It took less time to cross the distance to the pyramid than Brian had expected. But he found he had been correct in his estimate of the structure’s overall size as he drew near, bathed now in the light of the torches. Both statues alone had to be fifty feet or better in height. Brian watched the panther, miniscule by comparison, trot through the large doorway.
“Of course,” Brian said aloud. He paused, hands on his hips, looking around, then headed after the big cat.
Upon stepping through the entrance, his apprehension succumbed to a sense of awe. Though the interior of the building had looked dark from without, Brian found it well-lit and warm. There were no torches; rather, the light seemed to come from a series of polished, crystalline stones set in pairs in the floor at regular intervals, each about the size of a dinner plate. The hallway in which he stood ended some hundred yards ahead. Brian cast a look back through the doorway at the desert, awash in the torchlight, then turned his attention to the interior walls.
Brian didn’t know much about the ancient world, though his parents had both been avid history buffs and had tried to pass their interests on to him. He could not appreciate the curious mixture of Egyptian-style hieroglyphics with others like those found on temple walls in the cities of the Aztec and Inca, or the drawings similar to the style of Minoan Crete. He did not note the strange symbols running along the tops and bottoms of both walls, a series which comprised no known language and yet clearly were a language. Brian only noted the beauty of the artwork, the vibrant colors, the etchings inlaid with what must be gold. And he marveled at the stones which gave off light. In no hurry, he followed the hallway.
It opened into a tunnel of equally striking decor, a tunnel which seemed to curve in both directions. Brian followed it to the right, now quite certain that he was moving in a huge circle. When he had reached the point opposite where he had entered the ringed tunnel, the half-circumference of the circle, he found another doorway. This opened into another straight hallway, the path rising at an easy incline. Brian guessed that he would now be entering the pyramid structure proper.
After some distance, the incline ceased and the floor became even. Brian could see an opening at the far end, from which diffused a brighter light. Waiting for him down the tunnel sat the panther. Brian hurried, sensing he had reached whatever destination he had been pursuing, would soon find whatever it was he had come here to find. The panther entered the doorway just ahead of him.
Brian gasped. The chamber he had entered formed a huge triangle, the walls slanted inward to rise high overhead where they joined. The chamber represented the shape of the pyramid from the inside. The glimmering stones dotted the walls like stars, formed a large circle along the perimeter in the floor. The hieroglyphics here were themselves tremendous in size. Brian looked back and forth and up and down. His mouth hung open, his face a mask of amazement.
Brian noted that he was not alone in the chamber. In the center of the floor, the center of the circle of light, sitting cross-legged on a silky blue rug, a large black man watched him. When Brian’s gaze found his, the man smiled, motioning Brian over. Brian realized that the panther had vanished.