The Empty Door
by E.R. Mason
All Rights Reserved
Beauford Smith cursed as he wrestled with the limp, bloodied body, greedily searching for its guarded treasure. He patted down the old woman’s clothing and tipped her up on her side to look underneath. Even in death, she was still clutching the box tightly.
Despite his employer’s attempts to deceive him, Beauford had found out about the box. It had been hidden under the base of a small pyramid beneath the Nile River, until drought had caused a narrowing of the river’s path. The stone hieroglyphics covering it had been quickly whisked away from public view by representatives of the Egyptian government, never to be seen again. Legend had it that the box once belonged to a renegade king who had visited the Earth on pillars of fire centuries ago. The Egyptians had nicknamed it Ellila—that which opens doors within—-in the period predating the Tower of Babel.
Beauford wrenched the box from the cold, dead hand. He raced out the back door, and down the lonely, wet alley, his footsteps echoing in the night. At the end of the dirty brick corridor his car waited, the trunk ajar. He threw the bloodied iron into it, jumped into the driver’s seat, and sped away. What irony, he thought, all those hours spent learning the shopkeeper’s routine only to have some gray-haired, bearded old man show up at exactly the wrong moment and almost ruin everything. Had he not looked up after whacking the old lady, he might not have noticed the guy step out from behind the antique swing mirror. How the damned tire iron had missed the old bastard’s head was a mystery. It had to have been by less than an inch. The son-of-a-bitch had gotten too good a look, and had run away as though he hadn’t been harmed at all.