Chapter 47.

Before putting the last chapter of the book, I want to remind you can you can pick up the book in epub here at dropbox.

Just copy and paste. I tried it and it works without a problem. And now, the final chapter. Don’t forget, comments are welcome, good or bad! Next week I will start posting my new book called “The Secret Entity”. More on this next week.



The ruins of Sacsayhuamari.

The ruins of Sacsayhuamari were not far from Cusco and one could walk from the center of the town uphill to the ruins. It was there that a great war occurred between the last emperor of the Incas and the Spanish conquistadores and in that battle the Incas were finally vanquished. Another private battle more obscure was about to happen now with fewer participants but where emotions would still be strong. There too, there would be winners and losers with death as a reward for those who were on the losing end of this battle. The winners would be gloriously rewarded.

These ruins were impressive and had a strategic importance for the Incas. A walled complex on the northern outskirts of the city, it is made of large polished dry stonewalls with each bolder cut to fit tightly without mortar. Located high on a hill, it held a strategic importance for them. It s military importance cannot be underestimated as someone holding this hill could control the city of Cusco.

The best-known features of Sacsayhuamna are its great plaza and its adjacent three massive terrace walls, with the longest of these walls being 400 meters and 6 meters tall. When the Spanish conquered Cusco and defeated the Incas at Sacsayhuamna they destroyed much of the ruins by taking the blocks to build their houses. The only blocks left at are those that were too heavy to bring down to Cusco and so within a short span of time the complex was destroyed. The ruins are about 30 to 45 minutes from the center of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas and it is a strenuous climb. Above the walls are the circular foundations of three towers that once stood there with a flat grassy esplanade separating the dry walls from a small hill where the “Incas throne” is located.

Gwen and the others drove rapidly on the other side of town opposite to where the center of Cusco was. They quickly left the car and began the ascent towards the ruins knowing full well that if they reached the top of the hill first they would enjoy a tactical advantage over Stevens and the others.

The others quickly exited the car a mere minutes behind Gwen, but they all knew that Stevens age would be a problem; at 70 years old he was not fit enough. Running or walking at altitude was tough at best for younger people as Pierce or Maria. As they began the slow climb they could see Gwen ahead of them along with Drake and Stewart. Gwen was carrying the gold bags with her in plain sight and she was lumbering mightily. She did not trust Drake or Acton with the bags. They were younger and were acclimatized to the altitude of the area and soon they were out of sight to Stevens and the rest.

“I am not sure I can do this,” said Stevens, sweating profusely and trying to catch his breath. “Maybe you should go ahead and I’ll catch up.”

“No way,” replied Pierce. “We know where they are going, so whether they will wait for us for 10 minutes at the top of the hill or double that is of no concern.” Pierce himself was somewhat out of breath. Only Maria seemed fine. What troubled Pierce was that he had a gun and he did not know if Stevens was armed.

“Tell me, do you have a weapon?” he asked Stevens while they were resting.

“Yes I do.” Stevens smiled as he exhibited a gun similar to what Pierce had.

“Good, as I am sure that the others are armed. It will probably two against two.” Stevens nodded at Pierce at that idea. He knew that the friends of Gwen were surely armed but probably not her. And since Maria was unarmed it was equal. Except that the others would have the advantage of the high ground, shooting at them from above. Stevens and Pierce finally decided to continue moving up, with Maria going slowly ahead.

Gwen knew that she had a substantial lead over Stevens, Pierce and Maria. “Make sure you are ready to shoot because I want to finish them off one once and for all.” said Gwen to the others, looking back at them. They were sprinting up the hill as fast as they could.

They finally reached the grassy plain in front of the large stones in about 40 minutes. With the massive walls facing them, they had to decide what to do next. Gwen decided that one of the men should be behind on top of the walls that went about zig-zaging while the other one would be on top of the other terrace. She would be at the far back, ready to exit if the battle went against them but that, the two others did not know. Drake did as he was told, going behind the first walls and climbing on the grassy ground on top of them, waiting for someone to appear to shoot him down. Acton did not like the plan of Gwen but did as he was told, going further back. They then had to practice the waiting game as they were ahead Stevens and the others by at least 15 minutes.

Pierce was slowly climbing with Stevens. He believed that it was best if they appeared together at the top at the same time. Maria had fallen back, taking her time.

