Sand blew in my face and I cursed my decision to go on this desert camping trip. “It’ll be fun,” they said. “We won’t get a day this nice again for a while,” they said. Given that I was allergic to dust, this was a profoundly stupid decision. I blew my nose in another one of my rapidly disappearing tissues.
My friends skipped ahead of me, playfully swatting at one another with their protective headscarves.
“Come on,” they called. “I think the sandstorm last week uncovered something!”
As I crested another dune, I looked in the direction of their pointing fingers and saw a tiny glint of gold about a two hundred yards away down a steep incline.
“The sandstorm must have been pretty intense out here to move this much sand.”
The four of us stumbled and slid down into the newly-made valley and began uncovering what looked like a wing of some kind.
“Maybe it’s an ancient Hittite figurine of one of their gods.”
“No way. I don’t think they came this far south.”
“Hold on, guys. It’s attached to a larger piece. Help me dig.”
We dug for several more minutes, until the thing was fully uncovered. When we stood back to fully take it in, we were speechless. It wasn’t possible.
“It’s gotta be a replica.”
“We could open it and find out,” someone joked.
“NO!” The rest of us shouted. We continued to stare at it, as if waiting for something to jump out and consume us.
“Even if it’s not the real thing, it’s clearly old. The writing around the base is ancient. We should bring it back with us and give it to a museum.”
I yelped. My hand which had been stroking the ancient, yet familiar letters around the base felt as if it had been zapped by a bolt of lightning.
“I don’t think it likes that idea.”
“We can’t just leave it here to be lost again in the sand. It’s a piece of history. We need to try and authenticate it or prove that it’s a replica. We’re not that far from town, let’s get it there and then we can figure out what to do with it.”
With that agreed, we rigged a sand sled of sorts and placed the thing on top, making sure it was completely covered. Then we took turns in twos dragging it back to town. We lugged it into our (thankfully) first floor apartment and went to sleep.
That night, my dreams were dark and violent and I woke with no doubt in my mind as to its authenticity.
That only left one question:
How do we share our discovery without ending the world?