Just as we arrived, the lift door opened and a couple walked out, holding hands and laughing. We entered the lift and I pressed the button for the third floor, where our room was.
Even the lift was special.
An Alpana themed golden wallpaper ran around the lift and the black marble floor was sparkling in the bright in-built light. The lift door opened and we walked slowly down the corridor, taking in the unique designs and patterns of the walls and ceiling.
“This is the room,” Rachel said.
She slotted in the key card and the door automatically opened.
The room we entered was no less in extravagance than the hotel reception. The king-size bed was at the far end of the room, right in front of the huge window which overlooked the remarkable skyline of New York. The two single beds were placed on either side of the king-size bed, with all the beds wrapped in a thick velvet blanket. The soft Persian rug absorbed our feet as we strolled around the room, intoxicated by its beauty. The flat-screen TV was built into the wall opposite our beds and a brown leather sofa lay in the corner of the room, accompanied by a shining glass table. Beside it was a large glass cupboard and a mini fridge, the cupboard filled with chocolate bars, packets of crisps, energy bars and sweets, whilst stacks of 7UP, Coke, Pepsi, Fanta and Schweppes Lemonade sat inside the fridge. My taste buds tingled. Zak raced across to the king-size bed and jumped onto it, and Rachel sat on the sofa, closing her eyes and laying her head back. I peered inside the bathroom. The aroma of fresh soap, complimented by the lime basil and mandarin candles, wafted into my nose, and the dim lighting enticed me to take a bath.
“Guys, I’m going to have a bath. Don’t eat all the food Zak,” I said.
“Why did you only address me?” Zak frowned.
“Because you’re greedy!” I joked back to him, before closing the bathroom door and starting my bubble bath.
As my body indulged in the warm water of the bath, I closed my eyes and thought deeply about what lay ahead for us. Who was this Drago Caracas? Why did he want the Golden Leaf so badly that he would steal it from his friend? Why had Señor Ramirez given us weapons to use?
I locked these questions away in my mind as I finally got out of my soothing bath.
“You were in there for ages! We should get an early night’s sleep though,” Rachel said as I stepped out of the bathroom.
“True,” Zak replied. “We must be sharp and energised for tomorrow.
Who knows what’s in store for us?”
“What are we doing for dinner?” Rachel asked me.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m still full from that amazing lunch at school. I think I might just have a snack from here and that’s it,” I said.
“Same,” Zak nodded, walking over to the cupboard and grabbing himself a packet of crisps.
Having enjoyed the view of the shimmering night skyline and relished the flat screen TV, we bid our goodnights. Zak insisted upon having the king-size bed and I had no more energy left in me to argue.
I jumped onto the single bed and the softness of the mattress along with the warmth of the thick blanket instantly engulfed me into a deep sleep…
“Wake up Marco, let’s go!” Zak exclaimed. “We’ll be downstairs in the restaurant. I can’t wait to see what they have for breakfast. Don’t forget Rachel’s backpack!”
I opened my eyes, feeling refreshed and energised as the blinding morning sunlight poured into our room.
I splashed some cold water on my face in the bathroom and looked myself in the mirror. ‘Come on Marco, you got this,’ I said to myself.
I took the lift to the hotel reception and as the doors pinged open, I stopped in horror at what I saw.
Zak. Rachel. Tied up to a chair.
Their hands were bound together with handcuffs and their mouths were cellotaped. Both of their eyes were bloodshot red, in fear and pain. At each corner of the isolated reception, there were three guards, dressed as hotel staff but with their swords holstered on their belt.
But what shocked me the most was the man standing behind Zak and Rachel.
The taxi driver.
“Remember me?” he chuckled playfully.
I approached him slowly, with anger building up in my veins. My finger hovered over my watch, ready to bring my sword and shield to life. A menacing grin formed on the taxi driver’s face.
“I’m Drago Caracas, the President of Obsidian and it is I, the supreme ruler of this organisation, who has stolen your precious Golden Leaf.”
I pressed the button on my watch and my sword and shield sprung into life.
“Don’t even think about it,” Drago said, with a bit of impatience. “Move another step forward, and you will say goodbye to Zak and Rachel for good. You will not be able to defeat me! I am the one and only supreme ruler!”
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Forget this quest of yours. Let me have the Golden Leaf. I don’t want some three random teenagers meddling in my business!”
“That is not happening.”
All of a sudden, Drago groaned and dropped to the ground. A knife was protruding from his right hamstring. Zak and Rachel shot up from the chair. Zak pulled out his knife from Drago’s hamstring, making him roar out in pain. My stomach lurched at the sickening sight of the blood pouring out.
“GET THEM! NOW! GO!” Drago boomed to his guards, as he groaned in pain of the floor.
