<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
Much to Casey's relief, nothing else happened. Teal'c aimed his light into the opening. Stone steps led downward.
Daniel looked around. "I don't know what we'll find. I've never seen anything like this before," he said. "If you want to stay here…"
Jack shook his head. "Nope, we stick together," he said
Casey was pulling her lip between her teeth again.
"Case?" Texas said, watching her.
"We should leave something…a note or something, just in case," she said. "We left the doors off of the other tombs. Even if the sand buries them, the guys will dig around, because these tombs should still be visible from the path side. If Mike and Terry and the Marines have to come looking for us, they'll check them. If we leave a note…"
"Good idea, Case," Jack said.
Daniel pulled his notebook from his pocket and began to write.
Glyph on the wall to the right of the doorway. Stone in the middle of the floor. Opens door on opposite wall. Stairs leading down. We're going that way now.
Casey nodded. "Good, that's good, honey."
"Now, where do we put it?" Tony asked.
Major Parker pulled his pocketknife from his hip pocket. He took the note and stuck it on the wall just inside the corridor. It moved wildly from the wind that they could feel coming through the cracks of the dry wooden door. Sand was already building up on the entrance floor.
A A A A A A
The stairs seemed to go on forever. When they finally came to the end, the beams from the flashlights didn't reach high enough to illuminate the door through which they had just come. A passageway at a sharp 90-degree angle to the steps was the only choice.
Daniel moved slowly, it seemed that his flashlight was barely lighting the darkness around them. They were forced to move single file. Casey was directly behind her husband, Sam behind her, followed closely by Jack. Teal'c was next, then Ishmar and Khusa. Texas followed the two guides, Trenton behind him, Tony next, and Major Parker bringing up the rear.
After almost an hour, the tunnel made another 90-degree turn. The first had been to the left, this one was to the right. If he wasn't mistaken, Daniel thought, this path was heading directly toward the mountains.
It was becoming difficult to breathe. The heat was oppressive as well, made worse by the presence of so many bodies. They were all beginning to gasp for each breath, and Casey was convinced that they were going to die.
Daniel suddenly disappeared from in front of her.
"Daniel!" As abruptly as he had vanished, Casey felt the ground beneath her feet give way. She tumbled and fell, landed in a heap of dust and rocks and bruised limbs. Her flashlight had dropped from her hand. She reached around, carefully trying to feel for the comforting rubberized grip. Nothing. She closed her eyes, her fingers closed around the grip of her P90. Was her dream…that nightmare…coming true? 'Daniel?'
'I'm right here, babe. Are you all right?'
'I'm not sure. I just fell.'
'Me, too. Does your flashlight work? Can you see where you are?'
'No…well, I don't think so…I can't find it.' She cocked her head sideways. Was that Jack's voice? "Jack?…Jack I'm here!" She tried to stand up, winced when she realized that she had broken her ankle. 'Daniel, I think I hear Jack.'
'Call out to him, Angel. He'll find you.'
'Does your flashlight work?'
'Yeah, but I don't know for how long. It seems to be getting dimmer.'
She closed her eyes. "Jack!…Jack I'm here!…Jack!…Teal'c!…Sam!…Anybody!…I'm here!"
A A A A A A
Daniel looked around. He was in a small cavern. It looked natural, but it was possible that it had been dug out. He could see an opening, nearly fifteen feet above his head. He shined the light up at it, hoping that one of the team would see it. "Jack?…Teal'c?…Sam? Hey, anybody out there?" He heaved a sigh, shut off the flashlight, he wanted to save the batteries as much a possible, then sat down. 'Angel, are you all right? Did Jack find you?'
'I can't hear him now. I think I broke my ankle. It's still a little tender. A few more minutes and I should be able to walk.'
'I don't want you going anywhere. Especially in the dark. Stay put, Casey, please.'
She leaned her head back against the stone. 'Okay. I'll stay right here. I promise.'
'That's my girl. Now, as soon as I can figure out how to climb up, I'll get out of here and find you. I swear it, Case. I'll find you and get us out of here.'
'I trust you, Daniel.'
He smiled. 'Love you, Angel.'
'Love you, too, Stud Muffin.'
A A A A A A
Sam was staring down at the jumble of rocks. "Oh, god no!"
Jack managed to squeeze past her. "Casey? Daniel? Come on, answer me! Damn it!" There was absolutely no room to maneuver in the narrow tunnel, and he didn't want to jump down onto the rocks for fear that his two best friends were buried beneath them.
Teal'c was the one who brought their attention to a 90-degree bend in the passageway, just behind Sam. He had watched as the rock wall slid to the side. "I believe that following this is our best course of action, O'Neill," the giant man said quietly. "We will discover where this tunnel ends, and then you and I will return for Casey and Daniel."
