Excerpt Inca Trail- About five hundred people start the trek every day during the season, so at any time there are about two thousand people spread out over the 42 kilometers of trail. What’s amazing is that you can walk for an hour or so and never see a soul. Vicki and I were in one of those periods; just the two of us putting one foot in front of the other and trying to enjoy the breathtaking mountain scenery when a flash of light from behind a bush caught my eye. I took one of my walking sticks and tried moving the vegetation out of the way. I didn’t want to stick my hand in and find out I was petting a shiny snake, I’m kind of careful that way. What I found was a figure that looked like it might be carved from jade. It was dark green, about two feet tall, and, as I soon discovered, pretty heavy. The shape was a pudgy man, wearing what appeared to be a gold and silver broad necklace. He had pierced ears but the earrings were missing and looked like he should be holding a sword or a spear in one hand and a bracelet or maybe a quipus in the other but I didn’t find anything else on the rock ledge. This was definitely a work of art from long ago. I noticed that the necklace was actually welded front and back to a golden plug that passed right through the figure’s chest. “What do you think Vic?” I asked. “Looks like a relic to me.” She came back down the trail from her resting spot in the shade and held out her hands. “Careful, it’s heavy,” I warned. She almost dropped it when I handed it to her but recovered nicely. “He needs to go on a diet,” she laughed. “Either that or start walking the trail.” I suggested. “He looks like a soldier or body guard. What should we do with him?” “Well you could lug him around for the rest of the trip and hope no one asks any questions when you try to leave the country or you could put him back,” was her logical accountant answer. I pondered that response for a few seconds and said, “You’re right as usual. Give me our friend and I’ll put him back where he belongs.” She handed me the statue and I placed him back on his ledge. Then the world went black. Actually black with flashing white streaks like you see in those movies where the spaceship jumps to light speed. I had the sensation of moving very quickly somewhere, I just didn’t know where. As quickly as it started it stopped and I found myself tumbling head over heels across the dirt floor of a large room lit by torches. I came to a rather ignominious stop with my back against a wall and my feet dangling in my face. As I tried to right myself I became aware of two things. One, I still held my green friend clutched against my body and two, I was not alone. There were fifteen or twenty young girls, teenagers I would guess, rising from tables around the room and coming to stare at me. They were all ‘dressed’ the same. Wide necklaces like my statue wore, looking like they were made of gold and silver and some shiny stones, short skirts of the same pattern as the necklaces and sandals. For a minute I thought I might have been transported straight to some kind of heaven but then they started to scream. It seemed to me like they might be calling to someone, or something and soon enough a woman strode into the room. Although her costume was the same as the girls, this was not girl. She was one of the most striking women I had ever seen. Vicki understands that other women can be beautiful, provided they’re beautiful over there, somewhere I’m not. I had almost righted myself and got to my feet by the time she strode across the room to confront me. She was about to say something when her eyes fell on the statue I was still holding. She looked at it, then at me, then back to the figure. Then she wheeled about, barked a command to the girls, and marched out of the room.