Buffy broke out into the open and ran as fast as she was able. Within a few minutes, she heard a noise that sounded like a flying lawnmower. She looked up and shaded her eyes with her hand. Okay. Maybe it was
a flying lawnmower. It was an ancient biplane with an open cockpit and it looked like an amusement park ride, with the sole exception that it wasn't tethered to anything. The lack of a tether did not
inspire confidence. The plane buzzed overhead, made a tight circle and came around again. “Get in!” the guy in the cockpit yelled, gesturing at something behind them both. As the plane made another pass, Buffy 'felt' what she hadn't been able to hear over the noise of the propeller. The ground beneath her feet shook with rhythmic thumps as if something very large and very angry pursued her. Oh shit! It's not an earthquake!
Buffy began running. The plane was coming toward her again. The guy leaned out of the open cockpit and extended his arm down to her, causing the plane to list alarmingly. Buffy jumped. She grabbed his arm for leverage and threw her legs into the cockpit behind him. She took a deep breath and hoped she'd made the right decision. The plane began to cough and sputter. The man returned his attention to the knobs and toggles and the engine turned over. Buffy expelled her breath in relief. The plane gained altitude, made a tight circle and took off, leaving the small clearing behind.
The pilot half turned and flashed a delighted grin at her. Buffy grinned back. He had a really nice smile. Open and honest, it lit up his whole face with delight. He was cute, too, for an older guy—probably in his mid-30's. Buffy giggled as she realized they were dressed exactly alike, from the crowns of their brown felt hats to the tips of their boots. They looked like the freakin' explorer twins!
He glanced back at her again. “What's your name?” he yelled over the noise of the plane.
“Pleasure. Mine's Jones.”Yeah, right!
Buffy thought. Was anyone actually named 'Jones'? That's like such a cliché.
But as he had apparently rescued her from something that sounded like the Godzilla monster, she guessed he could call himself anything he wanted. She just hoped the plane wasn't full of drugs to be smuggled into the U.S., but then shrugged philosophically. She wasn't The Law for the human world, just the demon one.
She glanced at the instrument panel and saw a small, rectangular plastic-covered-ID-thingy like cab drivers had on their dashboards. This one was in some kind of weird leather case—crocodile? Maybe alligator? What was the difference between alligators and crocodiles anyway? She could never remember. She squinted to see better. Yep. Definitely his picture, even if it was all grainy and pretty much gray. And the pilot's license identified him as Henry Waldon Jones, Jr., so she guessed his name really was
Jones. And he had a license to fly this . . . lawnmower with wings. That was of the good. Unless the license was forged. Come to think of it, the license was cardboard, not plastic, and his picture was in black and white instead of color.
He glanced back again, looking with interest at the burlap sack she was still clutching tightly.
“What's in the bag?” he asked out of curiosity.
“Just some snakes.”
You brought snakes
on my plane? Why does it always have to be snakes?” With a shudder, he turned back to the controls. “I hate
snakes!” he muttered under his breath.
“Yeah? Well . . . deal with it. I went through too much shit to get these fucking snakes—”
“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”
Buffy fixed him with a baleful glare. “My mother's dead.”
“I'm sorry. So is mine.”
“And your point is?”
“You know, I've generally found it to be true that when people exhibit unprovoked hostility, it's usually to cover up their fear. And believe me, I've encountered enough hostility—unprovoked, along with intentionally provoked—to recognize it when I see it.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “So you're what? A psychologist?”
“Well, I don't accept.”
He glanced over his shoulder with a quizzical expression. “Accept what?”
“Your apology. You just said you were an apologist, right? Well, I'm still pissed at you, so I don't accept.”
The pilot continued to look for a place to land. He was very grateful, at the moment, that he'd never had children. A crotchety father was bad enough; he couldn't even imagine adding problems at the other end of the spectrum—like this foul-mouthed, rude girl.
He saw a speck of brown amongst all the green and honed in on it. As they got closer, he realized it was a fallow field. That'd do.
He cut back on the fuel and the engine sputtered. He nursed it along, reduced speed even more, circled the field, and then touched down. As the plane glided to a stop, he turned off the engine and the sudden silence, broken only by the ticks of the ever slowing propeller, seemed to ring in their ears as if the silence were another type of sound.