The older man shook his head. "Sam, take 6 and go on through. Let me know what you find. Radio contact every five. T, you and I are going down there."
The men of SG-6 were still trying to figure out what had happened. "General, what's going on?" Texas called out.
"Tex, Daniel and Casey just fell, the floor seems to have just caved in. I want you to follow Sam and find out where this new tunnel leads. T and I are going to stay here," the general yelled back.
There was a quiet discussion among the team. "General, no way are we leaving anybody behind. You figure out a way down, and when we get to you, we'll join you," Major Parker shouted.
The older man lowered his head. He should have known that the guys would never leave without all of SG-1 with them. "Okay, Evan. Give us a minute."
Sam had stepped into the new tunnel to allow Teal'c to pass her. Jack was slowly trying to climb down over the boulders and rocks. Several shifted dangerously, and he clung to the rock wall, hoping that he wasn't about to suffer the same fate as the Jacksons. He made it to the bottom of what appeared to be a fairly large cavern.
"T, come on down. Be careful, several of those really big rocks are loose," he said. He wiped the sweat from his face with the back of his forearm.
The large black man nodded, and carefully lowered his impressive frame, moving slowly…carefully.
Khusa saw the opening. The tall blonde woman was bending down, looking into what looked like a giant hole. He had heard the rumble, knew that something had happened. He pushed past Ishram and began to run down the tunnel, regardless of the darkness around him. He couldn’t breathe, the added dust in the air from the cave-in only made the situation worse. He was getting out of here, and he was doing it now!
Ishram watched for a few seconds, until the man who had been like a brother to him was no longer visible. He looked around at the strangers. Instinct told him that he was better off staying with these people. He remained firmly where he was.
Jack and Teal'c began to try and move the heavy rocks. "Sam, tell the guys to get down here. We're going to need their help getting Daniel and Casey unburied," Jack said quietly.
Sam passed the word, then stepped again into the side corridor. When Ishmar saw where the men were going, he followed. No one tried to stop him.
A A A A A A
Rocks shifted and tumbled, scary enough, she thought, if she could see what was happening. Terrifying when she was in total darkness, with no way to know if any of those moving rocks were going to fall on her! The clatter of smaller stones bouncing against larger rocks echoed for a few minutes, and then the silence returned. When she had instinctively dropped behind a large boulder her hands had discovered, praying that it would protect her from any tumbling rocks, she made a discovery. Couldn't help but grin into the darkness. 'Daniel?'
'I'm right here, babe.'
'I found my pack.'
He grinned into the darkness. 'That's good, Angel. Keep looking for your flashlight.'
'I am. Do you have your pack? You'll need the water, it's so damned hot in here!'
'Yeah, I have my pack.' He stood up, turned on the flashlight again, began to survey his surroundings a bit more carefully. If it could be said that there is a difference in total blackness, then Daniel noticed the difference. Between two boulder-sized rocks was a tiny dark 'spot'. He climbed over the rocks that littered the cavern floor, tried to get as close to the opening as possible. 'Angel, I'm going to shine my light at what looks like an opening. Tell me if you see it.' He aimed the flashlight at the hole.
Casey began to look around, trying to see any sign of light. 'Don't move it, Daniel, I haven't looked everywhere yet.'
He smiled. 'I won't, babe. Take your time.'
She looked around. Nothing. She looked up. Nothing…wait…'Daniel? Turn it off, then back on.'
He did as she requested.
"Daniel?" She shouted upwards, toward what must be a small opening. She could just barely make out a bit of light.
"Angel?" He could hear her now, although her voice seemed muffled. He could tell she was some distance from him. Shouting at one another wouldn't be conducive to their already overheated condition. 'Just keep 'talking' this way,' he said gently.
'I have to look up to see the light. It's way over my head, but I could see it. Just barely.'
'Hang on, Angel, I'm going to get you out of there.' He put the flashlight down, and began to pull against the huge stones. His hands ached as he gripped the stone, trying desperately to get the rocks to move.
'It's so hot…and so hard to breath,' she said. She pulled her shirt off, tied it around her waist. She was trying to climb up to where the light had faintly touched the stone. She stumbled twice, but managed to find a large enough place to stand that put her what she perceived as closer. She tugged her pack with her, she wasn't about to lose it in the darkness
Just sit and relax, babe. I'll be there soon, he replied. He was breathless, sweat poured off of him, dripped from his face as he fought the heavy boulder.
'Too bad you can't just use the Fire to blast a way in here,' she said, trying to keep the conversation light.
He stopped. Why the hell not? If he could at least break the boulders into more manageable pieces…'Casey, I want you to cover your face and head. I'm going to try something, but I don't know what might happen.'
