Chapter Five

56 3 2


They took the elevator to the fifth floor and walked along the hallway. Terry peeked over the railing at the empty rotunda down below. "Pizza all right for tonight?" her dad prompted.

Terry imagined them sitting opposite each other at the square white table in their stark dining room. They had moved into their fully furnished apartment three days ago. Her dad said it was only temporary. Everything was clean, but there was a lingering smell of stale cigarette smoke and a weird stain on the bathroom ceiling. With its IKEA tables and thin-cushioned chairs, the flat had more of a college dorm atmosphere than a family dwelling. It was bland and worn out—exactly the way Terry felt.

"They've already started updating this area," he said, using a key to open a large glass door.

The room was only illuminated with dim lighting, but it called out to Terry. She was almost able to smell the myrrh. I'm home, she thought. She gave her dad a weak smile.

They slowly walked around the Egypt room, pausing at the older exhibits and seeing where the new and updated displays would be showcased. In the center of the room, a roped-off area was bare. Terry frowned at her dad. "How will you fill this entire area with the coins?" she asked.

"The coins?" He was absentmindedly picking at the loose thread on his sleeve. "Oh, right. They're coming too."

"What do you mean, 'too'?" Terry said. "I thought the coins Mom found with Cleopatra's profile engraved on them were the big secret." She stared at her dad, but he remained quiet. "Isn't that why we're here?" Her voice cracked. "That's what this Sarah person is so excited about...right?"

He took a long breath in through his nose, then dropped his head. After her mom's death, Terry had been in the hospital for weeks, followed by rehab for months, learning to walk again. Her dad hadn't mentioned much about the coins, and if he'd talked about any other discovery, she had been too emotionally numb to understand or even care. Once she was well enough, her dad had insisted they needed to lead a safer life. They'd moved back to America, and he'd started working freelance in various museums, moving them three times in the last six months.

"Dad?" she prompted.

"The coins are a small part of the new exhibit," he admitted. "It's much bigger than anyone suspects." He stopped and studied her for a moment.

When he didn't elaborate, she huffed and crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I think I'm ready to hear, Dad!"

"Only a select group of people know about this." He gave her a steady gaze. "But I think you're old enough to appreciate the consequences." Terry swallowed and tried to erase the image of Fraser from her mind. "There's a sarcophagus," he said. "It was found in the fourth chamber...after." He cleared his throat. "The Egyptian delegates were reluctant to send it overseas." He offered no further explanation.

A sarcophagus in the fourth chamber. A rush of blood pounded in Terry's temples. "Why here?" she asked. "Why not New York or Washington, D.C.?" Fraser had made her suspicious. "What's here that those cities don't have?"

"Me, for starters, with an offer he couldn't refuse." A woman stood in the doorway, leaning on one hip. She wore a tight gray suit and red stilettos that matched her lipstick.

"Sarah?" His mouth dropped open.

The woman smiled and walked over to him, her heels tapping on the tiles. "Gunther," she said, enveloping him in a hug. "It's been too long."

Asp of Ascension (A Nefertari Hughes Mystery #1)Where stories live. Discover now