Chapter Sixteen

Nisa and Susie carefully and silently slipped around the side of the tent. One of the workers came around the back of another tent. When he saw them, he frowned. “Hey! What are you two doing back there?”

Nisa swallowed deeply, mind and thoughts reeling too much to form a response.

“One of the bosses thought they’d found something, so we were on our way to the side of the site—see if we couldn’t find anything there!” Susie said smoothly.

Nisa had no idea what she would have done without her.

The man slowly nodded and then gestured back to the pyramid. “I don’t know who gave you those orders, but get back to the pyramid, now! We need every available hand digging out the new chamber.”

As much as Nisa desperately wanted to know what new chamber he was talking about, they had to find out more about Callahan. How he had—had killed Nisa’s father. Grief and sorrow squeezed her chest, but she followed Susie as her friend gripped her arm and dragged her back toward the front of the camp, out of the other worker’s eyes.

Callahan and Edward emerged from the main tent just as Susie and Nisa rounded the corner. Nisa looked up with a gasp, as she nearly bumped into Callahan.

He shot her a glare. “What are you doing here? Get back to the pyramid and get to work! Incompetent workers!” he muttered as she shoved passed her.

Nisa’s throat tightened behind the lump that had formed there and she squeezed her fingers together, desperately trying to reign in the cold fear and anger that surged through her blood. Every part of her wanted to grab Callahan, demand answers, scream at him, punch him—and far worse—but that would only blow their cover.

Briefly, Nisa found time to be grateful for the head and face coverings. If it wasn’t for them, then Callahan would have immediately recognized her. She needed evidence, but what? If Callahan really had murdered her father, not only would he have gotten rid of the evidence, but it happened years ago. There was no way any of it that he missed would still be lying around. If she didn’t want to take years trying to investigate a cold case that had already been declared a normal death by professionals—ones that Nisa now believed Callahan had paid off—then, that only left her with one other choice.

She would have to find something to use against Callahan, some way of blackmailing him.

Callahan joined a group of men near the edge of the pyramid and started talking to them. From what Nisa could see, the other workers all either had their backs turned or their attention otherwise occupied.

The only problem with getting into Callahan’s tent were the two security men at the front.

Nisa squeezed Susie’s arm and yanked her back down the side of the tent. At the end, she waited at the corner and glanced to the right, where the previous worker had been. It appeared to be clear, so she lay on the ground and crawled beneath the cloth at the bottom, inside the back of the tent, with Susie clambering in behind her.

“Keep an eye on the entrance. Warn me if he comes,” Nisa whispered.

Susie nodded and stepped to the door.

Nisa pursed her lips, glancing around the room. She darted to a stand that had been set up near the cot where two laptops sat. One of them was hers, so she closed it and slipped it into a bag on the floor, then slung the bag over her back. Then she glanced at the other computer, which was currently locked out. It would take someone far more skilled than her to hack into it, so she slipped it into the bag too. If there wasn’t anything on his computer to blackmail him with, then she would have to find something else—anything she could use.

There were papers inside folders on the desk, but all of it was information about the pyramid—stuff that Nisa herself already knew. Now, of course, she knew better than that. Anything that Edward had told her or led her to believe was a lie. Which meant that he and Callahan knew the real truth of the pyramid, but what? Where would he keep the real information?

More than that, did the workers know the truth? Or were they fed lies? If something so major had been kept a secret, then it was unlikely any of the workers really knew what was going on here. A man like Callahan would keep them in the dark.

She sighed and grabbed the papers and folders anyway. Anything they could find would be useful somehow.

Susie met her gaze and pointed to the back of the tent, eyes widened.

Outside, voices rose. “… inside so I can take a better look at it,” Callahan said. Footsteps thudded just outside the tent’s entrance.

Nisa’s heart pounded as she and Susie darted to the back of the tent. The spot to crawl through was only big enough for one person at a time and not enough room for the bag to fit with her. She handed the bag to Susie and shoved her forward. Susie slipped the bag through, then crawled through herself.