'Okay, give me a minute.' She huffed a sigh and slid back down to where she had been. And sat down on her flashlight. She picked it up and turned it on. 'Found my flashlight,' she said. She flipped it on, pointed it in the direction she had seen his light coming from.
He could just barely make out the beam. It was coming from quite far below him. 'Okay, babe, get ready.'
She hunched into a ball, put her pack over her head. "Ready!" she called out. She wasn't sure he could hear her. 'I'm ready, Daniel.'
He concentrated, called up the Fire, felt it begin to move up and down his spine. He focused it toward his hands. When he could no longer stand the heat, he tossed fireballs at the boulders. One of them split, the other only seemed to settle more securely against the others. He took a deep breath, concentrated on busting them into pieces. When the blue fireballs impacted on the rocks, they shattered, sending several sharp shards flying. Three struck him, two of them lodging in his chest. He cried out in pain, struggled to pull them from his body.
"Daniel? Daniel!" Her screams echoed around her. 'Daniel?'
'I'm okay, Angel.'
She could tell that he most certainly was not okay. 'You're hurt!'
'Just a couple of scratches. Just need a minute to heal.' He dropped to his knees, pulled the rock shards from his body. He was dying. 'I might be out for a few minutes, Angel. Then I'll be down there for you.' He passed out before she could reply.
She reached out, realized he was dead. "Love you, Daniel," she whispered. She turned off her flashlight. Watched as the dim light above her flickered and faded. Well wasn't that just dandy! She huffed a sigh, then pulled her pack onto her back, making sure that the straps were tight. It wasn't easy deciding where to put her flashlight, so that it would shine where she needed it, but leave her hands free. She managed to stick it between one of the pack straps and her shoulder. As long as she didn't bump it, the flashlight should stay in place. She hoped. She began to climb.
Casey was standing on the top of the largest boulder, still nearly four feet from where she needed to be. 'Daniel?'
Silence. He should have revived by now!
She heard the gasp. Smiled when she felt his immediate touch, soft and gentle. 'Are you okay?'
'I'm fine, Angel. Except that my flashlight is dead.'
'Yeah, I know. Can you see mine?'
'Probably because it's shining more on the rock in front of me. Can you get to the edge of that opening?'
He moved forward carefully, on his hands and knees, feeling for any other shards that might be in the way. He pushed several large rocks aside, panting from the exertion. Yes! The opening was accessible now! He stretched out, looked down. Saw her looking up at him. "Hi there, gorgeous."
She giggled. "Hi, yourself, handsome. How about giving a girl a hand?"
He grinned, and began to clap.
"Oh, so not funny, Doctor Jackson!"
"Tell me you wouldn't have done the same thing."
"Okay, I wouldn't have done the same thing," she grinned.
"Uh huh." He leaned down as far as he dared. He couldn't quite reach her. "Babe, can you move up any higher?"
"Nope. This is it."
"I have an idea, but I'll sort of lose my flashlight. If I toss it up to you, can you catch it?"
"I hope so."
She pulled the flashlight from her shoulder. "Okay, don't let this drop!" She stretched as far as she could. He couldn't get his fingers around it. "I'm going to toss it up, and I'm gonna try and get it into your hand."
With hope and a prayer, she tossed the flashlight. His long, strong fingers wrapped around it. "Hey, something worked!"
He laughed. "Okay, what's your idea?"
"Hang on." She eased back down a bit, shrugged her pack from her shoulders. She carefully tied one of the straps around her ankle, then pushed it until it was as securely against the rock wall as she could get it. She carefully stepped on top of the pack.
Daniel had seen what she was doing, and was already reaching for her. His fingers barely touched hers. "Reach, babe, reach!"
She stretched as far as she could. Her heart began to pound when she felt his fingers wrap around hers. He pulled slightly, moved one hand to her wrist, then the other.
When his fingers locked around her slender wrists he gave a grunt of effort and began to pull with all his might. For several long seconds it seemed as if he wasn't going to be able to get her up. She doesn't weigh that much! he told himself. You lift more than this in the gym, now do it! With a groan of concentration, he pulled her over the ledge, and onto the rock beside him. He let go of her, laid back and panted from the exertion. She was breathing heavily as well.
She pulled her pack up over the edge, and untied it from her ankle. She searched for and found her canteen, took a deep drink, then offered it to her husband. She noticed the holes in his shirt, the blood that covered them and was splattered on his pants. "Oh, Daniel," she said softly, her fingers gently probing, touching, caressing the firm muscle and warm skin.
"Are you okay?"
She smiled. "I’m with you. Of course I'm okay!"
He dropped back against the rocks. "I just need to catch my breath."
She nodded. "Me, too."
<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>