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Halloween Fantasy (part 67)

Joe Spivey's picture
Submission type:

Everyone around the table looked at the image on Dr Awolowo’s notebook screen. The vivid picture of the turreted edifice deliberately posed against the vivid, violent red and orange brush strokes of the sky drew appreciative murmurs.

Bodil looked up from the picture.

“Doctor. That’s a very, dramatic picture, but what makes you say that this could be the ‘W Cst’ we are looking for?”

Awolowo blinked.

“Well, the ‘Cst’. It’s an abbreviation. It’s castle without the vowels, a common method of abbreviating a word…”

Cybil raised a finger, attracting everyone’s attention and stopping Dr Awolowo’s flow.

“What about the ‘L’?”

Heads turned back to the anthropologist.

“The, ‘L’? Oh…”

Victor spoke.

“Or the ‘W’.”

Cybil again, raising her hand a little higher like an infant.

“Oh! It could be ‘coast’. That would work. ‘West Coast’.” She clapped her hands excitedly, before realising the growing embarrassment of the doctor. “Or, it could be castle, I suppose.”

Bodil cleared her throat.

“Thank you Doctor Awolowo. I can see how you made the connection.” She glanced at her assistant who was now staring red-faced into her lap. “You, too, Cybil. Good work everyone in fact. Keep the ideas coming No matter how, out of the box.”

Feeling slightly embarrassed over his own part in making the doctor uncomfortable, Victor had pulled up the anthropologist’s notes on his own notebook. Whatever it was, it was a damn scarily cool looking picture and Victor was thinking about making it his new desktop. While Professor Hill, Bodil, was rescuing the situation Victor was sliding through the many images taken by the doctor on his trip to Emrites. He was about to flick past the pictures of the heroic rifle when something about the weapon caught his eye.

“Doctor Awolowo? These pictures of the rifle. I notice you took quite a few close ups.”

Glad of the change of subject, Harry Awolowo was only too pleased to expand on the rifle pictures.

“Oh yes. Ranger Hancock specifically asked me to take pictures of the middle bit, where the trigger is.”

“Did he say why?”


“Why he wanted you to…”

“Oh. No.” His eyebrows knitted together. “In fact he never did explain and I never got around to asking him. In fact, I forgot all about it. I’ll send the pictures to him anyway, as he asked for them.”

Victor was standing up. He tapped his notebook.

“Never mind Doctor, I’ll go and see him.”

Bodil was looking up at him.

“What is it Victor? What are these pictures?”

Victor paused. He smiled.

“It might be nothing. Let me go and check with the ranger first.” He turned for the door. “The pictures are in Doctor Awolowo’s report. Right before the, er the, ‘Castle of Doom’”

Bodil gave him a ‘did you have to?’ stare but Victor just grinned mischievously and left the room. Everyone was flicking through their own copies of the anthropologist’s report. Bodil joined in.

There were five pictures. The first one was of Arsen’s son proudly holding out his father’s prize. The other four were all very similar and concentrated on the weapon’s ‘action’, the mechanism that loads, locks, fires, extracts and ejects the ammunition. To the archaeologist, the anthropologist, his assistant and the museum conservator, the pictures meant little to nothing. It was just a gun to them, something normal people in everyday life had no reason to concern themselves with. But to the ranger and to Victor it had meant something. Bodil frowned. But what?

It was no surprise then that, after a few minutes of staring hard at the pictures, there were blank expressions all around. Bodil finally closed her notebook.

“Well then. I suppose we’ll just have to wait for the result of Victor and Hancock’s conversation. Let’s think of it as sending something off for carbon dating… Just hope that it doesn’t take as long.”

The little joke earned the polite laughter it expected.

Bodil turned to Amy and Cybil.

“If I remember correctly, Ellie sent you two off to ‘spy’ on work done by our colleagues. I know, it’s only been a day or so but, any results?”

Amy and Cybil looked at each other, their heads doing the ‘you do it, no you do it’ back and forth dance until Amy finally gave in.

“Well yes, we did actually. Everyone was very open, really not like being back in the university at all.” While she was speaking Amy was quickly fetching up the report she had sent to Ellie on their activities so far. “Plenty of little incongruous finds showed up in several of the digs around London. Just little things, plastic bottles, coins, bullet casings, cans. Pretty much the same sort of things Doctor Awolowo’s Gu-Nar friends were finding. Um but…” Amy looked at Cybil, who nodded slowly. Amy took a breath and carried on.

“We found out that there was this boat.”


Hyle Troy's picture

Pah! Imagine Bodil thinking it was West Coast. Idiot!

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers

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