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Apollo's Soldiers
by Margo Fallis
Chapter 18

     “Whoa. That was interesting. I’ve never felt that spacey before.” Paisley turned and looked behind her. “We have to remember where it is because we have to return through it, right?”

     “Yes,” Sandy said. “Look around and make sure you all know where we are. Where are we?”

     “It is still evening here. The sun hasn’t set. There’s a huge mountain in front of us and a town over there. The mountain is much higher than Mt. Schiehallion, which is where the goblins and fairies were,” Fraser said. “I think we might be in America. It smells like America. I smell hamburgers and fries, as they call them.”

     “I smell barbecue. You’re right. We’re in America,” Sandy said.

     “How can you be so sure?” Duncan looked around.

     “Thank goodness for signs. Right over there it says we’re at the base of Mt. Shasta, California,” Sandy said.

     “Mt. Shasta? Didn’t we learn that Mt. Schiehallion and Mt. Shasta were related in some way? I remember that. I also recall hearing that Mt. Shasta is a volcano with four cones. Let’s head into town first and have us a hot dog on a stick.” Fraser burst out laughing.

     They hiked toward the main road. “Howdy do pardner. Ain’t this quaint,” Murray said, giggling between words. “How about we have some apple pie and ice cream.”

     “Stop making fun of Americans. They don’t talk that way,” Paisley said.

     “Some of them do. I’ve seen it on television,” Murray said in defense.

     “Only in old movies and that’s no excuse to ridicule them. We need to find out about Mt. Shasta and figure out why we’re here.” Leith pointed at the peak.

     The group of six went into a café. Sandy grabbed Leith at the door. “They won’t take British money here.”

     “I’ve got my debit card with me. It says they take them.” Leith pointed to the signs on the window.

     When the waitress, Shirley, came to give them menus, Fraser took the opportunity to question her about the area. After making fun of their Scottish accents, she told them this area was full of legend and lore. While they decided what to order, she leaned against the table. “There’s a city under Mt. Shasta. Them Mu people live there. There are all sorts of tunnels and caves that lead to the city. People have gone in there and never came out. If you want to know what I think, I’ll tell you; aliens. That’s what I say. Now, Sugar, can I take your order?” They ordered hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, onion rings, peach cobbler and apple pie, a la mode.

“I cannot move. I have never eaten so much food in my life,” Sandy said.

     “You’ve got ketchup on your chin, Sandy,” Duncan said.

     “You’ve got mustard on yours,” Sandy said right back at him. Both wiped their chins.

     “It’s starting to get dark. Maybe we should stay in a hotel overnight and get a fresh start in the morning. Remember, time doesn’t matter,” Leith said.

     “That’s all right with me, but I want my own room,” Paisley said.

     Leith paid for the meal and asked Shirley where the nearest hotel was. She burst out laughing. “There aren’t any hotels around here, Sugar, but we have quite a few motels. There is one right next to the diner. Tell them Shirley sent you.” She winked, popped a bubble with her chewing gum and then went off to help another customer.

     They paid for two rooms and spent the night watching American television. They bought candy bars, soda pop and potato chips from the vending machines.

     The next morning they went back to the diner and ate breakfast; pancakes, waffles, eggs, hash browns and bacon.

     “What do you think a Mu is? Shirley talked about them last night. Do you think there are aliens living inside Mt. Shasta?” Fraser glanced at the tall peak. “Do Mu come from the moon?”

     “How would I know? I say we pay a visit to the local library, unless this town doesn’t have one,” Leith said. They asked Shirley, who gave them directions. Magazines, books and newspapers supplied them with plenty of information. “This is all starting to make sense now.”

     “What is?” Paisley moved closer to Leith.

     “Everything. About the same time that Atlantis existed in the Atlantic Ocean, there was another civilization in the Pacific or Indian Ocean. It was called Lemuria. The Lemuria didn’t call it that. Somebody not long ago made up that name for it. We’ll call it Lemuria too.” Leith read on. “There was a land bridge from India to Madagascar. It says lemurs migrated from Madagascar to India across this land bridge.”

     “That makes sense on why they called it Lemuria, after the lemurs,” Fraser noted.

