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Adventure Fiction

Franklin Howard was known as a great excavator and explorer of not just the tombs of Egypt but many sites all over the world. Many artifacts that he has unearthed from these sites have been displayed in museums. Being that he has had so much experience in these matters he felt that he was capable of going to a remote location deep in the mountains of China. A place that was known by local legend to hold a small palace that once housed an emperor by the name of Li Jing. The closest village to this mainly unexplored building is nearly thirty-five miles away. 

Franklin hiked to this palace thought to be from the late imperial era. While expertly avoiding falling off of ledges and falling over roots. Once he got to the area of which the palace was, he noticed that he still had to go up many steps that were falling apart or that were almost completely crumbled. Something that he had come across in other places he had been. So, he knew how to walk up steps such as these. The site had thoroughly deteriorated and it looked absolutely dangerous. This didn’t deter Franklin from going in anyway. He had come all this way not only up the mountain but also across the world to get there. 

Upon entry, he looked around at the ruins. There were toppled stones, crumbled decor, and foundational cracks. Something had seen before when he went on excavations in other parts of the world. Quite frankly with how old this place was, he was surprised that some of the ruins were even intact. Nevertheless, he went in further to see if he could find some artifacts to take back with him. 

Upon his entry, he had also turned on his video camera to get as much footage as possible. Noting the time and making sure that the date matched up to what was in the corner of his viewing screen. The lighting was not the best so he turned on the small light that was on the camera to be able to get a better view of what he was seeing. For it was a cloudy day and there was little sunshine shining through the holes of the ceiling. 

After some time of looking for anything important or anything that would be a clue to what life was like in this palace in the past, he came across a very large room. One with tattered cloth-like banners and seating that like everything else, was falling apart. Franklin approached the seat that was at the head of every other seat, one that obviously was used by the emperor and any other emperors that might have been in this palace. He put the camera closer and said aloud so that his deep voice could be heard on the tape. Saying,

“As you can see here, this must have been the throne or head seat of the emperor Li Jing. Just like every other thing in these ruins, it is also falling apart. One can only guess at what was discussed here and what the emperor did in the time of his reign.” 

Franklin decided to sit down on the supposed throne and it crumbled beneath him, making him drop his camera on the hard floor. The sound of it crashing to the ground was loud and Franklin knew that he was not going to be able to recover it. His fall was painful but it was not the first time something like this had happened to him. So, he got up and brushed his clothes up. When he picked up the camera, he looked to see if anything was working and as he suspected nothing was. He let out a curse and put it in his pack. 

He went around the room further looking for any kind of artifact and came across a few. Of which he put in his pack to bring back with him. There were a few what looked to be tools or weapons. As well as some broken jade figurines and golden jewelry. Which made his backpack much heavier but it didn’t matter to Franklin, his back was very strong from years of physical exercise. 

After this, he decided to see if there were any more fascinating rooms to discover before he left. He thought to himself that he didn’t really want to spend more time there. Being that his camera was not operating and the ruins were so destroyed. He was hoping to find some scrolls or anything that might indicate what had gone on here. He was also interested to find out what had caused this palace to be abandoned. Since the local legend did not specify this. 

Franklin happened upon a smaller chamber that had what looked like a bed. Making this a sleeping chamber that may or may not have been where the emperor had slept. It was adorned with broken vases, very faded paint, and a few ripped scrolls. Just what he was looking for. He went over to the scrolls that laid on the stone-cold floor. And picked one up to look at. Unfortunately, he could not read it but planned to take it to someone who might be able to. 

After gathering them up and storing them in his sack, he turned around to exit the room. Then he heard a rumble and the opening caved in. The stones collapsed to the floor quickly and piled up faster than Franklin could attempt to get out. One stone did land on his foot and he cried out in pain as he fell to the floor. His sac did break his fall but he heard the sound of shattered delicate items. With searing pain, he pushed the large stone off of his foot and laid there for a little while catching his breath and trying to calm down. 

Once he was able to move, he took his pack off and put it aside. Trying to stand up carefully to avoid putting too much weight on his injured foot. He hobbled over to the remnants of the bed and sat down. Then he put his foot up and tried to ignore the pain in order to figure out how to get out. After what felt like hours, he hobbled back over to grab his backpack and took it back over to the bed carefully. He had a few provisions and some first aid supplies. He wrapped his foot in gauze after he took off his shoe slowly. It nearly soaked through with blood but there was only so much he could do. After he did this, he grabbed out a protein bar he had packed and ate it. Slowly he began to drift off to sleep. 

After he woke up, he felt like the day had passed so he decided to put a tally mark with a tool he had gathered in the large room before. What he didn’t know was he had only been asleep for about two hours even though it felt like a long sleep from exhaustion. Once he had the energy he walked carefully over to the caved-in entryway and looked for a hole or any means of escape. Finding nothing he slumped to the floor and sighed, he knew he was not going to survive much longer on the food and water he had. 

After a few attempts at moving stones, he was exhausted and was only able to move a few at the top but more came tumbling down when he did that. Once again he laid down for a snooze and dreamt for what seemed like a long time. Thinking that once again a day had gone by he carved another mark into the wall beside the bed to indicate that. Once again he drank just a little bit of water and some food and went to work on that stone pile, to no avail. 

Every time he did this and went to sleep, he woke up and carved out another mark on the wall to keep track of the days he was in there. After the fourth tally mark, he was almost out of food and definitely out of water. At a last-ditch effort, he went back to the caved-in wall to try and find a way out. After not being able to dig his way out of the fallen stones, he passed out on the floor. 

After some time, he woke up in a dizzy daze and looked over towards the bed. Unable to get up and stand on his feet, especially with his injured left foot, he decided to crawl over there. As he pulled himself up onto the bed, he looked at the wall and saw that the marks were no longer there. Once on the bed, he blinked his eyes and tried to find them. There was no sign of them. He put his calloused and dry hands on the wall and physically searched for the marks. As he ran his hands over the wall he felt absolutely no indentations. Also, his tool was missing, he searched for it and could not find it. 

At last, he gave up and laid back on the bed. It didn’t matter anyway, he knew he was going to die in this dreadful place. He sobbed without any tears because he was so dehydrated. Succumbing to the realization that there was no way out. He didn’t even know how long he had been there and the pain and exhaustion were just too much. He slept there for the rest of the time he had left to be alive. Never knowing how long he was able to keep himself from dying. 

December 31, 2020 21:54

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3 comments

R. K.
18:15 Jan 07, 2021

I love the original story like and how much detail you were able to add in such a short story. I thought one thing you could improve is making your sentences shorter to improve what they say

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08:25 Jan 05, 2021

I went with Franklin to that and hiked with him to reach at that Imperial era, I wondered how he tried to cure himself from the injury he encountered, and i appreciated him how he tried to know the secrets with his tally marks but he was not lucky , his tally marks were disappeared and he looked as the wall, that is magical , Franklin's ended with a comma , he was at despair point with no hope, I wished for him let death to take him peacefully while he is on his slept. Morgan Douglas, You are really a great writer . Alemseged Sisay Addis A...

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Morgan Douglas
16:36 Jan 05, 2021

Thank you!

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