This story started out as a cut and paste. I had what seemed like a slight variation on the story about the serpent of the Incas. By the time I got done revising the premise of the story, it probably would have been easier to start over. I tried to change the plot and keep the sex scenes from the previous story. If the transitions seem choppy, that may be why.
If you haven't read the other story, please do, and let me know if you think they are different.
Jennifer Marie Stephens was excited, nervous and somewhat uneasy. Her husband, Joe, had worked his way into a teaching position of "Archaeoastronomy."
To some, it was a bit of a questionable field. It had been loosely described as: "The study of how the ancient people incorporated the sun, moon and stars into their daily lives. He had spent much of his life in South America and Asia studying how mountain people integrate the landscape in which they live into their spiritual beliefs. He drew on this experience to formulate his sacred center theory."
She had met him as one of her professors in college. She had been on the track team, and needed what she thought might be some "easy hours." Running a hundred miles per week took so much time away from studies during the spring, she needed to cut back on classes at the end of the year and try to make them up during the summer.
He was about fifteen years older than her, somewhat distinguished looking and a persuasive speaker. Jenn had been a bit of a late bloomer. She was somewhat tall and gangly when she started college. Long-legged, thin and somewhat flat-chested, she had little to attract the more popular athletes. The ones, who showed an interest in her, were mainly just trying for a quick score; "Fuck and run," was a popular strategy that was pretty successful with the athletic men on scholarship and in the fraternities.
It took Jenn a while to figure it out, but caught on quick.
During the summer breaks, Joe spent his months traveling to South America. He had gone to the Peabody Museum and the Library at Yale and studied all of Hiram Bingham's writings, maps and sketches. Bingham had found two cities, but the main secrets had eluded him.
The Spaniards had ruthlessly killed Pachacutec, the recognized emperor of the Incas. He had offered his captors a fortune to let him go. He had promised to fill a room; 20'-0" by 10'-0" by as high as he could reach; twice with silver and once with gold. After receiving the fortune, they melted the metals into bullion, sent it back to Spain, and killed him.
They set up a puppet king, Manco Inca to run the empire. He eventually fled; perhaps afraid for his life or may have killed some of the main Spaniards, taking a fortune with him.
It was Bingham's belief that Manco had fled to Machu Picchu, where the Spaniards never found him. There were many rumors of where he had vanished to and why he had never been found.
Joe had spent months and years tracing the many Inca trails from Ollantaytambo to Espiritu Pampa; or the old Vilcabamba. He did not know where the Inca Emperor had vanished to, but with such intense jungles from Ecuador to Bolivia, it was not hard to imagine that there truly were undocumented natives nobody had found.
Joe felt he was close to solving some of the mysteries, but he needed better proof. Jenn had inherited a nice farm from her parents with a section of bottom land along the Kansas River. With the deep topsoil on it and the Ogallala Aquafer underneath it, it was valuable property. Little by little, Joe had seemed to be borrowing against the property to finance his expeditions. He was sure any day now; he would be having a book to publish and more artifacts to exhibit.
Maybe she had been right about him all along. Now maybe his parents would see him in a better light. She had normally dated a bunch of "wild ones" in high school and college. She had been burned out with all of their maniacal egos; their endless flirtations with other women and sexual demands.
She was not that excited when he proposed to her. She had decided to marry him for a number of dubious reasons. One was that she needed to change the direction of her social life from being on the back of a Harley, to the passenger seat of a BMW. She tired of being on the verge of eviction with a boyfriend who felt the world was against him. She felt she could adjust to the five-acre lot in the suburbs that took most of the weekend on a riding mower to maintain.
Her parents hadn't been that wild about the prospects of a son-in-law that didn't know how to change the oil in his own car. He didn't know how to over-seed the lawn, or spray weeds. Jenny didn't care. She could do all that. For the first time in her life, she had some sort of stability in her life. Her disappointing romantic and sex life seemed to take a lower priority when their daughter Dakota came along. They had a common interest now, or at least, so she thought.
