Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 46

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s a Thornycroft, an’ nae even a new one. I was nae more than a wee lass wha didnae know the odds ‘tween a spark plug an’ a radiator cap when they started making these. Like as na’, this lorry’s from 1910.”

“’18,” Masaracchia said, crossing his arms defensively.

“Will it get us to Alexandria?” said Cannon.

“It’s made the trip before. We keep drums of petrol in the back in case of long, unplanned trips. We should be there in less than a day if nothing goes wrong.”

Burr frowned. “I’m not sure I’d put money on that.”

“Do you want to jinx us?” Cannon said. “You and di Giacomo head back to the house and get our things together. Mr. Masaracchia, we’ll take the truck. Let’s get her ready to go.”

Inside of fifteen minutes, they had the truck gassed up, and had fitted the canvas cover to the bed. They stopped at the house to pick up Burr and di Giacomo, and soon, the truck rolled along the north road out of El Balyana.

Cannon, riding in the bed, rapped on the window on the back of the cab. Dozing inside, Iseabail started awake and slid the pane open.

“Where do the roads get better?” said Cannon.

“Near Cairo,” said Masaracchia from behind the wheel. “We’ll be there by noon. Be prepared to take the wheel later.”

“Wake me when it’s time.” Cannon settled in under the blankets they’d taken from the house and closed his eyes.

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