Copyright 2021 by Kat Thomas
All rights reserved.
Cover design by Canva Kat Thomas
Book design by Kat Thomas
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Due to many thefts of online work This copyright notice will be there on every online posting from now on. I will also say I will take action on any person or company who posts my work without permission.
She sat alone in the musty basement room. She hated the basement so it only seemed fitting that her office would be placed there. Everything about her job was like this, but she still tried to make the most of the opportunity. Her godfather was a considerable donor to the museum most that worked with her thought that was the young doctor got the job in the first place. At twenty-five, she was one of the up and coming newest members of the field but that of course was overlooked as people thought that her “uncles” money had bought her way in.
Her uncle had offered to help put a word in for her, but she had refused. She only wanted people to know her for her work, not her association to one of the wealthiest men in the state or even the country for that matter. She had rested on her knowledge instead of that but somehow after a charity dinner to which she was a guest of his her association was leaked out. She was now labeled as one of those rich kids instead of one those hard-working kids. It wasn’t a new feeling for her, every time someone found out she was looked at differently then what she really was.
She looked around the almost open office that was lacking any personal touches and smiled. She was happiest with the lights blaring and the sounds of soft music playing in the background. This was hers. She looked around and thought it would be almost perfect if it weren’t in the museum’s basement of course. She still smiled every day as she scanned her ID card and made her way to the dusty storage rooms of exhibits gone by to the hallway that leads to the offices.
The further she walked down the hallway the more she actually felt the history, and the mustiness of the corridors would become overwhelming. It was only on late nights that she would think the whole building was haunted by some known spirit that stalked around the building. She had always believed there was more than what we could see, but this job led her to try to be reasonable. She was a doctor after all. She was a doctor that was labeled rich and had an overactive imagination.
She was working late again. She had no idea why she was voluntold that she had to stay for the delivery of the incoming packages. The museum had created a massive buzz for this new coming exhibit by winning the contract with the Japanese government to do the genealogical studies and dating of some of their more notable historical people. She knew her uncle had been a driving factor in the museum getting the contract. She also knew the reason he had used his influence was her. It was something she wanted to work on, and it was a gift to her.
When the loud buzzer went off, she made her way to the loading dock to where she lifted the gates to a smiling delivery man. “I have some crates for you.“, he smiled.
“Thank you.“, she smiled back. “Just place them over there while I check them off the manifest, please.”
“You got it, Princess.“, He smiled and went into the truck. He started to load up the dolly and bring out crate after crate. She was checking them off the list that she had when she saw there were two more crates then what was supposed to be there. She looked up and asked him.
“Those aren’t on the manifest.“, she said, “Are they for the exhibit?”
“I just deliver what I am told.“, The man said with a grin.
“I need to call before I can sign for those two.“, She said not really knowing what to do. It was more often than not part of a shipment was missing not that there were more then what was supposed to be sent.
“I will keep stacking Princess.“, The man said as she walked over to the phone in the loading bay. She picked up and started to make the call.
“Hello, this is Doctor Jankowski from the Berkinshire Institute Museum. I have two extra crates from what was in the manifest.“, She said.
“Ah yes, Just the person we were hoping would receive them. Dr. Jankowski those are for you, a gift from a benefactor that believes in your talents.“, the voice on the phone who identified himself as the curator from the original museum.
“A benefactor?“, She asked. She knew it had to be her uncle. “Gifts?”
“I am to pass this on. You will know what to do with them when they feel comfortable with you.“, they said as they hung up.
“Well, what the hell does that mean?“, she asked herself out loud.
“So princess, You want these two or not?“, the delivery man asked.
“Yes, I’m sorry about that. It seems they are a gift.“, she replied.
“A gift huh?“, the delivery man asked. “Seems a little weird to send a gift like this.”
“Tell me about it.“, she replied to which he laughed.
“You want them with the rest?“, he asked.
“Actually, can you bring them to my office? It is only down the hall. I don’t want to get them confused with the others.“, she said.
“For you, princess anything.“, He said with a wink as he followed her to the office as she held the doors open for him. He looked around in the large room and smiled. “You haven’t done much with the place have you?”