“Alright. Now we can hear ourselves think. You want to tell me what makes those snakes so special?” Snakes on his plane! He shuddered.
Buffy decided to let him have it. “They're special because they're extinct.”
“Extinct? Are you sure you're using the right word? They obviously can't be extinct
because they're right here. Unfortunately.”
He pointed to the bag, which began to writhe, now that the snakes were no longer lulled by the motion of the plane and the noise of the engine. He shuddered again. He really
“Well, they're extinct in my
world—and their venom is the only thing that can kill a particularly nasty demon.”
“You have demons
in your world? Where exactly is
“Well, it's here . . . kinda. Only in 1999.”
He sucked in his breath. “The future?
You're here from the future?” His eyes gleamed with excitement. “Can you prove it?”
Buffy didn't see why she'd have to, but there was always a chance he could help her get back, so she decided to play nice.
He thought for a minute. “Coins! Do you have any money from the future? Do they still use
money in the future?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Only if you want to pay your bills and buy stuff—”
She searched her pockets and came up with two quarters, a dime and six pennies. “Here. Will these do?”
The quarters were issued in 1974 and 1989, and showed respective wear. He checked the dates on the other coins in wonder.
“Do you mind if I keep these? I'd love to show my dad. Here.” He reached in his own pocket and produced a 1926 silver dollar. “Could we swap?”
“Uh . . . sure. What's this?” Buffy asked.
“It's a dollar. Haven't you ever seen one before?”
“No. We just have paper money. This is really cool. Sure, I'll trade. But it's worth a dollar and the money I gave you is only worth 66 cents.”
“That's all right. Even up?”
“Okay. Uh . . . by the way, what year is it now?”
“Wow. We haven't even—”
He clapped his hands over his ears. “No!
Don't tell me! Don't tell me what happens! I can't know things like that. Okay. Just tell me one thing. Does Britain beat Germany?”
Buffy thought for a moment. History had never been her strong suit. Nineteen-thirty-nine . . . Germany . . . “Oh! You mean Hitler?”
“We kicked his butt!”
got into it? NO! Don't tell me—let's talk about something else. How did you get here? And why?”
“I told you why. We need those Lacandon vipers to kill a demon. As for how? I don't know exactly. We flew through the Bermuda Triangle, there was green fire that belonged to St. Elmo—although I always thought that was a movie—and we landed at this place that I thought was just a bunch of hills, but it turned out to be an actual city of pyramids. There's lots of paintings on the walls and statues and stuff, and gold and turquoise—”
“You discovered a previously unknown Mayan city? An un-looted site? I could kiss you! Snakes and all! Can you take me to it?”
“Well, there's that Godzilla thing rampaging around there and—”
“An undiscovered site! With its treasures still in situ!
If I teach you how to fly this baby, give you the coordinates of the Bermuda Triangle and give you this beauty of a plane to get home with your . . . snakes, can we trade? My plane for your knowledge of the site?”
Buffy thought about it. It was the perfect solution, but for some reason, she felt rather proprietary about “her” pyramid and “her” frescoes and “her” back-door staircase and “her” well and “her” tunnel and cavern and even “her” scary-god rock carving. It was a wondrous place, and she'd hate to think of it stripped and looted, its treasures sold off to private collectors where they'd never again see the light of day. She looked at him suspiciously.
“Are you a tomb raider?”
His brow furrowed and he answered honestly. “Sometimes. Sometimes I'm looking for a specific artifact and it's grab and go. Sometimes I'm trying to beat the Nazis to something they're
looking for to pervert or use for their evil plans But I really am an anthropologist and archaeologist. I'm a professor, and with a find like this, I'd be able to get the backing of the university to make sure everything is catalogued and preserved and displayed in a museum so everyone
can see the treasures, not just the wealthy few. A find like yours could add immeasurably to our knowledge of the Mayan culture.”
Buffy looked searchingly at him, meeting his eyes for a long moment.
“Okay. I believe you. Deal. But there's something I have to do first. You wait here.”
