Max kept twisting and turning, he felt as though he was being chased. His hand felt as though it was caught on fire. He felt that something was out to get him but he was not sure what. He was sweating profusely when he finally saw them. Two figures standing stood before him, just staring. They were wearing the sort of tunic found in ancient times. Max could hardly make out their faces as the darkness was overwhelming his eyesights. His instincts told him to run, however, he told himself that since this might not be real, he could try communicating with these people. As he was about to ask them, they shouted multiple words that he could not understand.
They kept shouting over and over, hoping for Max to understand. Max then felt an eerie feeling on his back. Slow and calm breaths could be heard. Looking at the two’s expressions from earlier, Max could roughly guess the situation he was in. He turned his head to look at the source of the eerie feeling. His heart stopped, his eyes widened with fear. What was staring at him was eyes that were scarlet red that could swallow him and drown him in the world of darkness. Saliva was drooling from the creature’s mouth. He tried to run but to no avail as the creature held Max in place. The creature then uttered a few words which Max could understand.
“We... will... be…. waiting,boy.” it said. It’s voice sounded coarse. It was struggling to utter those words as if it had never spoken for a very long time. It tapped Max’s head before Max woke up sitting.
He was drenched from head to toe. He looked around and saw that his friends were still sleeping. He checked his watch and that was when he noticed the bruises on his arms. It was the exact location as where the creature had held him in place. It was almost dawn. Max could not bear to sleep after what had just happened. He walked out of the building to get some fresh air. Bringing a flashlight and a change of clothes, he went to check out the surroundings to find a source of water,preferably a lake. His body felt sticky and he was in desperate need of a shower. After walking for about half an hour, he finally found a lake. He could not help but shout for joy as this was one the breaks he needed. Without hesitation, he took off all his clothes and went straight in to shower. It took him quite a while to shower, he wanted to be fresh and wash all his troubles away. After showering, he wore his clean clothes and proceeded back to where his friends were.
His friends were already awake by the time and were chatting amongst themselves. Haley, who saw Max approaching, went up to him and gave him a quick glance.
“You went for a bath, didn’t you?” she asked.
Max nodded towards her.
“No fair. I wanted to shower too!” she pouted.
“Alrights. Gather your things to shower.” Max said. Max then led them to the lake. Just before reaching the lake, they separated into ladies and gents to take turns showering. The girls went first by sprinting to the lake. Hence the guys could only find a place further from the lake to wait for the girls to be done with their shower.
Once everyone had settled, they returned to the building to rest for a bit before starting the day. Wilheim walked up to Max and pulled him aside. He took out a rough sketching from his backpack before motioning Max to sit beside him. Max looked at the rough sketchings and noticed that the contents was the language written in the building.
“Max, sorry but i’d reckon you would want to hear this without the presence of the rest.” Wilheim looked at him and said. His face was weary, most probably from staying up and trying to decipher the languages written.
Max nodded his head and allowed Wilheim to continue.
“I have racked my brain on this and i think this language is Arabic. However, the way it is written, it is probably not used today. The writings on the floor were records of a serious event that led them to run for their lives. It stated several hoards chasing them, consuming them at an ungodly speed. Though some of the words have been lost, it sounded like a calamity had befallen them. They mentioned that they were running away after imprisoning the calamity. This last bit here.” Wilheim pointed to the line near the end of the page and said, “This segment was written in bold. It said that there was nothing they could do. They mentioned that when travel was done in a single day, music to be heard right in the ears and technology so advanced it was small can they manage to overcome the calamity. That was all I could decipher.” Wilheim explained to Max.
Max looked at Wilheim before standing up and said,“Thanks Wilheim. That was actually quite impressive. I take it that the calamity has ended given that it happened hundreds of years ago?”
“Yeah… Oh and I also have the translation for the word on the chair. It stands for danger in arabic. The word has been mentioned several times in the records.”
After hearing what Wilheim had uncovered, Max was curious. He wanted to find out the prison that was mentioned in the records. Max believed that the calamity was over and there were artefacts to be found. He did not mention the dream to his friends as he believed that even though it seemed real, it was just a nightmare and there lies no meaning behind it. Furthermore, he did not want paranoia to run in the group as that would hinder their progress. Putting that at the back of his mind, he decided to rejoin his friends. They had finally done uncovering the village and only managed to find the records of significant value. Wilheim took several sketches and pictures of the records and placed it in his backpack.
They moved out of the village to head northwards. There was no reasoning behind the direction as they agreed that travelling in a straight line was simple and efficient. Plus, it provides them with the direction back to their ship in any case of emergency. However, the path ahead consists of many obstacles such as hills that require them to scale both upwards and downwards, thick bushes that are too strong to be cut down and unpredictable terrain that could halt their progress. They had covered quite a distance before they stumbled upon a campsite. There were a total of five tents built all around the place. Armored men were patrolling around the place. The armored men were wearing gears unknown to Max and his friends.
