The voice of an older gentlemen echoed across the archaeological site, and over the crest of a small muddy mound appeared an ageing rotund figure. “Idiot!” he screamed waving his arms high above his head as a large yellow crane perched precariously on the edge of a deep hole. From the arm and wrapped in thick cables hung a large rectangular block of stone. “That item could be the most significant find of the twenty-first century” The crane driver paused and glanced out of the cab at the site of the archaeologist as he huffed across the mud, blowing air from his reddening cheeks through a mixture of anger and exhaustion at the sudden burst of speed. He shrugged and chewed nonchalantly on his stale tasting chewing gum and returned his attention back to the swinging rock high above the ground.
“Relax Alex, he knows what he’s doing”. The woman spoke without turning around, simply stood in her thick black fake-fur lined coat watching as the cables strained against the rough stone. She gazed into the darkening evening sky and hid any reservations she may have had.
“That’s easy for you to say Anna” bemoaned Alex coming to a stop by her, “but this is the most complete example of a Doomstone that’s ever been found. Apart from the one in York, this one is the only actual complete find” he waved his hands as he spoke, not hiding his excitement. The pair stood watching as the stone continued its slow climb from the meticulously dug hole and into the air, spinning under its own weight.
She regarded him for a moment as his excitement threatened to bubble over and explode and before her she saw a man desperately out of shape, even for a man of his age; early sixties. His chest rose violently from the sudden burst of activity and strained against his tweed jacket. Tuffs of greying hair poked from beneath a plain fedora hat as he squinted against the glare of the setting sun. “Be careful!” he called to the crane driver as he held his hands before him, in mock prayer. “Do we really have to employ those idiots” he spat, “look at the Neanderthal”
“That’s not fair Alex” complained Anna, “he’s doing fine” Her words were reassuring, but she knew the importance of the find and the significance. Indeed, ever since the top of the stone had been unearthed on the Stanmore Estate, this had been a high-profile expedition. No-one really knew or understood the meaning of the Doomstone at York and over the years many had speculated over its significance and position within British Folklore. The depictions had represented the very worse of mankind, with imagery of sex, murder and other illegal activities and coupled with the striking image of mankind burning in a gigantic pot, lit and maintained by demonic figures, this had become a symbol of ritualistic damnation.
Around the site onlookers watched with interest, including site manager Finn Law and estate owner Lady Veronica Stanmore. They were surrounded by paparazzi and newscasters as they stone continued its slow climb into the heavens, unearthed and in the air for the first time in centuries. Anna was nervous, but hid her worries behind a wry smile and watched through piercing cool blue eyes, which hid partially behind a pair of thin lined gold spectacles. Professor Alexander Hutchinson was right, this was a significant find and the first one in this area. Anna had been within the field of archaeology for almost thirty years, working both in the field and within various university faculties. Having not long turned fifty, this was the biggest find of her career, having spent most of her career studying things like Roman coins and pieces of pottery.
“Soon, Anna” whispered Alex and cameras flashed around them as the stone began a slow descent after clearing the hole. “We can examine and study the most important find of our career” Small flicks of saliva ran down the side of his mouth as he spoke and Anna was almost convinced that the find was turning the Professor on. “I can almost feel it” he breathed hoarsely. His eyes glazed over as he watched the lowering of the rock, trying to catch an early glance at the imagery beneath the cowling which protected the stone from the cables. He pulled a small stained handkerchief and stabbed at his brow as pearls of sweat formed on his forehead.
Finn ran over the mud toward the pair and reached up toward the base of the Doomstone as it lowered carefully in its cradle. “Easy Dave!” he called to the driver, his voice unwavering despite the pressure of the intensity growing around him. He placed his hands on the bottom of the stone and pushed against the rock, his muscles straining against the weight and it eased onto the ground. “There you go Professor” said Finn proudly, “safe and sound”. A volley of flashes erupted around them as the cables dropped to the floor and the stone eased into the soft mud.
“My life” whispered Alex as he moved slowly toward the monolith, which stood at a massive eight feet tall and towered above the diminutive scientist. He pulled at the canopy and revealed the stone surface beneath and marveled at the carved figures as they cavorted naked on the structure. “My world” Camera’s clicked and flashed catching the moment as the Professor flung his arms around the dirty cold stone and smiled. “Please ladies, gentlemen” cooed Alex, “let me introduce you to the Doomstone, the greatest single find in modern history” His attention was drawn to Lady Stanmore who smiled back at him and clapped and he felt his body swell with pride. “Now if you could come with me…” he poured and indicated toward a make-shift canvas tent, “Let me tell you about our find”
As the crowd dispersed and moved away, a light glow emanated from the stone…