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    paren01
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Earliest Shrine - 6. Chapter 6

**
James clicked on it. It was the Goseck Circle, a seven thousand-year-old Neolithic observatory noted for precise winter and summer solstice observations. Everything was falling into place.

"I guess we know where we'll be on the summer solstice." Said Amelia.
**

"Remember, we need to be there at sunrise," said Winston. "Amelia, you're not exactly a morning person."

"Don't worry, I can wake you up!" Said Benjamin hopefully.

"No, you won't, you little pervert," she laughed good-naturedly.

Benjamin took the rebuke in stride. "Summer Solstice is the day after tomorrow. How will we get to the Goseck Circle without a car?"

After a pause, Amelia volunteered. "I might know a way."

She explained she had met a boy who worked the front desk at the hotel. They met up for coffee and had a good time. He seemed nice. "Friedrich has a car."

“ Friedrich! Friedrich! who’s Friedrich?” Glowered Benjamin.

"Could he take us to the Goseck Circle the night before? Asked James. "It might be better to camp at the site."

"I doubt our parents will agree to that plan." Said Winston.

"Maybe we can sneak out of the hotel after dinner." Offered James.

At dinner that night, they were met by an unexpected guest. Dr. Wagner greeted them almost too ebulliently at the restaurant. This was a side of the doctor the teens were unfamiliar with. In the past, he was always very professional, even to the point of detachment. James found this new Dr. Wagner off-putting, bordering on creepy.

"What have you kids been up to?" Asked Dr. Wagner.

"Just seeing the sights," was Winston's short reply.

"I understand you and James, along with your fathers, visited the State Museum of Prehistory and had a special showing of the Nebra Disk."

"Yes, we did."

"You and James must tell me all about it."

Both boys were becoming suspicious of the doctor's sudden interest in their activities relating to the disks.

"Not much to tell." Said James.

"What are you doing in Leipzig?" Asked Benjamin.

"Dr. Schwartzman from the museum is a colleague of mine. We went to university together. He called me and was excited to learn more about the Bronze Age find in Augsburg. He told me about James' and Winston's visit."

Benjamin cocked his head suspiciously and asked. "Yeah, so why are you HERE?"

By this time, they were all viewing Dr. Wagner warily. He was hiding something.

"I thought you might want my professional help following the map."

"Following the map?” Said Amelia, "why would we follow the map? Even if it was a map, it's thousands of years old, and we'd be wasting our time."

"You're probably right. You said you could read the map, James. Besides archaeology, I also have an interest in linguistics. After our discussion last week, I looked at the Augsburg disk more closely and wondered if you might be on to something. If there's any chance the symbols on the disk are a crude early language, it should be studied. Perhaps the language is related to Proto-Indo-European. That would be an amazing discovery right up there with the Rosetta Stone."

James' suspicions continued to increase. Something wasn't right here. "I think I was overly excited, and my imagination got away from me. I'd rather do some sightseeing and play more soccer with the local boys."

Boris looked disappointed with an edge of anger. "I think you're being irresponsible, James. If there's any chance the map could lead to more incredible archeological finds, we must pursue them. Discoveries like this are what make reputations!"

There it was. Boris let his true intentions slip out. He was after fame and fortune.

"Sorry, I'm not interested." Said James.

Dr. Wagner abruptly excused himself and exited the restaurant.

The next day, Amelia confirmed that Friedrich would drive them to the Goseck Circle that evening after dinner. He even loaned them sleeping bags and a tent. He regretfully declined to join them because he had to work the early morning shift at his family-owned hotel.

They met a block from the hotel at 9:00 PM. Despite Benjamin's initial hostility toward Friedrich, the teen's ebullient personality soon won Benjamin over. Before long, the two talked each other's ears off and traded silly jokes and stories. Amelia was slightly peeved from being practically ignored by both the boys.

Forty minutes later, they said their goodbyes to Friedrich and proceeded to the center of the Goseck Circle. They hadn't anticipated the popularity of the observatory the night before the Summer Solstice. They pitched their tent and laid out their sleeping bags outside the circle.

Once settled, Amelia asked, "James, now that we're here, what do we do?"

"The Augsburg Disk has some clues. The Bronze Age makers of the disks used stars, rivers, hills, and the sun to navigate and identify landmarks. There was no GPS thousands of years ago," he laughed.

He continued, "I think we were lucky with the Saale River. I searched all the other rivers, hills, and constellations listed in the text of the Augsburg Disk and didn't find anything to cross-reference. I also checked the star cluster on the Nebra Disk. Strangely, the Pleiades Star Cluster isn't visible in the night sky this time of year."

"What do we do then?" asked Winston.

"I'm not sure," said James. "The Augsburg Disk references several rivers besides the Saale, but we have no way of knowing what the rivers are."

"We know where the sun will rise," Winston said, pointing to the smaller eastern gap around the circle's timbers. Maybe we'll learn more during the sunrise."

