an antiques dealer is a far shot from what I THOUGHT I would
be doing as an adult when I was younger, that's for sure!"
muttled Jedidiah Drake, a 34-year-old confirmed bachelor and
specialized dealer in Mediteranean Art, to himself as he fully
catalogued his thirtieth crate of 17th century oak shelving
braces. Talking once more to the crates, "Where's the
gold, the damsel in distress, the excitement? I mean, it's
1932 already and here I am stuck in the basement of..."
but his ranting came to a sudden halt at the realization that
he was no longer alone in the dank room.
I speaking to a Mr. Drake?" a delicate voice broke the
awkward silence. "Oh, yes, you must be. I can see it
in your eyes. May I first say that I am very sorry at the
loss and disappearance of your father, Joseph Drake, the eminent
world linguist. My husband, Charles Whitlow, was on your father's
team. Your loss is mine, as well." Her speech was broken
by a slow, downward cast of her head, then back up again.
"I have come to you because the police won't help and
the other two anthropologists on the team left no family behind.
You see, I believe that my husband was murdered by someone
on the team."
you surely aren't saying that my father had anything to do
with..." Jed broke in.
no, my dear man. Joseph was a kind and dear man. I believe
that it was someone else on the team. Perhaps, even, there
is a chance that there might be a survivor from the four that
could cast a true light on what exactly happened three years
ago when the team disappeared in the Belgian Congo."
sure I'd LOVE to find out what happened...but what can we
was mailed to me along with some other personal belongings
from a Hotel in Madagascar, their last stop before entering
the jungles of the Congo. I guess my poor, absent minded dear
left it behind on accident. You see, he was always..."
interrupted "What was mailed?"
I'm sorry, dear, I often do that. When you get to be my age,
you...Oh! I'm doing it again, aren't I?" She smiled.
"Well, this, to be exact." She held out piece of
paper with some scribbles on it.
< < ^. <> <> ^. <: >
< <> <: ^ > < - ^^ - / - .. >. - .<
< :: ^. > : // . > -- // .. <: .: : >
< ^ // .< \\ <: ^. .< - >
< < // ^- - < \\ ^. -. . <: ^. \ >
< < // . < \ ^. \ / \ / . \\ . >
< :: ^. <> <> : <: <> .: >
< >< // . .< ^^ <: - .< >
< >. : - .< <> <: .. >
told me all about how the remote native tribe deep within
the jungle developed a pictorial form of writing. However,
when some English explorers reached them and the tribe was
introduced to this 'new tongue' they created a new, similar
form of writing in order to communicate with the English.
My Charles was the one that convinced your father to seek
this tribe out to study their language."
you think that your husband wrote this scribbled...uh....
note?" Jed shook his head. "How can you tell that
he was the one who made these scratch marks?"
when you've been married as long as me, you know your husband's
writing...no matter what language. Now, will you help me translate
don't see how I can help..."
your father kept copies of his notes, always - at least that
is what my Charles always said. Perhaps your father's notes
might shed some clues as to what some of the marks mean and
we might be able to figure out the rest."