“Greed is a deadly sin because it brings out the devil in us all! Apologies to everyone who lives in the southern states of America for my awful dialect work. I assure you I mean no disrespect. “
I wrote this story for the following prompts.
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Cavern
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Future – Game – Secret
Word of the Day Challenge — Perception
Your Daily Word — Dapper
Fandango’s One Word Challenge — Severance
Montezuma’s Cavern of Greed
“Y’all promised me two billion dollars in Aztec gold, Suarez. This here’s no game. Ah want that gold by Monday or y’all can expect ya severance pay, boy!”
“Whatever, Jephson. I’ll call the Mexica Miracle Maker to summon up the treasure, shall I?” Suarez pushed the ivory Stetson higher on his sweating head.
“Ah don’t care how y’all do it. Just get ‘er done!” with a click the phone line went silent.
“Tirate a un poso!” (Throw yourself in a hole) Suarez spat at his disconnected boss. Tossing his phone in his pocket he glanced around the arid landscape of the Utah desert.
Red and yellow rock and sand shimmered with heatwaves in the 120F sun. The barren landscape was punctuated by scrubby bushes and saguaro cacti. Everything here seemed either spiky or venomous to the Mexican treasure hunter.
He’d almost been bitten by a Great Basin Rattlesnake just this morning. Now as he watched, a black and orange Gila Monster appeared to stalk him from a dried-out bush. There was no danger from the oddly venomous lizard though, it preferred small mammals and rodents.
Suarez took a deep breath and scratched his stubbly chin. Jephson had been a dapper friendly Texan when they’d met in the bar in Arizona. Now, he was just a greed-ridden chihuahua.
Taking his sharp brown eyes from a group of spiralling turkey vultures. He walked to the foot of a large mesa of iron-rich red rock. A dark split running five feet up from the rocky ground left his eyes sparkling.
He’d been told it was just a cave. It didn’t take a wise mans’ perception to know that was wrong. The Aztec markings on the wall just inside and the stone tool marks in the earth and granite walls told otherwise. This was a mine tunnel.
It was no secret that Montezuma had gathered all his people’s treasure, hordes of gold and jewels, and evacuated it to either northern Mexico or the Southern United States when the Spanish conquistadores raided his kingdom more than four hundred years ago. What better secret location than the goldmine the treasure was birthed from in the beginning.
“Suarez! I got through the collapse! You’ve got to come and see this!” yelled a thickset man with a handlebar moustache running from the tunnel. His white vest and blue jeans were doused in sweat and covered in red dust.
“Alright, Alberto. I’m coming.” Suarez donned a white miner’s hat, engaged the headlamp and followed him into the darkness.
The hand-hewn tunnel drove more or less straight into the Mesa. At most, it was five feet high and three feet wide; although the height and width grew much tighter as the passage meandered into the earth like a burrowing snake.
“Gah! It’s hard to imagine people digging this hellhole by hand and candlelight, isn’t it?” Suarez grumbled as he forced his broad shoulders through a narrow section.
“Damn right it is! It was bad enough pickaxing in my way through the cave in!” Alberto replied his deep voice echoing in the confined space.
Around a hundred and fifty feet into the mesa, they came upon the cave-in site. Alberto had installed a series of new beams to support the ceiling. A small amount of rubble remained on the ground, but the passage was now open.
“Well, you like my handiwork?”
“It’ll do,” Suarez past him and continued along the passage. He hadn’t gone much further before the passage opened into a large cavern. His headlight twinkled upon an old quartz vein. The treasure hunter grinned, this was the goldmine alright. There was something else here as well.
“Amazing space, isn’t it?” Alberto walked around a pile of rubble and smoothed his hands over the sparkling quartz.
“No doubt. A lot of money was made in here.”
“Speaking of which. I did my end of the bargain. When do I get paid?” Alberto gathered and leant upon his pickaxe with a meaningful looking his boss.
“Now,” Suarez took out his Smith & Wesson revolver and shot him between the eyes. The gun’s report echoed around the cavern as the miner collapsed nerveless to the floor. “Thanks for your help,” he told the corpse.
Picking his way across the cavern, Suarez dropped to a knee beside the right-hand wall. His torchlight had shown him more Aztec symbols. A quick scratch around revealed another passage had been bricked over with rocks.
Using Alberto’s pickaxe, he soon made a hole in the blockage. Suarez put his light through into the space behind and grinned wide enough to set his gold fillings twinkling.
The moment the treasure hunter was stood back under the glaring desert sun, he hit the redial button on his phone.
“What is it, Suarez? Ah’m in a very important meeting.”