"Yeah, maybe." Replied a dejected James.

The next morning, they woke before dawn and went to the henge's center. They all stood expectantly, waiting for the sun to rise. Winston felt James grab his hand as the first light beams broke the horizon. He could tell James was in one of his trance states.

"Winston, we need to follow the sun."

"Follow the sun? How far, James? How far do we need to follow the sun?"

"Not far, just to the river." Said James.

The two boys walked, quickening their pace until breaking into a run through the town of Goseck, up a gradual hill until they stood on a low bluff overlooking the Saale River.

"We're close," said James. Let's try to align our position with the gap in the circle."

Turning, they could see the timbers of the hinge illuminated by the rising sun.

"It must be further in this direction," observed Winston.

The teens walked fifty feet east and stood side by side, a couple of yards apart, surveying the ground as they walked. James suddenly froze.

"It's here," he said.

"What do you see, James!"

"I don't see anything, but it's here," he said while scanning the ground before him.

They both knelt and started to dig away at the earth. Winston found a broken tree limb and loosened the soil while James scooped the dirt away with his hands. Within a half hour, Winston hit something solid with the branch. It was a stone. They began digging more frantically.

Soon, a boulder began to emerge. Lines and symbols were chiseled out of the stone, barely visible around caked soil. The lines appeared to be rivers much like the ones found on the Augsburg disk, only more of them.

"We need to find something to wash the muck off the stone to see it better." Said Winston.

James agreed to return to the camp, although he was reluctant to leave the stone unguarded.

With the early light of the longest day of the year, Winston and James saw the solstice celebrants for the first time. Two to three hundred people must be standing in and around the henge. Some were pagan worshipers, while most were average locals and tourists enjoying the ancient astronomical event.

The boys made their way to the campsite. Winston inhaled sharply when he saw Dr. Wagner sitting on one of the sleeping bags, drinking coffee from a thermos and conversing with Amelia and Benjamin.

As they got closer, they heard Boris say. "I'll ask you one more time, where is James!"

James shouted, "I'm right here." Turning to Benjamin and Amelia, he asked. "Is this asshole threatening you?"

"Where have you been!" Shouted an indignant Dr. Wagner.

"None of your business. Have you been following us?" Asked James.

"Yes, I need to find out where the map leads."

"You know … there's a name for creeps that stalk underage teens." Said James. "I'm sure most of the people here would have an issue with it."

"Nonsense, you wouldn't dare." Said the perturbed doctor.

"I suggest you leave now!" Said Winston.

The four of them stood staring down at the doctor. Boris rose, scowling, and hurried to the parking lot. They watched him drive off with an angry squeal of his tires.

After they were sure he was gone, Winston turned to Amelia and Benjamin. "We found something. We need your help."

The four walked into town and bought fifteen liters of water and two scrub brushes. Within an hour, they brushed the soil away and washed the stone's surface. A detailed river system map was visible. Looking at the map from north to south, James could see a river named Seles in the ancient script. It was a near mirror image of the Saale River running at the base of the cliff they were standing on.

"Somebody look up German river systems?" Asked James. “According to the map on the boulder, the Saale travels south and intersects with another river that crosses westerly."

Amelia said, "That must be the Main."

"After that, there is a river traveling south."

"Might be the Neckar River."

"And then another major river traveling east." Said James.

"There's the Danube," said Amelia.

"The Danube flows past Ulm!" Added Winston.

"And look," James pointed to the boulder, there's the Pleiades Star Cluster again and what appears to be mountains just north of the Danube."

"Let's take some pictures and get back to Leipzig before our parents notice we're gone." Said Benjamin.

"Okay, let's cover the stone and meet up with Friedrich for the ride back to the hotel."

Four sleepy-eyed teens greeted their parents at breakfast that morning.

"Is everyone packed?" Asked Vincent. He was in full tour guide mode.

"Almost," replied James and Winston in unison.

"Checkouts at 10:00 AM. Everyone be ready to leave in half an hour."

A half-hour wasn't a lot of time. They were all feeling grimy from camping and needed to shower and pack.

Benjamin hadn't unpacked, so he was the first to shower and drag his suitcase out to the van, leaving James and Winston alone for the first time in days.

"Do you want to shower first?" asked Winston.

"We don't have much time … maybe we should shower together."

Winston's eyes grew wide. "D … do … do you think we should?"

"I want to." Replied James.

The boys began to slowly strip off their clothes, facing away from each other but still shyly sneaking peeks.

When they were down to their boxer briefs, they nervously hesitated.

James thought, 'I shouldn't be embarrassed for having a stiffy. Winston knows I like him.'

He dropped his shorts and turned to face Winston.

Winston paused momentarily, then pulled off his shorts, revealing his equally excited state. Relief swept over them, and they laughed. With time running out, they boisterously jumped into the shower. It wasn't easy, but they resisted touching each other. Still, they both logged erotic images to play out during alone time.

