Chapter 16.

Cusco to Agua Calientes

It was early when the group awoke and began preparations for the departure towards the town closest to the ruins of Machu Pichu, Aguas Calientes. They took the 06:15 train that was already full of tourists going to visit the ruins.

“Well Mr. Pierce, you seem healthy today,” said Pedro. “I think that your legs have returned!” he said.

“I do feel better. I guess that going early to bed helped me.”

“Luis and Jorge, take our baggage’s to the train station. Let’s go. We must be early over there to begin our preparations and our digs.” said Maria. She was happy to see Pierce well enough to continue. She had been afraid that they might have had to remain longer at Cusco to help Pierce acclimatize himself to the altitude. They walked towards the San Pedro train station that was not far from their hotel. The train called The Backpacker left at 06:15 and arrived at Aguas Calientes at 10:10. It was the slowest train but also the least expensive and that is why Maria chose it. Their goal was to stay in the town, buy some supplies and then go the Machu Pichu by foot. That was the hard way but also the best way to remain under the radar.

The town of Aguas Calientes is a small tourist frontier town dominated by sellers of cheap souvenirs and backpackers eager to embrace the ruins. There is not too much to do there and most people stay a day and then go straight to Machu Pichu or go back to Cusco. The heat and humidity is what strikes people first when they arrive and then the obvious; there isn’t much to do or see there. Maria had decided that the group would stay at an inn established by an ex-pat from America called Gringo Bill’s, a cheap and inexpensive place. It also had a restaurant so that negated the obligation of finding a place to eat other than where they were sleeping.

“Right, lets settle in the rooms for the day and prepare for tomorrow morning.” said Maria.

“So, what is the plan?” asked Pedro. “Why don’t we go to the ruins this afternoon or later in the day, why early next morning?

“There are too many people around the ruins and in any case we have to buy supplies today. Then we can go early next morning and climb the hill to the ruins.” Maria answered. Pierce looked happy with the plan, while Jorge, Luis and Pedro looked bored by the whole idea.

“I still think that we should at least go and see how to go about it. In anyways, what are we looking for exactly?” asked Pedro.

By then Maria was exasperated by the questions of Pedro and the looks of disapproval that she was getting from the others. Only Pierce seemed to agree with her, and that was because he understood that secrecy was paramount and the artefacts were not to be seen in action by outsiders to the group. “No, we will rest and rise early tomorrow morning. Luis and Jorge will go with Pedro to buy shovels and pick-axes.”

“But what if people ask us questions ?” asked Pedro.

“Just say that it is for agricultural purposes and farming implements are needed.” replied Maria.

The next day all were up early. Pedro and the others went out to buy the goods, looking at each other as if to say, now it begins for real. Maria went to her room to relax and rest while Pierce decided to go to the patio area and have a drink.

“Common, let’s buy the goods quickly. Here, let’s try this store.” said Pedro. It was a general store but they were lucky as it sold of sorts of implements, including shovels and pick and axes. They would buy food and bring water later on. Soon they trudged back to their rooms, relaxing on the patio with Pierce who was still there. Pedro thought that it was the ideal time to learn more about this gringo and the search for gold.

“Mr. Pierce, do you know what we will do tomorrow morning, I mean, in what direction?” Pierce looked at him squarely and with little of the suspicion that Maria had previously exhibited.

“Frankly, as to the direction, I do not know. We must get to a certain area before sunrise, use some artefacts given to me by my attorney and see what happens.”

“I see.” replied Pedro. In fact, he did not know what to make of this. He continued prodding Pierce as Pierce was talking freely with the drinks loosening his tongue.

“But do we have a map to help us or something else?”

“Well, we do have sort of a crude map with crude drawings on them, but nothing explicit. I think that using the artefacts given to me will clear up things, but by how much I do not know really.”

Pedro sat there, thinking about what Pierce had said. Clearly, he had to continue with Pierce and Maria. Now was not the time to ship out on his own. Soon it was late and everyone went to bed, ready to rise at an early time to ascend the ruins. Everybody went to bed except Luis. He was bent on revenge and he knew where Maria slept. Cautiously he stepped out of his room, looked out and walked down the hall to where Maria’s room was. He had to be careful as Pierce’s room was just beside Maria’s. He tried to turn the knob on Maria’s door but it stubbornly resisted. He used a small pick he had on him and sprang open the door. Maria’s clothes were on the bed while she was taking a shower. Luis entered the bathroom slowly. He could see through the shower curtain Maria. He decided to undress and to catch her by surprise. He was already aroused and his member was in full salute. He quickly opened the curtain and entered. She turned around, looked at his face and then at his member still saluting. She was on the verge of screaming when he put his hand over her mouth.

“You thought that you could treat me like dirt, didn’t you,” he uttered in a menacing way. “I know that you want me and that’s why I’m here. As your employee I want to satisfy you in every possible way.” he said with a smile. He still had his hand over her mouth.

At those words Maria gave him a kick in the stomach forcing him to release his hand from her mouth. “Help, help anyone!” Maria screamed. She tried to leave the bathtub but he reacted by grabbing her ankle as he lay in the tub. She kicked him again and this time hit his head. Luis was doing his best to stand up but he slipped and this gave time to Maria to escape. She rapidly exited the tub, put a towel around her and was about to leave her room when Pierce entered, alerted by her screaming.

“What’s going on, why did you scream?”

“Its Luis, he tried to rape me!” she shouted, still in shock at the attack. Just as she was finishing her explanation Luis appeared behind her, still hard and looking for action. It was then that Pierce saw him. He flew at him while Luis retreated behind the bathroom door and closed it behind him.

“Open the door Luis and be a man, explain yourself or we’ll call the police.” Pierce tried to open the door by force but Luis forced himself against it. Luis was desperately looking around for an exit. Maria was still in the room with a towel around her when Pedro and Jorge entered.

“Senora what happened?” asked Pedro.

“Its Luis, he attacked me in the shower.” exclaimed Maria. At those words Pedro went to help Pierce break down the bathroom door. After a few kicks the door gave way but the room was empty as Luis had escaped naked through the window.

“He‘s gone.” said Pierce.

“What a scoundrel!” exclaimed Pedro. “I hope that the police will catch him. Naked as he was, it will be hard for him to escape. Someone will see him.”

“No, we won’t call the police. We don’t want to attract attention, remember?” Maria said.

“But Senora, he tried to rape you!’ Jorge said.

“He tried but did not succeed, that is the main thing. Let us forget the whole incident and go to bed.” Maria was adamant not to call the police.

“ Are you sure about this?” asked Pierce.

“Yes I am.” replied Maria. As Pierce was leaving the room Maria took hold of his arm. “But maybe you can linger on a bit more, don’t you think?” she smiled. “Just in case he comes back.” Pierce smiled back, took her in his arms and put her on her bed. They resumed their affair that had been interrupted by Pedro while they were at Maria’s house.

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