Daily Prompt: Ancient

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Ancient


dsc_0413I stood on the exposed terrace of the Aerial Temple, contemplating the crumbled sandstone steps in front of me. Though I was on the second level, away from the crowd walking the grounds, faint tourist chatter still managed to reach me. The guide had explained that kings of long ago used to climb these steps which led to a room with walls made of gold. Whether or not the gold tower room existed out of legend would remain a mystery because from my vantage point, there were only sandstone columns at the top. The steps were steep and there were no handrails. The only way to reach the top was to crawl up the broken steps on all fours. The early afternoon heat warmed my skin as I pondered the climb. I squared my shoulders, secured my rucksack across my body, popped a refreshing mint into my mouth and gripped the first step with my hand. Bits of sandstone broke away. The cool January wind whipped my hair around my head, lightly flicking my face. I took a quick peek behind me and immediately regretted my action. I swayed a little and gripped the steps harder. Several minutes passed and I finally pulled myself up the last one. The scent of sandalwood assailed me. Was there someone else here? I peered around a fallen column adorned with carvings of demons and deities and saw an old woman who was on her knees, clutching incense sticks.  She turned her gap-filled smile my way. So this was where the legendary Snake Princess lived.