The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
"Hurry!" Samuel cried out to his friends. They turned back to look and the door was open.
"How'd you do that?" Nanny asked, then when Samuel started to answer, she looked at Jimbo, who shook his head.
She and Jimbo ran for the open door.
Samuel waited until they entered, then ran after them.
They entered a hallway that was made of a rough stone, with heavily carved walls with symbols of another world and time that ran up and down the walls and ceiling. Interspersed in the carvings were little dragon mouths that held some kind of glowing light that shone steadily without any sputtering like an oil or fueled lamp might.
The door slammed shut behind them.
They stopped and looked back.
"Will it hold?" Nanny asked, breathlessly.
Samuel said nothing. He just waited.
Nanny clutched Jimbo's right arm so tightly in anticipation that he almost screamed in pain, then it happened.
An explosion of some kind outside the door, but the door held.
Samuel looked at Nanny.
"Right." She answered the unspoken question in her eyes.
Samuel turned around and began hurrying along the rough floor. As he did further dragon mouths would spout to life ahead of them. At one point as they moved hurriedly along, a side corridor opened up. Jimbo and Nanny thought Samuel would stop to look, but he kept on going.
"It's a trap." Samuel said without looking back.
"I thought no one could get in?" Nanny asked.
"Who said that?" Samuel replied, his eyes lit with mirth.
A second and louder explosion was heard from behind them.
"Oh." She said. "Run?"
Samuel nodded, and they all ran.
Behind them they could hear the sound of soldiers rushing inside, firing without checking for an enemy to dispatch. They were taking no chances.
Samuel saw a new side corridor on the right and one on the left. He took the left one, and they followed. He stopped and his right hand lit up. He pressed it against the right wall and it glowed brightly a moment and the wall seemed to shiver, then it began to extrude, like some 3D program pushing out more and more rock until the corridor was sealed off.
"That's some technology!" Jimbo muttered in astonishment.
"Al tells me we ain't seen nothing yet." Samuel replied.
Samuel looked next to him where Al was standing, holding Marilyn's right hand. "Will this hold them?"
Al nodded. "Big surprise when they try."
Samuel grinned. "Al says they're in for a nasty surprise if they try to come this direction."
"I didn't say that." Al denied.
Samuel grinned. "They don't know that!"
"We don't know what?" Jimbo asked, stumped at the conversation with an invisible man.
"Oh nothing. Al's just being a bit worrisome is all."
Al pulled on his wild hair a moment in frustration. "You mortals!" Then he and Marilyn vanished.
Samuel smiled. "I guess even angels sometimes don't have a sense of humor."
Then something materialized over Samuel's head and spattered it. Egg. It dripped down his face onto his chin.
Jimbo laughed. "Sez who?"
Samuel wiped it away and grinning continued plunging down the corridor he had chosen.
"Do you know where we're heading?" Nanny asked.
"Nope." Samuel answered. "But anywere that 's heading away from the goons behind us...is good in my mind."
"Oh." She replied, giving Jimbo a look.
"Don't look at me. I've known him for a long time and I still don't know him." Jimbo, said his face showing frustration and amusement at the same time.
Finally, the corridor began to narrow and as it did, the rough stone floor began to take on a glittery look, then a highly polished look, then it sounded like metal as they paced upon it.
"Metal?" Nanny asked. "Down here?"
"As Al said earlier, we haven't seen anything yet." Samuel said.
He paused before a panel set in the wall on the right and pressed his hand to it. His hand and the panel lit up and then the floor began to drop beneath them with them on it. Jimbo and Nanny huddled together, frightened at first, but when Samuel stood still as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, they regained their footing and watched.
Jimbo looked up and saw that they must have descended a good thousand yards already.
"I thought we were already in the center of the earth." Jimbo commented, puzzled by the descension.
"Not really. We're still inside the base of Mount Shasta. The Hollow Earth is much deeper. You don't think the Ancients would have let the Nazis get into their world, do you?"
"You know more than you're telling." Jimbo accused, then relaxed. "Nothing new there, but still."
"Jimbo. When I lost consciousness this last time I lived inside a man whose entire village had inhabited the world above us, then descended the way we had into the interior of Mount Shasta's base. "
"And when have they not?" Samuel commente drily. "Okay, sometimes I get readings from live people, but usually it's the connections to the dead ones that's the strongest. I've been following this clue since we met Nanny. I got my first inkling of it when Lady Marantha and I touched, and then more so, when I saw her again at the Ranger's hotel."
Nanny turned to look at him. "Why didn't you tell us sooner?"
"Not time. I like to make sure that what I'm going to say is the right thing at the right time. Not always possible, but I try. Karmic balances."
Jimbo snorted. "Don't let him feed you that bull, Nanny. He just doesn't want you to think that he cocks up some times."
Samuel laughed, but said nothing more after that.
The elevator floor slowed and soon they stopped before a wider corridor, lit with huge sconces of blue and violet light that danced like living fire.
"I think we're almost there." Samuel said, stepping off the elevator.
"What about those ones behind us?" Nanny asked.
Samuel looked at her.
"Right. The elevator will probably drop them, instead of bringing them down."
Samuel looked over at Jimbo and winked.
They stepped into the new corridor. The flooring was highly polished and looked to be made of semi-precious stones, highly polished and smoothed without seams. The walls were a bit rougher, so you could touch them and feel where the stones intermingled and were joined, but it was also very highly polished.
They walked about a dozen yards and the lights began to dim and a new light began to grow. They reached the end of the corridor and stepped out onto a wide balcony type landing that overlooked where they had come.
It was Paradise!