An Advent Calendar of Stories
December 04 2014
a stiff brandy with a coconut water chaser
The finger bone was ancient.
I felt a prickle of anticipation. "Where did you find it?"
Sela pointed inland.
I hefted my rucksack of equipment. "Show me."
The track wove interminably upwards through old growth hardwoods. A light wind ghosted through the trees, carrying the cries of seabirds and the ammonia tang of guano. At the summit we halted on the edge of a glade skeined by ribbons of sunlight. Through the lattice of virgin forest I could detect the ruins of ring fortifications, although many stones had tumbled over time.
"Here," Sela said.
A depression beside a recent landslip exposed a discernible shape. I knelt, fingertips probing. Gently, gently. I felt the unmistakable curve of a cranium.
"Ah." I uncovered a skull.
"This is old, Sela. This is Lapita."
"The Spirit People?" He was wide-eyed.
"The Lapita were as human as you and me." I began to scrape and clear the soil.
"You will release the Devil."
I knew the legend: disturbance of Lapita remains would free the ensnared spirit. But I was no shaman and this skeleton was human, not devil. No juju to fear here.
"I will release a piece of your history, nothing more."
Sela moved aside, abdicating responsibility.
The wind danced in synchrony to my dance through the layers of time as I laid bare a three thousand year old secret.
The excavation was complete. The wind strengthened and the sky turned sulphurous.
"I think we should brace ourselves," I said.
Sela whimpered. The skeleton's feet were cloven.
About the Author
Susan Eames left England twenty-five years ago to explore the world and dive its oceans. She has had travel articles and short fiction published on three continents. After seven fascinating years in Fiji, Susan is moving to the Republic of Ireland.