Chapter Twenty Six – After Story 2 – Aria
It is early morning at the Mojave Desert Research Site. Laila and Kimmy are standing side by side at a workbench under a long awning. Attached to the work area is a large building that is the main hub of the dig.
“This is boring.” Kimmy sighs.
“No, it is fascinating.” Laila returns. “This is what I do for a living.”
“Digging in the dirt, brushing things off and sticking little stickers on them? Not fascinating.”
“It is a fine morning. We are outside in the fresh air.”
“I would think teaching in a stuff classroom would be more exciting than this.”
“It is just as gratifying, but I do like this part better.”
“I also photograph everything, and then later comes the 3-D modeling.”
A car pulls into the gravel parking lot and stops. The trailing cloud of dust overtakes it and surrounds the man getting out of the vehicle. The cloud passes and he brushes the dust off the arms of jacket. He takes his tie and wipes his sunglasses clean.
Laila sees him through the window over her workbench.
“Damn it.” She says. “Lynch is here. He must have seen me last week. You hide and I will go talk to him.”
Laila walks out of the building and meets Lynch half-way down the sidewalk to the parking lot.
“Roger Lynch! So the prodigal student returns. I heard you had moved over to criminal justice after you left the archeology department.”
“Ah, Professor McCarthy. Good to see you again. Twenty-five years later and you look exactly the same. I guess vampires don’t age.”
“We do. Just very, very slowly.”
“Still playing in the sandbox, I see.”
“What can I say? I love the desert.”
“Ah, yes. The desert does do a good job of preserving old relics.” Lynch looks over his sunglasses at Laila.
She smiles and says, “You look like you should have spent more time here.”
Laila begins walking toward the parking lot and Lynch falls in beside her.
“I gave up sniffing the dirt so I could do some real good in law enforcement.”
“Which brings us to…”
“I know you were with Colonel Roberts the night the Urn of Enki was stolen. No one else could blow up a car the way you did. At least no one else Roberts would be working with.”
“I know you have not only the Urn but also the Sword of Pazuzu. And our government wants them.”
“Those are bold statements. I hope you can back them up.”
“I’m giving you a chance to come clean on your own. Let me have the artifacts and no charges will be pressed.”
“Ha! So in other words, you have no proof.”
Lynch points his finger at Laila. “I’ve been doing a lot of research, just like you taught me. I know who you are and what you are doing.”
Kimmy runs out of the building but by the time she reaches them, Laila is laughing very loudly.
“There are no reds under the bed here. So get out.” Laila says menacingly.
“This is federal land, and you do not tell and agent of… Lynch begins but is cut off.”
“You do not accuse me of stealing valuable artifacts and treat me like I’m nobody.” She grabs his ear and leads him to his car.
“Yes, this is federal land.” She continues. “Now beat it before I call a Park Ranger.”
Lynch gets in his car and rolls down the windows. “This isn’t over.”
“We’ll see about that.” Kimmy says.
Lynch rolls up his window and they both wave as he speeds out of the parking lot.
Laila sighs, and says, “That could have gone better.”
“Don’t worry about Lynch.” Kimmy puts her hand on Laila’s shoulder. “As you said, he has no evidence.”
“I think I made things worse. I should have kept my cool.”
“You did fine.” Kimmy laughs, “I would have just punched him in the face.”
Laila puts both of her hands on Kimmy’s shoulders. “Tell me… why are you letting me keep the Urn and the Sword?”
“I’m not.” She replies. “I’m letting you hide them. Everyone has to trust someone, Laila.”
She moves closer and puts her arms around Laila.
“Kimmy, I…” Laila begins.
Kimmy puts a finger to Laila’s lips. “Hush.”
She moves her hand back around Laila and they kiss.