Petpet Talk: Lost Adventures in Geraptiku - Part Three
Twenty minutes and a backache later (and a near run-in with an unseen pile of bones), Arnold and the others had finally reached their destination—or, more correct, the Meepits’ destination. Not fifty meters away from them stood the Deserted Tomb. Moss and ancient vines had grown all over the Tomb’s outside, but they barely camouflaged the top. A large set of stairs leading into the Tomb’s entrance stretched upwards as far as the eye could see.
“Ooh, now this is what I call grand,” said Mark enthusiastically.
Chucky whimpered. “I think I’ll just stay here,” he said lamely.
“I’m with you,” agreed Stacy.
“Actually, that wouldn’t be very wise,” advised the Tekkal. “Strange things have happened to people who lurk outside the Tomb. I once heard of a story of two brave souls who decided to pay the Tomb a visit. One got cold feet at the last minute and waited outside. When the other guy came out again, his friend had disappeared and was nowhere to be found! The only thing left was his backpack, which was completely empty.” The Tekkal shrugged and added, “I’m just saying.”
That did it for Arnold. “That’s it, get me away from this place!” he yelled.
A low growl sounded from the Tomb. Everyone froze; even the Meepit brothers looked hesitant for a moment. Then Stacy asked, “That—that was just an echo, right? From Arnold’s yelling?”
“Uh, no, that was the monster or whatever inside the Tomb. I think your friend Arnold here just woke it up,” replied the Tekkal in disgust.
Mark sighed. “Arnold, can you stop whining for once?” He pointed back where they had come from and said, “You can go back while the rest of us take on this Tomb.”
Arnold’s heart thumped. There was no way he was going inside there! But then again... with the Meepit brothers by his side, he should be safe, right?
“Out of curiosity, have you ever seen that monster or whatever inside the Tomb?” he asked the Tekkal.
The Tekkal shook his head. “No one’s seen it except for a few brave souls who lived to tell the story. But I’m sure it can be tamed... hey, guys, where are you going?!”
The Meepit brothers were (of course) already racing each other up the steep steps of the Tomb. The Tekkal ran after them in panic, yelling, “You can’t be serious, guys—I didn’t expect you to be serious!”
Stacy stared at the chase up the steps and mumbled, “I think we should do something.”
“Agreed, as in head back?” Chucky suggested innocently.
Arnold didn’t want to enter the Tomb, but he didn’t like the idea of the three Meepit brothers loose inside there with a monster—and of course, they couldn’t forget the poor Tekkal.
“You guys have to help me! Those three idiots have gone inside and I can’t see in the dark!” the Tekkal called from halfway up the steps. “I can show you where the beach huts are after we get them out of there!”
So Arnold, Stacy, and Chucky hurried after the Tekkal—reluctantly, but hurried nonetheless. Once they climbed the fifty-something steps and reached the top, they were all panting for air.
“Is it me or do I need to exercise more?” asked Chucky.
“No, the air is thin up here,” Stacy replied.
Arnold stared at the entrance in front of them. The door seemed too heavy for any of them to push open. But the Tekkal had gotten in... Bravely, Arnold reached over and turned the handle. The door slid open upwards slowly.
“Stupid Meepits, they ruined our entire vacation!” muttered Stacy.
“Actually, it was that Crabula’s fault for pinching me,” Chucky said meekly.
The petpets walked slowly down the dark corridor. They could hear the steady drip-drop of water leaking somewhere.
“Hello? Mark? Moe? Millicent?” called Stacy.
“Where—where are you?” Chucky shakingly called out.
Arnold listened intently for footsteps. “I think they’re down here—ouch!” He had run smack into the wall.
“Poor Arnold, I thought Angelpusses could see well in the dark,” said Stacy. She paused and said, “Wait, I hear them! This way!”
The petpets ran down corridor after corridor. The whole thing was like a giant maze—except in the dark. It also reeked of wet moss and who knows how old fungi. Occasionally they’d hear the low growl again and again. The growls sounded far away, but each growl brought the hairs on Arnold’s back stand straight up.
“We’re at a dead end,” whispered Chucky as they suddenly stopped in front of a wall..