“No, I just moved into it a few weeks ago when I got my fellowship.“, She replied as he put the crates down and moved the dolly from underneath them. She smiled at him as he hesitated.
“Doctor huh?“, he asked. “You look way too young to be a doctor.”
“Thank you.“, she replied, “But I am a Ph.D., not a medical doctor.”
“So a book smart doctor then?“, he asked which she was laughing.
“I guess so. Sometimes I wonder though.“, she said as she walked him back to the loading bay.
“Well book smart doctor it is Friday night, and it is still somewhat early. Would you like to go get a drink with me?“, he asked.
“Thank you for the offer but.“, she started, and he held up his hand.
“I know. You’re married.“, he said.
“Actually I’m not, but I do have to begin to sort these. I would rather get the drink.“, she said with a smile.
“Maybe next time then, princess.“, he said with a smile.
“Next time.“, She said. He got into the truck, and she pressed the button for the liftgate to come down, and as he drove off, she wished she had given him her card. She shook her head looking at the room full of crates as she started to go over the manifest again. The first step she had to do was label each box with more than the number from the list. Different departments would be taking possession of different boxes. It was her job at this point to make sure the correct box went to each department. Then she might be able to get to her own few crates. She went to find a marker so she could get this over with. Though it was not a difficult task, it was one that an undergrad could have done instead of her. She knew this was payback for her having specific connections.
She almost cursed the day she went full speed skipping into her father’s office and directly into the owner of the new company. She had been eight at the time, and it was love at first sight. Her new adopted “uncle” took great joy in spoiling her that day and every day since. She smiled at the memory of the day as she started to label the boxes. It was a penance for her that she would gratefully bare if it meant Lou was in her life.
Two hours later she was done. The boxes had all been labeled and ready for the different departments. She smiled at the crates and knew her job was almost done. She still had two more crates to go, and she looked at her watch. She didn’t need to work anymore, but those two crates in her office would drive her insane for the next few hours if she didn’t know what was in them and what her gift was. She walked to the office and looked at the boxes. They were rather small for crates, but they still were big enough for her to wonder what in the world could be in them. Thinking that this was her uncles doing again, she decided that it might be best to x-ray them before she opened them and she had the portable x-ray machine in the office next door that she could use. The one benefit to being locked away in the basement, she had access to all the fun toys around her without having to ask for another department’s approval. She had the right to all machines as well, and easier access to them. As she preferred to work by herself, she knew how to use everything as well which was a boon.
She went over to the office next to her and moved the bulky machine to her own as the lights flickered slightly, she wondered at those the first night she had been moved in here. The electrical system could use a few upgrades down here she had thought through the lights in the exhibit hall where the top of the line the rest of the building was going to hell in a handbasket. She wondered at first at the flickers, but it seemed that it was a normal thing for the building. A simple small power surge or a quick brown out she had begun to think. Her father, a technician for the phone company, had made sure that all of his children had learned about the simple things in life, the basic things they would all need. She had been running wire for the house they had built and within the phone company by the time she was five. She knew all about wiring and different aspects of electricity. She ultimately thought about telling Lou when she saw him next just so he could have the building checked out, the idea there was a faulty wire and could cause a fire would be a horrible idea to hold on too. She had set up the machine to do its job as she snapped the first picture and went into to move and set up for the next. She only wanted an idea of what was in the crates, so a detailed x-ray wasn’t necessary. As she cleared the room again and snapped the next, it seemed the air in the basement dropped about five degrees around her. She wondered about a draft, but there was no access point that could create one. She let that thought drop as she really didn’t want to start thinking about the other possibilities.
As she waited for the x-rays to develop she readied the supplies that she would need to pry open the crates to find what was inside. She looked over at the table and was surprised as she moved closer. She could start to make out the outlines of the objects in the crate. She was very puzzled as she moved even closer and as the image grew and she could clearly see what was in the box. This wasn’t an ordinary present. Even her uncle could not have arraigned this.
“Who in the world sent me a box of bones?“, She asked herself as she turned and looked again at the crate. She moved closer to the crate and gently pried open the top of the first box. She reached in and picked up a skull and asked, “Who are you?”