… Their faces were all lit like around a campfire telling stories. This one was very real. We stood a little below them as they finished their chuckles.
“You can’t block us in here, that’s murder!” Dad growled.
“Oh we certainly know,” the first said, “It’s oddly reminiscent of another time and place, don’t you think?”
“Absolutely,” said the third. “The irony is thick.”
Scott moved to the ladder, but one of the men moved quickly over and untied it from the platform and pushed it away.
As he pushed it back towards Scott and the rest of us, he looked the two museum men straight in the eye and said, “We buried men back then to keep this all secret. What makes you think we won’t now?”
Mom squeezed my hand and marched to where the ladder used to be, “Human decency. That’s why you evil, sneaky, greedy, loathsome men. Human decency. There is already enough evil in the world without you marching into our corner and killing…killing…”
She began to cry. Dad was at her side the whole time and reached around her shoulders.
“Without killing children!” he shouted and finished her sentence.
The men looked unfazed. My brother and I had moved behind Mom and Dad and were watching them watch us. They seemed almost more like robots. I looked at my brother and he was pale white.
“What matters is keeping the secrets of the past in the past,” said the fourth. “Richard Stansworth was a good man, but in the end he was weighed down by people. John, his son, was not. He was willing to make the sacrifice of others in order to make sure that the business went into the right hands. When it went wrong, he suffered. We are here to make sure that his memory is preserved by whatever means necessary.”
“So what are you going to do?” Frank asked.
“I think we’ll get rid of this pathway for beginners,” said the first, pointing back to the open doorway into the dirt, “After that? Who knows.”
It was at that moment that a shaft of light broke through the darkness from high up above. We all held our arms in front of our eyes as the light continued to grow. We could feel, even if we couldn’t see, that dirt was falling down into the chamber. The men in suits were all calling out and shouting, “What’s going on?!”
As our eyes got used to the new light we could see way way up near the top of the chamber there was an opening. An opening right over the top of the platform that the men were standing on. From that opening ropes were let down and faster than a ninja, my brother and I would say later, came three men. They were on the platform in seconds and were fighting with the men in suits. The crawl through the path to get here had meant that the men hadn’t brought any weapons and the men that had come from above were great fighters. Kicks, punches, holds, blocks. It was like watching a kung fu movie. It really was amazing. Again, in only moments, the men from above had all five of the men in suits lying on the ground groaning in pain. Only then did they look at us.
“We knew you’d be here,” said the Tallest. “When you listen to the ground as much as we do, you can hear when our storehouses have been entered.”
We all looked at each other.
“Then that means…” Scott murmured.
“Yes, we are part of the Tribe that once hid these things here in the hopes that only those who should find them, would find them,” the man said.
“Remarkable,” said Frank.
The dam burst on my brother’s silence, “They were going to lock us in here and leave us to die in here and they were going to take all of this and probably sell it for a ton of money and try to make sure that none of the old stories would come out in the paper or on the news or anything and they were going to just leave us down here and you came and you kicked those guys butts and it was awesome.”
He trailed off and we all laughed just a little as it seemed as though we were saved. Scott and Frank made introductions and let the man know that they worked for the museum and knew the true story of what happened. Mom and Dad introduced themselves and us kids and we told him about how we got involved. The sinkhole, the man Markus, the clues.
The man introduced himself as Joseph, and his two companions as Francis and Jacob. They were the tribal members who were trained to carry on a long standing job of listening to the ground for those who made entry to this place. Though they were miles away, they could come quickly. And quickly they had come when they had heard the noises. They knew something was wrong with the slick black car parked outside of the park and the two other men who stood guarding the entrance to the tunnel. Back when they placed their belongings down here, they had dug a back up entry should it ever be needed. It was from above and needed some digging out before they could make it through. Once they made their hole it was a quick drop down on ropes and a short fight.
“I have trained for this day for a very long time,” Joseph said. “My people will be thrilled to know that it was in fact the right people who have found and will retrieve these artifacts. We promised long ago to return when these things were found and the truth was ready to be brought into the light. I believe that now, it will be.”
One of the men in suits groaned again, “Great. Just great.”