“Look, we can see the massive walls from here,” Pierce said as he spied the walls of the fortress. As he said that a small glint appeared on top of one of them. Stevens immediately saw the glint as well.

“There is someone with a gun on top of the walls. Did you see that?”

“Yes, I did. Lucky for us that the sun is shining and that it reflected off the gun. Maybe we should split up and go around the fortress?”

“I agree,” said Stevens. “As I get closer to them I will shoot to keep them occupied while Maria and you go on the other side.” Stevens continued his slow climb towards the area where he saw the glint. As soon as he stood up to get a clear view a spray of bullets wizzed past him, some of them hitting the rocks in front of him. By that time Pierce was going around where the shooter was accompanied by Maria.

Pierce was climbing around the base of the fortress when he spotted Gwen. She was surveying the area and looking where her shooters were placed. Pierce had a clear shot of her but if he missed his surprise appearance on the other side of the fortress would be squandered. He decided to continue moving upwards slowly with Maria by his side. The climb was slow but unfortunately for Pierce he stumbled on some loose rocks and that alerted Gwen, who turned around and saw them. She sounded the alert to Stewart Acton.

“Stewart, they are climbing the other side. Shoot at them and keep them occupied.” As she said those words she decided that perhaps it was best to leave, leaving Drake and Acton to create a diversion for her. She slowly tried to walk on the other side but Maria saw her, still carrying the gold bags with her.

“Look, she’s leaving!” Maria said to Pierce. She had no gun but she did have a knife. Without telling Pierce who was occupied with Stewart she decided to go after Gwen.

Pierce was about to reach the wall of the fortress when a hail of bullets assaulted him. He quickly ducked in the grass behind some rocks and waited for the barrage to stop. He looked up and saw Acton shooting at him. He made a dash to the base of the first walls and began shooting back at Stewart. As Stewart was aiming again at Pierce one bullet hit him cleanly in the middle of the chest. Stewart put his hand on his chest and then slumped forward, falling over the the second wall and down on the grass on top of the first wall. Stevens was still shooting at Drake when he saw Pierce approach Drake behind him.

“Hands up slowly,” Pierce said to Drake. But as Drake spun around he was still aiming his gun. Pierce had no choice but to shoot at him, hitting him in the throat and in the head. He fell over the first wall and down to the grassy plaza. By that time Stevens was making his way up to the base of the first wall as Pierce was running towards him.

“That was a good shot,” Stevens said.

“He left me no choice. He was still aiming at me.” Pierce had never killed a man before and Stevens understood that. He put a friendly hand on the shoulder of Pierce.

“You did the right thing, it was him or you. Plainly it was self-defense. Don’t fret over this.” Stevens knew that Pierce was rattled. And then suddenly he remembered that Maria was supposed to be with him.

“Where’s Maria? I thought she was still with you? Pierce suddenly awoke from his shock and looked astonished at the question.

“Maria? She was pursuing Gwen when I left her!” At these words Stevens turned white. He grabbed Pierce by his shirt.

“You left her to go after Gwen? She won’t hesitate to kill her! Quick, we must find them.” They both began running as fast as they could across the first walls but soon Stevens was slowing down, out of breath. Pierce decided to run to the top of the wall towards the second wall that zigzagged across the plain but to no avail as he could not see where Maria was.

Maria had seen Gwen walking slowly across the ruins towards the city below, trying to escape in the middle of the firefight. She had the gold bags with her and this slowed her down tremendously. She stealthily began to stalk Gwen, getting closer and closer to her when finally as Gwen was beginning her descent she jumped like a cat at Gwen and grabbed her by the waist, tumbling down with her in her grasp. Both women went down until they stopped near some rocks. Gwen got up first, knife in hand and facing squarely her opponent. Maria rose slowly at first and then fished out a knife from behind her back. They were now face to face with the city of Cusco at their feet.

“I did warn you Maria not to mess with me. I gave you a chance and you didn’t take it. Too bad.” Gwen was smiling at her in a devilish way. “I will enjoy cutting you up so badly that Pierce and the others won’t recognize you!”

“You’re a beast, not a human being. You have no conscience. Today is the day it stops for you.” Maria was dead serious in uttering those words but they elicited only laughter from Gwen.

