As Kian and Aidan drove back to the house, dark clouds tumbled one over the other. The winds had picked up and thunder rumbled over the mountains. It only served to unsettle Kian more.
“Hey, where’s Jimbo?” she asked as she climbed down from the Jeep. “He should get inside before the storm hits.” She shouted his name into the woods.
“Don’t waste your breath.” Aidan unlocked the back of the Jeep. “He won’t be coming out until he is good and ready, but you can bet he sees us, the shed, probably every entrance to the house, and then some. Let’s get inside before we get soaked.”
With that, they both grabbed an armload of groceries and ran for the front porch. Aidan set his groceries down on the wicker rocker and ran back for a second trip. He grabbed his computer bag and duffle, slammed the rear door, and tested the side doors. He made it back to the porch just as the first drops hit the dusty driveway.
Kian had gotten her groceries inside. When she picked up the grocery bags left by Aidan, she noticed an oversized mess kit. “I don’t remember seeing that before.”
“It’s Jimbo’s,” Aidan explained. “He’s expecting us to feed him. Better be good or he’s likely to catch himself a rabbit and offer us the leavings.”
Kian did not like the sound of “leavings.” She picked up the kit and brought it inside, too.
As soon as the door was shut and bolted, Kian kicked off her sandals. She and Aidan put away the groceries before Aidan plunked down on the sofa and flipped open his laptop. “Ah, connected,” he said, when finally he logged onto the FBI website. “I feel better already.” His fingers flew across the keys. “Now, let’s see what I can see.”
Kian decided her next order of business was to hide the Ark. There were half a dozen good places in the house. If the intruders came back, she wanted it in the last room they would check. Probably the attic. She flew up the steps taking them two at a time.
Once in the attic, she found a frilly pink silken scarf she’d gotten on her sixth birthday. She carefully wrapped the ebony box in it, bent down, and crawled under the bed. There she pressed on one end of a floorboard, causing the other end to lift into the air. She removed that board, slipped her fingers under the next one and removed it too. The space revealed was a twelve-inch cube. She set her carefully wrapped bundle into it before replacing the floorboards. Even if the thugs did get up there and move the bed, the key floorboard was balanced such that the pressure by anything more than two fingers would not budge it. There. Find that!
Determined not to spend another night in her stuffy pink attic room, Kian had decided that, tonight, she would sleep in her new, more adult bedroom on the second floor. But before she could do that she had to make the bed and hang the curtains.
Still barefoot, Kian hurried down the steps to the main floor where she found Aidan butt-perched on the edge of her father’s desk inspecting some papers. “Anything interesting?”
“I was going through your father’s notes and found this.” He handed her three sheets of notes stapled together. They were in her father’s handwriting.
The top sheet had an eight-by-ten photo stapled to it. It was a rock with chipped lines.
“Now look at this,” Aidan said as he removed the vellum from behind the books where he’d placed it the night before. Handling it gently, he placed it on the desk and the photo next to it.
“Wow, the lines look the same.”
“They are. It’s a script called Ogham pronounced Oh-am. The ‘g’ is silent.”
“Can you read Ogham?”
“Ogham is an alphabet. I do know some of the sounds, but the really hard thing is to figure out the language, in this case,” he tapped the photo, “a Celtic precursor. Your father translated it. It’s an inventory of artifacts, ones that belong to families ‘of the old blood.’ It specifically says, ‘old blood.’ The artifacts are mostly boxes, what could be called arks. According to your father, the third line down reads, ‘Box of Isis.’ Your father thought ‘Treasure of Isis’ was a better translation. Then it reads, ‘Bucknun family. Terrible storm. Wings lost.'” He looked at Kian.
“It says that? ‘Treasure of Isis?’ ‘Wings lost?'”
Dazed, Kian continued to stare at photo. “‘Bucknun family?'”
“Kian, there is lots of other stuff in these notes, too. Your father was translating this for a reason.”
Kian’s mind raced. Her dream of her parents. Jacob murdered. Willing Sacrifices. A sacrifice for what? Some Ark? It was too much to take in, Willing Sacrifices and Old Blood, and now some stone telling her she had this Ark and the wings had been lost. But Jacob had the wings. Was he dead because of it?
“No, that’s insane,” she told Aidan. “Scary insane. I’m getting a drink.” She headed for the pantry.
“Kian, you need to stop and think about this. Your history helps verify the stone your father translated. This is a list of families of the old blood entrusted with safeguarding treasures, like arks. One of them is named Bucknun. Like you. Think about it.”
Kian, now half way to the pantry, turned to stare at him. “It doesn’t make sense. Uncle Jacob would have told me.”
“Maybe he was murdered before he could. And remember that note your father wrote him; it said to tell you everything. Look, if you are of the old blood, then your parents were too, and we think they sent you the Ark. If we can trace that package, we might be able to find your parents.”
Kian’s eyes filled with tears. “Do you really think they are alive and we could find them?”
“Maybe. The Ark is the clue.”
“Aidan, I have something to ask you, and please don’t think I am crazy, but does the term ‘Willing Sacrifice’ mean anything to you?”
“Could be it does. Look, I’m hungry. You cooking or am I?”
“Are you stalling again?”
“We can cook and talk at the same time.”
“Well then, I’m cooking and you are talking,” she replied as she turned her back on the pantry bar. For the first time in years, Stoli was not a priority. It wasn’t even in the top ten.
By Gary Dee (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons