Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's


The Plateau, 1921

It was one of the good days. The Plateau could bring the rarest of gifts, mystery and wonderment; but those same forces could turn haunting, terrifying and suddenly take your life… or worse. But not today, Marguerite thought. Today was a good day.

Three years in this lost world had honed her senses. Most of the Plateau's inhabitants had spent a lifetime here and never felt the mystic pulse that drove this jungle, but Marguerite had never had a choice. She now understood that she was a part of this place— to what end or what that might mean no longer troubled her. On the good days, like today, she lived in the moment.

She leaned back and let the waterfall take her full, dark hair; the rushing water felt nice against her scalp. She stole a glance back up the trail that led to the tree house. It was unlikely that any of her housemates would be out in the midday heat. Quickly, she removed the last of her clothing, tossed them to shore, and dove into the deep pool at the base of the fall.

It felt good to be naked below the waterline, like she had a secret. She twisted to the northeast and thumbed her nose in the direction of London. For all you Victorian prudes, she thought. Marguerite had had her fill of judgmental hypocrites— high society ladies that would drop their petticoats and jump right in with her: as long as they knew the others would never find out.

She laughed aloud at the thought. All those Victorian ladies — with their high hair, hats, lace and feathers — here in her private little bathing pool. Oh, but how she had secretly wanted to be like them. What was I thinking? And she laughed again.

"What's so funny." A voice startled her. With a sharp intake of breath, she took in a bit of water.

Marguerite spun about choking, coughing out the word, "Roxton!" The man was all smiles, standing in the thick vegetation that lined the south edge of the pool.

"How long have you been peeping there?" she demanded.

"Peeping?" John feigned confusion, "You mean guarding; I'm guarding you." He looked side to side as if doing just that. Then he began to unbutton his shirt.

"How long?" she repeated.

He knelt to unlace his boots, twisting up his gaze as if he were thinking very hard. "About the time you stepped into the waterfall."

"I see." Her voice had softened, warming to the situation. She watched, silently as Roxton lay his shirt across his boots and then stood to remove his final piece of clothing.

Sometimes the Plateau could bring the rarest of gifts. Today was going to be a very good day.