In the confusion that washed over the dig site, the teens all scattered.
Wendell, Jack, and Misty made for the archeologist's Jeep. The all piled in, and
Jack cranked the waiting key.
"Buckle up!" he cried.
"There are no buckles." observed Wendell.
"Then hang on!" Jack shouted back as he slammed the gas pedal down.
Despite the advice, Wendell wasn't hanging on, and found himself thrown down into the ridiculously
tiny back seat.
As Jack made his way through successively higher gears, Misty could have sworn
she heard a buzz noise. Michael had repeatedly told the kids to listen closely to their senses, but they were still no good at it.
The noise grew louder
until it was too loud to be ignored. Misty finally turned to her side to see Howell
zipping along on one of the mo-peds from the security shack.
Steering with one hand and gesturing with the other, he gave her the
universal "pull over" gesture.
She shook her head, "no".
A quick glance to the opposite side showed Lola and Irmgard a little behind but
Pinning a wind-blown hair back, Misty called over to Jack, "We got company!"
He nodded and jammed the fifth and final, gear into place.
Their British counterparts may have been right about leaving the situation well
enough alone, but any lingering doubt was replaced with the thrill of the hunt
when they saw the back end of the thieves' truck drawing closer.
Actually, it was drawing closer, fast! Jack realized all too late that
the thieves hadn't counted on persuit and were going only a fraction as fast as the speeding Jeep.
He almost stopped in time.
In the back of the truck sat three para-military dudes in baggy camo, but none were facing
the Jeep so they never knew what sent them flying. It would take several
seconds for them to get their limbs and guns sorted out enough to pose a threat.
Jack looked over to ask Misty what their next move might be, but she was
out on the hood, arms extended for balance, and riding it like a surfer
catching a wave.
She gestured for him to get closer, which he did (more slowly this time).
Misty was into the truck bed in a flash, but it took a lot longer to get back being
such a small person encumbered by such a heavy stone idol.
Wendell stepped into the front seat and leaned far out over the windshield to
help her with it.
A bang was heard and the Jeep balked.
Misty fell, and the last thing Jack remembered seeing was the hideous stone
face of En coming through the windshield right at him.
Misty kept tumbling, slipped up and over the windshield like a wet fish, and
was barely snagged by the ankle by Wendell in the midst of taking flight.
He fell back, bumped the (now unconscious) Jack's arm, which, in turn, jerked the wheel.
The Jeep turned, knifed, and flipped, throwing the Bible Study in all
directions like popping corn kernels.
Wendell remembered landing, palms-first, in a loose patch of gravel, pain raking
his forearms and flinging a spray of rocks into his vision before all went black.
"Pain" was the first part of his brain to come back online, but "fear" was a close
Roll-over accidents, he knew, could be very dangerous. Rich Mullins, one
of the greatest Christian musicians of the century, had died in a similar
"Misty!?? Jack!??" he called out, mustering every bit of strength to pull
himself onto all fours.
He heard a pair of footsteps behind and was immediately relieved. He
looked back under his quivering arm. (Because dropping his head was easier on his aching neck than raising it.)
"Oh.", he said in disappointment, just as a savage kick to the ribs knocked him
back into unconsciousness.