla and Maria look at each other and finally Karla speaks. “Count me in!” “Me too!” Maria quickly adds while Alice smiles back at them.
Karla’s daydream is interrupted by sounds of cracking branches down the pyramid. Anxious, she peeks down and sees familiar faces. She finds one of her friends coming out from the jungle. She is Alice carrying someone wrapped in vines over her shoulder. She quickly climbs the grass covered slope of pyramid.
When the longhaired blonde reaches the top, she lowers the restrained person. It’s Maria. She is barefoot and wrapped in vines from her shoulders down to her ankles. It can be seen a green shirt below her restrained body. The cuffed explorer jumps over her blond friend and hugs her. “You are nuts! Don’t you ever do that again, Alice! I thought I was the only one left!”
“Karla, are you shaking?” Alice responds panting and smiling. “Relax Karla, I told you to wait for me here. As long as I’m around, you all are safe.”
“Alice you are wounded!” Karla exclaims after noticing a dart stuck on the back of her left shoulder. “The natives got feisty when they saw me leaving with their gods’ offering.” Alice mocks while pulling out the dart. After pulling out the dart, they notice it’s dripping. A black slick drop comes out from the pointed projectile. She examines the fluid and it looks like liquid rubber. Karla helps Alice take her shirt off and they find a large black spot on the blond explorer’s back.
“This looks serious. That thing is under your skin.” Karla says while she pokes the quarter size dark spot. “Okay, then let’s free Maria so she can take a closer look.” Alice says while pulling out her large knife from her calf sheath.
Once again, it’s heard cracking branches noises. More than before, as it was from a crowd. Alice quickly turns back and heads toward the edge and finds twenty natives around the base of the pyramid.
The half naked, tanned skin, body painted Mayan descendants start climbing the camouflaged pyramid. Alice pulls out her revolver and it points it up. The discharge echoes at the surroundings. The natives retreat back into the jungle. Karla hops toward Alice and remains at her side. Before Alice can lower her gun, another native comes out from the jungle. The man has a green shinny jade mask covering his face. The man stops at the base of the pyramid and looks at the women.
“Tell me you aren’t planning shooting that poor man.” Karla asks after seeing Alice pointing her gun at the native. “Nothing to worry about, I’m just making sure he knows we are armed.” Alice responds while aiming at the man. While the masked native starts shouting at the explorers, Alice turns her eyes at Karla. “You understand what he is talking about?”
“He’s saying we invaded their sacred place and we must leave.” Karla responds while closing her eyes. “Tell him we gladly will come down if he guarantees us, they’ll let us go.” Alice tells her friend. “Err... I don't know if I can say it correctly. what if he gets mad at us.” Karla replies anxious while grabbing Alice’s arm. “Besides, I already contact Esteban and he said they are coming here to rescue us.” The shaman repeats his message while Alice remains thoughtful for a minute and then she turns to Alice. “What’s the word for ‘No’, Karla?”
Alice stands upfront her friend and repeats “ma', ma'” a couple of times to the native. She then points at herself with the handgun and then at the top of the pyramid. The native raises his arms to the sky and starts screaming madly after listening to Alice.
“He is asking the pyramid god to destroy us.” Karla informs Alice. “He is casting some sort of curse.” “Then let him scream all that he wants.” Alice responds smiling. Black clouds start forming above them in the sky. Maria then starts screaming as she wiggles on the floor. Alice and Karla rush to help the wrapped woman. “I feel something slimy running through my arms and legs!” Maria says with repulse in her face. “It’s like worms. Get them out!”
Alice pulls out her knife and starts cutting the vines wrapping her body. They find Maria’s arms glued to her sides by a yellowish substance. Her legs are also glued together. She tries separating them, but they get back together. “What the hell is this stuff?” Alice exclaims trying cutting the appearing glue with her knife, but it bounces up. “Help me Alice!” Karla shouts scared.
Karla looks at her hands. Her wood restrains start changing before her eyes. They transform into solid stone stocks. She looks down and discovers her ankle shackles also changed to stone. Alice watches this in horror. Then a pain in her upper back brings her down to her knees. She grunts while pulling down her shirt.
“The black spot is growing Alice!” Karla exclaims pointing at Alice’s back with her trapped hands. A loud thunder makes all of them shrug. A tree at the other side of the pyramid falls down lighted in flames. Seconds later, another lightning hits the base of the pyramid. In panic, the women look at each other. The shaman starts yelling once again and Karla translate to her friends. “He is warning us, this is our last chance of coming down the pyramid alive.