Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Hand of Justice -- Episode I

Prologue: if you haven't read previous adventures of Percival St. Croix, start with the first short story, The Crucible of Thoth before discovering the Hand of Justice. 


The Hand of Justice
Bruce Heard & Janet Deaver-Pack


Cairo, February 2nd 1915

Percival St. Croix squinted through the Model-T's dusty windshield. Swept from faraway Sinai and the Gulf of Suez, a haze of sand blew through the narrow street, masking all under a thin reddish veil. Everyone had taken refuge inside their shuttered houses, waiting for the dust storm to pass. And perhaps what dangers approached along with it would retire just as fast.

The Turks had been sighted several days ago, marching from Palestine toward the canal. Among colonial and military circles, everyone was anxious about the offensive's outcome and yet so certain of victory. Aside from echoes of a world at war and the maddening dust, another malaise afflicted the old city. With the British military occupying Egypt, foreigners and infidels in the eyes of the native Egyptians, there was a yearning for independence and mixed feelings about opposing the Ottoman Empire.

Recognizing his destination, Percival pulled over and stopped the Model-T at the side of the elegant garden bordering Bayt al'Kritliyya, now covered in dust. The engine rattled and stalled as he jumped out. His jacket's collar pulled up and his Panama low, Percival covered the short distance through the narrow alley to the door. He'd received an invitation from a friend for tea and an opportunity to examine an old parchment. Najeeb was an old sage, an erudite in the matters of Islamic history, and a collector of antiquities. Percival looked forward to their meeting despite the somewhat urgent-sounding nature of Najeeb's message. He grabbed the heavy metal ring and pounded it against the wooden door (. . .)

Click HERE to Continue, or skip to Episode II