T. lex
Exploring the Land of the Lost

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Story Synopsis for

THE LAND OF THE LOST

 

THE GUARDIANS OF THE PIT

                                                 

by Harlan Ellison ®

 

ACT ONE:

Returning to a cave by the river they saw in an earlier segment, MARSHALL, WILL and HOLLY enter, hoping it will offer an avenue of escape from The Land of the Lost. Once inside, however, they find the cave is shallow, and was once used as a storage place for wood and vines used by natives making rafts to glide down the river.

They are about to leave, when one of the primordial beasts (to be designated) attacks them.

They rush back into the cave, and find they are trapped. Their situation seems hopeless until Holly perceives a draft of chill air blowing up from below, through a rift in the rocks. Using long chunks of ironwood, they begin hacking away at the hole until its true nature is revealed: the cave is merely the upper antechamber of a gigantic cavern below. A cavern so immense its dimensions cannot be discerned. A torch flung through the hole spirals down and down and is finally lost in utter darkness. And from below they can hear the strange and ominous sounds of…something…moving.

END ACT ONE

ACT TWO:

Realizing they cannot leave the cave, they resolve to build a pulley-&-platform from the ironwood, and from the vast store of strong vines in the chamber. They work for hours, all the while fending off the beast outside with their torches. Finally, they fall asleep, leaving Will to take the first spell at guarding the cave entrance. While they sleep, LIZARD MEN suddenly emerge from the hole in the cave’s floor, and overpower Will. They drag him off, even as Marshall and Holly awake to his screams for help.

They have to go down to rescue him, but Holly cannot. She is agoraphobic, afraid of heights, and a descent on the platform terrifies her. But Marshall is stern with her, telling her now is the moment she must overcome her fear. He must stay to fight off the beast, and additionally the hole in the floor is not large enough for him to get through, though it is large enough for her…and time is of the essence. Both realize the Lizard Men are killers who may use Will for unspeakable practices. Holly agrees Marshall is right, but she is frightened. Yet this is the time when she must face her responsibilities as an emerging young adult.

They rig the platform and pulley, and Marshall lowers her. She begins the dizzying, long descent. Into the darkness. Down and down, swinging out over the bottomless chasm.

As she descends, the sounds heard from above take material form. The sounds made by the guardians of the pit…two giant pterodactyls, that swirl out of the darkness to attack her as she clings desperately to the platform, fighting for her life.

END ACT TWO

ACT THREE:

I tie everything up neatly. Trust me.

END ACT THREE

© 2008 The Kilimanjaro Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Harlan Ellison is a registered trademark of The Kilimanjaro Corporation.

 

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Transcriber’s Notes:

This episode is *very* similar to some of the scenes in "Elsewhen". In both stories, Holly detects a draft which leads to a small opening which only *she* can fit through. In both stories, the hole opens up into an impossibly large "area" and Holly is forced to cope with her fear of heights. Furthermore, in both stories Will is captured and Holly must come to his rescue. Coincidence…or did Dorothy Fontana (a good friend of Ellison’s) "borrow" some of his ideas for "Elsewhen"?

Act One mentions that the cave was sighted near the river in a previous episode. Could he be referring to one of the caves discovered in "Downstream" and if so are his "Lizard Men" of Act Two really the Sleestak? Or are they *another* race of reptilian humanoids native to the Land? Are the natives mentioned in Act One the Pakuni, the Sleestak…or someone else? While the Pakuni don’t seem like the type to build rafts, they *were* able to tie together pieces of bamboo with vine to create their compound so it’s not inconceivable that they possessed the *knowledge* if not the actual desire.

Since Act Three was never written we may never know *what* awaits Holly at the bottom of the pit or how she was able to fend up off the attacking pterosaurs (I smell fanfic material…). How does Holly rescue her brother and more importantly - how do they return to the surface? Do they use the platform or was it destroyed by the pterodactyls? Could their be *another* passageway back to the surface? Something *much* closer to High Bluff for example? So many possibilities….

-Star Saber (aka Mike Bisbee)