Just as Susie’s feet slid through and Nisa knelt to follow, Callahan walked in.

Nisa wasted no time. Nothing she could say would excuse this. She rushed through and then grabbed Susie’s arm as they stood outside the back of the tent. The two women sprinted forward—toward the sand dunes directly across from them.

By then, dozens of security men poured after them. Two stood on the sand dunes further to the left and aimed guns at them. A red dot appeared on Nisa’s chest and she froze. “Go!” she shouted to Susie.

Susie darted forward, but the security guards got to her first. They snatched the bag of her shoulders and threw her to the ground. By then, several of them had reached Nisa as well. They slammed her into the sand and wrenched her arms behind her back. She groaned and they handcuffed her together as she coughed and fought to catch her breath. Sand stirred in her mouth, so she spit it up as the men dragged her to her feet.

Behind one of the tent’s, out of the corner of her eye, Nisa’s eyes found Oliver. He reached for his gun, but she shook her head as the security men dragged her toward Callahan’s tent and threw her onto her knees in front of him.

If Oliver tried to shoot his way out of this, they would all be killed. He had a chance to leave now, and then maybe at least he would be alright.

The two men held Susie by the entrance while the ones guarding Nisa kept a firm grip on her shoulders.

Callahan glared down at her. “What is the meaning of this?” He reached down and jerked the head and face covering. When his eyes landed on her, they widened. “Nisa? What are you doing here? Sneaking into the camp isn’t going to give you back control of it. And what did you expect by stealing your research? You wouldn’t have been able to take credit for it.”

Nisa growled at him. “I heard everything, Callahan. You—you murdered my father! How could you?” The words blurted from her mouth before she could fully stop them. Anger and grief gripped her heart and tears sprang in her eyes. “I—I looked up to you! You mentored me and, at worst, I thought you destroyed his career, but you—you did far worse! I don’t understand!”

Callahan narrowed his eyes at her as he sat down on a chair at his desk. The other man, whom Nisa assumed was Edward, walked over to stand beside him. “No,” Callahan started. “You wouldn’t. You don’t understand half of what’s really going on here. But I must say, you’ve become quite a problem. You were closer than anyone else has been to this… let me tell you that.”

Nisa swallowed deeply and shook her head at him. “Wh—why did you kill him, Callahan?”

Callahan shook his head with pity in his gaze. “It’s a shame, really.”

Nisa screamed at him. “You—you murdered him and all you have to say is that it’s a shame?”

Callahan laughed. “You mistake my words, Nisa, my dear. It’s a shame that you’re going to die without ever knowing or realizing the truth.”

Shock rippled through her and fear made Nisa’s chest tighten.

Susie cried out. “N—no, please! Please don’t do this!”

Callahan motioned to a few of the other security men. From the corner of the tent, they hauled two trunks forward and Nisa briefly wondered what they were for. The men opened the chests and held them upside down. Piles of clothes fell out and that was when the full weight of their situation came bearing down on Nisa full force.

Callahan grabbed a gun from one of the security men and slipped on a part at the end. Nisa had seen it in enough movies to recognize that part as a silencer.

“Wait—you—Susie has nothing to do with this. She—“

Callahan aimed the gun at Nisa while his security man with another gun and silencer did the same to Susie. “You both know too much. I’ll shoot you here, throw you in those trunks, and have them buried deep in the pyramid, where no one will ever find you.”

Tears fell down Nisa’s eyes like waterfalls and she sobbed. Squeezing her eyes shut, she held her breath, begging and pleading for someone to save her. Oh, God… please—please don’t—don’t let this be how we die… Nisa prayed. God, please…

Callahan cocked the gun.

Joanna White

I'm a Christian author with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Entertainment. I love God and my family and am passionate about writing Christian Fantasy. I'm a total nerd; I love Star Wars and video games and many other TV Shows.

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