Friday 13 March 2015

Wall of War - An excerpt by Allan Hudson

In 1953 Father Suetonius Graft, an amateur rock climber discovers a cave while scaling a 600 foot rock face in the Peruvian Andes. Poking his flashlight in the hole he discovers  skeletal remains. The curled bones reach out from a fallen boulder luring him inside. 

You read the first Chapter of the Wall of War here (archived 05/09/2014) This exciting novel of Incan gold, an unfortunate priest, a Spanish crime lord and Drake Alexander is coming in the Fall of 2017. Following is an excerpt. Copyright is held by the author.


The enormity of his speculation bemuses him. His shoulders droop as if they alone carry the weight. Never before in the four decades of his life has he been handed such a weighty platter. He is lost in a torrent of possibilities; not only in historical significance but the enormous value of what this artifact could be worth if it is all gold, most likely pure. It seems beyond his frail human belief. The wall has to weigh many tons; if he guesses it would not be unreasonable that is over 10,000 pounds. He knows from his own modest investments that gold is selling at present at $34.OO per troy ounce. Rough calculations tell him it could be worth over four million dollars in gold bullion. When he considers that his wages are $1.10 an hour, that’s a fortune. Gigantic in his mind is who he must tell.

That thought alerts him to what steps he must take, he is enlivened with the idea that he must somehow verify this as well as the dimensions. His energy is renewed as he imagines what the discovery can do for his church. That must to be why God saw fit to send a priest. As he begins to recite the rosary in his mind, he withdraws his note book and pencil from one of his stuffed pockets. He turns it sideways so he can sketch on the widest portion. He draws a rough image of the wall and the figures it contains. When he is satisfied that his drawing is as accurate as possible he writes a header, The Wall of War.

Flipping the page he begins walking off the dimensions carefully noting the sizes as best as he can estimate, he wants to be conservative but yet not diminish its grandness. He is shocked once more when he hurries to the end he first discovered to judge how thick the wall is, at least eight inches. He touches the rough back while shining his light up and down. It is textured and unfinished, given little, if any consideration. Stepping away from the wall he shines his light back and forth over the fearsome figures thinking the work must have taken years. He can barely contain his emotions. He shuts off his light and finishes his prayers in the darkness.

Fifteen minutes later he turns the light back on, replaces the notebook and pencil, pauses to think of anything else he should do. It is starting to get cooler, the sweat on his body long dried. Donning his t-shirt he decides he can’t leave now. There is one more thing he has to find. How could the workers possibly get in and out of this cavern he asks himself, how could they bring their supplies in. He has to know because there is no sign of any engineering where he entered; there are no other bodies either. He will take another half hour trying to find another entry. He points his light to the rear proceeding cautiously towards the void.

Moving to his right where he can see the bench, he follows that. It extends half as long as the wall on the opposite side. The clutter is similar from one end to the other, except in the center where remnants of woven bowls lay half eaten away. They contain shards of dried foods, possibly avocados distinguishable by their wrinkled skin, stem and petrified leaves still attached.  He walks slowly beyond the shelf towards the bare rock wall sidestepping the scattered debris, watching for cracks when his light shows him that the cavern sides are closing in. He flashes his light back at the golden wall gauging that he is at the farthest end from where he entered. He returns the ray of light to his front and sees another slight bend. He follows the curve until the sides shrink to an opening that comes to the middle of his chest, about four feet but twice as wide as him.

There is huge split in the floor where the pathway he is on ends. He creeps carefully to the lip shining his light down. There is nothing to see except granite. Scrunching down on his knees he shines the light into the hole. He guesses the gap to be about six feet wide. He lifts his lamp and what he sees amazes him as much as the hammer but not with the same exuberance. He grins as he thinks to himself, “the experienced discoverer now”.  His gaze takes in what seems to be a store room, broken barrels along one wall. The bent spears propped against another narrow stone ledge suggest an armory and directly in front of him, twenty feet away, is a stairway amazingly cut from the hardest stone. It is a captivating sight. The steps follow two wide cracks in the mountain, joined together at one time with fresh timber. The wooden, un-rotted ends are still wedged onto the rock treads. The central part of the stairway gave way centuries ago and vacations at the bottom of the dark pits.

The steps turn sharply to the left about seven steps up and are filled with rocks and dirt. There must have been a cave in Suetonius realizes, that would explain the fallen rocks in the caverns. He stares at the whole scene for many moments trying to understand what he’s found. His whole body tingles, small ripples pimple his arms and upper body. He is experiencing an epiphany of what all his previous life has meant. He gleans from the confessional that everyone wants to know, “Why am I here? What purpose do I serve?” How blessed he feels. The heavenly reality is physically accompanied by an abundant flow of adrenaline from the stress he is experiencing. He asks himself, “what if this fell in the wrong hands”. It’s located in the wilderness; it would be vandalized to no end. He will have to be very careful; without a doubt, there are people who would kill for this knowledge. He trembles bodily as the idea ferments.

He will write it all down as soon as he returns to his lodgings. He will write in the most obscure of the several languages he knows. Checking his wrist for the time, he is disheartened knowing he should leave or he might not get off the face before dark. Giving the room one last sweep of light he notices something reflective in the far corner. It’s small whatever it is, he can’t find it again. Then there it is; a tiny ray of something bright. He keeps his hand steady trying to see what is making the light bend. It is about twenty feet away cornered with other detritus. Dust blankets everything. It is difficult to discern from where he crouches. The ray wavers as he moves his hand so slightly. Reminded of the star of the Wise Men, is this to be a guide for him, he ponders. He doesn’t think too long until he decides he has to have it. It could be the proof he seeks.

I always wanted to write a novel about Incan Gold and a mysterious discovery, a discovery so enormous in historic and monetary value that people would kill for the secret. That's Wall of War. Watch for it in Fall 2017.

Please visit the Scribbler next week and meet guest author JP Mclean of British Columbia. Read an excerpt from her new novel Penance, set to be released in April, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.