The Reluctant Demon Diaries
BY LINDA RIOS BROOK
Lucifer's Flood 1st Book in the 4 Book Series
Jerusalem was mystical at night. Samantha Yale stood at her office window. She never tired of the view of the golden dome reflecting the pure light of a full moon. Her days started early and ended late, but she never failed to take a minute at the end of it all to appreciate the majesty and beauty of the most intriguing city on the earth. Tonight was different though. She was waiting for someone.
She had learned to be cautious about strangers. The nature of her work tended to attract two kinds of people: the serious scholars, those interested in communication forms of prehistoric races; and the not-to-be-taken-seriously kind. These were the ones who would waste her time if she let them. On first contact with an unknown person it wasn’t easy to tell which tribe he or she represented. She had learned to weed them out quickly. When the conversation turned to aliens, UFO abduction, or government conspiracy, she quickly ended the meeting, ushering them out the door with a promise to pass the information on to others.
“I need to get a life,” she said as she watched for some sign of her expected visitor. The street below was empty. She assumed he would park in the visitor’s space right in front of the building, but no beams from oncoming headlights announced an approaching car. A glance at her watch told her he was not late yet. She continued to watch and wait.
Stealthily as a cat, a man in a trench coat stepped through the ground fog and hesitated beneath the pale light of the street lamp. “Where did he come from?” she asked herself as she watched him look around as if checking to see if someone followed him. He seemed uncomfortable with the large satchel under his arm, shifting it from one side of his body to the other as if expecting it to be snatched from him by some thief hiding in the shadows. A dog barked in the distance; he jumped, almost dropping the satchel.
She watched him as he turned in circles, apparently unsure of which way to go. Hoping this wasn’t whom she was waiting for, she was beginning to get a sense of the tribe he belonged to. “Please, God, don’t let that be him.”
Finally making up his mind which way to go, the man made for the steps leading into the building of the university and rang the entry bell for after-hours visitors.
“I knew it.” She groaned. “It’s him. He probably doesn’t have a car. He’s probably not an archaeologist either. I shouldn’t have agreed to this.”
Samantha moved toward the door, took a deep breath, and turned the knob as soon as she heard the first tap. The man looked like he had slept in his clothes. He was disheveled and seemed confused that she had opened the door before he completed knocking on it. Academics were often careless with their appearance. She had known more than a few who couldn’t be bothered with pressed pants and combed hair. His persona was not really that different from many of the older rabbis and professors who roamed the hallways of the university. Still, something about him was unsettling.
“Mr. Eman, I assume.” She opened the door a little wider.
“Yes, Dr. Yale.” He paused and did a visual sweep of her office before stepping in. “Thank you for seeing me on such short notice.”
Samantha knew good manners meant offering to take his coat, but she did not want him to feel comfortable enough to prolong his visit.
“Please sit down.” She motioned toward a wingback chair in front of her antique desk. He waited until she sat on the other side of the desk before sitting himself.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Eman?” She glanced at her watch again.
“Dr. Yale, I read in the Jerusalem Post about your work,” he paused waiting for her response. She gave none. “About the Torah codes.”
“Yes, I know, Mr. Eman. You mentioned that on the phone. How can I help you?”
He shifted his eyes from side to side then down to the bottom of her desk as if he had suddenly forgotten why he was there.
“How can I help you?” she repeated.
He jumped as if startled. “I’m sorry,” he paused. “Languages of antiquity—that is your expertise, isn’t it?”
“Then I have something to show you.” “You said that when we talked. Is it in your bag?” She looked at the satchel he held firmly in his lap.
“Yes,” he said making no movement to open it.
“Mr. Eman, you said you had scrolls you wanted me to see. Are they in your bag?”
“Yes, I have them right here,” he spoke in a low, secretive tone. “I want to know if you know what they are.” He carefully unlocked the bag and removed a rolled parchment, laying it on her desk.
Her archaeology training restrained her from picking up what was obviously a very old document.
“Where did you get it?” she asked, rummaging in her desk drawer for a magnifying glass.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I mean where did you get it?” She laid the glass down on her desk, folded her hands, and leaned forward. “No trick questions, Mr. Eman. I simply want to know where you got it. I cannot help you if you won’t tell me where this came from.”
“I found it—them. There’s more than one.” He pointed to the open satchel. “I have more of them right here.”
“Where did you find them?” she tried again.
“In a cave near Hebron.”
She thought about asking him what he was doing in such a cave but thought better of it. “Better not to draw this out just yet,” she thought.
“Are you going to unroll it?” He seemed anxious.
“I’m afraid to do that.” She held her magnifying glass over the scroll, looking for any evidence of a hoax. “I don’t know how old it is or what it is. Opening it might cause damage.”
“No, it’s OK,” he answered quickly. “I unrolled it once already.”
Her suspicion was proving to be true. Obviously he had no specialized archaeological training. She sighed at the carelessness of nonspecialists who were forever destroying important evidence with their careless treatment of ancient objects.
“You might have destroyed it.”
“I didn’t. You’ll see. Open it.” He pushed the scroll a little closer to her.
Her suspicions grew as the idea of a hoax seemed more and more likely. “Why did you bring this to me, Mr. Eman?”
“Because of your work with the Torah codes.”
“I see.” She was becoming more convinced he was one of the UFO tribe.
He became nervous when she said nothing more. Pushing the scroll slightly toward her again, his tone seemed almost urgent. “Please open it, Dr. Yale. This is older than the Torah.”
“What?” she had not expected such a comment. “Very unlikely, sir, but even if it were, how could you possibly know?”
Unsure of her motivation, her natural curiosity as a scientist or his escalating anxiety, she carefully untied the leather string that held the scroll and gently rolled it open. Feeling no fragility of a document that might crumble beneath her fingers, she unrolled it a little more.
