Professor Arlan MacGhee paced about the tent, his patience at its limits. After everything that had happened before, and now this! Professor Bernadette Klaus had been hauled away by the local authorities, ranting like a mad woman, and there was no explanation as to why David's motorcycle was parked outside the tent, even though the two Guards said that he had been the one to attack them. The police had sent for a tow truck to remove the suspicious machine, but the professor quickly quashed that idea.
As he stood there fuming, he suddenly realized.
"That young man still owes me an explanation!" He stepped out to the motorcycle and began rummaging through the saddlebags. Within the right one, he found the envelope with his name on it.
He tore it open and drew out a piece of paper and a worn, tarnished gold ring.
Frowning, he placed the ring in his pocket and opened the folded paper.
I know you were expecting a letter of explanation, unfortunately, I don't have the time to give you one right now. I do have a theory, however.
Open the fourth Sarcophagus. You will find the explanation inside it - if I'm right.
Take care of Rosie for me and take care of yourself.
Good luck in the future.
"Professor!" Susan came running towards him, excitement showing on her face. "You're not going to believe this!"
His curiosity piqued, the professor slid the small note into his pocket and followed the excited student back into the cave. The far wall had been successfully excavated, revealing the damaged fourth sarcophagus. Robert was on the other side, practically vibrating with excitement.
"Gently, now!" Arlan exclaimed as he moved to assist.
On the opposite side of the sarcophagus was a stone storage block, with pigeon holes drilled into the hard surface. In each one, the end of a battered leather case could be seen.
"It's like the ones all those years ago," Arlan gasped. He counted the scrolls quickly. Twenty in all and his heart raced. The one in the top left pigeon hole had a small tarnished golden emblem embossed upon the end, and Arlan laughed out loud as he saw the crudely worked Harley Davidson shield. He drew it out carefully and took it with him.
"Have the rest of these sent to Athens immediately. I want complete translations, carbon dating, spectral analysis, the lot!" he moved towards the exit. "Susan! Come with me, please?"
Confused, the young intern followed the professor.
"Why aren't you sending that one?" she asked, once they were inside the tent.
Arlan held the scroll up, end first so she could see the emblem. Her eyes widened.
"It's from him," Arlan laughed.
"Who?" Susan asked, completely perplexed.
"David!" Arlan said, his laughter growing. "The young man who came here the other day! My former student!"
Susan pulled the thin rubber gloves over her fingers and gingerly took the scroll.
"Professor," she said. "That isn't possible."
"That side of the room was uncovered this morning, and yet the scroll is here, in your hands!"
Susan gently removed the end cap, feeling the ancient wood soft and gel like in her fingers. Within the tube were the wooden ends of a formal scroll, just like the ones found in Roman temples all over the empire.
Gently, she drew it out and examined the parchment. It didn't seem too brittle, but she grabbed a small bottle of liquid and gently sprayed the parchment as the two of them unrolled it.
They stopped and Arlan laughed out loud when he saw the first lines, written in Modern English.
Greetings, Professor MacGhee! You wanted an explanation! Sorry it took so long for you to get it!
Susan's fingers left the parchment as she felt her mouth drop in wonder.
Robert came in a few moments later with a fax in his hand.
"What's this?" Arlan asked, taking the report.
"Copy of the post mortem on the first body. Female, age fifty-five to sixty-five, cause of death is attributed to natural causes." Robert reported dutifully. "The second opinions on the modern fabrics also came in. They confirmed the initial findings, though I don't know how?"
"As I said," Arlan laughed. "Anything is possible."
Gently, the Professor and his students slowly unrolled the parchment, reading the words as they went.
When I wrote the first draft of this story turned epic, I originally had planned for it to be a final adventure for Gabrielle, one where she ends up living "happily ever after" in the modern day world. As you can see, what began as a final journey has become a jumping point for all new adventures. I can promise you that those adventures are hatching inside my head as I type these words, so you won't have to wait long for the next one.
I want to thank everyone who has read this. I know it can be tedious at times, so thank you.
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