Part Six

"Sydney!" At first, Nigel didnít concern himself about the abrupt change in surroundings. His face crumbled and he caught his colleague in a huge hug. "I thought you were dead!" He buried his face against her neck, unwilling to let her see just how powerfully he was affected by the near-loss.

"Um, I donít want to make that call just yet." The female relic hunter glared at their hosts. "Send him back!" she snapped in a stage whisper. "You have no right!"

The other man, a tall, lanky fellow with a long chestnut braid, shook his head. "You donít understand. This is the only way. You need to know."

Even under extraordinary circumstances, Nigel Bailey wasnít stupid. Once his fears for Sydney were resolved, he was left to ponder other issues. He pulled back slightly and let his gaze wander 360ļ, taking in the utter lack of identifiable landmarks. "Oh," he observed succinctly. "Weíre dead, arenít we?" He wondered briefly if ghosts could faint. He was certainly willing to give it a try.

"No, weíre borrowed," Sydney corrected. "Iím not exactly clear on what that involves, but I can safely say I donít like it."

"Purgatory," Daphne assured him. "You were both wondering where you are. The closest approximation is Purgatory. Sort of a waiting room for eternity."

"I donít believe in Purgatory," Nigel replied uneasily.

"Neither do I," Sydney added.

The two dead souls laughed. "Like it matters if you believe it or not? Do you believe two plus two equal four?"

"Of course! But thatís different." Nigel had taken Sydneyís hand with the thought of fleeing. It only occurred to him now that he had no idea how to get out.

"No it isnít different, not at all. A fact doesnít stop being a fact just because you donít believe in it. I can keep you here indefinitely without losing a minute in your time, but I wonít. You need help with the moon message. Itís important that you find this particular relic. Itís your destiny."

"Then send us back." Even Nigel was surprised at the tone of his voice. It was pure command. "If itís our destiny to find it, we need to be alive to do the job."

"We will, but I have to tell you this. Youíll never translate the moon symbols without help from an outside source. Find the child who never grows old, then take the night train and climb the mountain to destiny. Once you translate, youíll need to seek the book that holds the key."

"Riddles? Look, you canít just yank us from our bodies and then give us riddles!" Sydneyís voice was rising. Anger flashed in her eyes, darkening them from rich chocolate brown to nearly black. The fingers of her right hand curled into fists. Had they been in a pub or a bar, sheíd already have disabled her opponents with a series of kicks and punches.

Nigel still clung to her left hand, and he squeezed it to capture her attention. "Sydney, we need to remember this. Riddle or not, I have a feeling itís important."

The words were barely out of his mouth when a breeze arose. Within seconds, the breeze escalated into a tremendous gale, a powerful storm that yanked them apart and sucked them out of the pale blue void.

Go to Part Seven.


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