“But... it’s impossible to tell where this next corridor leads to!” answered Stacy slightly nervously. “I’m sure I went the right way at the last left turn... and back when we heard the last growl, we turned right again...” She muttered to herself as she tried to calculate their whereabouts.
Arnold wished he could see better in the dark. Lost in a maze inside a scary Tomb with a monster on the loose (and three Meepits, plus one Tekkal)? This was not how he dreamed his vacation would turn out! He was supposed to be having fun at the beach and watching the Myncies play volleyball...
This is horrible! We are never going to get out at this rate. Ever! Arnold was just beginning to give up all hope when he bumped smack into another petpet.
“Quiet,” hissed the voice of Mark. “We found the room.”
Arnold rolled his eyes. He managed to avoid complaining about the bump now growing on his head and challenged, “How do you know that’s the room?”
“Meepits know these things,” replied Mark.
“Where’s the Tekkal?” demanded Stacy. “We’ll never find our way home on our own.”
“How should I know where that dimwitted petpet is?” snarled Mark. “Now hush! We think something guarding this room...”
In front of them was a large open space. There was some light coming in from the top through cracks in the walls. But wait, light? At night? That could only mean...
“Is it morning?” cried Arnold.
“It’s dawn, likely,” replied Moe.
“We were in the Tomb all night?” Arnold scratched his head. It sure didn’t feel like all night... maybe the Tomb possessed some time-changing powers or whatnot. It only made the place feel more eerie.
“Listen—I think we should all just head back out and leave,” suggested Stacy.
“Nonsense! This will be the greatest adventure we’ve ever had if we found the treasure!” argued Mark.
“Wrong—it will be the greatest adventure you’ve had if you get attacked by the monster,” Arnold said sarcastically.
The low growl sounded again, but this time it sounded as if it was right... behind... them.
“Gangway! Make room!” yelped the petpets, scampering as fast as they could into the room. A moment later they realized it was a bad idea, since they were now trapped with... with the thing that growled.
“I say we sacrifice someone,” suggested Mark maliciously.
“Excuse me, but if we’re going to sacrifice someone, it’ll be no one but you,” snarled Stacy.
Arnold rubbed his eyes. Then something shiny caught his eye in the corner. He blinked. It was still there. Forgetting they were trapped with an unknown monster, he crept over to examine what the shiny thing was.
“Oh...” he gasped. It was a gold medallion.
“Arnold, are you coming?” shouted Stacy.
Arnold turned around just in time to see his friends hurry out a side exit. He grabbed the medallion and ran after them.
The exit was tiny—in fact, Arnold would have surely missed it if he was on his own. The exit was a hole in the bottom of the wall, where a stone should have been in its place. Arnold squeezed under, but the medallion was taking up space. A loud, deep growl sounded right next to him. Arnold felt the warm (and foul) breath of something frightening.
“Help!” Arnold cried. Then, quick as a flash, he stuffed the medallion in his mouth and charged out of the hole like lightning.
Thump. The Angelpuss landed face-flat in a pile of wet moss. Standing not far away were Stacy, Chucky, and the Meepit brothers.
“Too bad we never found the treasure, whatever it was,” commented Moe. At this Arnold quietly hid the medallion behind his back.
“Hey, look, there are some tourists over there!” Stacy pointed excitedly.
As it turned out, the tourists were Karl and his family. They hugged Arnold so tightly Arnold almost choked. Karl exclaimed, “Blah blah all night! Blah blab blab blah blah?!”
“Looks like we can’t leave the beach hut till the trip is over,” translated Stacy glumly.
Mark, Moe, and Millicent’s mouths dropped.
As they were leaving, Arnold stole a glance at the medallion. It looked just like a sundial... like the Tekkal they’d met, and who had probably gotten lost in the Tomb forever.
“Good luck,” Arnold whispered, and he gave that medallion one hard throw and watched it fly back toward the hole in the Tomb. It slipped inside with grace and accuracy. Even Arnold was caught off guard by the accuracy.
At least now Arnold could probably beat his friends at Ultimate Bullseye. He smiled to himself. Besides, if they had that much adventure on the first day, what would the next week bring? With Meepits in the hut, anything can happen.