They came out in a big hall. The walls went far up into a cupola, meeting in the centre of the roof where a circular hole let the sunlight enter. A temple lost for tens of thousands of years.
-Amazing, Marduk exclaimed. -I’ve never seen anything like this..
-Extraordinary! John took a step out into the hall.
There were enormous stone statues by the walls. Marduk turned off his flashlight. The sunlight gave enough light to see, and he wanted to see it the way the people who once built it had seen it. The last remains of the first American settlement, arriving from the sea thousands of years before other humans came migrating down from the north. An African civilisation lost to history, just until now.
-I wonder what happened to them, Marduk said. They were standing in the middle of the hall now. The statues by the walls were all looking towards them from the shadows.
They heard a sound. A moan, like from someone waking up after a long sleep. Someone who didn’t want to be awaken.
-What was that? John turned around abruptly. He peered into the shadows by the wall.
A scraping sound of stone sliding on stone came from the other side. From all around.
-We better get out of here! We… Marduk stopped, staring towards the place they came in. The statues. With glowing eyes they were staring at them. They were blocking the way.
John held on to Marduk’s shoulder. He was staring the other way. With slow, heavy steps the statues were coming towards them from all sides.
-Astonishing, Marduk said. -This must be how the civilisation went down.
John looked at his college with awe. Even in the darkest of moments his scientific curiosity was stronger than his fear. He suddenly saw the difference between them. When John was there to tell the world and become famous, all Marduk ever wanted was to learn something new.
John closed his eyes and accepted. His friend was right. This was a good way to go.