Three Years Ago
Hasad Arvadi’s legs wouldn’t cooperate. He strained to pull himself to the wall so he could spend his final moments propped upright, but without the use of his legs, it was a hopeless task. The stone floor was too slick, and his arm strength was sapped. His head dropped to the floor. Breaths came in ragged gasps. He remained on his back, the life draining from him.
He was going to die. Nothing would change that now. This inky black chamber, a room hidden from the world for millennia, would become his tomb.
Fear over his own fate was long past. Instead, Arvadi wept in frustration. He had been so close to his life’s goal—seeing Noah’s Ark with his own eyes—but that opportunity had been snatched from him with three pulls of a trigger. The bullet in each knee made it impossible to move. The one in his belly ensured that he wouldn’t last another five minutes. Although the wounds were excruciating, they weren’t as painful as falling short of reaching the Ark when it was within his grasp.
He couldn’t bear the awful irony of the situation. He finally had proof that the Ark existed. Not only existed, still exists. Waiting to be found where it had lain for six thousand years. He had unearthed the last piece of the puzzle, revealed to him in ancient text written before Christ was born.
We’ve been wrong all this time, he had thought as he read. Wrong for thousands of years. Wrong because the people who concealed the Ark wanted us to be wrong.
The revelation had been such a triumphant event that Arvadi hadn’t noticed the pistol aimed at his legs until it was too late. Then it had all happened so fast. The crack of gunshots. Shouted demands for information. His own pathetic pleas for mercy. Fading voices and dimming light as his killers stole away with their prize. Darkness.
Lying there awaiting his own death, thinking about what had been taken from him, Arvadi seethed with fury. He couldn’t let them get away with it. Eventually someone would find his body. He had to record what had happened here, that the location of Noah’s Ark wasn’t the only secret this chamber held.
Arvadi wiped his bloody hand on his sleeve and pulled a notebook from his vest pocket. His hands were shaking so violently that he dropped the notebook twice. With tremendous effort, he opened it to what he hoped was an empty page. The darkness was so total that he had to do everything by touch. He removed a pen from another pocket and flipped the cap off with his thumb. The silence in the chamber was broken by the sound of the plastic cap skittering across the floor.
With the notebook resting on his chest, Arvadi began to write.
The first line came easily, but he was rapidly becoming light-headed with shock. He didn’t have much time. The second line was exponentially more difficult. The pen grew heavier as he wrote, as if it were being filled with lead. By the time he got to the third line, he couldn’t remember what he’d already written. He got two more words out onto the paper, and then the pen dropped from his fingers. His arms would no longer move.
Tears streamed down his temples. As Arvadi felt oblivion closing in on him, three terrible thoughts echoed in his mind.
He would never again see his beloved daughter.
His killers were now walking the earth with a relic of unimaginable power.
And he would go to his grave without gazing on the greatest archaeological discovery in history.
© 2010 Boyd Morrison