1. The man she sought was chained to a large slab of rock, as she’d expected. Still, to see the kind of torture that had been inflicted upon him was sickening. Unable to take any more, she leaned against the wall and vomited. When she was done, she spit and wiped her mouth with the hem of her robe. Glancing over her shoulder, she noticed the man had not moved. Afraid she may be too late, she hurried over to the still body. His bloodied chest barely moved, but it was enough to reassure her he was still alive.
2. Elso sat up in his chair and clicked on a few more pictures. Finestra knew what the man was thinking. Would it be more advantageous to go after the idol right after the staff had obtained it, when everything was still fresh and they were unguarded? Or should he wait until the museum staff had decided where to place it, and risk having it relocated to an area that was more secured? There were pros and cons to both scenarios. With the former, the kalorshai was still new and interesting, and therefore being scrutinized and studied intently. But the thought of it being confiscated would be the last thing on the museum’s mind, giving Elso the best chance of getting to it. With the latter, as the newness wore off and fewer people were inclined to examine it, there’s the possibility it could be hours, if not days or weeks, before a staffer discovered it missing. However, by that time it could have been placed in a vault or other location that would make obtaining it more difficult, if not impossible.
3. And black despair sunk its claws into her stomach. The idol lay in two parts. Somehow she’d broken the head off of the body. Frantic, she searched for the missing piece, finally discovering it lying in her lap, between her thighs. She breathed a sigh of relief, until the gravity of what she’d done hit her like a blow to the gut. She’d destroyed a rare and irreplaceable piece of ancient Egyptian art, and she was about to become violently ill from the guilt.
4. She was wiped out by the time the cops were finished interrogating her. She’d managed to have Garenth drop her off on the museum roof, then made her way back down to the lower floors where she could notify the guards. Her story to the officers was pretty much the truth, starting when she had been working on a piece inside Dr. Kelling’s office, and ending with the intruder following her into the warehouse. She told them she’d managed to escape her kidnapper and was in hiding in the storage area when someone entered the warehouse via the stairwell. She gave them her account of the kidnapper firing at who she assumed was one of the museum guards, then running for the back exit where he first shot out the lock before escaping.
5. He unwrapped the towel around his chest to reveal the bullet holes left from his first encounter. Using the tip of his clawed finger again, he picked at the indentations. Bits of rock began falling into his lap, gradually increasing in size as the pieces became chunks.
6. More tears came, damn it. She shouldn’t have brought him up, but in the short time they’d known each other, he had become a part of her. His strength, his bravery, his caring—everything about him had touched her heart, and she’d never really understood how much her life had changed until he was gone.
Excerpt and buy links.