Monday, September 5, 2011

Melindiana Jones and the Treasure of the Caroline Caves and Judge's Report from Melinda Szymanik: II

Judges Report

Wow the Caroline Caves were filled with some very interesting treasures and secrets this week. And poor old Melindiana Jones got into some really tight spots. As always, editing is the key to making your story the best it can be. Some of you definitely could have done with more commas and full stops. I thought Victor Gan’s idea of a land of dinosaurs was very interesting and I liked Caroline Moratti’s twist with Melindiana becoming tired of her exciting yet dangerous adventures. Most dramatic ending goes to Tupene Valili with this

But it was too late they had come in I was terrified what would happen to the village. The menacing creatures came into the village and attacked all of us. Right now I am hurt by being attacked one of the creatures there big jaws attacked. I have been writing this to warn the whole Planet Fabo. 2 I hope you defeat these creatures and forgive me for releasing this cre……….

Best place name was Matthew Illing’s ‘Fabomuda Triangle’. Matilda Clack had some very poetic descriptions and Liv Coulter and Livy Maher (who collaborated on a story together) wrote a very polished story. And (drum roll please) this week’s winner is Isla Jackson for a well written and colourful story.

Melindiana Jones and the Treasure of the Caroline Caves

Slashing at the thick vines with the machete she held in her right hand, Melindiana Jones took another bite of the flat bread and piranha sandwich in the other. She hated fish but they had left civilization behind days ago and piranha were the only edible and catchable thing left in the Mewburn River that flowed down to Thompson Swamp. The piranha had eaten everything else in the river except the rubber-like crocs which were indigestible, although they made great hard-wearing shoes and each of the tribes-people in Jones’s team now had a pair. Though the shoes were great it didn’t make her sandwich taste any better. Not that food back home at Hard-Vard University where she worked part time as a teacher was any better. Too much soup-in-a-cup for her tastes. Everything was bland and the sandwiches were just so…so…square. 1935 hadn’t been a very good year for Melindiana. It had been a relief to take the sea plane down to South Allerica on another adventure.
She shoved the rest of the sandwich in her mouth and took to slashing with two hands. The entrance to the Caroline Caves was around here somewhere. The map the old guide had given her was faded, with a ragged hole in the middle where it had been unfolded and folded countless times over the centuries. She’d studied it in broad daylight. She’d pored over it at night in her tent under the jittery glow of the paraffin lamp. Everything led to that hole in the middle. At first Melindiana cursed her luck that the information she needed, the last few clues that would bring her to what could be the greatest find of her archaeological career, had been obliterated by the careless hands of her predecessors. But as she’d lain in her cot the night before, checking and rechecking the flimsy parchment she’d had a brilliant idea. The hole wasn’t an accident. It was deliberate.
The closer they got to the hole in the map, the closer and thicker the vines grew. She was sure someone was following them. She had to reach the caves first. Jones ignored the delicate, fragrant orchids as she pushed forward, crushing them underfoot, releasing their delicious aroma. Sweat poured off her brow.
“Thoc!” The tip of her croc shoe hit something hard. Melindiana parted the vegetation round her foot and jumped back in horror. She’d heard all those stories about the explorers who had gone before her and never been seen again. She always just considered them idle rumours put about by the tribes-people to keep folk away. After all, the map hadn’t got lost she reasoned. But the skull at her feet told a different story. The rest of her team piled in to the back of her as she stood frozen looking at the empty head grinning up at them. A chorus of shrieks rang out from the tribes-people, and startled birds flew up out of the trees above them as everyone except Melindiana and her trusted sidekick Big Mac, who wasn’t really all that big, took to their heels and ran back the way they’d come.
“I recognize that face,” Big Mac said leaning forward to examine the skull. Melindiana took a closer look.
Livingston, I presume,” Melindiana said. Big Mac nodded. “He was always taking credit for my discoveries,” Melindiana went on. “I won’t miss him.”
“What do you think happened to him?” Big Mac said.
Melindiana shrugged. “Probably died waiting for me to turn up and find the caves for him. C’mon, let’s finish this job.”

With both Melindiana and Big Mac wielding machetes the vines fell faster and after another dozen strokes they found that Melindiana’s discovery about the map was true. A ragged blackness opened up in front of them and before they could step back or alter their course they were both falling, sucked into the pitch black vacuum of what could only be the Caroline Caves, sliding on a slippery surface, down, down down…

“ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.” Melindiana yelled.
With a whump! they reached the bottom.
“Tchsk!” Big Mac scraped a match across the sole of his boot and the sudden glow of the flame pushed the darkness back.
“Here,” Melindiana said grabbing some wood off the floor and wrapping her jacket round the top, held it to the head of the match. The fabric burst alight just as the match sputtered and went out.
They were in a vast cavern, with dry rock walls and a paved rock floor littered with old dry branches and a jumble of other stuff.
“We are not the first to come here,” Big Mac said, poking a pile of bones with the toe of his boot.
“Look,” Melindiana said, pointing to two blackwood chests by the cave wall. She rushed over and kneeling, pulled at the lid of the first box. Flakes of red rust from the iron clasp came off in her hand. Big Mac brought his machete down and the clasp fell apart under the blow. The lid creaked open.
“Documents?” Big Mac said.
“They look like…recipes…” Melindiana gasped. “Chicken fried in eleven herbs and spices…” she read out from the top sheet.
Suddenly they heard a noise: feet scuffling in the blackness just beyond the firelight. Then a figure stepped out of the gloom: a man in a white suit with a little black bow at his neck and a strange pointy beard. Before he realised what she was doing Melindiana shoved one of the papers into her back pocket. The man in the white suit grabbed the rest out of her other hand.
“I’ll take those, thank you,” he said in a posh Kentucky accent.
“Stanley?” Big Mac asked.
“No,” the man said with a laugh. “You can call me the Colonel.” And in a swirl of dust and sparks and a savoury smell he was gone.
“Not again,” cried Big Mac.
“I know,” Melindiana said. “This happens every time.” She got to her feet. “Well at least I managed to save one of the recipes.”
“What’s it for?” Big Mac asked.
Melindiana peered at the faded writing.
“Hamburger,” she said, reading down the rest of the page.
“Whatever that is,” grumbled Big Mac.
“Big Mac,” Melindiana said with a smile. “This changes everything.”

The End.

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