For the remainder of 2013, my posts will be from Layla Daltry’s perspective. She’s the hero of The Compass Master, a daring antiquities hunter, and while on the trail of a rare, precious artifact is living undercover in Denver as Helena Soister…
My Chicago trip was a success, but not without danger.
As planned, my good friend Annie (her last name is a secret) met me at the airport and took me to an undisclosed location an hour by train from the city. I spent the night on a comfortable air mattress, but all I could think about was that Gnostic papyrus scroll. The one the Egyptian minister accuses me of smuggling out of his country.
Luck was with me: my old professor at the University of Chicago agreed to meet with me. “Sunday. Three O’Clock. The architectural tour boat on the river,” he said to me on the phone. He hung up before I could ask questions.
I started the day having fun with Annie around the city. But when it was time to go to the boat I warned her we might be followed by unsavory underworld figures. The ones who had stolen the scroll and framed me for the theft.
“We’ve been friends since we were freshman in college!” she protested. “I won’t abandon you now!”
I wiped a tear from my eye, and together we got on the boat.
But the professor was nowhere to be seen. I enjoyed the tour anyway (it lasted about an hour), and only as we pulled back up to the dock did he suddenly appear at my back.
“Don’t turn around,” he whispered. “And don’t look in the men’s restroom. I left a body in there.”
“I usually don’t go into men’s restrooms anyway,” I murmured. “What happened?”
“He was an unsavory underworld figure who only told me about the scroll after I stabbed him. This is the rendezvous point where his colleague is leaving it for the buyer.” I could feel the professor slip a folded piece of paper into my bluejeans’ back pocket. And cup his hand over my shapely ass in the process.
“I know. But I’m a very neat killer. Even with a bloody body, that restroom is now cleaner than when I entered it.”
And with that he vanished.
I pulled out the crumpled slip of paper and read aloud the few words on it.
“The rendezvous is tomorrow afternoon at the the Art Institute of Chicago.”
Annie looked at me with alarm. “But… We were going to go there anyway!”
“I know,” I mumbled. “What a suspicious coincidence…”
For her sake, I shrugged off my concern. “Let’s go take some glamorous photos of each other and post one on my blog,” I said. And off we went.
TO BE CONTINUED…