Chris Evans


Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase

Part Six-

Jamil frowned, but didn’t say anything else. “We’ve just started excavating these two rooms.”

“Do you have any idea what they were used for?”

Ahmed sounded interested, which was more then Jamil could say for most of the people who came to visit the site. They tended to be interested only in what Jamil had found. The concrete artifacts instead of the suppositions of what the people used them for. Some people weren’t interested in the past. Jamil had never been one of those.

He’d always found history fascinating, and learning how ordinary people went about their lives in ancient times. It intrigued him to see the similarities and the differences between them and modern people. In many ways, they had the same wants and needs.

While he explained that they thought the rulers of Petra used these rooms as informal meeting rooms, Jamil led Ahmed around the various pits where people were working.

“It looks like you have a rather large crew. Are all of these people from the university where you teach?” Ahmed motioned toward one of the units where two of Jamil’s graduate students were cleaning off a piece of ceramic.

“No. I have about ten grad students who came with me from Georgia. The rest are students from universities all around the world. When the news got out that Jordan was going to allow me to excavate some of the unexplored areas of Petra, there was a rush of people applying to help me.” He chuckled. “I’d never felt so popular in my life.”

Ahmed smiled like Jamil hoped he would. There was a seriousness to the man Jamil had never sensed in another person before. It was as though Ahmed had lost his ability to enjoy life. Jamil shook his head slightly. Foolish thinking. Not everyone in the world needs to find life enjoyable and happy. I need to keep that in mind.

They reached the unit Jamil had been working in. As they approached, Eesha glanced up from where she crouched, studying a feature they’d been trying to clean up a little better. Her eyes widened when she saw Ahmed. She climbed out of the hole then held out her hand.

“Mr. Al Hazzan, it’s good to see you again.”

“Ah, Eesha, I should’ve known you would be in the thick of things, especially when it comes to Petra.” Ahmed took her hand and bowed over it. His smile actually reached his eyes this time, causing Jamil to feel a hint of jealousy.

Back up there, boy. Why am I feeling jealous? It’s not like we’re dating or anything. I just met the man, plus he hasn’t shown any interest in me. His inner voice scolded him.

Eesha laughed. “What can I say? I’m connected to Petra. It feels as though I come home every time I step within its walls.”

Ahmed released her hand then turned his gaze to the wall behind them. “Sometimes coming home isn’t a good thing,” he muttered.

“Sounds like you know what you’re talking about,” Jamil couldn’t help but comment. “Where are you from?”

He wanted to take the question back as soon as it fell out of his mouth. It was none of his business where Ahmed had been born, plus why going home wasn’t a good thing for the man was definitely something he didn’t need to know.

“I’m from Jordan,” Ahmed informed him. “Born not too far from here actually.”

“Really? You’re from one of the nomadic tribes?”

Ahmed nodded, but didn’t give him any more details. “What makes you believe the Nabataeans used these rooms for meetings? Where did you find the canopic jars? They wouldn’t have been here.”

Jamil shook his head. “No. Those were a lucky find further back in the treasury. We haven’t quite decided why they’re here, considering the Nabataeans buried their dead in caves.”

“True. There must be something special about the people who belonged to those jars,” Ahmed murmured. “Something different about them.”

“That’s what we think,” Jamil agreed then shrugged. “But we have no way of knowing who they belonged to. Unfortunately, we can’t read the writing on them.”

Ahmed shot Eesha a shocked glance. “Even you couldn’t read them?”

Eesha wrinkled her nose in disappointment. “No. Even I couldn’t read them. It’s a language I haven’t seen before. Maybe you can decipher it when you examine them.”

“Do you know ancient languages, Mr. Al Hazzan?” A thrill rushed through Jamil at the thought that Ahmed might be able to translate what they’d found. “This hasn’t been announced to the public yet, but we found a few stone tablets with the same writing on them.”

“Did you find them with the jars?”

Jamil gestured for Ahmed to come with him. “No. We discovered another room behind where we found the jars. It was a smaller one with an altar. We had to break through a wall to get to them.”

Ahmed inhaled sharply. “You destroyed a part of this site?”

“No. Well yes, but we got permission from the government and UNESCO before we did it. A small chunk of rock had fallen out and we could see that there was space beyond it. The barricade was poorly constructed as though whoever built it was in a hurry to hide something.” Jamil continued beyond where the dig units were. “I would never destroy any part of this site. I made sure the proper authorities knew what was going on and I allowed them to make the decision. I would’ve abided by it, if they chose not to allow me to go in there.”

He could sense Ahmed wasn’t completely convinced about his sincerity, and Jamil understood why. There were many unscrupulous people who would’ve gotten overcome with the idea of the huge new discovery that they would’ve done everything in their power to get in the room.

Jamil wasn’t like that. Whether anyone knew his name when he died, didn’t matter to him. He wasn’t in this profession to become famous. He was in it to learn about the past, and maybe learn from it as well.

One Response “Anubis”

  1. Bobbi says:

    Is it a bad idea to wish days to move faster?

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