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Fracture of Illusion Chapter 3

by  starsailor

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Word Count: 3155
Summary: Finally sorted out my comuter so I can post work properly..

Chapter 3: Fateful Meetings.

The next day things weren’t better. John was clearly out of his depth. He quickly came to the realisation that for all he thought he knew, it wasn’t going to be enough. He read many of the books his uncle had. Even some way to start would be a good thing. If his uncle, with over 40 years of study in the field didn’t have a clue, then what hope did he have?
The problem was the lack of a key. From the notes that his uncle left, Sir William quickly realised that the two inscriptions were not the same. He therefore couldn’t translate the language based on the Hebrew, which he knew, as a basis.
He had tried to crack the code, but it was clear that the syntax, and grammar of the language was too complex to be easily done. Being trained as a mathematician, he had some training in the field, but he had no idea on how such a thing would work in a real-life example.
The way in which the code could be worked out would be by the finding of another tablet, in which a known language and the unknown one were present. This is similar in the way the Rosetta stone worked to clear the mystery of Egyptian writing.
But John hadn’t seen this writing anywhere else before. After a few fruitless hours, he admitted defeat. But there was someone who might have an idea. Helena Sinclair, the woman his uncle had mentioned in the letter.
John had a good look though the notes his uncle had left concerning his old students, and found Helena’s file. From what he could gather, she had a very keen and insightful mind, but was deemed too unorthodox for the mainstream history community. She dropped out of doing her doctorate after many of the professors in the field rubbished her ideas. Sir William apparently thought, privately at least, that although novel, most of ideas where based on solid evidence. However he felt unable to speak up for her, as his reputation would also be affected.
John read through the rest of the file. Her theory was that before any of the great civilisations there was one advanced proto civilisation, which spread across the globe. Her evidence was based on the fact that many societies across the world shared similar aspects, legends etc. In addition, the construction of many ancient buildings and structures were deemed to be beyond the capabilities of primitive cultures. She had surmised that the older civilisation suffered some natural, or perhaps man-made disaster in which much of the knowledge was lost. The knowledge that was saved now was deemed to be special, or magical, and legends grew up around it.
This seemed to tie in with the tablet. The language could be the original language of the mother society. It would also work well with the inscription. ‘The words of our ancestors’.
John needed to find and talk to this woman. It seemed that Sir William must have trusted to a point, otherwise, he wouldn’t have mentioned her in the letter.
He resolved not to tell her the source of the tablet, or about the letter, but to show her the rubbing that he had made, and simply see if she knew some way of translating it.
His uncle didn’t have any records of her location, but a quick interest search yielded results. He was lucky in that Helena wasn’t a common, name, and only one was listed. He quickly noted down the address and number in London, and, as it was now past midnight, resolved to contact her in the morning.
That night was a mass of dreams for John. He quickly fell asleep, but images of him as a Crusader Knights flashed before his eyes. Then, as they disappeared, they were replaced by a shadowy figure. All in black, and featureless, John wasn’t even sure if it was a man or a woman, but he felt pure hatred emanating from it. The arms of the figure reached out towards him, as if grasping at something. As it was within touching distance of John, it was suddenly gone, as if something had chased it away.
He felt a deep sense of calm washing over him. John sank into a deeper sleep, and the dreams were no more.
The next morning was a beautiful one. John awoke early, feeling refreshed and relaxed. The dreams were still in his mind, but all jumbled up.
He walked downstairs, and checked the tablet, just to make sure it was in the right place. Everything was fine. He made himself a cup of strong coffee, and planned his day. The first thing to do was contact Helena Sinclair. He didn’t have any idea of what she was doing at the moment. His uncles’ records had ended at the point where she left the university, dropping out of her doctorate. He assumed that she would be doing a job that kept broadly to office hours, so it was either in the morning or the evening in which he would have to ring her.
The phone rang only once.
‘Hello?’ the voice at the end of the line was bright and clear, but sounded younger than John was expecting
‘Could I speak to a Helena Sinclair please?’ John asked.
‘That’s me’ replied the voice.
‘My name is John Hawke, I believe you worked with my uncle, Sir William Hawke?’ John had to give that much away.
‘I certainly did, how is he doing?’ She clearly hadn’t had any contact with him for some time.
‘Well, I’m afraid to say he passed away a year ago.’
She was silent for a moment ‘I’m so sorry to hear that, I had no idea. I haven’t seen him for well over a year. I enjoyed working with him.’
‘He was a good man. It was a year ago he died’ John explained. ‘I’m calling because whilst looking through and sorting his notes, I came across something which you might be interested in’.
‘I’m sorry I can’t help you’ she said ‘I don’t work in that field any more, but there should be plenty of people still at the university who would be able to help.’ He was in danger of losing her.
