An archeaological doctor seeks an artifact but is strongly warned against it.
|Dr. Steller pulled his deep red Jeep Cherokee into the Comfort Inn parking lot. The moon was bright and the stars were shining brilliantly in the rural area where there were no other buildings for miles along the longs interstate. Sage brush, cacti, Joshua trees and other wild landscape vegetation stretched for miles in all directions.
The man had a tight knot in his stomach as he looked at the mark on his map. He wiped sweat off in the heat of the night. “I hope that Dr. White is correct. This source is my last possible lead,” he thought.
He walked through the double doors and peered around. The lobby was quite relaxing. A small fountain was in the middle of a room with polished stonework with diamond shaped designs.
Dr. Steller coughed and cleared his throat as he stepped up to a man behind a small desk. “May I speak with the innkeeper?”
The man at the desk smiled and nodded. “Certainly, may I ask why?”
“Umm...I…it’s a little private.”
“I see.” The man at the desk went around and went to a door a few yards away. “Step inside if you would,” he said as Steller followed him in.
The most interesting thing in the room was the antique pieces like old knives, war lances, knight helmets, old paintings and on and on. Without a doubt, he was at the right place. This was where he would get the information he needed.
“Please sit down,” said Trent as he and Don sat on dark wooden chairs.
“I am Don Steller. I am a doctor of ancient antiquities. A colleague of mine told me that I might find some information on something.”
“And you said you wanted to speak to the innkeeper?”
“Then you’ve found him.”
“Oh, well thank you for seeing me.”
“My name is Trent Watson. What information do you require?”
“It concerns a Middle Eastern orb hidden in a cave near the Euphrates river.”
Trent tilted his head and smiled coyly as he folded his hands then crossed his legs. “What do you intend to do with such information? Do you know anything about this object besides its rarity and beauty?”
“I don’t understand, what do you mean?”
Trent uncrossed his legs and leaned in forward the looked directly into Dr. Steller’s eyes. “So, you don’t know?”
“Know what?” Don said with a raised eyebrow. “Will you tell me the information?”
“What you ask is more significant than you know.” The man rose an began pacing. He looked down and frowned hardly as if he was contemplating a dire matter. “I would love to help you, but there is a danger in what you seek.”
Dr. Steller crinkled is eyebrows and shook his head slowly. “How so? Is it in the possession of someone dangerous? Is the cave too hard to navigate through?”
Trent pulled his chin then licked his lips. He took a breath to speak but halted and just exhaled. “Perhaps I’ve told you too much.”
“No, please. Whatever it is, I am willing to take whatever risk that’s there.”
Trent plopped into his chair then tapped on his knee. He glared at Dr. Steller in silence.
“I’d be willing to pay you within reason.”
Trent’s dead stare lightened. “I…I…maybe…no! I can’t!”
“What on Earth could be so horribly dangerous that would make you so obstinate! It’s not like it’s plans for a secret weapon!”
“That would be significantly less dire! No, the answer is no!”
Dr. Steller stood and threw up his hands. “Please! Be reasonable!”
“NO!” Trent’s face went red and he struck an old ceramic statue of an elephant on a shelf and it shattered into three pieces.”
“Trent! Control yourself!”
“How dare you dictate to me how I should act in my own inn!”
Then there was a knock on the door and there was a woman’s voice came through. “Sir. Is everything alright?”
“Not now Beatrice! It’s not the time! And how dare you listen in on my conversation!” Trent shouted at the woman.
“Trent, she can’t help it. You need to calm down,” Dr. Steller said softly.
Trent grabbed his scalp and punched the wall.
“Well, at least you didn’t destroy anything valuable,” Dr. Stellar said as he rolled his eyes.
“What did you say?”
Dr. Steller rubbed his nose then sighed. He stood and straitened his clothing. “If that is how it will be, then we have nothing else to talk of. Goodbye Trent.” He turned about and was stopped as Trent grabbed Dr. Steller’s sleeve.
“Wait, hold on,” said Trent. “Forgive me. I acted rashly.” The man paused for a moment. “I’ll give you what you want. I warn you though, once you go on, there is no going back.”
“I’ll admit, your words disturb me, yet they raise an insatiable curiosity. I’ll take my chances.”
Trent walked silently to the single painting in his room. He grabbed by the frame ad it swung open like a door. Inside, was a small safe. With a few turns of the safe dial, it unlocked. Trent pulled out a small gem.
“What is that beautiful stone?” asked Dr. Stellar.
“This is what will lead you to the orb. But know that all my stubbornness was out of concern for you and all mankind.” Trent cradled the gem in his upturned palms. “Do you willingly the gift of the orb, its riches an its cost?” he put forth.
Dr. Steller thought. The man’s words put a chill down Steller’s spine. What did Trent mean by this? He sounded crazy and downright frightening. He must be superstitious but at the least if Steller agreed to this, he might own a valuable keepsake. He had to force himself to not to laugh at the man’s lunacy. “Certainly,” Dr. Steller said.
With that, Trent dropped the gen in Steller’s hands. Suddenly the room began to spin and a chilling, darkness came over him. It was so dark, it literally felt like it reached his very soul. Then a glowing purple sphere appeared. It was just enough to see he was in a cavern.
Then the orb began to speak. “I give you all the riches you desire but in exchange, you along with the one called Trent, will be my Soul Retrievers.”
“This can’t be happening! It must be a…a… hallucinogen my skin absorbed from the gem’s surface!”
The orb spoke on. “From this day forward, you shall harvest souls for me; I will send your spirit across the Earth every full moon. You will forever be my servant and never have the release of death. But you will have all the riches you want. Enjoy them! Ha, ha, ha!” the orb taunted.
Then all became dark, and the next moment Dr. Steller was back in the inn with Trent. The doctor looked at him with wide eyes and his body trembled. He fell to his knees then ran his palms over his head. “I must be dreaming! This is a nightmare!”
“I told you there would be a great price and a great danger,” said Trent. “Both of us have been afflicted by a fate worse than death.”
“This can’t be true. I must be going mad…”
“But you have all the wealth you desire.”
Dr. Steller rubbed his eyes. “Who can worry about riches when this has happened?”
“Now, you know why chose to live alone, far from any kind of wealth. Just the sight of money fills me with dread and guilt.”
“I’d rather kill myself!” yelled Steller.
“That won’t help. I have tried. You’re stuck with me friend.”
Dr. Steller ran screaming out of the inn and he made for his car then got inside. He fumbled with his keys in a sweat. He breathed heavily and gripped the wheel and spoke sparsely. “I should have listened to him. Why I didn’t listen to him!”