Buffy reached in her bag, wrapped two of the sleepy snakes around her arms, lifted her obsidian spear, said “I'll be right back,” and began to run back toward the area of jungle they had just flown over. There was no way in hell she was going to leave the little apple-faced shaman and any others, who might be descendants of “her” people, to the rampaging Godzilla demon—not while she was the Asesina del
. . . Godzilla.
The small plane bucked and shuddered until Buffy was sure it would be torn apart. There was an annoying whine in her ear—like a high-pitched mosquito or a dentist's drill. She shook her head trying to clear it, but the noise continued. The sun rose directly in front of her, and the misty, gray dawn light was suddenly suffused with color. The sun burned into her eyes—why the hell hadn't her handy-dandy aluminum case contained sunglasses? A bright orange-red light raced across the waves toward her.If the green light at sunset is St. Elmos' fire, what the hell is this—St. Valentine's fire?
The light washed over the biplane like actual fire, and she caught the hint of blue light at its core. Buffy squeezed her eyes shut. The leather-rimmed goggles designed to protect her eyes from the wind did absolutely nothing to filter out this intense flame-colored light. The plane was buffeted by tornado-like winds and it spun until Buffy was dizzy and felt herself losing consciousness.
She came to as rough hands were dragging her into a decrepit boat. The rank smell of fish permeated the old wood of the boat and anxious rough voices were speaking to her in what she figured was rapid Spanish.
“I'm sorry—I don't understand,” she mumbled.
A motor coughed and spit and finally caught, the roar loud in her ears. She drifted in and out of consciousness for the next twenty minutes or so, until she was roused by the voices asking her if she had “a key”. Her ears felt stuffed with cotton and the motion of the boat, combined with the rotting fish smell that was even stronger as the sun grew hotter, made her want to hurl.
She fought down the feelings of nausea and squinted up at the weatherbeaten face looking at her with concern.
” she asked.
,” he replied, breaking into a grin.
He wanted her to find a key in the sea? That would be worse than looking for a needle in a haystack, but as he was smiling happily at her, Buffy smiled back.
He slipped callused hands under her shoulders, and lifted her upper body. He supported her back with one large hand and pointed.
Buffy had taken French in school and nodded, now that she was on surer ground. He was calling her his friend, right? That was a lot better than setting her the impossible task of finding a key in the ocean! She thought it would be polite to agree, so she nodded and smiled and repeated, “Me ami.”
Her eyes closed in weariness and her ears were still ringing, so she missed her first sight of the Miami skyline, which would have assured her that she was home.
Buffy regained consciousness as a couple of EMTs were trying to separate her from the canvas water bucket she had chained and padlocked around her waist, in lieu of the burlap sack. The waterproof bucket had been Professor Jones' idea and it was a good suggestion. She still had it with her, although apparently everything else had been lost in the plane crash. There was a reason why she couldn't be parted from her bag, even if she couldn't think of it right now.
She shoved the EMT away from her bag and he went flying. Oops. She hadn't meant to do that, but took advantage of the situation, leaped off the gurney and ran.
She ran until she was panting for breath. There was something she needed to do . . . something important. Mrs. Post! She needed to call Mrs. Post. Buffy stumbled into an arcade and looked around. The bells and noise from the video games were disorienting, but she made her way to the desk. A guy about her age, with blue hair, looked at her with interest.
“Please . . .” she said, her voice sounding strange to her ears. “Can I use your phone? It's an emergency.”
“Local call?” he asked.
“No . . . collect.”
“Okay,” he agreed. No skin off his nose. He didn't pay the bills anyway, and she was kinda cute under all the dirt and the smell. She looked like it probably was
an emergency, and if she was calling her connection, maybe he'd be able to score a little something out of gratitude. He picked up the phone from the shelf under the counter and turned it toward her.
“Thanks,” she said.
She had a nice smile, even with the scar bisecting her lip.
“Mrs. Post?” she said when the phone was answered and the charges accepted. “I'm back . . . and the mission was a success.”
A mission? Maybe she was like a spy or a secret agent—maybe she was like La Femme Nikita or something. Cool.
“I'm . . .” she turned to the clerk. “Where am I?”
He rattled off the address to her and she relayed it over the phone.
