Read an Excerpt
By Christopher Pike
Turtleback Books Distributed by Demco MediaCopyright © 1996 Christopher Pike
All right reserved.
Because the peak was so narrow it looked taller than it was. An hour of hard climbing brought them close to the top. They stopped short of the summit because they suddenly came to a ledge of rock that was smooth and flat, at least twenty feet square. As they pulled themselves up on the smooth ground, they were sure they had arrived at the right place.
In the center of the flat square was a single smoothly polished boulder. On top of it, standing on edge, was a smaller circular stone with a hole in the center of it. Behind these stones was another rock. Unlike the two center stones, it seemed to have been recently placed there. Watch studied the collection of rocks, straightened his thick lenses, and pointed at Venus, which shone in the eastern sky like a warning beacon.
"The light of Venus, if I am correct, should pass directly through the hole in this small stone," he said. "That should create a round shadow -- defined by the white light -- that should trace a circle on the cliff here."
"You mean this will happen if you take away the rock behind the other two?" Adam asked.
"Yes," Watch replied.
"You think Leah placed that rock there to block the shadow from forming?" Sally asked.
"I'm sure of it," Watch said. "The other two rocks look as if they were carved there,thousands of years ago. But the small stone seems to mess up the arrangement."
"Take it away," Cindy said. "Let's see what happens."
Watch reached out and removed the rock. The white light of Venus pierced the hole in the center of the circle. Its rays, as they flared out on either side, described a perfect circle of shadow and light, a circle as tall as a man.
Then they heard a noise.
It scared them so badly they almost backed off the edge of the cliff.
The wall of the cliff began to creak and groan.
And a door began to open.
It was circular, the exact same circle as drawn by the light of Venus. It swung open like a regular door. When it was through moving, they cautiously moved to the opening and peered into a blackness so deep it made the surrounding night seem bright. Inside a path definitely led down; the steps that sloped away from them into the center of the peak fell off at a steep angle. The beams of their two flashlights played over the stone steps for a short distance before being lost in the blackness.
"I think they go down a long way," Adam said in a quiet voice.
"It looks like it," Watch agreed.
"I wonder if Leah has been here already," Bryce questioned.
"She could have been here and already be gone," Watch said. "How do we know she didn't hike here the minute we were all asleep?"
Bryce shook his head. "I don't think so. If she is here, I think we'll find her inside."
"Are we going inside?" Cindy asked, concerned.
"We didn't hike all the way here to admire the exterior door," Sally said. Then she glanced at Watch and Adam. "But if you guys want me to stand guard outside here, I don't mind."
"Coward," Cindy whispered.
"Who are you calling a coward?" Sally snapped.
"The two of us," Cindy said. "I'd prefer to stay and stand guard with you." She paused. "Who knows? The door might suddenly shut behind us."
Watch nodded. "Cindy has a point. It might be foolish for us all to go inside."
"And it might be dangerous for us to separate," Adam countered. "I prefer we stay together."
"Are you saying that because you don't trust me?" Bryce asked.
"I never said anything about trust," Adam replied, although the thought had crossed his mind.
"If we're going in, let's get going," Watch said. "I want to see where these steps lead."
Sally was excited. "Obviously they lead to the treasure."
"Yeah," Adam muttered. "But to what else?"
Excerpted from Hidden Beast by Christopher Pike Copyright © 1996 by Christopher Pike. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.