Hi, everyone. I decided to start a new series of short stories. These are written to a writing prompt, which is a kind of one-sentence plot idea. I’m getting them from Seventh Sanctum, but the point is to take the prompt and make it your own. With that in mind, I’m sharing the first short story with you today. It is the beginning of the Short Stories in Five Minutes series.
The Vessel is a purely romantic story, leaving a promise at the end. It is Safe For Work. You’ll find it about 1000 words long, so it should take you five minutes or less to read it.
by Patricia Green
© Copyright 2015 Patricia Green
All rights reserved.
“What are you doing?”
The man looked at the small gold vessel in his hand, but said nothing.
Lorelei stalked up to him and poked him in the chest. It was a broad chest, and his shirt was stuck to it slightly, outlining some really intimidating muscles. No matter, he was a grave robber, and this was her dig. “You have no business being here, and now you’ve messed up my dig! The Egyptians take a very dim view of grave robbers.”
He looked at her finger, pushed it gently to the side and, without a word, progressed up the ancient stone steps to the surface of the tomb.
“Hey! You can’t just do that! Bring that back!”
Finally, he spoke, throwing the words over his back like darts. “You can’t stop me, sweetheart, so just get back to your little dig.”
Lorelei ran to catch up with him as he approached the jeep he’d hidden on the backside of the tomb. “At least let me see it!”
“It matches the one in the Cairo museum.”
Panic raced through her. If this was part of a set, she’d have been famous for finding it. “It is? Let me see it.”
Stopping next to his jeep, the man looked at the simple vessel again, and shrugged his shoulders. “That important to you, eh?”
“Yes! I’ve been digging here for months. Where did you find it?”
“Next to the canopic jar at the far side of the tomb. Look, if it’s a make-or-break your career thing, you can have it. I was going to give it to the Cairo museum anyway, but you can do it as well as I.”
Eyes narrowed, Lorelei gave him a level stare. “Who are you?”
“Gill Quinn,” he replied, handing over the small jar. It shone in Lorelei’s hands, even through its layers of dust.
“Can I see some ID?” He nodded and showed her his English passport. So this was Gill Quinn. He had quite a reputation as a finder of missing objects. Some said he was prescient, which was a bunch of hogwash, of course. He was just good at puzzles. Or, that’s what Lorelei liked to believe. Mumbo jumbo didn’t impress her. Gill Quinn, now, he impressed her. She’d read a few of his papers. He was uncanny in his ability to look for and find specifically important bits and pieces. He went to sites, and knew right where to go to get what he was looking for. They said he didn’t touch anything else but the item of his search. They also said he was wildly rich and didn’t need the money from his finds, so he gave them away.
Interesting man, Gill Quinn. In other circumstances, Lorelei would have liked to meet him. And, truth to tell, this was a pretty good opportunity to pick his brain.
As she stared at the object and ruminated over whether to be mad at him or not, he turned to his jeep and got in.
“I’m Lorelei Chatsworth,” she said, deciding that she’d won the encounter. She offered her hand. He took it and gave her a 100 watt smile. Lorelei’s breath halted, as she looked at that smile and the deep blue eyes that locked on hers.
“You already know my name,” he pointed out. “I’ll leave you to your dig. Where are the other workers, by the way? The Egyptians usually have supervisors on these sites. You shouldn’t be out here alone.”
It was true that it wasn’t exactly safe for her. “This isn’t an important dig—or it wasn’t; they got called to a different find for a few hours. How did you know to look for this here?” She held up the golden jar.
“I have my ways.”
“Look, if you’d like to stick around, maybe we can talk. Maybe you can give me some insights. I’ve only been at this for three years.”
He seemed to consider this as his gaze traveled over her face. At least he had the good grace not to measure her figure, though, for once, Lorelei would have liked such an attractive man to give her an interested look. Of course, she was dirty and sweaty from crawling around in the tomb in the desert heat all day.
“Why don’t we talk over dinner? It’s going to be dark in about two hours. You can knock off for the day.”
Dinner with Gill Quinn! Oh gosh would her colleagues be jealous. Especially the female ones. How could she say no? And why in blazes would she want to?
Lorelei gave him her best smile, and to her delight, he smiled right back. “Okay. I’ll get my backpack.”
“You can follow me in your Rover.”
She felt a little foolish saying, “Um…no transportation. Like I said, the crew will be back soon.”
His look fell into a frown. “You really have a longing for danger.”
“I’m safe enough.”
“Not really, but climb in and we’ll get back to town.”
Dinner with Gill Quinn! Lorelei looked at him from under her eyelashes as she gathered up her stuff and left a note for the rest of the workers. He was gorgeous, and she was going to make a friend of him. Maybe a good friend. At least she was going to try. And, she told herself, it was only professional interest…it really was. Truly. She took at his tanned arms and face once more, and realized that she was fooling herself. There was more than friendship to shoot for this time. This time, there was something that made her bones tingle. And the fact that he’d asked her to dinner suggested that he had some interest in her, too. Otherwise, why would he?
It was going to be an interesting evening and, hopefully, the start of something good.