Robert ripped off the plastic wrapping from the pallet. The drab cardboard boxes belied the treasures locked within. Since his shop, Curious Curios, had fallen on hard times during the pandemic, he had been contacted by a grey market dealer, and the price had been irresistible.
The first box contained an ornate clay pot. The sealed lid was in the form of an intricately carved jackal head, it’s tongue wrapping around the entire vessel. Turning, Robert’s foot caught the edge of the pallet.
The vessel slipped from his fingers, crashing to the concrete floor. Robert stared as red sparkling sand spiraled out from the clay remains. The shop lights went dark, and he felt sharp claws wrap around his ankles.