{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
Crimson_King would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Labyrinth of Cuzco

By Crimson_King All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Horror

Knock-Knock-Knock

Wake up and shine.

Wake up feeling fine.

Wake up without your mind.

I tapped Danny’s forehead lightly with my finger three times and waited for him to open his eyes. I relished our little game of most mornings, knock-knock-knocking into each other’s psyche, making sure that the first picture of the day would be a couple of loving eyes. Because not all of the eyes in this world have good intentions. Some of them have never seen the light of day.

Danny’s head suddenly jerked on the pillow, his eyes trembling in his sockets, as if he had seen a fluorescent phantom in shackles. He reached for my arm under the covers, his grip tightening, becoming less a man’s hand and more like the claw of a feral beast. He had scared me enough, all right, and I had to do something. Instinct granted me enough impulse to stretch my aching arm toward Danny’s body and place my palm on his left cheek. His response was almost immediate: I could feel the claw clenching my forearm reverting to my husband’s callous hand.

“What was that, Danny?” My tone a distant ripple in the vastness of our apartment room. “Say something, you’re scaring me real bad.”

“I’m all right,” he said, unsteady exhalations seemed to clog his throat.

“You are far from all right, you hear me? You hurt my arm.”

“I’m so sorry Liz,” he sat by the edge of the bed. “I had a dreadful nightmare, something with the tunnels and, you won’t believe this, but three layers of snow covering the city. And a dark figure pulling me from my arms into the dark.”

A much more experienced person than me in this area would have said something comforting right away. But in my defense, this was the first time Daniel Fernandez, the man I love, had a nightmare. We had been married for five years and together for over eight. I met him back when we lived in the States and studied in Michigan University. Since then I realized that Danny had a special trait I lacked: he never had nightmares. I admit never is a strong word, but it’s the truth. I even tested my own theories about Danny by watching horror movies with him. I got a good set of jumps out of him from that and during Poltergeist he almost shrieked like my five year old cousin, Becky. And yet, he slept in the most taciturn manner, while I lay awake with nightmare mascara around my eyes. I knew him better than his parents, to tell you the truth, but that’s a story I rather not touch.

I leaned over to his side of the bed and cradled his clunky rib cage in between my arms. I planted a kiss on his brazen back, and gathered a lovely smell of birch wood and a hint of lavender. Danny is the only archaeologist that smells like a scented candle, I thought.

“Do you still feel like going? We don’t have to go, we could stay here and have some fun.”

I felt as he smiled and then he scratched the top of his head. “That sounds perfect right now, Liz, but—”

“I know what you’re going to say,” I rolled over to his side, jumped from the bed and strolled carefully toward the bathroom. “You want to get there earlier than Martinez, don’t you? It’s not a competition, you know, think of it as a gift for humankind.”

“With Martinez it’s always a competition! He wants to be first at everything. Besides, I work better when he is not around prodding me with his elbow every time he tells me a joke. He’s told me this one three times already about a clown with color farts or some nonsense like that.”

“Let’s get ready then, we have a long day ahead of us. Can you treat me to some cheese empanadas from Ito’s?” Ito Morales, a humble store owner in Cuzco’s Centro Historico, cooks the best empanadas in all of Peru.

I closed the bathroom door behind me to fix myself here and there, and I only heard Danny’s muffled response. I pushed the door open and the hinges wailed like a mermaid in a pitch-black pond. The light from the bathroom showered the floorboards of the bedroom until enough had lit Danny’s solemn face.

“What did you say?”

“Three cheese empanadas for you. I owe you one after what I did to your arm.”

“It’s fine,” I said. “It doesn't hurt.” I lied. This time I had to. He was obviously troubled by something else, and whatever it was I would find out later whenever he decided to stop withholding it from me and even from himself.

For the first time in our years of marriage, I feared for my husband. And I absolutely hated the idea of descending with him into the underground tunnels of the city of Cuzco.

The mere thought of Danny’s nightmare turned my stomach into a dark, cold void. “Honey, let’s save the empanadas for later, I lost my appetite.”


Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Jasmine Chow: As I read this story, I was reminded some what of Terry Pratchett, especially some descriptions of politics and economics. The sci-fic setting is quite intriguing. Writing style is quite lovely and grew on me slowly. I was also slightly reminded of Mark Twain, especially his book A Connecticut Ya...

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...

NRF: I love this story, it has a little bit of everything in it, mystery, adventure, murder, innocence, love and a surprise twist that will leave you hungry for more! Great read! NRF

kim: This is great! Maybe it could just be a little more specific. One of the keys to great writing is describing things in detail. I think you're off to a great start. I wish you much luck.

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...

Pablo Rojas: Love the story, at the end it is a western story, simple, yet giving hints and pieces of the situation that is happening all over ravencroft´s universe. easy to read and always keeping with the main stream story I want to keep reading about, Olafson´s adventures.

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

More Recommendations

Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...

Melissa Davis: Interesting book and an enjoyable read. Had something different to it, that made me glad I picked it up.

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.