     “Observant, Fraser. The people who lived there were called Mu. Just like there was a catastrophe that destroyed Atlantis, there was also one that destroyed Lemuria and just like some escaped Atlantis, some Lemurians also escaped. It says they went to Easter Island, Central America, India and Mt. Shasta, California.”

     “So the Mayans descend from the Lemurians, not the Atlanteans,” Duncan observed.

     “Right. So the big stone heads of the Olmecs and Easter Islands were made by Mu. It’s all starting to tie in together. This is brilliant reading.” Leith handed the magazine to Paisley. “Read it for yourself.”

     “Leith, does that mean we have to go inside the mountain? Shirley said people go in and don’t come out,” Murray said.

     “Yes, but they didn’t have the golden arrow of Apollo. We do.” Leith grabbed a local newspaper. “It says that sometimes people see strange lights coming from the mountain. There are some who claim to have met the Mu. It says they are over seven feet tall, have long hair, long necks, slender bodies, wear collars made of jewels and dress in white or silver robes and sandals. They even have ESP. They still speak Lemurian, but can speak English too. Weird. Nobody knows how many live inside, but they think it must be in the thousands.”

     “My article says they are into crystals and all that sort of thing. Maybe that’s what we need to take back with us, a Lemurian crystal,” Duncan said, reading on. “Wow. It says strange clouds form around the peak and sometimes this arch of light makes a dome over the top. They call it alpenglow.”

     “We’ve gathered a lot of facts, so we might as well get going. We’ve got a door to find,” Paisley said. “I hope we find it sooner rather than later. If we have to stay here too long, I’ll get fat from eating all that junk food.”

     “Did you see the snow on the peak?” Murray pointed to the mountain apex.

     “Yes and I’m not impressed. We need to hurry and make good use of the day,” Leith said.

     They marched through fields of alpine flowers and orange-red poppies, taking time to enjoy the view surrounding them. When they reached the base of the mountain, the decision was made to walk around the perimeter, keeping their eyes open for caves, or anything that hinted of an opening. Two hours later Sandy saw a cave. “Hang on. I think I see something.” He climbed over some boulders.

     “Watch out for goblins,” Murray called.

     “Thanks, Murray. I appreciate your warning,” Sandy said with sarcasm. “Up here. There is a cave.”

     “The entrance isn’t that big. We can only go through it one person at a time,” Paisley noted.

     “No problem. Who’s going first?” Fraser took a step back. “It isn’t going to be me.”

     “You big baby. I’ll go first.” Paisley pushed herself past Fraser and turned sideways to fit through the entrance. “I’m in. There’s a tunnel of some sort. Who has the flashlight? Hand it to me.”

     Leith went in next, followed by Duncan, Murray and Sandy. “Since you don’t want to go first, you can go last.” Fraser stuck his tongue out at Sandy and entered behind him.

     “It goes on for a long time. Tell me more about this so called city,” Paisley said.

     “I have no idea. You heard what I heard from Shirley. We’ll have to find out for ourselves. All I know is that it’s under this mountain,” Leith said.

     The tunnel slanted downward, but stayed wide enough for a comfortable fit. “How long are we going to stay in here before we turn back? I don’t want to be one of those statistics,” Sandy said.

     “I think I see something up ahead. It’s some sort of glow.” Paisley turned off the flashlight.

     “Hey! It’s dark back here,” Fraser said.

     They came upon a rock room. Along the walls were doors. Most were falling apart, but one shone, lighting the cave. “There’s the door; the one people go into and never come out of. It looks like it’s made of solid gold.” Sandy ran up to it and ran his fingers over the bottom half. “It is made of gold. Maybe the legend is true.”

     “It is true, Sandy. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t. So far we’ve been taken to all sorts of places where there were associated legends and all have been real.” Leith joined him at the door. “I’m going to open it. Are you all ready?” He glanced at the group and then turned the knob. “Holy cow!”

     Six awe-inspired children stepped through. “Look at this place,” Fraser said.

     The walls glistened and provided light for the hallway. Veins of shiny gold stretched horizontally through the solid rock, leading them to a flight of stairs. They held onto a translucent ruby hand railing as they made their way down. Emeralds, sapphires, topaz, and diamonds sparkled at regular intervals, mingling with the gold in the walls and on the steps. Streaks of green and silver made stripes in an arch over the stairs. A low humming sound, soothing and serene took all their fears away.