Both women were a mere few feet apart, slowly turning in a circle, as if caught in a maelstrom. And then it began. Gwen lunged with her knife at the stomach of Maria who stumbled back awkwardly not being accustomed to such battles. Gwen then decided to yield the knife from above in the hope of landing it on Maria’s head but Maria ducked, putting Gwen in a weak position. Just as the knife went down slicing the air Maria grabbed Gwen by the hair to hold her and plunged the knife under Gwen, deep in her stomach. Gwen put her hand to her stomach and saw the blood oozing slowly from the wound. Looking at Maria with an air of disbelief she became more enraged and became a wounded animal.

“You rotten little slut, I’ll get you for this and when I’m finished with you no one will recognize you!” Maria just froze and looked at Gwen who was doubling over and hurting from the stomach wound. She then suddenly threw herself at Maria but missed completely, except that she wrapped her arm around one of the legs of Maria and in doing so made her fall. Maria fell hard on the rocky ground and was slightly woozy from the blow to her head. She was still on the ground when she vaguely saw Gwen sitting by her side and lifting her knife with her two hands, ready to bury it into the heart of Maria. Then Maria heard a shot. Gwen wide-eyed looked at Maria and her mouth trembled and opened slightly. She looked stunned. The knife fell from her hand and she slowly crumpled by the side of Maria. As Gwen fell to the ground, Maria saw Pierce holding the gun that killed their nemesis. It was all over. She began sobbing and let out her hand to Pierce who was running towards her.

“It’s okay. It’s finished and she’s dead. It’s over.” Pierce was holding Maria in his arms now, thinking how close she was of losing her life. Maria was sobbing gently but smiling at Pierce at the same time. Stevens arrived moments later still out of breath and panting.

“Everyone is okay?” he asked, looking over the situation. But no one answered. He went over to where Gwen was and knelt by her. Her eyes were open and blood was on her shirt and all around her. It had been a clean hit, right throught the heart. He promptly closed her eyes. Near her were the gold bags. Stevens eyes widened and he promptly picked it up the three bags and began to examine its content; indeed, there were gold masks and gold chains with ceremonial daggers, all gold incrusted with precious jewels. Stevens was elated at the sight of the gold. Pierce now looked around and saw Stevens and the gold bags.

“This is incredible! I can’t believe how much gold there is!” Pierce made a move to pick up one of the bags but Stevens took out his revolver and aimed it squarely at Pierce.

“Don’t move Mr. Pierce. I thank you for all the assistance that you gave me, but I’ll take care of business now. This gold belongs to me! Now get out your gun slowly and throw it at my feet.”

Pierce looked at him, dumbfounded. He did as he was told, throwing the gun at Steven’s feet. Stevens did not pick up the gun but simply kicked it with his feet further away behind him. Maria was up and by his side, amazed at the turn of events. She had a look of disbelief on her face.

“You mean to tell me that all along you intended to keep the gold for yourself, right? You were just playing a game with us!” Maria said.

“Of course,” replied Stevens. “I was using Pierce as well as you to do the dirty work. There never was a fortune left by the uncle of Pierce. It was my money that I was using, my money!” Stevens was angry and agitated. He was still holding the gun and pointing it at Pierce. “Now you and Pierce each will carry a bag to your car, slowly. And please, throw me the keys. One stupid move and I won’t hesitate to take you out, understood?”

Maria threw the keys of her car to Stevens. She and Pierce looked at each other and then each took a bag and slowly began descending the hill in a single file. But it was going to be a 40-minute walk down to the city and Pierce knew that anything could happen during those 40 minutes and he fully intended to do something.

“You won’t get away with this.” Maria said. “The police will catch you and we will testify against you.’

“My dear, by the time the police comes to me I will be out of the country and enjoying the easy life elsewhere and you as well as Pierce will be accused of murder.”

“What? You are joking really!” Pierce said. They were still walking slowly, bags in hand.