In the early years of their marriage, Jenny had gone on a number of trips with him. It had been exciting. She could easily walk the distances along the Sacred Valley effortlessly. She could have jogged it if she wanted to.
Once she had had her daughter, she had to stay at home. When her daughter was in school, there was no way for her to continue the trips. She had been somewhat outraged at the number of "presents" her husband had brought. In order to meet different natives who lived in the jungles, Joe always brought presents to gain favor. It didn't take much for explorers to get killed. This was the country where head hunters were known to live. They were highly superstitious about many things, and would kill people for many ridiculous reasons.
For some unexplained reason Joe had asked her to come along on this trip. Her daughter was fourteen now, and under Kansas Law, could drive herself to school. Her sister had agreed to keep her while Jenn was gone.
Joe had spent lots of time collecting maps of a promising new area. He had GPS devices. He had satellite phones. He had a laptop and flash drives for information and photographs. He had not told his wife, but now his priorities were a little different.
Joe and Jenn flew to Florida and caught a connecting flight Lima. Joe had spent a lot of time analyzing the route. He knew that his wife was fit from her years of jogging in college and years after.
From Lima, they took a four hour train to Cusco. They had to spend three days getting acclimated to the 11,000 ft. altitude. They spent several days touring the museums; watching craftsmen weave alpaca capes and others creating pottery. When Joe began to get ready for the trip, they took a bus to Vilcabamba. They had to hire a porter, a cook, a guide and somebody to manage the mules that would carry all the supplies. Joe had had good luck with his previous guide, so it was easy to use him again.
Hiring guides, porters, cooks and porters is a nerve-wracking ordeal. If somebody says they will meet you at 8:00am, it might turn out to be noon. It might turn out to be noon the next day. Joe had agreed to meet the guide at the Vilcabamba Café at noon.
Joe and Jenn had gone back for another Nescafé refill at 2:00 when she noticed a silhouette at the western saloon styled double doors. The doors parted. All she could see outlined against the bright sky behind the door was a silhouette. But there was something about that silhouette. Had she seen him before? He looked familiar. The voice sounded vaguely familiar.
"Hello; Joe. Sorry I'm a little late." She heard the shadow say as a long arm extended out of it. Joe stood and returned the handshake. "No problem. This is my wife; Jennifer." He said as he turned and extended his left hand towards his wife.
Jenn stood, extended her hand. "Pleased to meet you." Again; the shadow sounded familiar. What was it about him?
"Jenn; honey, this is Raul." He was tall; very tall. Then it hit her. It was Raul; Raul Ramos. She didn't need to hear the rest of what her husband had said about him. She knew it by heart; at least most of it.
Raul had been on the college football team where she went to school. He was voted Favorite Man on Campus. He had been on the track team. He wasn't at practice much; just when it didn't interfere with spring football practice. He ran most of the sprint distances; relays and hurdles.
He had been taken in the first round of the NFL draft because he could play both offense and defense. In his second year with the Chiefs, he had a permanent hip injury that prevented him from playing any more. After that, he disappeared from the planet. He had always been very quiet in school; very distant. Now that she had met him, she was not surprised to know he was the ultimate Peregrinator.
Jenn had tried to be civil to him, but he was always making subtle hints that he was interested in her. She tried to keep it pleasant and friendly, but she knew her parents would never approve of her dating a black man. He towered over her; perhaps over a foot taller than her.
Although she had been openly reluctant to be seen talking or socializing with him, she was never-the-less secretly horrified and attracted to him. She had watched him getting ready to run the hurdles. He wore no shirt. With a mild sweat, he looked like a marble Michelangelo sculpture that glided effortlessly over the high hurdles. He always had a wicked grin and a gleam in his eyes as he glided over the aluminum standards.
She shivered when he turned to smile at her. He would point to her and smile. She would slowly turn her head in a reluctant "No." sign.
.... There is more of this story ...