“You think we should at least say hi to them?” Hayley said, breaking the silence between them.
Max and the others looked at her, each pondering further on her question. There should be no harm in greeting them but Max fears that it might backfire on them instead. If they are here on peaceful terms, there would be no need for that much firepower. Since they do not know the intentions of the armored group, they unanimously decide on observing the group further. There was no harm in observing further as this would affect their safety as a group.
“Maybe you should greet them. I’m sure they would not mind it at all.” A voice that sounded deep that had a tone that could command beckoned them to turn their heads towards it. It came from a masculine man, his face had a scar across his face as if he got slashed horizontally from one ear to the other. He wore black overalls and was sitting on a boulder, his expression deadly. He looked at them before snapping his figures. Armored men appeared behind bushes and branches, pointing their guns at them with each of them having a smile on their face anticipating the command to shoot. Max was terrified and did not know what to do.
John slowly walked to the front of the group to try negotiating with the masculine man.
“Hi sir, me and my friends are here on a vacation. We assure you we will leave this place if you release us. No one will know you are here.” John tried his best to assure the man with every reason possible.
The masculine man raised his eyebrows and laughed. His hysterical laugh was so erratic that it sounded like someone was scraping steel. He shook his head and motioned towards the gunmen. The gunmen lowered their weapons. However, each of them looked heavily disappointed and walked away from them, all except one particular gunman who walked behind the masculine man. He stood at attention and looked blankly at Max and his friends, devoid of all expressions.
“Dear me. Where was my manners? Name’s Ashfaq and this here is my most loyal retinue, Klivert.″ The masculine man stood up and introduced themselves to Max and his friends.
“To be honest with you, we do not like to kill people. So please don’t give us a reason to.” Ashfaq continued. “You must be tired from your journey here. I am positive it was not a breeze to come to his island. Come, let us eat in my tent.”
Ashfaq led them to the largest tent that was different from the rest given the decoration it had. He mentioned that the reason it came to be was to differentiate from the rest. Max and his friends walked timidly to Ashfaq’s camp. The gunmen were staring intensely enough that they could pierce them in their heart with their eyes. As they got closer to Ashfaq’s camp, Max felt his hand burning up. He waved his hands to cool his hands down. Max saw further down, there lies the debris of a downed helicopter. Max knew that it was a chinook helicopter as it was a transport that could transport this many people. The helicopter was missing its tail, assuming as though it had been through a tough battle trying to reach the island. Max could roughly guess that these groups had no alternatives to exit this island to return to where they came from.
“Welcome to my humble abode.” Ashfaq opened the curtains to his camp. He looked at them with a smile on his face. Max and his friends reluctantly went in as they had no other choice.
The tent was spacious with a bed located on his left and a resting area on his right. Max could see that this was a better accommodation than what he had thought. Ashfaq guided their attention towards the television and said that it could not work as the island does not have any reception. Then, Ashfaq led them to a long dining table, which was prepared with lascivious foods.
“Sit down my friends. These are foods made by the best people in their fields. It certainly was a challenge... acquiring them.” Ashfaq said.
Max and his friends were famished as they were walking a distance and not had any lunch yet. Their hunger gave them away and they quickly took a seat. They gobbled down their food whilst talking to Ashfaq. The girls were more receptive compared to the guys. Not long after, they were comfortable talking with Ashfaq.
“So, what were you guys actually doing on this island?” Ashfaq finally asked them.
Without hesitation, Haley told him the purpose of their visit. Ashfaq was surprised by Haley’s quick honesty. His questions led the direction of their objectives and whether they had made any significant discoveries. It was as if he was trying to find out more about what they were doing on the island. Max tried to answer casually without hinting to any sorts. He only just knew Ashfaq and he would not spill any sort of secrets. Even though Ashfaq was kind enough to offer them food and shelter, Max was not foolish enough to fall for it. Maybe that was all his paranoia but he could not be sure what the other was truly thinking. Not long after, his friends all had warmed up to Ashfaq. Giggles and laughter sounded throughout the table. Max decided to take a breather and left the tent. He noticed a particular behavior from the gunmen. Their attention was turned towards a certain direction every few seconds as if they were anticipating something. Max tried looking towards the same direction but all he saw was the lush trees. He was given the cold shoulder every time he tried interacting with the guards. Knowing he could get nowhere, he decided to walk back to where his friends were. As soon as he had reached the tent, Ashfaq had already assigned his friends and him a place to sleep for the night. Apparently, they had already decided to join together to search for the treasures on the island as two groups are better than one. Or so he was told.