Here’s this week’s little tidbit, part two of the prologue. Enjoy:
He hated sand.
The gritty element seemed to be everywhere in this wretched place. The only place he managed to escape it was in the comforts of his hotel, and that was a long ways away, along with his wife. No, he mustn’t think of the wretched woman and her sons. She’d already cost him one treasure, he couldn’t afford to lose another. He’d already lost Luger, who was one of his most valuable assets. But none of that mattered now, compared to the treasure that awaited him.
The carriage stopped in front of a small building, barely more than a shack. He paused to pay the driver, wiping his hands after passing the coin. He could not fathom why Will enjoyed consorting with such filth. Then again, his dear “friend” had never been one to shy at getting his hands dirty.
The small building appeared to contain only one room, which was littered with various Egyptian artifacts, each encased behind glass. A small, dark man waited, watching as he stepped forward.
The Englishman offered a tight smile. “You’re late. The staff was supposed to be found and delivered by the beginning of this week.”
The Egyptian shrugged. “Men work as fast as their pay.”
“Oh, don’t worry, my friend,” Gormenburg said, using his teeth to pull off his gloves. “You’ll be paid, and handsomely. As long as you have what was promised.”
“But of course.”
He followed the man into a back room, trying to conceal his impatience. He had come a long way for his prize and he was not going to let it elude him again.
Leaning down, the Egyptian moved with much ceremony, inserting a key into the richly colored wardrobe before him, pulling open the doors. With an ominous click, a hidden drawer popped out, revealing a long thin object, wrapped in brown paper.
“The staff of emperors,” the man said, yellow teeth gleaming as he held it.
Gormenburg had expected to feel some kind of power seeing the strange object, the same chill as when he’d handled other such objects. Still, he couldn’t help but feel a gleam of satisfaction seeing what he’d waited so long for.
“Now, I believe the price we agreed on was 10,000, but seeing as how much effort my crew put into the job, 50,000 should suffice.”
“You’ll get a reward for this,” the Englishman nodded.
The Egyptian turned, his smile sliding off when he saw the revolver pointed at his face.
“No – wait!”
The gunshot was quiet, the bureau’s own invention. It was immensely satisfying to hear the thud of an obstacle eliminated, thought Gormenburg.
Outside the world continued as usual, unknowing of the trade that had just been made. Unknowing of the power that had just been acquired.
Too easy, he thought, flicking off the brown packaging with precise movement.
His smile disappeared.
The golden staff he’d expected to see was not there, replaced by a wooden rod of the same shape. Anger flooded through his veins, turning his vision red. It couldn’t be – no, of course not. There was no way his wife had managed to get word.
There was only one person who could have taken it.