Part 2 : The Goblet
Ben overheard Dr Lenton's offer to make him a wealthy man and he strode towards the door:
"Its alright Kyle, I'll take over from now on. Please come in Dr Lenton and sit down. I do apologise for my initial nonchalance, it has been a very tough day. Can I offer you a coffee, exclusive Columbian blue ridge?"
Ben let his hair flop down over his eyes and then gently flicked it back, coquettishly. Dr Lenton smiled:
"That would be very nice Mr Chatham, truely."
"Kyle, go and prepare the coffee for our guest. Go on, chop chop" Ben firmly stated. Kyle shot him an angry look before going to the kitchen.
"Now what is it I can do for you Dr Lenton?" Ben asked, giving the academic his best seductive glance. Lenton noticed that the newspaper on the sofa was open at the section devoted to the death of Steve Fletcher:
"I see that you have been reading about the death of that burglar in the grounds of Balliol College. The matter I wish to raise with you pertains to this incident. You see I was the victim of this young man's last 'job', as I think the criminal fraternity refer to their exploits. My house was broken into and three valuable items were stolen, crystalline skulls. They have yet to be recovered as it seems that this Steve boy had an accomplice."
"Isn't this a matter for the police? Let us discuss your comment about making me a very rich man" Ben replied.
"Mr Chatham, the two matters are interconnected. I have it on good authority that you and your associates have experience in investigating matters of an esoteric or paranormal nature. There are issues here which I do not want to discuss with the regular police. The crystal skulls to which I refered have certain properties. They are extremely valuable. Unique. I want you to recover them for me."
As he spoke, Kyle returned with the coffee on a tray:
"Ere, are you sayin' these skulls are alien in origin or summat? What's your game mate?" he interjected. Dr Lenton was bemused:
"I made no such claim young man. The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology have no explanation for the properties of these objects. However they are of great importance to our institution and we are prepared to reward Mr Chatham and his organisation very generously for their recovery."
Lenton pulled a cheque from out of his top pocket and held it before Ben. It was a cheque for £1million made out to Ben.
"All this needs is a date and my signature". Lenton put the cheque back into his pocket.
"But for now I'll just leave you with a little something as a token of Oxford's appreciation of you." As Lenton spoke he lifted up a bag and pulled out a silver goblet which he placed on the coffee table:
"This is Edward Longshanks' goblet. Unique. When the tomb of King Edward 1st was opened in 1774, this was found within the coffin. It is inscribed on the bottom with the design of his personal seal. It is yours to keep."
Joe Hannigan sat in the corner of his damp, cold bedsit room, his head resting on his knees. His nerves were shot and he shook uncontrollably. He stared with horror at the bag he had thrown down as he rushed into the room the previous night. He had drifted in and out of either sleep or unconsciousness, he did not know which. He kept seeing flashbacks of Steve burning up inside and felt the horror over and over again. Unable to stand he had unrinated himself where he sat and the dampcarpet around him exuded a pungent odour. As the darkness fell again, the room was bathed in the shimmering light of a full moon, which shone through the window. Joe drifted in an out of dark dreams, where he faces from his past, of people he hated, his father, teachers and girls that had rejected him. He sensed a presence in the room with him. Waking quickly he turned his head sharply to the right and saw a figure emerging out of the far wall. The figure was dressed in the mail coat and metal helmet of a medieval knight and carried a long sword. The figure approached the shaking Joe and reached out its hand to him. It spoke no words and yet Joe sensed that he was being offered power and renewal of some kind. He felt as if the anger inside of him was returning and that the powerlessness that had fueled this anger all of his life was about to be replaced with a chance for recompence. The figure before him seemed to be offering him a bargain, a pact of some kind. He had nothing to give and nothing to lose. Through the dark emptiness of utter hopelessness Joe reached out his hand and touched the figure......
Ben lay sprawled across his leather sofa eating a tub of dark olives and smiling to himself. Kyle was annoyed:
"Look Ben you can't trust that creepy geezer no way. Why does he need us to like find his skull things, why not the old bill? What if they are alien in origin?"
Ben lay his head back on the cushion and laughed:
"Oh come on Kyle, your indignation is so plebian. I very much doubt that a senior academic of Dr Lenton's pedigree is involved with alien plots. I have had experience in the past of crystal skulls of alien origin but these sound quite different. For one thing they were found in England, which is unique as most cystalline skulls originate from the Americas or the far east. Think of it Kyle, £1 million of Oxford University's money coming to a Cambridge graduate." Ben laughed and sipped his red wine from Edward 1st's:
"You know what Kyle, I feel so good that I'm going to phone Emma right now and tell her that she can serve me her wretched divorce papers. The tide has turned at last."
"Ben you ain't thinkin' straight. Are you sure you should be drinkin' from that rancid thing? Look I know we ain't talked much lately but I want you to know that I really respect you ok. What you've done for me , well I can't say how much it means, I've learned so much like from bein' here an' part of all this. I want you to know that Ben because for your own good like I'm gonna tell ya that you're behavin' like an arsehole. Not just with this skulls malarky but all the Emma shit as well Ben. How you've treated 'er is rank."
Ben looked up and smiled:
"Oh don't lets spoil the moment. I'm happy Kyle and I know that you could be to. Why be uptight and irritable?"
"I don't get you Ben. Why ain't you angry an' makin' condescendin' remarks at me? Didn't you hear right, I called you an arsehole."
"Its ok Kyle, I don't mind. Have some wine"
Ben held the goblet towards Kyle. As he dis so his features seemed to fade and change into those of a goat-like creature.......
............... to be continued.