The Break in
Rummaging through the hard drive
I was rummaging through the hard drive on my computer the other day and found this story I wrote a few years ago. Reading it again I thought it was well worth sharing and getting feedback on the story so here goes.
Please feel free to tell me what you like or what you don't like and what could be done better.
Thanks for your time
Hope you enjoy the read
"There are a few things you need to know before we start." Chris folded the phone he’d just finished talking on and returned it back to its hip pouch. He slowly gazed around the room connecting with each of its occupants.
There were five of them sat around the table, a rectangular pine bench, big enough to accommodate them all, but it had clearly seen better days. They were an eclectic bunch, each was a specialist in their own area, and each vital to the job. Yet they were just the tip of the iceberg of what was needed for the project.
“Haven’t we been through this already?” the man opposite almost shouted back, he hated having to listen over and over to the same tired old rhetoric, “we already know how valuable the bloody things inside are! And how important they are! Do we really have to listen to it again?”
“Jimmy’s right Chris” Katherine, the second in charge a blonde haired woman with her tied back fiercely, it made her look like Miss Marple. She sounded sympathetic but they all knew it was a hollow sympathy for her team leader; she’d so wanted to lead this expedition.
“But none of us were on that phone call just now!” The other female in the room, a younger woman a brunette with hazel eyes and olive skin replied. She was the local specialist in the team. A native of Cairo, but just as at home in the high end shops of any major city. “I think we should hear what Chris has to say.” They all turned to him, some expecting wisdom and others expecting more of the same melodrama
Chris was still looking at Gerhardt sat opposite; he’d flung himself back in his chair, giving a really intense stare back as he habitually chewed the nail of his right thumb.
“As I just said” Chris re-iterated what he’d tried to start the briefing with, “There are a few things you need to know before we start” he leaned across the table and stared Gerhardt down, he knew they all wanted this job, they all wanted to ‘advance their careers’, but he was the one given it. “They’ll damn well do it my way!” was all he could think.
“I just had Alex on the phone” he reached down for his briefcase, a battered black leather one, the kind every professor as. “They’ve deciphered the Hieroglyphics we sent them” he took out a dirty sheet of faded paper with some markings on them.
“And?” it was more a question that a statement from the fifth member of the team, Steve was the only one who didn’t have a doctorate in something or other, his qualifications were somewhat more practical if somewhat unorthodox.
“If you’ll let me finish” Chris retorted back, “Alex says that the inscription post dates the Tomb, possibly by about three hundred years”
“What?” both Gerhardt and Steve leaned in, but it was Jamila, the local from the Egyptian Antiquities Bureau who spoke. “We are talking about the missing son of Ramses the second?”
“For the tomb at least” Chris replied without missing a beat, “But there’s more, as I said there are a FEW things you need to know” he got up and headed to the back of the room where the coffee pot was situated, “The inscription, on the other hand is from grave robbers!”
The sense of disappointment in the room was overwhelming, all that work, literally years of work researching where the tomb could be and what might have happened to the prince who died at birth and records of had been lost almost before he was buried, and to add insult, he was the first son of the greatest of Egypt’s Pharaohs.
And now they find that the tomb robbers beat them to it. All that would be left would be a few inscriptions to show the world, recognition enough, but nothing like if they found an undisturbed tomb.
They knew from the start that the odds were stacked against them. Very few tombs, even of the nobles had been discovered intact, and the only Pharaoh’s tomb found intact was that of the Boy King Tutankhamen, but even then it was more by luck that anything else.
So close yet so far.
Chris let it linger for a few minutes while he poured his coffee, secretly he was enjoying this. “You remember that Ramses’ monument said there were ten ‘obstacles’ to get to his son?” his eyes bored into Katherine as he found his seat again.
“Yes” she replied totally mystified as to where this was going, “But we thought it probably just a story to prevent people digging him up!”
“Well” Chris went on, “It seems that at first the grave robbers either didn’t believe the story, or didn’t know it.”
“So you’re saying” Gerhardt was tapping his pen on the table, the way he always does when the adrenaline starts to pump through his veins. He was the specialist on Ramses and his family, “they found the obstacles and got round them”
“Oh they found them!” Chris replied taking a sip of the coffee, “at least they found three of them, and most of the grave robber are still in there!”
“What the hell” all four almost shouted, not quite believing what they were hearing, and totally confused as to what it meant. “Where the hell are you going with this?” was all they could say.
Chris took a moment to compose his thoughts, this was a career maker or breaker for all of them and he only had one chance to get it right, from this point on, if they weren’t with him one hundred percent then things could get real nasty real soon!
“The inscription is a warning from the grave robbers” Chris began. “They claim they went after the treasure but instead of finding it they found the tomb infested with traps. There were five robbers went in, but only one came out alive! He connected with each of the people sat there. Every one of them had a face that said shock and total disbelief, if he’d told the Father Christmas was real and waiting outside he’d have had more chance of belief. “If you don’t believe me you can call them yourselves” he held out the phone.
“No, no, you’ve got it wrong Chris!” Gerhardt’s voice was almost a whisper, chocked up with emotion as he calculated the possibilities, “We believe you about the inscription! It’s the possibility they’re right we’re having a hard time with!”
And the possibilities were endless. Seldom is a tomb found that is untouched, but only once in the history of Archaeology had a Royal tomb been found untouched, but here before them was another one. The son was the firstborn of the Pharaoh Moses had confronted with the plagues, the one who was a victim the Angel of Death in the story that until this moment everyone thought was a fairy story. They were about to re-write history.
“Folks” the voice at the back of the room clamored to be heard over the din of the other four, it was Steve, the one with the interesting talents. “Let’s remember that this is an Archaeological dig first!” he surveyed the room, his talents were security, he was tasked with making sure that whatever they found went where it was supposed to and not some backstreet dealer for a quick buck. “If word gets out too soon we’ll have a bloody free for all with every kind of religious group and crank wanting a piece of the action!”.
“Agreed” replied Chris. ‘This will make or break all our careers, depending on how we handle it!”
“But I need to report this” Jamila was the most businesslike, and had the most to lose by not reporting it. “It’s the law here”
“You only need to report that we’ve confirmed that it’s a Royal Tomb at this stage” Steve replied. “The rest can wait until we’ve got everything in place to secure the artifacts.”
“But the Museum will be furious” Jamila responded.
“It’s them I’m thinking of” Steve replied, “Besides, I think they’ll see sense, especially when they get to keep the greatest treasure uncovered in history!”
“But it still needs to be” Jamila was struggling for words, “it still needs to be documented” she sounded stronger than she felt.
“No” Chris replied, in that soft voice he used when he was getting determined, not pushy, but quite firm. “All that needs documenting is that we have confirmed it’s a royal tomb. Nothing about what might be in there”
Slowly, they all gathered their thoughts as the magnitude of what the next 48 hours had in store dawned on each one. “Besides, we still have one little issue.” It was Chris who broke the silence, “as I said, there are a few things you need to know before we start, and one of them is that there are still more obstacles. Seven of them to be precise! And all we know is that it seems they are real and deadly”
“But, do we know when the grave robbers entered the tomb?” Gerhardt asked the hard question, “after all, if it was nears the time of the burial then there’s a chance that the machinery in the traps has rotted and they don’t work anymore!”
“Yep” Chris met his gaze. “About a hundred years after the burial, at least according to the inscription. They should have been rotted then, but apparently three of them were in fine working order! There’s a chance that the Tomb has perfectly preserved the machinery and they are in fine working order!”