Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 43

“So, your guess is what, that a bunch of ancient corpses got up and came after us?” Cannon said.

“If the burial wrapping fits.”

“I’ll stick to the explanation that doesn’t take magic,” said Cannon. “Come on. Let’s back to the village, so we can call Inconstant before anything else goes wrong. I already had to leave my bag of loot behind. At this rate we won’t get paid at all.”

He headed for the sunlight spilling through the open door to the temple courtyard. While the others followed him, Iseabail hung back for a moment, studying the hieroglyphs on the wall. Something about them drew the eye—she tore herself away and hurried to catch up with Burr, who walked a few steps behind the men. Cannon and di Giacomo were talking logistics and navigation, working out when they’d get back to El Balyana and when to call for pickup.

Watching Cannon, Iseabail spoke quietly out of the corner of her mouth. “Ye werena thinkin’ mummies?”

Burr blinked. “Yes.”

Satisfied, Iseabail nodded. “Aye.”


The sky reddened as the sun inched toward the horizon. Five camels in a line approached a small house on the outskirts of El-Balyana. Two men on the roof hauled a radio antenna upright by means of cables attached to its tip, then tied their ends off to loops at the corners of the roof.

As the camels drew closer, Masaracchia hopped down from the one in the lead. In Latin—ecclesiastical, going by the occasional ‘ch’—he had a short conversation with the men on the roof. As Cannon and his crew dismounted, Masaracchia’s men came down the stairs on the house’s outside wall and took the reins.

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