     “The air is fresh,” Paisley said. “There must be some sort of ventilation system that carries air from the surface to the city.”

     At the bottom of the steps it switched to carpeting. A much larger room welcomed them with its sparkling pink dotted walls. “This is cool. The cave walls have some sort of exploding pink mineral inside them. I like the way they pop off and on. I wonder what it is.” Fraser put his hand on the wall. “It’s sort of warm, not cold like stone usually is.” The others touched it.

     “Now what? Where do we go? I see at least five different tunnels. Which is the right one?” Murray walked around the room, glancing in each.

     “If the Mu really are seven feet tall, that would explain why the ceilings are so high. I wonder if the women are that tall too,” Paisley said. “Do you think they are aliens?”

     “They’re Lemurians. They’re like the Atlanteans; people of legend. If they settled on Easter Island and different spots around the world, I think people would have known and made mention if they were aliens. Nothing has ever been said about it,” Sandy said.

     “They could have interbred with humans,” Murray said.

     “You watch far too much television. Stop talking nonsense, all of you. Let’s pick a tunnel and get going,” Leith said.

     “Has anyone besides me noticed how soft this carpet is? I wonder what it’s made of.” Fraser bent over to feel it. “It’s soft and fine, like baby’s hair.”

     After much debate they agreed on a tunnel. Crystals hung from the ceiling in clusters. In the center of each was a glowing object. “I think we should take one of these home with us. I’ve got that feeling again. Someone break off a crystal,” Leith said.

     Paisley reached up and snapped one off. “Here you go.” Leith stuck it in his coat pocket and zipped it up. “That was easy enough.”

     Half an hour later they came to another door. This one was made of pure silver. “Well? Are you going to stand there all day looking at it?” Fraser nudged Leith. “Open it.”

     Leith twisted the knob and the door opened. A blast of warm air enveloped them, blowing their hair off their face. Nobody spoke. They stood in silence gazing at the city. A sign spread across in an arch. “Lemuria. That’s the name of this city. It’s real. There is an underground city and they took the modern name.” They stood on a ledge high above the bustling place. “Do my eyes deceive me or do I see flying cars.”

     “If your eyes deceive you then mine are doing the same. They’re not really cars, more like Jetson-mobiles; mini space ships.” Duncan gasped with surprise; his eyes bulging with curiosity.

All the buildings were topped with golden domes. Some towered high, almost reaching the top of the immense cave. The walls of each were made of milky crystal. “Doesn’t that stuff remind you of the quartz we found at Mt. Schiehallion? The professor was interested in it and said there were diamonds inside. Imagine if he saw this place,” Fraser said.

“Another thing linking them together,” Leith said.

“We have the crystal. Maybe we should go. What if they find us? Won’t they be angry that we trespassed? I’m sure they want to keep their civilization private,” Paisley said.

“She’s right. What if they catch us and make us prisoners and never let us leave? Maybe that’s what happened to the other people who came here,” Fraser said.

“Don’t you want to explore it? We’ll never see anything like this again,” Sandy said.

“Remember what Rufus Stuart said; ‘Curiosity killed the cat’. I don’t want to die.” Murray turned and looked behind him. “I hear a noise. Please, let’s go.”

“What sort of a noise?” Paisley moved to the back and stared into the cave.

“A movement sort of noise. I think someone is coming.” Murray hid behind the girl.

“He’s right,” Leith said. “Our destiny doesn’t lie here. We’d better leave while we can.” He was the first into the tunnel. Paisley shut the silver door behind her. When they reached the end, he peeked his head out. “Nobody is there. Come on.” As they walked down the crystal-lined path, Sandy reached up and pulled one off for himself. He shoved it in his pocket before anyone saw. Paisley kept looking back, so he didn’t worry about her seeing him. They made it safely to the carpeted room with the sparkling pink walls. “Now comes the tough part. We have to climb back up these steps. Ugh,” Leith said. Grabbing hold of the ruby hand rail, they pulled themselves up. By the time they got to the top, they collapsed with exhaustion. “Let’s rest here a while.”