“Twenty minutes to a half hour? Yeah. I'll be here.” Buffy terminated the conversation.
The clerk placed a handful of tokens on the counter and replaced the phone underneath.
“Uh . . . you wanna play some video games while you're waiting? On the house?”
Buffy laughed. “No, thanks. I've already had
my share of action and adventure for this month!”
Buffy had been debriefed, turned the snakes over to the Council, with her recommendations for breeding, given Quentin Travers a piece of her mind along with her demand for a new watcher, and was now sitting in the Miami airport with a grandmotherly lady, who had taken charge of everything for her.
Yesterday, Mrs. Giles had gotten them a suite at a really nice hotel and allowed Buffy to order anything she wanted from room service. Buffy had finally had that long, luxurious bubble bath she'd been dreaming about, in a decadent sunken tub with hot water jets that massaged and relaxed her bruised body. After her bath, she wrapped herself in a thick, soft, cotton robe and demolished a huge steak, fries, a salad, cut fruit and two pieces of key lime pie.
Mrs. Giles was much
better company than Mrs Post, and she was almost sorry to be leaving to go back to Cleveland. Oh, well. It wouldn't be for long. She still had that Master Vampire thing to deal with in Sunnydale, so she'd be on the road again soon enough. Hopefully, Mrs. Post would be replaced by the time she got back from Sunnydale.
Her flight was announced, and Buffy rose to go. She was startled when Mrs. Giles gave her a grandmotherly hug, thanked her again and told her to take care of herself.
“I'll miss you. You are quite a remarkable young woman,” Mrs. Giles said. And then she leaned close and whispered, “I wish you had been assigned to my grandson—you'd have led him a merry chase.” Her eyes twinkling, Mrs. Giles handed Buffy a thick, well-used book. “For the plane ride,” she said. “A new entry suddenly appeared two days ago, that I thought you might find of interest. I've marked the page for you.”
Mrs. Giles hugged her again and handed her a carry-on bag. “Safe trip home,” she said.
Buffy walked rapidly to the gate as the second announcement of her flight came over the loudspeakers. She handed her boarding pass to the attendant, and then looked back. Mrs. Giles was still waiting and she gave Buffy a cheery wave.
Buffy boarded the plane—Hot damn! Mrs. Giles booked me in First Class!
—relaxed in the comfortable seat and fastened her seat belt. A hand-embroidered cloth bookmark guided her to the page Mrs. Giles had recommended. She opened the book to the section on Mayan ruins. There was nothing on the left page that concerned her, but she discovered the relevant entry a third of the way down the right-hand page.
“The discovery of a nearly perfectly preserved Mayan city in 1939, by Professor Henry Waldon Jones, Jr. set the archaeological, anthropological, and Central American historical worlds on their ears, eclipsing even Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb. At the conclusion of World War II, an exhibit of selected artifacts, including intact pottery, obsidian weaponry, jade statuettes, a gold and turquoise ritual mask and a gold warrior's armband, set with a carnelian carved with the head of a snarling jaguar, traveled extensively for five years, in order to accommodate all the museums world-wide that wished to host the exhibit.”
A footnote in this new addition—the ninth printing of the original book—went on to state:
“Sixty years after its discovery, the site is still being dug and catalogued. Volunteer archaeologists from many countries throughout the world, queue for spots on the dig. The area that has been cleared receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The one mystery that still puzzles scholars, however, is the name Professor Jones insisted upon giving to the site, and that he never explained. He always referred to the site as Lacandon Buffy
.”The End A/N:
Henry Walden (Indiana) Jones, Jr. is the property of Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount. No infringement is intended.Lacandon Buffy
is, of course, fictitious, and the pyramid Buffy explored (and inadvertently damaged) is a product of my imagination, but the site is loosely based on an amalgam of bits and pieces of three very wonderful, awe-inspiring sites that I had the pleasure of visiting many years ago—Bonampak, Palenque and Yaxchilan. If you ever get the opportunity to visit these sites—jump on it! I know I'd love to go back! If the opportunity doesn't present itself, you can take a virtual tour at:
Click on ARCHAEOLOGY PARK EXPERIENCES and the menu listing the sites you can “tour” will appear on the left.