Monday, April 25, 2016

The Dig

                Hamad stared at the ancient carving in the old temple wall. It depicted a bird diving into a sun dappled stream that was abundant with large fish, but at the bottom of the stream there was a giant beast. The beast had gnarly teeth and deep set white eyes. Hamad bent lower to the ground to get a better look at the beast. He held the torch close to the stone carving.  He blew and brushed some sand away from the edges.  The beast was some sort of Crocodile/nightmare monster hybrid.  It was a figure he hadn’t seen in any other tombs.


                Hamad turned from the carving and looked at Dr. Gomez.  

                “Don’t let the torch get so close the walls. You know better than that,” said Dr. Gomez.
                “I’m sorry Doctor. I was just getting a better look at this carving. It’s quite something,” said Hamad.
                “Well, I’m sorry too. I didn’t mean to yell at you,” said Dr. Gomez, “but you know how important this is to me. This is my career Hamad; my whole career”.
                Hamad rolled his eyes and turned away from the “Great” Dr. Anton Gomez of the University of Some British School.  Hamad had been on 30 or more dig sites in his life. He started as a young boy just hauling away small rocks and moved up to being the most distinguished digger and under-respected historical scholar of his day.  Other doctors and explorers had used Hamad’s knowledge and made tons of money off lectures and books, but Hamad saw none of the success.  He still lived in the small town he grew up in the house left to him by his parents.

                “I say Hamad, what do you make of these symbols around the edges of this doorway,” asked Dr. Gomez as he tapped his pipe carelessly on the heel of his expensive boots.
                “It says, ‘No Smoking’, said Hamad.
                “Really? That would be amazing…,” said Dr. Gomez.

                Hamad slapped himself in the forehead as Dr. Gomez looked at the extensive carving around the doorway.

                “I was just kidding with you, Doctor. It doesn’t say ‘no smoking’. It says that only the virtuous and pure of heart may pass through. It is a warning to enemies to stay out or they will be fed to the beast of the river, which swallows men whole,” said Hamad.
                “Oh, ha ha, I see, the pipe. Very good Hamad. Very good,” said Dr. Gomez, “Well, there is no water in here and I do not see any signs of there ever have been so I’m not sure how these ancient people expected a river monster to consume their enemies…”.

                Hamad returned to inspecting the tomb walls, holding the torch up high to cast a brighter light about the carved cavern.  There was nothing in the tomb of any real value. No gold or silver or trinkets one would expect to find. It was likely tomb robbers had already made off with the good hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Hamad heard a muffled thump noise.

                “I say Hamad. I seem to be stuck in something,” said Dr. Gomez.

                Hamad turned back toward the doctor. Hamad shone the light in Dr. Gomez’s face. Dr. Gomez looked down and Hamad followed his gaze. The torch light flickered off the bloody wooden spike protruding from Dr. Gomez’s chest.

                “Bloody booby trap I suspect,” said Dr. Gomez and blood spurted from his mouth.

                Hamad backed up and waved the torch all around to make sure there were no other traps this idiot had set off.  The wooden spike in Dr. Gomez’s chest started to rise with Dr. Gomez attached. The wood of what was a large mechanical apparatus groaned with age as Dr. Gomez was lifted off his feet and rose toward the tomb ceiling. Hamad stood still as Dr. Gomez’s body, dripping blood, rose up along the wall on a spiked conveyor belt. Dr. Gomez struggled and kicked his dangling legs but he couldn’t free himself from the giant wooden pike in his chest.  Hamad looked around the tomb and raised his arms up toward Dr. Gomez.

                “Dr. Gomez, what should I do,” asked Hamad.
                “Tell my wife I never really loved her. I loved Jerry,” said Dr. Gomez.

                Hamad scratched his head and looked up at Dr. Gomez as the conveyor pulled him into a high dark chamber and disappeared. The wooden mechanisms kept groaning and operating as another log spike came out of the wall, right where Dr. Gomez had been standing.  Hamad turned and went toward the small chamber they had entered through. He climbed back out of the sloped pit to the other workers crowded around the entrance.  They began asking him what happened to Dr. Gomez but Hamad could not answer. He sat on the sand near the entrance and felt the hot sun on his face.

                “Who the hell is Jerry,” said Hamad to himself. 

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