Read Return (Matt Turner Series Book 3) Online

Authors: Michael Siemsen

Tags: #Paranormal Suspense, #The Opal, #Psychic Mystery, #The Dig, #Matt Turner Series, #archaeology thriller, #sci-fi adventure

Return (Matt Turner Series Book 3)

BOOK: Return (Matt Turner Series Book 3)
8.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Also by Michael Siemsen

 

Matt Turner series

The Dig (Book One)*

The Opal (Book Two)*

Matty (short)

 

A Demon’s Story series

A Warm Place to Call Home (Book One)*

The Many Lives of Samuel Beauchamp (Book Two)

A Demon’s Story Omnibus (Books 1-2)*

 

Exigency*

 

The Smiths (short)

 

*Audiobook Edition available on Audible.com and iTunes

 

 

FANTOME

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locations are used factitiously. Other names, characters, incidents, and places are the products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Michael Siemsen and Fantome Publishing

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof.

 

FANTOME and logo are trademarks of Fantome Publishing, LLC.

Editing services provided by Red Road Editing/Kristina Circelli

 

ISBN 978-1-940757-17-9
(Trade Paperback)

ISBN 978-1-940757-16-2
(epub)

ISBN 978-1-940757-15-5
(Kindle)

 

Connect with the author:

facebook.com/mcsiemsen
*
michaelsiemsen.com

twitter:
@michaelsiemsen
*
[email protected]

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for Michael Siemsen book email updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is dedicated to

 

Erik V Siemsen

 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

I have found power in the mysteries of thought,

exaltation in the changing of the Muses;

I have been versed in the reasonings of men;

but Fate is stronger than anything I have known.

 

-Euripides, Alcestis, 438 BCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE

 

Abu Qir Bay, Egypt – Six weeks ago

Mushroom-colored sand gathered and disappeared into the vacuum tube, reappearing in the water forty feet away as a ghostly cloud. Soon, the sand would settle back to the sea floor, but it wouldn’t help the ever-poor visibility at the bottom of Abu Qir Bay, the recently discovered underwater home of the ancient Egyptian port city, Heracleion. Leonardo Dunch shifted the mouth of the tube closer to the massive statue of the Nile god, Hapi, as a bright flash reflected off the chiseled red granite. Leonardo glanced to his right and saw the site’s photographer give him a thumbs up.

Leonardo thought,
Why exactly are we taking pictures in three-foot visibility?
But then observed the murky water had cleared up quite a bit. Clarity like this was rare here, so he expected the better part of the afternoon would entail posing for photos next to finds. More likely, though, he’d be frequently asked to move out of the way.

Beyond the photographer’s column of tiny rising bubbles, Leonardo spotted Étienne Laprise, lead archaeologist (and Leonardo’s boss), in his blue-striped wetsuit thirty feet away, floating in front of the jutting sculpture of Cleopatra VII, and apparently tweezing its dark stone shoulder.

Étienne’s working on Cleo again?

The Cleopatra statue had been coral clean for weeks and was just touched up the day before. And hadn’t Étienne said he’d be on the palace ruins today?

Leonardo continued sucking sand away from his Hapi statue, reaching its naval after ten minutes. Scans had shown the stone went deep—possibly more than fifty percent intact—but he’d begun wondering if this thing might just be in one piece. Either way, he’d now reached a point where structural suspension would need to be affixed.

After a slew of cable-free photos, no doubt.

Étienne’s vision of the site for the rest of the world was a turquoise-hued landscape with ghostly, carved stalagmites rising from an otherwise pristine sea floor. The fluorescent orange mapping grid and segment tags would have to be removed once again.

An extended beeeep and vibration from his dive computer reminded Leonardo it was time to surface for a decompression break. The forearm-mounted device was flashing a two-minute countdown to begin his ascent. Maybe a good time for lunch, too. The new cook—Josh something—had made those insane grilled cheeses the other day. It was nice to finally have another twentyish-year-old American on a boat mostly full of Frenchies, but nicer still that the dude would be making their food for the foreseeable future.

With the taste of assorted cheeses in his mouth, Leonardo turned his back to the statue, shut down the suction, unclipped the extra weight belt, attaching it to the large vacuum unit, and then bled air from his BC vest until his buoyancy stabilized.

Just as he prepared to ascend, something caught his eye at the far end of the vacuum’s discharge tube. Revealed beyond the dissipating sand cloud, a figure was coming toward him. A black wetsuit with blue stripes down the arms. Étienne waved to Leonardo and gave him the “OK” sign before cutting left toward the palace.

Étienne? How—?

Leonardo spun around to face the Cleopatra statue again, baffled at how the lead diver could’ve moved past him so quickly. But still there, squarely focused on the shoulder, floated the person in the matching wetsuit.

Well, then who the hell is that?

Leonardo kicked his fins behind him, passing in front of the photographer as he snapped more shots of Hapi, and swam toward the mystery diver. A moment later, Leonardo reached the curious figure and steered around beside him.

The man had found something—some sort of hidden stone prism, like a thick, triangular carrot stick—and was carefully sliding it from an orifice in Cleopatra VII’s shoulder. Leonardo shifted his weight to bring his legs back under him, then tapped the man’s arm. The stranger’s head snapped toward him. Through the facemask, surprised eyes and a pale-skinned, unfamiliar face greeted Leonardo. This man was
not
from the team. Leonardo glared, pulled the man’s wrist away from the statue, and stabbed a finger upward, ordering the thief to surface.

Without warning, the man grabbed Leonardo’s mask and yanked it off his face, sending stinging saltwater into his eyes. Leonardo raised his feet before him and blindly kicked outward. His fins struck what was presumably the thief’s chest, propelling Leonardo away while grasping at the water in search of his mask. Inhaling air from his regulator, a small amount of sea water slipped up his nose and burnt down his throat. He snorted out and pinched his nose shut, opening his eyes a crack to find the mask. Nothing but a blurry green glare.

Surfacing too quickly would be dangerous—likely nearing twenty-five minutes at this depth. The computer would alert him to do his safety stops. But where was the thief? Was he coming after him, or making a getaway?

Slow down … Slow breaths.

It’d been a few years since diving school, where he’d drilled for this precise scenario, and he could only recall there was an acronym created to remember the steps. Was it C.A.L.M.? R.E.L.A.X.?

Where were Étienne and the photographer? Had they seen what happened? Was the thief getting away? And if so, with or without what he’d found hidden in the statue?

Leonardo staved off panic and paid attention to his bubbles to reorient himself. He tilted his head slightly downward, pressed the side of a cupped hand against his brow as if shielding sunlight, and waited for his trapped exhaled air to fill the space. A couple breaths later, his eyes sat in their new virtual facemask, and he was able to see again. He was floating about fifteen feet from the Cleo statue, ten feet above the sea floor, and slowly drifting south with the current. No sign of the thief. No sign of his mask.

His dive computer began its more urgent beep, accompanied by pulsing vibrations.

Outrage aside, his
life
was more important than an artifact. Ideally, with a few safety stops he’d reach the surface in ten-to-fifteen minutes, but he hoped that, in the meantime, Étienne and/or the photographer would see what had transpired, and stop the thief.

BOOK: Return (Matt Turner Series Book 3)
8.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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