Leaping from edge to edge, jumping over crevasses, shuffling along the wall of ice and stone was terrifying. Any wrong move or slip and she would fall into the emptiness below to her death. Her ice axe strapped to her utility belt for quick and easy access. Yes, it was terrifying, but it was exciting at the same time. Every now and then she would see an artifact that revealed she was going the right way. A tarnished old bell, or an intricate statue. She was close. The ice beneath her fingers and boots tried many times to prevent her entry, but she pursued. The stone archway was just ahead. So gorgeous. The bright paintings preserved in the sub zero temperature. But caught gazing too long at the masterpiece, she lost her balance and fell, sliding down a looping passageway like a waterslide. She shot through the air at the end and landed on a square of ice which broke with the force of speed and her weight, submerging her into the painful icy water. Her heavy clothes and struggling pulled her under. She fished around her waist for the ice axe. Finally grabbing hold of the aluminum shaft, she raised it above the surface and swung it hard into the closest piece of bordering ice. It wedged secure and she pulled herself upward with all her strength. She heaved herself up and out of the water and rolled out of what had been a water source for the ancient civilization, and onto the brick floor beyond. She coughed the cold water from her lungs. Shivering and teeth chattering, she rolled onto her hands and knees. She looked up. There it was. The ancient temple she had been searching for. So grandiose in a cold, secluded cave. It wasn’t over yet. The artifact was somewhere inside. And she was going to find it. Expecting traps of all kinds, she told herself, “Watch you step.”.

 

ice-temple

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