There was something decidedly unusual about the dead man found floating off the coast of Cuba. For one thing, the wool of his garment, while only twenty years old, had been shorn from an animal extinct for over nine thousand years! A group of professional scuba divers, including Lord Henry Basingstoke and his friend, Rodrigo Quintas, eagerly search the ocean bed for clues. But when they find the secret of time travel in the deep, a fun vacation becomes an obsessive quest to solve the mystery before anyone else finds out. This involves a daring journey back through time, to a hidden land of rainforests, deadly creatures, and a mysterious civilization. A place where nothing is what it seems. And the longer they stay, the more their adventure becomes, quite literally, a race against time.
Reminiscent of the Komodo Dragons of Indonesia, these were amphibian and far larger. The power of their limbs alone was frightening. The way they bustled and barged one another left me shaking. I didn?t know what to do. Fight or run? Attempting to escape on the water struck me as insane, as these brutes lived in the water. They were here to feast! Seven guards sprinted to our defense, spears, broad shoulders at the ready. The weapons appeared pitiful, but no men ever fought more bravely to protect their beloved Queen. The combat was desperate and deadly. For every lunge of a lizard, at least five spears stabbed for its chest and neck. When the number of assailants overwhelmed them, our incredible warriors slashed and jabbed with the skill of a hundred Samurai. As the monsters finally mauled them to their deaths, I could still see bloodied human arms wrapped around the scaly necks of their opponents.
Our situation looked dire. The four guards from the first boat leapt ashore to wrest Chasca Quilla to safety. By this time, the two remaining horses had been chased away to the east, now leaving us with only two means of escape?by river or on foot! Puma and Rodrigo heaved the second boat into the water. The writhing mass was almost upon us. I didn't hesitate. I knew what had to be done.
As the others piled into the boat, I grabbed a paddle from the third vessel and sidestepped away from the river. They screamed for me to join them, but I stood my ground. My heart pounded, desperate to break out. The lizards headed straight for me. Their acidic breaths scorched my throat. Shuffling faster now, away from the shore, I gave my friends as much time as I could. Puma's pragmatism would not allow him to dally. Every second was another paddle stroke to safety.
The leading dragon lunged, spat its first horrid saliva onto my jeans. I jumped to one side and then bolted. Not knowing where I was headed, only that it was as far from my friends as possible, I chewed the ground ahead with a ravenous sprint. After a hundred yards or so, I spun to steal a glance at the Kuti. The plan had worked. Both vessels were at full speed and out of harm's way, but, against all reason, every single lizard now tracked me across the plain! There must have been fifty of them. More alarming still, they were fast enough to keep pace with my quickest sprint!
The pursuers were indefatigable. I dared not look round, for I could hear the chaotic thumps and groans a few yards behind. A landslide rollicked about my heels. Whenever I put on an extra spurt of speed, the noise seemed to increase. The lizards had me as their quarry, and I knew there was no escape. I reached the crest of an incline, where my chest and shoulders felt as one solid mass of iron. But I couldn?t stop.
Starting downhill, I was barged from behind. I dove to stay ahead but landed awkwardly. My shoulder and elbow scraped across stone; the pain struck, flared like a match-head as I rolled. Dazed, facing enormous shapes on both sides, I stumbled to my feet, only to hear not a groan, but a deafening roar. A black shadow tore in front of me. It rose up like a cavern of the night. The head of a lizard fell to one side, barely attached to its neck. A chorus of roars rose all about me. Immediately, a multitude of black figures raced to form a barrier between the amphibians and I.
It was a family of bears.