Boxes of files cluttered Detective Sawyer’s desk even more than it usually was. Records on the item stolen from the museum stretching back as far as eighty years. Somehow he was supposed to slog through all this paperwork and come up with where the damn thing was.
“September, 1908. Item of interest discovered in cave believed to have been used by ancient Mayans. Found in partially caved-in, hidden cavern, separate from known burial site location. Bears further investigation.” Sawyer rubbed his head. 1908? Really? He flirted with the idea of vengeful Mayan ghosts being the perps. After skimming the next file he wished he hadn’t.
“Dr. Emery Yantuf, first to study The Scepter in detail, died mysteriously of an unknown, flesh-eating disease before he could finish his work deciphering its cultural significance, as well as physical makeup. His colleagues’ superstition at the prospect of a potential curse overwhelmed their fascination that the Doctor had been unable to remove any samples from The Scepter for analysis.”
More records went much the same. The Scepter passed from anthropologists to chemists to geologists, and no one could positively identify what its purpose was, or what it was made of. Some said it was used in ritual, where others said it was symbolic of power, and some of the nuttier theories even included aliens. The real kicker, though, was that everyone who tried to get a handle on the thing died horrifically. Causes of death were different for each, but none could be labeled accidental. Exotic disease was always somehow involved. Sawyer wondered if whoever stole it knew about its history.
Uniformed officers running past his office jerked his attention away from the morbid case files. More jogged past his door. He stood and followed. Pushing through the crowd of cops, he saw why they were having such difficulty training their guns forward without retching. Crawling up the steps to the police station was a mass of boils and tumors that vaguely resembled a man. It stretched what had once been an arm forward, The Scepter in its clutch, gurgling, “Taaaaaayyyke iiiihht!”
Sawyer shook his head. “I’m not touching that thing.”