James and Winston settled into the van's third row for the long drive back to Augsburg. They both 'adjusted' themselves and shielded themselves with their tablets from the family members, but not each other.

Back in their room at their hotel in Augsburg, they took turns using the bathroom. James couldn't resist letting out a stifled moan, just loud enough for Winston to hear. Winston returned the favor when it was his turn ten minutes later. The sexual tension was running high.

After dinner, Winston, James, and Benjamin met with Amelia in her room.

"This might be a good time to review everything we've learned," said James, as he placed copies of the Augsburg Disk, the Nebra Sky Disk, and an enlarged copy of the photo of the river system boulder on the bed.

"I think there must be something special about the Pleiades Star Cluster," said Amelia. "It's depicted on the disks and the river system map."

"Yeah, and so far, it hasn't helped us find anything," said Benjamin.

"I wonder if it's, 'X marks the spot,' like an old pirate's treasure map," offered Winston.

The four of them focused on the star cluster on the boulder photo.

"If this is the Neckar and the Danube rivers, then the star cluster is east of the Neckar and north of the Danube. That's a lot of terrain," said James. "I think it would be futile to just wander around hundreds of square miles hoping to find something."

"Do either of the disks offer any additional descriptions, James," asked Amelia.

James picked up the copy of the Augsburg Disk. "There are several references to rivers, streams, mountains, and hills. There's even a reference to an ancient hunting trail that intersects with something that translates to the quiet stream. But I searched the internet for the phonic equivalents of the names and couldn't find anything that makes sense."

"Do you remember the tour guide at the museum in Blaubeuren?" asked Winston.

"Yeah, I remember him."

James had tried to forget about that traumatic episode in his and Winston's relationship.

Winston continued, "I think he was a university student studying anthropology. He seemed like a nice guy. Maybe he can help us."

"It's worth a try. We certainly can't ask Dr. Wagner for help." Said Amelia.

The following day, the boys met up with the German youth Fußball club to kick the ball around. After the scrimmage, as the boys lounged around in the club's usual hangout, several were curious about their time in Leipzig. Winston and James mentioned they had observed the summer solstice at the Goseck Circle. Most of the boys found that interesting. One boy, Theo, belonged to a youth explorer club. His local group had camped at the circle the year before. Although it wasn't on the solstice, he and his companions found the experience both fun and moving.

"Have you ever camped above the Danube near the Neckar, Theo?" asked Winston.

"Oh yes, several times. The Schwäbische Alb is one of our favorite places to camp and hike."

Referencing the text on the Augsburg Disk, James asked. "Have you ever heard of a trail called something like swoitasentos?"

"There's the Schwabian trail. It is a long hiking trail, over a hundred kilometers. It runs through several mountain valleys and is one of the easiest hikes."

"That sounds interesting. Maybe we should give it a try, James," said Winston.

"Yeah, maybe we should."

Copyright © 2023 paren01; All Rights Reserved.
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Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

James and Winston and crew are very creative and determined to find out what the map reveals. Dr Wagner is following and disturbing them. He thinks they are onto a great find and must be trying to steal the claim for the discovery for his glory. He will not give up. 

The crew has another activity planned to work with the map. Meanwhile, James and Winston get closer but have not yet touched each other--Soon, they will act on their feelings, I bet.

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The parents need to know about Boris now, not later. The indestructible nature of teenagers will prevent that from happening, I suppose. Oy.

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21 minutes ago, Dan South said:

The parents need to know about Boris now, not later. The indestructible nature of teenagers will prevent that from happening, I suppose. Oy.

Good point, but teenagers never expect to be believed by their elders. Thanks for the comment.

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36 minutes ago, akascrubber said:

James and Winston and crew are very creative and determined to find out what the map reveals. Dr Wagner is following and disturbing them. He thinks they are onto a great find and must be trying to steal the claim for the discovery for his glory. He will not give up. 

The crew has another activity planned to work with the map. Meanwhile, James and Winston get closer but have not yet touched each other--Soon, they will act on their feelings, I bet.

The teens seem to be making progress, but will Boris get in their way? Thanks for the comment.

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9 minutes ago, Rigel said:

What if the Pleiades symbol references not a star cluster in the sky, but seven sisters?

You might be onto something. At least partly. Thanks for the comment.

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1 hour ago, drsawzall said:

Dr Wagner is trouble, he needs to be dealt withj ASAP

He’s a mean one. Thanks for the comment.

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Boris is trouble.  If the kids won't cooperate, I suspect Boris will find ways to get their parents to reign in their explorations.  The group should report the new find, but I suspect they won't do that immediately.  A 100 km hike might be fun even if they don't find anything.  

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5 hours ago, raven1 said:

Boris is trouble.  If the kids won't cooperate, I suspect Boris will find ways to get their parents to reign in their explorations.  The group should report the new find, but I suspect they won't do that immediately.  A 100 km hike might be fun even if they don't find anything.  

I think the four teens may find new discoveries on the adventure. Thanks for the comment.

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