Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Hand of Justice -- Episode V

Al'Qarafa, February 2nd 1915
The ride had been a bumpy, uncomfortable one. Percival lay in the back of the motorcar, his hands tied behind his back, and with a sack still masking his face. Judging from sounds and smells he could glean along the way, they'd crossed much of Cairo. By the time the vehicle slowed, the surroundings had grown much quieter and colder. Percival shivered. Like all places at the edge of a desert, the temperature dropped considerably at night. The engine coughed and rattled to a halt as rough hands dragged him out. After a short walk, a heavy door nearby slammed shut with an echo, and Percival was pushed down onto a chair. The air was redolent with the familiar smells of dust and old mortar. At last, the sack was pulled off.

The gimlet-eyed leader with the nose like a raptor's beak, the presumed Turkish spy, and another swarthy fellow with a thick mustache and a black turban surrounded Percival. A bare light bulb hung from a wire that dangled from the overhead dome, its sallow light casting the three men's shadows against windowless, mud-brick walls. Writing still visible on patches of dilapidated plaster, a mihrab indicating the direction of Mecca, and three large doors revealed the square-shaped chamber as a mausoleum.

Abruptly, the leader broke the tomb's morbid silence. “Where did you put it, Mister St. Croix?”  (. . .)

Click HERE to continue or skip to Episode VI.