Zak and Rachel sprinted towards me. The three guards unsheathed their swords and charged. I swiftly took out Rachel’s bow and arrow from her backpack and handed it over to her.
“There’s a door over there. Run! RUN!” Zak shouted.
The three of us paced across the smooth floor of the reception to the door. I pushed it. It was locked. The gap between us and the three charging guards began to shorten.
15 feet… 14 feet… 13 feet…
“Come on!” Rachel screamed.I tried again, this time barging into it with my shoulder. The door remained shut.“Wait, I’m going to use my knife to open the lock. Face the guards,” Zak said hurriedly, as he inserted his blood-soaked knife into the keyhole.Rachel and I squared up to the guards, as they closed in on us.12 feet… 11 feet… 1
Having hiked infinite miles, hopped on and off buses and taken four gruelling train journeys, we finally reached the coast of Lower New York Bay, as the Sun began to settle. In front of us, the vast Atlantic Ocean sparked in the dazzling sunset. In the distance, I managed to see a faint silhouette of a few mountains, surrounded by rocks and forests. Zapped of our energy and strength, we slumped on a nearby bench.“Is that the place?” I asked, squinting and pointing out in the direction of the silhouette.“Looks like. We made it guys,” Zak sighed tiredly.I heard footsteps from my left coming towards us. A dockworker. His cl
We jumped off the ship to be greeted by thunder. Dark clouds in the night sky obscured the glinting moonlight, our only natural source of light. The sky rumbled, clearly sending a message to us that we should leave while we had the chance. Adrian and Zak took out their torches as we stepped through the rocks and pebbles of the cold ocean and onto the beach. I felt a gentle drop of water on my head and looked up. Rain. Gaining momentum. By the second. Then, I felt a slight breeze, which grew in intensity and it was only within moments that we began to experience an intense tornado. Rusty leaves, sand grains, and water particles exploded from the ground, causing an aggressive whirlwind that sunk our hearts and zapped us of our confidence. “Guys, listen to me carefully. Let’s get underneath a tree, find some wood and make a fir
We managed to find a safe spot to sleep and recuperate just off the beach. Rachel’s bruised ankle was now swollen whilst I struggled to push the sight of my best friend disappearing right before our eyes out of my mind “Get up, you two. New day, fresh start!” Adrian said, trying to sound enthusiastic. The morning air felt as hot and heavy and moist as steam, as the scorching Sun’s radiance beat down on the island’s inhabitants. Bees and dragonflies buzzed around the bushes and trees, whilst birds chirped and flew around elegantly. The beaming sun rays reflected off the waves, emitting splashes of heat, as it gently caressed the coast. &nbs
Bringing the three of us back to reality was the hunger that was growing in the pit of our stomachs. Our minds had been so preoccupied with the tiger, Zak going missing and Rachel’s ankle that we had forgotten about our own health. Looking around in this vast island with the rocky plains and towering trees obscuring our far-sighted vision, finding food seemed impossible.“Adrian, what do we do about food?” I asked.Adrian laughed, his laugh echoing around the island. I looked at Rachel, puzzled.“Look over there, just look,” Adrian said, smiling. He pointed out to the ocean to our impressive cruise ship. “Guys,
We turned in the direction of Zak’s spine-tingling scream. But, still nothing. Nothing that hinted at Zak’s whereabouts. The irregular screaming continued, which sent us panicking and constantly swivelling round to locate him. Especially in the eerie silence of night time, Zak’s voice sounded all the more chilling, his shrill shrieking echoing around the island like a ghost tormenting us.“Where on earth is he?” I shouted.“I don’t know!” Adrian replied.“Wait, shut up both of you!” Rachel cr
As the staircase swallowed us up, it vanished from the mountain. Now we had no way of coming back. Things just seemed to get worse and worse the more we ventured on.Inside the mountain now, what I saw was mystical. We were inside a cavern, with dimly lit candles placed at regular intervals. The candles did little to illuminate the area, as Zak and Adrian beamed their torches at full brightness. Slowly descending the staircase, the cavern seemed to get narrower and narrower, with its rough sharp walls intimidating us, to the point where it was only one person wide. In the ceiling, there were a few bats hibernating – which was strange, seeing as we were deep into the night. The staircase seemed endless, as we continued descending deeper and deeper into the unknown. Sweat trickled down my back, as the gaps between each step grew, mea
Adrian led us to another staircase. Much to my satisfaction at having to climb up another set of infinite steps with no remaining leg strength, it was a spiral staircase, with a red carpet winding up it like a snake.He sharply turned round to us, his back to the spiral staircase.“Both of you, listen to me very carefully. And I mean, very carefully,” he demanded. “You are about to meet our President. Treat him with courtesy and respect, not like earlier today. And we may be able to negotiate a deal of some sort that would make both parties happy. Got it?”“We’re not trusting you again,” Rachel replied firmly. “All I’