‘I don’t think the people at the university would be interested in what I have. I do believe that you will be however. Any work would be on a strictly unofficial basis. I believe that it could help some of your work..’
John could almost hear her ears pricking up
‘What exactly are we talking about here?’ She asked.
‘I’d rather not talk about it over the phone’ John explained. ‘If it’s possible we could meet up sometime and discuss it face to face.’ She thought about it for a while.
‘What are you doing today?’ she asked.
John was taken aback. He wasn’t expecting things to move so soon. ‘Um, well, nothing I guess. But I wouldn’t want to impose on you.’
‘Don’t be silly. I haven’t got any plans today apart from a good book. It’ll be nice to get out of London for a bit. Are you still in the house where your uncle lived?’ She asked.
‘Yes, in Somerset, do you know it?’
‘Well I’ve not be there, but I know where you are. Could you pick me up from Bath station? I don’t have a car at the moment, and from what I can remember the buses around there aren’t too good.’
‘That’s certainly true’ I agreed. ‘There’s no problems about picking you up. I’ll give you my mobile number and you can give me a ring when you get near.’
They both exchanged mobile numbers, and arranged train times. They finished the conversation, and hung up the phone. Just as he did that, he could distinctly hear two clicks after the phone went dead.
John went cold. The clicks were a clear sign that the phone was tapped. He put the phone back on the base. So his Uncle was right. Other people were interested in what lay behind the fireplace. It was the first time he had noticed it, so somehow they must be aware that the tablet had been discovered.
He needed to think quickly. It wasn’t sure if the house was secure anymore. Anyone could easily break into the place whilst he was out and search for whatever they needed.
He needed to think quickly and clearly. All the information he had gathered was located in his computer, which was a laptop, and so could be kept close to him at all times.
He went upstairs and looked for items and papers he needed. All the important work that his uncle had done on the tablet, he collected into one place. He spent the good part of two hours scanning and saving onto the laptop the most important documents. Then, everything he could find relating to the tablet, he shredded. He knew that might not be enough, so the then took all the shredded paper downstairs to the fireplace and burnt every scrap. Months of his Uncles work curled up in flame, heating the room to an unpleasant temperature.
There was only one thing now which was left. That was the tablet itself. It was too heavy to move easily, but it would be risky leaving it, and he would have to pick up Helena soon. John decided to pick up the phone, making sure he used his mobile, and call one of his neighbours, Bob Vaughan.
Bob worked from home as a computer programmer, and had moved to the village several years ago. He was in his early 30s, married with two children, and was firm friends with John. As the village was small, and most of the people in the village were older compared with the two men, they had got to know each other quite well.
‘Hiya John’ The voice answered at the end of the line. ‘How’s the job hunting going?’
‘It’s been put on hold for the moment’ John answered ‘I was wondering whether you could do a favour for me. I have to go to Bath to pick up someone, and was wondering whether or not you could house sit for me? I’m expecting a parcel delivery today, but it hasn’t come yet.’ He didn’t like lying to Bob, but he didn’t have much of a choice.
‘Sure, I can bring my stuff over and work from yours.’ Bob said ‘But I expect a couple of beers in return for it.’
‘They’re yours’ John almost gave a sigh of relief. ‘Don’t suppose you could come over now, I’m going to have to shoot off in a few minutes.’
‘Coming straight over’ Bob said.
That was a relief to John. The tablet would be safe with someone to look over it, if only unknowingly. He glanced at his watch. As soon as Bob arrived, he would have to leave.
It wasn’t five minutes before Bob drove up in his car, a flashy red Alfa Romeo. John walked out to greet him. ‘Thanks for doing this Bob, sorry it’s such short notice, but I have to get to Bath in an hour.’
Bob just grinned at him.
‘Hot date?’ He asked.
‘I wish’ John said. ‘Just an old colleague of my uncles, she’s visiting to look at some of his notes.’
‘Well, have fun with your stuffy old academic’ Bob joked. ‘Just don’t forgot that the drinks are on you. What delivery are you expecting?’
‘Just something I ordered off the net, a couple of CD’s and stuff, they should be getting here today.’ John lied, trying to make it sound convincing.
‘Help yourself to anything in the kitchen. I should only be a few hours.’
He put his laptop in the boot of the car. Now the only evidence of anything connected with his uncle’s discovery was in there, and behind the fireplace.
Arriving in Bath, he was just in time to get to the platform to catch the London train coming in. Several dozen people got off the train. But John had no idea what Helena looked like, or even how old she was. One by one the passengers drifted off, but there was still no sign of her.
Then he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around, but this wasn’t the woman he was expecting. The image he had formed in his mind was of a much older woman. She must be about his age, mid twenties. Long dark hair curled over her shoulders. Wearing a sleeveless top, and with close fitting jeans which showed off her long legs, she was about as far away from the traditional view of a historian as you could get.
