Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: SKULDUGGERY (09/01/16)
TITLE: Where the skeletons are buried
By Steven Turner
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“Yes, Sarah. What is it?”
Naomi couldn’t help smiling as she heard the sigh on the other end of the line. “It’s that journalist again. He’s annoyed everyone in the department, trying to wheedle out of them some hint of this skulduggery he says we’re up to.”
Naomi glanced across her office and caught sight of the gaunt figure of Napoleon hanging in the corner. “I’ve got an idea that will really rattle him. Tell that prying hack to meet me at the site of the new lab after the workmen have left and I’ll show him something to shock him.”
Sarah emitted a small squeak of delight, and the line went dead. Naomi gently replaced he receiver. She collected a large, black zipped plastic bag, unhooked Napoleon and carefully folded his bony frame inside.
In the fading light of early evening, Naomi chuckled as a shadowy figure darted from the shelter of a stack of timber to disappear behind a palette of bricks. “Such a fertile imagination,” she thought.
Half a minute later, a skinny twenty-something appeared beside her, dressed entirely in black from turtle-neck sweater to skinny jeans and hiking boots.
“Who do you think you are?” Naomi asked him, “James Bond?”
“I don’t want to be seen. It might compromise the investigation.”
Naomi shook her head sadly and gazed down at the trench beneath her feet. “It’s down there, but you’ll have to dig for it.”
“It had better be worth it,” retorted the young man, dropping into the trench.
“It will be,” Naomi assured him, adding under her breath, “for me!”
“Pass me a shovel please.” Naomi dropped the implement at his feet and watched as the soft crumbly soil broke easily under his repeated blows. After a couple of minutes before he stopped and laid down the shovel. Naomi could see the boyish excitement as he looked up at her, before dropping on hands and knees to scrape the dirt away from his find.
Seconds later he recoiled with a start, hands shaking, face white as the skull that peeped sightless from the earth. “Meet Napoleon,” cried Naomi, laughing at his response. Glancing up, the reporter blinked as a camera flashed in his face.
“What will your editor say when I show him this photo? Looks like you’ve been up to some skulduggery of your own.”
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