News of the discovery was accompanied by the wholesale abandonment of the camp, except for Williams. Muttering about superstitious cowards, he grabbed a flashlight, and a leather satchel. Pushing away the waxed canvas flap of his tent, the cold desert air tickled his face like a teasing lover. Smiling, he marched along the path, dotted by lanterns, to the cave’s entrance.
As he descended the ladder, the lashing of each wooden rung creaked and groaned. Above him he could hear the wind howling around the opening as warmth returned to his skin. Reaching the bottom, he clicked on the flashlight, and scanned the tunnel. Dusty tendrils crawled down thick support beams, like hungry waifs searching for scraps of food.
A sense of pride prodded him forward, knowing he would be the first to lay eyes on the contents of the tomb that had eluded all others. Reaching the end of the tunnel, he squeezed through a narrow gap of hand laid stones.
The chamber was larger than he expected. At the far end was a throne, occupied by mummified remains. His flashlight landed upon a crown of jewels that sparkled like a kaleidoscope, casting colored light throughout the chamber.
“Why did you think you were the first?”
The voice seemed to come from all around him.
Something struck his harm, knocked away his flashlight. Scrambling for the exit, he fell. The sliver of light from the tunnel outside narrowed with the sound of scraping stones until there was only darkness.