“Not at all Mr. Pierce. I never joke with murder. Continue walking please.” Stevens was smiling, still holding the gun and pointing it at Pierce’s back. Pierce decided that the moment that he was waiting for was now. He decided to provoke an incident that could distract Stevens. He was not that far from Maria and when he saw that he could touch her he pushed her slightly and that was enough. Suddenly Maria slid and fell and in doing so distracted Stevens. He advanced slightly ahead of Pierce to look where Maria was but in doing so he was now closer to Pierce than he thought, with the gun still pointing in the area of Maria but not at Pierce. Using the gold bag, Pierce swung it and struck Steven’s hand who immediately released his hold on the gun which flew in the air and landed on the ground further away. Stevens did not have the time to react that the gold bag wielded by Pierce struck him a second time squarely on his jaw. Stevens fell backwards awkwardly and stumbled, tumbling down the hill rapidly and picking up speed the further he went down. Pierce and Maria looked on as he fell until he landed somewhere at the bottom of the hill.

“Do you think he’s dead?” Maria asked.

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out once we get at the bottom. But that kind of fall will surely injure him seriously if he‘s not dead.” Pierce had one of the gold bags while Maria had the other. “At least the gold is ours, most of it anyways. He still had one bag with him when he tumbled down.”

After twenty minutes of rapid descent they finally arrived where the cars where but there was no sign of Stevens and the gold bag. Incredibly, he had survived the fall and had taken Maria’s car to escape.

“I guess we’ll have to continue walking.” said Maria. She put her hand in his hand and smiled. He looked at her and said, “We finally got our reward and now we’re rich!”

They both began walking towards the city as the sun was beginning to set. Suddenly they heard the sirens of police cars approaching and within a few minutes officers surrounded them. Gunshots were heard and they had been dispatched in earnest. At the sight of Pierce and Maria walking away with the bags they drew their weapons.

“Don’t move, hands up in the air.”

Immediately Pierce looked at Maria and knew that they were in a mess. They let the bags fall from their hands and raised them quickly.

“Now turn around, put your hands behind your back and don’t move.” one officer bellowed. “You two, go up the hill and investigate. See if you find anything.” said the officer.

Two officers began the slow climb to the ruins and found the bodies of Acton and Drake on the grassy plains. They located the body of Gwen on the other side. It was plain to them that they all had suffered a gunshot wound that had been fatal. The problem was with which gun they had been killed with as the officers found Steven’s gun as well as the one belonging to Pierce. They radioed back their findings.

“We have found three bodies, all dead. Two males and one female. In addition, we found two guns. Looks like murder to me chief.” said one of the officers. By that time Pierce and Maria had been handcuffed, searched and put into one of the police cars. The officer who acted as the chief went back to see the prisoners to inform them of the findings, as if they didn’t already know.

“Well you two are in deep trouble. I am formally booking you on three counts of murder as well as robbery. We’ll see if one of the guns can be matched with the bullets that are sure to be still inside those bodies. The gold bags seem to be from some archaeological dig so other counts relating to plundering of graves will be added surely. Anything to say?”

Pierce and Maria looked in horror at each other. They knew that they could be looking at life in prison. Of course, Pierce had killed Drake and Acton in self-defense as well as Gwen. It would be his word against the evidence of three dead bodies, and the dead do not speak. The bullets in those three bodies would be matched to one of the guns, the one with his fingerprints on them. Pierce decided that perhaps it was best to offer an explanation to the chief in the hope that he would understand that there was more to this situation than it appeared at first glance.

“Look, one of the guns belongs to me, but it was all in self-defense. It was them or me.”

“So you admit it, you did kill them!” The chief was ecstatic. He had his confession and that would greatly help his case.

“But chief, we were the ones in danger and we were the ones that you might have found dead if things had not turned to our advantage.” Maria said, trying to sway the opinion of the chief. The chief simply smiled at them and turned his back.

After his fall Stevens had taken a few minutes to regain his senses. He was unhurt except for a sore shoulder and a slight bruise to the head. He promptly took the bag that lay at his feet and was able to start Maria’s car without a problem. He knew that his only chance of escape was to be quicker than Pierce and Maria in leaving the scene of the crime. With all the gunshots he fully expected the police to arrive soon. He didn’t have all the three bags but only one was necessary for him to be rich. He looked at his mirror and smiled as no one was following him. The old fox had outsmarted the young cubs. They would pay for the dead bodies even if it was really self-defense, but he would not be there to bail them out. He smiled again at the thought of Pierce and Maria in jail and stepped on the gas.

The end.




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