“Good afternoon to you too, Jephson. I suggest you postpone that meeting and get that rawhide ass of yours to Utah.”
“Howdy, partner. Did a find me some treasure?” Jephson said three hours later having flown into Bluff Airport via Salt Lake City on his private jet and then a helicopter. The sun was low in the sky, still bright enough to reveal the red, bloated face of the rich Texan; who stood in his black cowboy-style suit and tan boots.
“Why don’t you come and see?” Suarez shook his hand and directed him to his jeep. With his rich passenger comfortable, he set off into the desert.
As dusk fell, the Mexican led the Texan into the cave. “I believe this is one of Montezuma’s goldmines.”
“Ah don’t want no damn gold mine, Suarez. Ah want all the gold he hid away from the Spanish.”
“If you let me fin —” Suarez stomped his boot hard upon a bark scorpion with a sickening crack.” -ish I’ll explain why we’re here!”
“Ah’ll right, don’t have a conniption fit, boy. Ahm listening.” Jephson squeezed his sizeable girth along the narrow passage with a grunt.
“Montezuma would have taken the treasure along his trade routes to North America. We know he mined a lot of his gold from this area as well. So where better to hide his treasure than a secret goldmine he already had.” Suarez entered the cavern first.
“Makes sense to me,” Jephson agreed. “Say, is that blood?” he added pointing to a ruddy, dried out stain on the ground.
“Yeah, found the remains of a bighorn sheep in here. I reckon a coyote killed and dragged it in,” Suarez lied.
“Is that so?”
“That’s how I saw it.”
“Very well,” Jephson turned a circle eyeing the quartz vein and searching for gold. “So, is this it? Where’s my treasure, boy?”
Suarez indicated the symbols on the wall.
Jephson beamed as he crossed the cavern to take a closer look. Spotting the hidden passage, he ducked inside, “Whoopie, boy. Ya’ll found the jackpot!” he yelled as his torch flashed upon piles of rough smelted gold bars, coins, jewellery and Aztec sculptures worth fortunes.
“Told you I’d find it,” Suarez said with a smug expression on his face.
“That ya did,” Jephson’s voice turned cold as he returned to the cavern. Drawing a silver Desert Eagle handgun as he stood and straightened himself. “Thanks for ya —”
“You think I’m estúpido, gilipollas? Ha?” Suarez fixed his revolver upon the Texan.
“Y’all work for me, Suarez. A deal is a deal, remember?” Jephson was sweating profusely. His eyes flicking between the treasure and his partner.
“Ha! What good is a deal when you have a bullet in your brain?” Suarez snapped. “I found Montezuma’s treasure. It belongs to me now.”
“Then why bring me here?”
“Loose ends,” Suarez flicked his gun. “Drop it!”
“Never!” Jephson cocked the hand cannon. “Why am ah a loose end. Y’all could have taken the gold and run. Heck, ya could have found and had it without me.”
“No, I needed your financing to search for the treasure. I knew you would not honour your deal. I let you use me as a pawn so I could find the gold, knowing full well you’d try to kill me when I did. Knowing once I found the treasure, you’d send hitmen after me until it was yours …”
“So, you bring me here, show me and then kill me?”
“Bingo, homes. Then I can enjoy my riches without watching my back!”
“There is no Chupacabra is there?” Jephson said beginning to circle toward the entrance.
“What?” Suarez’s revolver remained solid in his hand as he kept it locked on the Texan’s heart.
“The only ugly demons in Mexico are people like you!”
Suarez threw back his head and laughed.
Jephson pounced and fired.
The cavern reverberated with not one but two ear-splitting blams.
Jephson yelped, staggered and fell into the rubble pile. A ragged hole in his stomach spilling blood.
Suarez slammed into the cavern wall. “I … hate … you!” he gasped as darkness crept over his vision. Raising a hand from his burning chest he saw it was covered with blood.
Aiming at the Texan’s slumped form, he opened fire.
Jephson somehow had the same idea.
The cavern shook with gunfire until both weapons clicked empty and fell silent. Both men collapsed into a cursed death as the cavern crumbled and sealed them in hell. Feet from Montezuma’s gold and a wealthy future, greed had cost them everything.
Don’t forget Holly Ward investigates, Stolen Treasures is out on Amazon now!
A recent bank robbery. A saddened man. A coded message. Can they all be connected?
Young Sleuth Holly Ward is determined to help the man. It’s not long before she too comes under assault from a group of dangerous individuals. In the face of intimidation, abduction and even murder can Holly solve the clues and catch the criminals before she becomes the next Stolen Treasure?
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!