After a hundred years, he would be the first one to open it. The Tomb of Kings, Reliquary of Solomon son of David, King of Israel, and the greatest mind to ever walk the earth. It was also the famed resting place of the greatest treasure on earth.
He knew it was the reliquary the minute he laid eyes on it, sitting shrouded and hidden in the darkness. He found it ironic how it did not draw any attention to itself considering the man whose bones it held within it; what treasure it held. Joshua shone the torch at the foot of the rocky outcrop and let the beam of light caress its entire length all the way back to the top.
To the naked eye, it was nothing more than a jagged wall, a protruding beautiful mass of granite frosted in the finest silvery dust. But it was more than that. It was so much more and now it was his; all his. Joshua inched closer to it against his better judgment.
His entire body seemed to vibrate with a seething violent thirst, beckoning him to lunge at it. He had to get closer to the mass; breach the granite. He didn’t want to risk using an explosive, lest it damage the contents behind the ancient tombstone. Nonetheless, he desperately wanted to touch the bones himself and he couldn’t do that with a huge boulder blocking his way. Only by touching Solomon’s bones and reciting the Lost Songs of Solomon would the exchange work.
The tomb of the greatest King of Israel had eluded him all these years. It had him running away from Phantoms, Sand Naga, and earlier today, the venomous Scarab Queen. But the reliquary of the king had finally found him worthy. It had called him from The Kenya Bureau of Mysteries Research Center in Nairobi to the depths of Jerusalem. Now it simply whispered to him; calling him towards the beautiful glittering wall.
Come and touch me. Come caress me.
Yes, yes I want to. I will! Joshua thought and he crossed the threshold of the cave, made his way towards the tombstone. Even though he held a bruise in his right thigh from a poisoned dart that stung, he assured his doubts that he was indeed not hallucinating again. Still, he found it hard to believe it was all true.
He could feel the dust around him, thick and disturbed by his boots that fell cushioned on the ground by decayed walls of the lost temple of Yeshua. The air around him thinned, both itchy and glittering against the torchlight. But Joshua knew that it was not dust at all. It was what millions of years of decay had done to the golden temple. A handful of the golden dust alone was worth more than any of the exhibitions in the Kenya National Museum.
You’ve come for more than gold Joshua, he reminded himself as he felt a sudden lurch in his stomach.
He stumbled forward, coughing it out. It happened again, stronger the second time, and this time he came to a painful stop, trying to still the stinging in his stomach. Then his legs seemed to have a mind of their own. One minute he was standing, the next he was walking, pacing, running towards the tombstone, an invisible force seeming to urge him forward.
The lurch in his stomach grew painful as if an invisible hook were pulling him. He cried out in pain as his legs moved him forward faster and faster.
What was happening?
He was going to run into the tombstone, bash hard against the gold dust shrouded mass. Why wasn’t he stopping? What was pushing him forward? A phantom…? Magic…?
He was shouting now, bracing himself to crush hard against the tombstone and die at the mercy of whatever it was that was unyieldingly bent on pulling him. The wall was right in front of him, inches away. He shut his eyes, bracing for the collision, absolutely lost to the control of his own body.
He’d expected pain on impact but there was none. It’s not possible, he thought. But then again, it was. He was still alive, still breathing, not moving anymore, at least not once he’d gone right through the tombstone. He practically slid past the sparkling gold-dusted barrier as if it weren’t even there, the plopping sound of his torch resounded behind him as darkness exploded around him.
It was seconds later that Joshua realized that he had made it to the Reliquary of King Solomon. However, like so many times before, he was not alone.
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