‘You are John Hawke aren’t you?’ She asked. ‘Either that or I’ve made a awful mistake.’
‘Uh, yes, yes I am’ John stumbled. ‘Sorry, I um thought you were still on the train.’
‘I almost walked past you as well, but then I noticed you looked a bit like William, must be the nose I think.’ She said with a twinkle in her eye.
‘So, are you going to help a girl with her bags?’ She asked.
John looked at the various bags surrounding her. There was enough for a two week holiday. He struggled to pick them up and carry them to his waiting car.
On the way back to his house, John filled her in on the tablet. He didn’t mention the letter, or any of the supernatural fact surrounding it. Just that his uncle had found it in South America, and that whilst going through his files had discovered it.
‘I can’t wait to see it.’ She said excitedly. ‘If have of what you say is true, this could be one of the greatest finds in modern archaeology.’
It was the half of what John wasn’t telling her that he was worried about. He did consider telling her everything, but decided to hold off doing that for the moment. He was hoping that she would be able to help him, and her own career, and that nothing else would happen. He prayed that wasn’t wishful thinking.
He glanced across at his passenger. For all her friendly, even flirty exterior, he could see in her eyes a strong determination and steely underneath. He knew that she had been broken before, forced to give up her study because the people who made the rules didn’t agree with what she was saying. He wanted to help her to reclaim what had been stolen from her.
The car wound its way down through the Mendip Hills towards his home. Approaching the house, he noticed that Bob’s car was still in the drive. He allowed a small sigh of relief to escape his lips. He wouldn’t have felt the same way if he had seen the black car which had been keeping a safe distance behind him all the way from the station. As the swung into the driveway, the car passed. Neither John or Helena noticed it.
Bob opened the door as they parked in the drive. He noticed Helena and his eyes lit up. Although he was happily married, he still had an eye for a beautiful woman, although he would never act on it.
‘John you liar’ He said. John looked up, worry in his eyes. ‘There’s no way such a person could ever be a stuffy book worm.’
‘Looks can be deceiving’ She said. ‘You never know what you can find from a good book.’
‘She sounds like you John’ Bob chuckled. ‘Sorry, but nothing came for you since you left.’
‘Never mind’ John said. ‘It’ll probably come tomorrow. Thanks for your help’
‘Just you remember those drinks’ he said, getting into his car.
John led Helena into the house, depositing her bags by the staircase.
‘I can see the house shows off your uncles taste still’ she said.
‘Yeah, it’s not really me’ John admitted, ‘I keep meaning to get around to it, but I haven’t been around much this year.’
He led her into the sitting room, which was tastefully decorated, but not really what a mid-twenty year old man would choose. He had been planning to get a plasma screen television, but it wouldn’t really go with the old paintings that hung on the wall and the open-log fire.
‘Can I get you a drink? I have tea, or coffee, pretty much anything’
‘Tea would be fine, with a sugar if you have any.’
‘Coming right up’ He said, ducking into the kitchen to put the kettle on.
‘So what have you been up to since your uncle died?’ Helena asked from the other room.
John walked back it with the tea and sat on one of the many chairs in the room.
‘I took a year out, working in Egypt on a dig site, near the Valley of the Kings. It was mainly just humping around pack and tools for the diggers, but it was good, I enjoyed it. Not to mention I learnt a lot.’
Helena nodded.’ Nothing like practical experience for learning. So is that what you plan to do, follow in your Uncle’s footstep’s.’
John shook his bed. ‘I dunno, I was doing the old interviews for financial job and stuff. I thought that was what I wanted to do, but since I got back I felt that was just what the world expected of me. I still don’t know. But maybe know I have another choice.’
‘Because of what you found?’ She asked, carefully sipping on her hot tea.
‘Maybe, maybe I realise know that there is something else out there for me, I don’t know what it is, but I at least know that it exists.’
‘I always felt the same way’ she said, looking deep into his green eyes. ‘Ever since I left my studies, I felt like I was looking for something to prove everything which I thought. I was beginning to feel like it wasn’t going to happen, but now, now I have hope again. I have you to thank for that’
John silently stood up and opened the hidden alcove, showing her the stone tablet.
She almost dropped the mug she was holding. ‘Fuck me’ she said. Standing up she crossed to the fireplace, holding her fingers out to brush the stone.
‘This is it’ she finally managed to say. ‘She turned to face him ‘Do you know what is this is?’
John shook his head. ‘Just where it was found, and what the top inscription said, that was the only thing in my uncles notes’. He felt awful lying to her.
She finally managed to bring herself under control.
‘This John, is the inscription of the prophecy of Raziel.’ ‘This could be the most important finding in the history of, well, history.’