“What kind of material is this?” she asked, never looking up from the scroll.
“Parchment, I suppose,” he answered.
“No, it’s not.”
“No? Are you sure, Dr. Yale?”
“I’m sure it’s not parchment.” Gently she rubbed the material between her fingers. “If it were parchment it would have cracked and turned to dust with the careless handling you’ve displayed here. That alone argues against it being as old as the Torah. I’m afraid it isn’t a genuine relic, Mr. Eman. Sorry.”
“No, I mean, yes, it is,” He shifted to the edge of his chair, causing her to sit back slightly in hers. “Look at it. It has writing on it.”
Reluctantly, she picked up her glass and examined the inscription. She leaned closer to the scroll, seeing for the first time the faded but clearly visible markings that suggested writing. It was not the work of an amateur forger. After several minutes, he broke her concentration.
“It is writing, isn’t it?” he pressed.
“It’s more than an alphabet,” she responded leaning back in her chair and pressing her fingers together. “It’s cuneiform, Mr. Eman. Do you know what that is?”
He shook his head.
“Cuneiform comes from two Latin words: cunaus, meaning wedge; and forma, meaning shape. Individual words, like this one…” Without touching the document, she pointed with the tip of her pen at a rectangular shape, “…are called pictographs because the word looks like what it means.” Moving the pen across the scroll, she continued. “These wedges and hooks are called ideographs, which also represent words. This line of characters is an ideogram, which represents a concept.” She paused to see if he understood her explanation. Assuming from his silence that he didn’t, she tried an analogy.
“Think of it like this: Consider this desk we’re sitting at. If I said to you, ‘This desk cost me an arm and a leg,’ what do you think I mean?”
“The desk cost a lot of money.”
“Exactly. You would not have thought I had cut off my arm and leg in exchange for it. That’s how an ideogram works. It takes words that mean one thing and strings them together until they present a different concept altogether. To translate cuneiform into a modern language means mastering a large syllabic alphabet as well as a large number of ideograms, which also means very few people alive today can do it.”
“But you can,” Eman looked intently into her eyes.
Tapping her fingers together as if measuring out her words, she said, “Yes, Mr. Eman. I suppose I could. There’s only one problem. Parchment was unknown when cuneiform was used. It was etched into clay tablets. How do you suppose it came to be written on this strange material?”
“Will you do it?” he asked, ignoring her question.
She stood and walked to a nearby table and poured a glass of water. He waved his hand to decline the one she offered him.
“I won’t do it until you tell me more about where you got them.”
“I can’t.” His voice was distraught. Standing up to face her, he continued. “Look at me, Dr. Yale. I promise you I didn’t steal them. And I know you’ve figured out that I’m not capable of creating this caliber of forgery.”
“Why are you so desperate to have them translated?”
Eman slumped back down in his chair. Putting his head in his hands, he shook it from side to side.
“Because it’s a diary.”
She suppressed a smile. “A diary? Whose diary?”
“Please, Dr. Yale. I can’t tell you anything more. Just translate the first scroll. Just one, then you’ll see.”
Her training and experience shouted, “Fakery!” into her brain. Whoever he was and whatever he had were bound to be part of a con game she had not yet figured out. “I should have thrown him out,” she thought as she watched him with his head resting in his hands. But there was something pathetic about him. He didn’t seem capable of a complicated plot.
“One scroll,” she agreed, overriding training and experience with a gut-level intuition that told her to pay attention to what was before her.
“Thank you, thank you, Dr. Yale.” He jumped to his feet and reached for her hand and shook it fervently. “You’ll see. When can you do it?”
“I’m not sure. I’ll get to it as soon as I can. Give me your card and I’ll call you.”
His face fell. “I don’t have a card or a phone. I’ll have to call you.” Leaving the scroll on the desk and fastening his satchel, he hurried to leave.
“No phone? Not even a cell phone?”
“No, no.” He stumbled as he caught the satchel strap on the arm of the chair almost turning it over. “I’ll call you. In twenty-four hours I’ll call you.” He moved to the door.
“Impossible,” she began, but before she could protest or ask any more questions, he was gone.
Samantha was still standing when at last she shook her head as if reviving from a trance. “What happened here?” She surveyed the empty room, confused as to how this strange man could have disappeared so quickly. She carefully opened the heavy oak door and peered out to see if he might be lurking in the hallway. Satisfied the corridor was empty, she closed and locked the door and returned to her desk. Staring at the scroll and trying to decide what to do, she became aware of the strange disquiet she felt toward it.
Through her open window she could hear the chiming of a faraway clock. “I shouldn’t do anything with this until tomorrow.” Half rising from her seat, she abruptly sat back down as if an invisible hand had rested on her shoulder, compelling her to stay where she was. Fingering the scroll, but reluctant to open it, she attempted to reconcile her uneasiness with the excited curiosity of an explorer rising up within her.
“You don’t need this distraction, Samantha Yale,” she said aloud, as if hearing her own voice would convince her that whatever it was, tomorrow was soon enough to find out.
“Thou shalt not kid thyself, Sam. You know you wouldn’t sleep anyway.”
It had always been like that for her—captivated from her youth by the intrigue of the past. “What is, was,” her mentor had insisted. “What was, is.” She closed her eyes to remember the wisdom in his eyes as he taught her. “You cannot understand the end, Samantha, until you understand the beginning.”
But where was the beginning? How far back could the human mind go in search of it?
Gently unfurling the ancient document, she took it captive, placing paperweights at each corner to forbid its escape until it gave up its secrets. With the magnifying glass in hand, she looked intently at each marking as words emerged and came alive with the voice of someone long ago who beckoned her to listen.
End of Lucifer's Flood Chapter 1