Part Eight

They reached a tacit agreement to treat the crystal disk with an additional measure of respect, all things considered. While the actual cause of the experience was in question, they werenít dismissing the talisman. They donned rubber gloves, and Sydney sacrificed one of her silver forks to the cause. Nigel bent alternating tines so they could insert the stone, permitting them to hold it up to the light without actually touching it.

But the instant the silver and stone connected, it gave off a shower of sparks. Nigel shrieked, yanking back his hand, while simultaneously the fork flew across the room and embedded itself deep into the window frame. It struck with such impact that it was buried to halfway up the handle.

"You all right?" Sydney peered at her associate, who was nursing his injured hand.

"I think so," he replied, the words garbled by the fingers he refused to take from his mouth. "What the hell just happened?"

"I donít know, but that rock isnít a rock. Iíve got a friend in the chemistry department. Iíd like to have him do an analysis before we do anything else." Sydney peered at the windowsill, where a charred halo surrounded the ruined fork. "It obviously doesnít care for silver, and I donít have any gold to sacrifice to the cause. Wonder how it feels about plastic?"

Using their original idea, they substituted two throwaway plastic forks. A cigarette lighter welded the material together, and the disk slid into its new cage without complaint. The then tucked the entire assembly into a thick cushioned manila envelope for safety.

Go to Part Nine.

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