She lit the flare, and fire danced off the carved dome of the temple. Statues in alcoves hoarded shadows behind them. The empty annex was hollow and quiet.
Sari followed the line of shuffled sand to one of the alcoves. There the pitted statue looked down on her as she inspected the wall behind it. No body, not even a little blood shone in the neon firelight. Sari sighed.
The traps dealt with tourists too arrogant to heed signs. Sari and the other temple guards hauled their bodies into the desert when they found the foreigners crushed, poisoned, and impaled having tried to get into the temple’s lower levels. Sari frowned and checked the mechanism hidden in the wall. Oil coated the stone joint, shining in the flare’s light.
Graverobbers were a different breed. They brought picks, solvents, and hammers. They learned the temple script and traced old histories to map these ancient sacred spots. They looted and stole, selling what they didn’t want to distant museums. Sari had seen them, sterile places which charged her people to view their own possessions.
Sari placed a hand against the right carvings, careful to avoid the plate that would send spikes through her body. The etchings dug into her palm as she applied pressure.
The mechanism snapped. Sari checked her looped hood before standing and turning back to the statue. The stone groaned, only a little sand shifted as the statue slid to reveal a descending staircase. Sari rested her fingers against the hilt of her sword as she descended into the dark. The traps took care of the tourists, graverobbers required a personal touch.
Some thieves are more welcome than others. This week I stole Kit’s first line as part of the Legal Theft Project, where you can see the other thefts.