*Click* Surprise flashed across her face! Oh no. was all she could think as she dived for the door of the treasure chamber. She could already tell she was not going to make it. There was a strange popping sound above Sadie. The powder cascaded down on her and she hit the floor with a sickening thud. With one breath she began to lose focus and felt drawn to sleep. There was a flash of red in front of her.
"Foolish." A male voice called out to her.
There was a feeling of weightlessness before all went black.
Sadie awoke in the main chamber. Blinking in confusion she looked around and for a moment, she had no idea where she was or why she was on the sandy floor. A sudden dread came over her; she should be dead or worse. How did she get out of the chamber? Sadie sat up and her head spun, her tongue unglued itself from the roof of her mouth. She needed water. Her hand went to the skin at her side it felt mostly empty. She did not remember drinking so much water. It was then that she noticed her hands were clean. She touched her face and felt it also clean. Someone had cleaned off the poison?!
Her eyes looked toward the chamber where she had should have met her fate. The doorway stood open almost calling to here as if wanting her to try again. Sadie pulled herself up and ran to the entrance of the treasure room. Peering in she saw the pedestal where the artifact should have been. The gold statue was gone. On it was a small wood carving of an owl. Her head tilted to the side as her eyebrow rose.
"As soon as I have time to think this over I will be angry." She made her way across the room avoiding the trip she set off the first time, grabbed the owl and left.
In a café in Cairo, Sadie sat with Anna sipping tea.
"…And then the Professor said we can go to that dig this weekend… Sadie… Sadie? Are you listening?
Sadie looked up at Anna finally aware that her best friend had been talking.
"Yes, we can go get some cakes in a little while." She replied.
"What? Sadie what are you talking about?" Anna asked confused.
Sadie blinked and realization came over her. She squeezed the small owl in her hand she had been mindlessly playing with and placed it back in her bag. Embarrassed Sadie gave Anna her full attention.
"Sorry Anna, I was distracted there for a moment. Can you repeat what you said?"
"Are you still thinking about that owl? Sadie you have to let it go. You are going to make yourself sick over this. Even the best Archaeologists get robbed. At least this creep was nice enough to save your life. Now let's focus on the dig ok."
"I know Anna, but for some reason I can't quite shake this feeling that this was personal. I have to find that statue. It is mine and I am getting it back!"
Sadie's brows knit as she stood up and walked out of the café. Anna called after her but Sadie did not hear her.
I already have Geoff watching for it. I need to find some leads. But I have nothing to go on. It has not turned up anywhere I have looked.
Crossing her arms across her chest, she walked through the market. She felt the slighted tug at her bag and she then spun around in time to see a boy about half her age trying to lift her wallet. With lightning reflexes she grabbed his wrist. The youth yelped in surprised and ripped out of her hand and ran. Sadie chassed after him.
"Get back here you brat!"
The boy ran through the market and around a corner. He then dodged through a door. Sadie's gut told her not to follow anymore so she stopped outside the door and turned away. She knew to trust instincts and they were very clear that she should not pursue this matter anymore. At least he did not get her wallet. She could hear chickens clucking off in the distance.
"I am not!" she huffed and walked away.
Why am I being so paranoid? I should go back.
She began to turn back, but it was then she felt that someone was watching her. Her head shot up scanning the crowd at the market. There were too many people. She began to walk a little faster in her original direction. The feeling of being watched did not leave her. Sadie turned down an alley way and made a quick left on the next street. The feeling was gone, and when no one rounded the corner, Sadie headed back to the hotel.
"Where have you been? Anna has been worried sick."
"I am sorry Felix; I have had a lot on my mind." Sadie replied.
"Well she is waiting in your room for you." The tall sandy blond man responded.
"I am on it, thanks." Sadie left to go up the stairs.
Back in her room, Anna was pacing the floor. Sadie walked in and amused at her restlessness
"I am sure the floor did nothing to you, why abuse it so, Anna?"
"Oh, you surprised me Sadie!" Anna sat down like she had finally been released from working too long.
"Don't be like that Anna. I only went for a walk."
"That is not the problem. I just found out that your buddy Zul al Zan is in town, and he has been scouting out the dig site we are going to. The Professor told me we are going to have to leave for it tomorrow so they can have more eyes on the site. I do not want to go now. I think I will stay at the museum instead. You kno-"
"Wait? WHAT did you say!? Anna, take a breath and repeat that!"
"That." Anna said with a look of defiance.
"Okay, your friend Zul from our last Turkey trip is in Egypt. He and his goons have been skulking around our dig site. Now we have to go to the site early just to make sure it is not robbed. Do you think we can go get cake now?"
"Noooo… And why do you keep calling him my friend?"
"Why not? I am really in the mood for cake."
"Anna please stay focused. This is serious. He is not going to get away with raiding our dig. I am going to pack and get some sleep. You should get some also. I have a feeling it is going to be an exciting trip!"
"I knew you were going to say that. Good night Sadie. I will see you in the morning."
Anna looked defeated as she walked out of the room and shut the door behind her.
"Why do I get the feeling she is hoping to run into Zul?" Anna shook her head and walked away.
Sadie went over her mental checklist and packed everything for the dig. As she lay in bed a grin crept across her face. A challenge was approaching and she was very much looking forward to it. Zul's image was that last thing on her mind as she drifted off to sleep.
Sadie was the first one to the trucks in the morning waiting almost impatiently for everyone else. The Professor was the next one out the door.
"Good morning Sadie. I did not quite expect you to be the first one here."
"Good morning Professor Nigel"
"Sorry to cut your free time short but they need more people out at the site. You understand how that goes."
"Yes Professor. I quite understand." A grin crept on her face.
Nigel began to feel uneasy.
"Sadie, should I be concerned? Your Aunt did ask me to keep her informed when your eyes took on an evil glean much like they have now. …Okay I am heading to the phone."
"Wait no. I am fine professor. I am really looking forward to our class assignment."
"Oh… okay just be sure you are safe. I know you can handle yourself. I just want to reiterate."
"Yes Professor, I will be as safe as can be."
More of the class began to stager out now, and everyone began to load up. Anna managed to talk her way into staying at the museum.
You have to admit that girl is smart when it comes to something she really wants; Sadie mused to herself.
She rode next to Felix in silence most of the trip. It was not until she began drumming her fingers on the doorframe did Felix interrupt her tension.
"We will be there in a few hours. Is everything okay?"
"Yes Felix. Whatever made you think otherwise?"
"…Nothing in particular."
They continued the rest of the way in silence.
The caravan finally arrived that early evening. Everyone sat down to eat. Sadie probably ate two bites before heading out to walk around. She of course made sure no one was watching her and walked out of camp. The last of the sun was sinking below the horizon. She looked out across the desert. A cool breeze blew across her face and tugged at her hair. Rapping her shawl tighter around her, Sadie climbed a dune and sat down. There were the ruins of a small town before her. Arks like ribs jutted out of the sand. This was not supposed to be a major dig as it was just a small trade town. They at most could find some pottery and some jewelry. But maybe there was something more here. Something she had not found in her research, otherwise why would Zul be interested in it? Sadie wanted to start looking now; it was all she could do to keep from grabbing her tools, and starting. After a while she forced herself to get up and go to bed. Sadie passed one of the camp guards on the way in. He eyed her closely as she went into her tent.