No one argued. “We only have to go through the tunnels with the shiny walls, through the gold door and then another tunnel. That’s it. We’re almost free,” Sandy said.

“I wish we had stayed longer. Do you realize what we just saw? We can tell the professor, but nobody else. They’ll think we’re nuts,” Fraser said.

“I know Professor Wilson will want to come here once he knows about it. He’ll probably kill all the Lemurians and rob them of all their gold and diamonds and stuff,” Duncan said.

“I don’t trust him either, Duncan.” Murray took a breath and blew it out. “That was quite a climb.”

They all heard the noise coming from the stairway. “Uh oh. I think we’ve been noticed.” Paisley jumped up, bounded across the room and into the slanted hallway.

“Wait for us!”

The path, though brilliant and glossy, headed uphill. The already exhausted children had difficulty with the climb. The swishing sound drew closer. At the top they threw open the gold door and slammed it shut behind them. “Quick, put your backs against it so they can’t come out,” Fraser said.

“No way! I’m not risking that. I’m out of here.” Sandy turned sideways and pushed his way through the narrow tunnel. The others followed.

When they reached the outside, they ran and hid behind a cluster of bushes. Their breaths came fast and ragged as they panted from exertion. All eyes focused on the tunnel entrance. Several forms appeared from inside the mountain. A pale turquoise glow showed their presence. Leith put his fingers to his lips, telling the others to not make a sound.

The Mu came out of the mountain and walked towards the hiding children. “You can stand now. We know you’re there,” one of them called. The voice was calming.

The shaking group stood. “You’re not going to kill us, are you?” Murray sobbed and wiped his tears with his hand.

“My name is Calliasta. This is Andorin and Mikeuel. We are Mu. We do not harm children. All we want is to take our crystal back.” Their silvery, one-piece clothing clung to their slender bodies. Long dark hair cupped their pasty-pink oval faces.

Beads of sweat formed on Leith’s forehead and his fists clenched. He knew he needed the crystal to get to Atlantis. Andorin stepped forward and much to Leith’s surprise, put his hand out toward Sandy. “May I have it back? Our crystals are sacred,” the man said. “I trust that you six children will keep the secret of Lemuria to yourselves. We’ve lived for thousands of years in peace and we do not want it disturbed.”

Sandy pulled the crystal out of his pocket. “I’m sorry.” He handed it to Andorin. “I knew I shouldn’t take it, but it was so shiny.”

Leith pulled the other crystal from his coat. “I took one too.”

“You may keep that one, Leith Wallace. It was taken for honorable reasons,” Calliasta said, making eye contact with the lad.

Fraser, after realizing they weren’t going to die, found a streak of bravery inside him. “Can I ask you a few questions?” Calliasta nodded. “You look like us, except a little taller and your eyes are golden. Can we come back and visit you again someday?”

“You will always be welcome here in Lemuria, providing you don’t tell others,” Mikeuel said.

“Good. I’d love to come back, spend some time here and learn more about you. History class will never be the same,” Fraser said. “Oh, one more thing; are you aliens?”

The three Mu looked at each other. “Fraser, there are some things that we must keep to ourselves. Perhaps one day we will share our secrets with you. I have a small token for each of you.” Calliasta pulled a handful of sparkly pink gems, like the ones they’d seen in the walls of the cave, from her pocket. “You may each select one. I give these to you as a token of secrecy between us. When you come back to visit, present them at the golden door and you will be allowed to enter once again.”

Each selected the stone of their choice. “Thank you,” Leith said. “We have nothing to give you in return.”

“The greatest gift you can give us is your word of honor.” Calliasta smiled at them and then the Lemurians turned and walked away. They disappeared into the tunnel, which immediately sealed over with grass.

“Did you see that?” Duncan ran up to the cave entrance. “It’s gone. I think they knew we were coming and opened it for us. This is great.”

“It was an experience to remember, Duncan. We had better head back now.” Leith led them to the time warp and into the Pict cemetery. “Will you be all right rowing across the loch?” Leith turned to Paisley.

“Of course. I’d better get going. I’ll meet you back here tomorrow night at midnight. That was great fun,” Paisley ran down to the rowboat. The boys took their time walking back to school with gems in hand.

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