Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

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

Free copy left
You can read our best books
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


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

Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...

Ben Gauger: Kudos go to wordworrywill, author of Kings and Things, an otherwise imaginative tale set against the trappings of the royal set, but then again I don't imagine there'd be many authors who invoked the names of Oprah Winfrey, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce and Steven Spielberg, As for the plot...

John Reed: Seadrias masterfully captures the impressiveness and complex scope that a science fiction novel should provide while carefully crafting an entire universe that will leave a reader in awe from start to finish. The only flaw I could find is that I wish I could have read more. This book is certainly...

hypaalicious: This story follows two main characters, Zoey and Derek, on a winding adventure that sucks you in from the beginning. It was easy to get into and get a feel for the world that the author is projecting, as well as all of the warring factions and difference of ideals that would otherwise be very co...

Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

Chris Rolfe: BOY!!! I sure love what Aer-Ki Jyr did with this series. IMHO he captured the essence of what stargate is all about. Thru out the Stargate stories Aer-Ki wrote Stevens and John Shepard some of the main characters in his stories are pursued by a corrupt I.O.A.. All the while Stevens is changing in...

Jasmin Soriano: If you want a thought-provoking, ribs-busting tale of religion look no further than Ouroboros!The characters are an absolute riot, and more often than I care to admit, I wondered where I could get the book of hilarious quotes so I could have something to laugh at every morning.We travel back in t...

Mark-Mikkel: Got directed here by the author herself. Started reading it, schoolday turned into a day of reading. I really like the apocaliptic world she has created. There are some oddities in the writing tho, but I guess they are because she did have to do it for NaNo (which she wrecked, good job!). In the ...

More Recommendations

dapharoah69: I gotta hand it to you. This was a great read from start to finish. I am a big fan of witches, thanks to Anne Rice. The characters really reeled me in from the very first few chapters. You make reading fun.

John Smith: This is what Sci Fi is all about. Reads like early Heinlein. In the style of Space Cadets. No esoteric problems..but good ol blaster and space action with a host of relatable characters

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."