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CHAPTER ONE

Day One - July 10th, 2016; Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.
Uncle Lamb and I had relocated to Oxford from Cairo about five years ago. He had taken a teaching position there, while I attempted to graduate early from upper school and begin taking university courses of my own in London. This set me at a complete disadvantage in the friends department, yet managed to earn me a certain measure of unwanted attention in the biochemical engineering department.
I took this summer off from internships, classes, and labs and instead followed my uncle to the Scottish Highlands. It was a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively, to be back in the field with him.
This location wasn't really within Uncle Lamb's usual scope of historical exploration, he was an expert on the intermediate Egyptian dynasties with several books published on the more specific topic of New Kingdom hieroglyphics, but he had lost a bet with a favorite professor friend of his and, so, here we were.
Tipping my head back, I peered up the steep slope of the hill. Hiking was never far out of the realm of possibility with my uncle and I thanked my lucky stars I had worn my boots today. "It's at the top?" I asked, rather unnecessarily.
Of course, it was at the top. It was always at the top. Except when it was at the very bottom, but, even then, you had to climb back to the top.
"Yep!" Dr Joe Abernathy, an American who specialized Scottish folklore, replied eagerly.
I trailed behind Uncle Lamb and Dr Joe as we hiked the path up to the top of Craigh na Dunn, listening absently to the two of them discuss the myths surrounding the site. They were two peas in a pod, although Dr Joe was significantly younger than my uncle, and were both in a titter about recently found artifacts or some such.
"And you say they just appear at the base?" My uncle asked skeptically.
Dr Joe nodded, "Dead as door nails."
The thought of poor, dead birds randomly materializing on the ground in the middle of a henge made me shudder.
What on earth had I agreed to?

Day Three - July 13th, 2016.
I sat on the ground between two of the outer stones and chewed on the end of my pencil as I tried to get the cleft in the center stone right. It was quickly frustrating me, being almost geometrically proportional but off just enough to make it irritatingly irregular.
Tearing the page out of my sketchbook, I crumpled it up into a tight ball and threw it at the offending rock. It arched perfectly, looking like it was going to pass right thru the divide. I silently congratulated myself as I waited to see if it would land my uncle, who was working on the other side.
A startled shriek escaped my lips as the paper vanished into thin air.
"Are you alright, Claire?" Uncle Lamb stuck his head around the side of the stone.
Pointing above his head, I gaped, "Where the hell did it go?"
"Where did what go?" Dr Joe asked, coming towards me.
"My paper," I stood as I answered. "I threw it at the stone and it disappeared."
Dr Joe laughed and patted me on the head patronizingly, "Sure you did, kid."
"I'm eighteen and I know what I saw!" I informed him.

Day Four - July 14th, 2016.
One of my favorite things to do when I was in the field with Uncle Lamb was to go for morning hikes. We were both early risers, but, as he need an entire pot of coffee before he was ready to do anything productive, I used it as my own private, quiet time.
I got to the top of the hill just as the sun was beginning to hit the standing stones. The sunrise painted the already eerie monoliths in an almost otherworldly light and I took out my phone to quickly capture the moment. Something white caught my eye in the corner of the image, prompting me to move closer to the center stone to investigate.
It was my paper.
Mouth open in astonishment, I scooped it up. It was slightly damp from the dew, but very obviously the paper I had thrown the afternoon before. It certainly hadn't been there before we left, I had scoured the site looking for it to no avail.
I uncrumpled it and dropped the sheet of paper like it was a hot coal.
Someone had finished my sketch, signing their work with five neat letters in the bottom left hand corner.
JAMMF