Chapter 1. Three Weeks Ago
He sat quietly, an AR-15 leaning out of sight against the rock wall next to him, a branch obscuring its very existence.
Rocky Jorge Picot awaited the delivery of the drug mules from the north, the escort called Rocky’s mobile phone rang two-hours before, the truck made it through the gates at the border, the team met the truck at the rendezvous and set out with workers and product to his position on Misty Mountain.
The tunnel, an ancient construction that did not exist on any map. .
They soon covered up the ancient lithographs carved on the walls with boxes of product in one of the rooms of the deep, multi-forked tunnel.
Frightening to Rocky, tunnels that turned off of the main-line collapsed over the untold number of years, but deep in the mine, the warmest it would get was a constant sixty-two degrees Farenheit, he was of Southern-French descent and the cool of the tunnels chilled him to the bone.
That was his excuse anyway.
His job was simply to keep everyone away who was not part of the company of smugglers, and he got the job from his stint as a sniper in the French Army. He enjoyed shooting the rifle chambered for a .338 Lapua Magnum over the .300 Winchester Magnum, for no other reason than he was more accurate with the larger caliber. He did not like the 12.7 Millimeter rifle, that caliber rattled his teeth, although he ranked in the top of his class and qualifications each time.
He was just tempted to miss once in a while, just so he would not have to fire the big caliber, come in the middle of the training list instead of placing first or second.
He liked the middle caliber, he was more comfortable with it and would have stayed in the service if not for incidents with drinking and an offhand threat to shoot a superior officer with his rifle.
“You won’t even hear the shot.” He had said.
It was a rapid exit from the government service.
Now he waited, watching, his pay off would be enough to retire on, comfortably, in the Caribbean.
He could see heads moving, backpacks piled high with boxes and two mules, loaded down. Two followers dragging car tires behind them, obliterating the track of the mules and men.
Tillman “Tusk” Franks, the only man known that carried a knife made of a boars tusk, walked up to Rocky and spoke with him, motioning to the following men to put the product in the back of the tunnel.
The foreman of the drug smuggling team directed the men to dig in the back, clearing debris that had fallen over the thousands of years since the ancient people dug out the mountain side in the days of pre-history.
Time and again they went in, bringing out rock and gravel on their backs, distributing the tailings of the dig around in the forest.
During the sixteenth trip into the cave, a door was uncovered.
Not a door, precisely, a plug. A solid cross-section of a cut log. Seven-feet in diameter, set in the middle of the one mine-shaft, no hinges, no door. Just a giant cross-section jammed in the mine-shaft.
Like a cork, but huge and solid. With each man pushing and using levers, it never budged. Only a pattern of stones and paints on the butt end of the log.
Two of the men carved out some of the stones with knives, polished and carved, they appeared to have a scrimshaw like pattern of monsters and warriors cut into the semi-precious stones.
“What the hell.” Rocky said to Tillman. “All that stuff is, is trouble, if we try to sell it. Let them have the hassles, we have better here.”
The two men nodded to each other in a conspiratorial tones. The mules did not know what they had packed in, only that they were well paid.
Tillman left in a different route with the team. Rocky settled down, waiting for his partner, Kaarle Gulliaume, to join him, Rocky grew tired of being on the mountain alone.
He stayed well back with his furnace and cooking stove, knowing that the DEA had aircraft that could detect a fire from dozens of miles away. Thirty paces into the mineshaft, he kept it well out of sight from any federal agency.
In the deepest part of the tunnel, the large wood disk, split.
Rocky found there were more things to fear than the DEA and helicopters that could see in the dark.
He would be the first to scream in fear that night.