Minotaurby Dan Danko, Tom Mason
Alex finds himself in ancient Crete during the celebration preceding the sacrifice of Theseus and his Athenian companions to the Minotaur. It seems like a totally awesome party—until Alex realizes that he’s not just a spectator, he is Theseus. While Cleo watches through the computer monitor, unable to help, Alex must face the dreaded monster, half-man, half-bull, in his elaborate labyrinth. How can a 20th-century teen face a mythical monster and hope to survive?
Read an Excerpt
Dr. Matt Bellows wiped a smudge from his glasses and checked the clock: 3 a.m. So soon? He checked the coffee cup. Empty. Already?
"Hey, beautiful," Dr. Bellows quipped, unpacking a large sculpture from a wooden crate. Even in the dim light of the desk lamp, the green surface of the statue called the Ch'ang-o seemed to pulse with an inexplicable radiance.
"Open CyberMuseum. Prepare for scan," he said into the computer's microphone. Dr. Bellows used both hands to place the heavy Ch'ang-o on the scanner bed. "Begin scan."
The plasma screen before Dr. Bellows blinked to life. The warm green scanner lights danced on the Ch'ang-o, recording every etched nuance, and an exact 3D duplicate of the Ch'ang-o appeared in the center of the plasma screen, floating in midair like an angel's feather.
Dr. Bellows was the most respected archaeologist in the field of computer analysis of artifacts and ruins of ancient civilizations, and the CyberMuseum was the culmination of decades of his research. Spending a few late nights scanning objects was the easy part, compared to the years of study and labor.
The sculpture was simple yet elegant, an odd juxtaposition of Ch'ang-o, the beautiful Chinese moon goddess riding atop her demon frog, legs outstretched as if in midleap. Whether she was the pursuer or the one being pursued was a mystery the priceless carving challenged all onlookers to answer for themselves.
The computer's modem rang. Dr. Bellows tapped the light mouse and a pop-up window appeared in the corner.
"You took it home! Are you crazy?" Barbara Frazier yelled from the computer screen the instant her image appeared.
"Who is this?" Dr. Bellows replied, squinting at thescreen.
"Don't mess around, Matt," Barbara hissed back. "You had no right to take the Ch'ang-o."
Something on the screen caught Dr. Bellows's eye, and it wasn't Barbara's scowling face. The 3D rendering of the Ch'ang-o still rotated on the screen. In the middle of the frog was a nearly invisible shape.
"Odd," Dr. Bellows whispered, then, "Hello? Barb? Can you hear me?"
"Don't do this to me!" Barbara yelled back.
"Hello? Hello? I'm losing you!" Dr. Bellows urgently replied, then intentionally disconnected Barbara.
Her image blipped from the screen.
"Set: Contrast level four. Ultraviolet scan," he said.
Screen colors shifted. Light gradations of hue became sharp contrasts of color. The shape in the Ch'ang-o's belly sharpened. Dr. Bellows was certain of one undeniable fact: It was no flaw.
It was a rock buried in the belly of the frog like a swallowed nugget of gold. He recognized it the moment he saw the spearhead and shaft piercing the rock's surface.
Dr. Bellows leaped from his desk. He fumbled through several books. But how could he find an image of something that wasn't supposed to exist? How could he find a photo of something that wasn't supposed to be real?
Dr. Bellows reached out with his finger to the image on the screen, almost afraid to touch it.
"I've found the Gorgos Stone."
He gently pushed the left eye of the real Ch'ang-o, figuring there was a release mechanism somewhere. Nothing. He pulled the goddess's arm while turning the frog's head.
The statue separated into several pieces like a child's puzzle. In the heart of the chunks rested the Gorgos Stone.
Dr. Bellows eagerly inspected it: skull-like, with a single crystal arrow piercing its center. The arrow shaft was riddled with mysterious glyphs. The Gorgos Stone stood on the list of myths alongside Atlantis, the Fountain of Youth, and the Holy Grail.
"Computer: Store Ch'ang-o, Chinese Room Five." Dr. Bellows placed the stone on the scanner.
The computer obeyed. A light glowed beneath the Gorgos Stone, and Dr. Bellows watched with unbelieving eyes as the stone transferred to the screen and completely disappeared from the scanner bed.
"Impossible!" Dr. Bellows gasped. He tried to stop the process, but it was too late. The Gorgos Stone now existed only on the plasma screen.
"What have I done?" he cried.
Meet the Author
Tom Mason and Dan Danko have also written Malcolm in the Middle novels. They’ve been story editors on “X-Ducks,” Nickelodeon’s “Brothers Flub,” and several other TV series.
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