Want some more of Erin and Seth? Read on this continuation from the first expert, which is Here.
Once on the plane, it was Erin who opened the conversation. “So, Seth, I guess we’re in for an interesting two weeks, searching for the Lost City with Izzy and Kyle.”
“Life’s always interesting when Kyle’s around. I suppose Izzy must be similar.”
“Kyle sounds intriguing. I can’t think of too many people who could have persuaded Izzy to spend her honeymoon living in a tent, with no flushing toilet, scratching in the dust for something that probably doesn’t exist.”
Seth shrugged, hoping to say nothing, but Erin was looking at him with such expectant eyes – brilliant sea-green, he noted – that he replied, “Kyle can be mighty persuasive when he wants something. He’s hard to resist.”
“So it would seem. But tell me, how did Kyle first hear about the Lost City? I mean, it’s not exactly world famous, like some Inca ruin.”
“Simple. He’s an archaeologist. Looking for things in dirt is what he does.”
“I’d have thought there were lots of better places for an archaeologist to dig than some fairytale city lost in the sands of the Kalahari.”
He chuckled at her bluntness. “Fairytale city? What makes you so sure it doesn’t exist?”
Erin pulled a well-used guidebook from the depths of her voluminous bag and thumped it down on her lap. She flipped to a page, then leaned over so close that he could feel her breath on his cheek: “A Mr GA Farini – who, just by the way, was the kind of guy who exploited pygmies to make money – claimed to have found a ruined city in the Kalahari in 1885. He wrote a book about it, which raked in a pile of cash. Since then dozens of other people have searched for it, but no one has found any verifiable proof that it exists.”
“Verifiable proof?” Seth sniggered. “In my world, most people have no problem believing in sparkly vampires and the X-Men. Verifiable proof doesn’t even feature.”
“Well it does in mine. You can’t just go around making grand claims about marvellous things without backing it up with concrete evidence.” Her frown slowly softened and she smiled. “The craziest thing is that everyone who claimed to have seen the Lost City promptly lost it again. Usually in a convenient sand storm. So please tell me, what makes Kyle so convinced it’s there?’
“I suppose he knows something about the place that the writer of your textbook doesn’t.” Guessing that Erin would have little tolerance for his visions, the inspiration behind Kyle’s search, Seth started talking about the scenes drifting below them: the limitless expanse of ochre-coloured nothingness of the Kalahari desert, dotted with the smudges of far-scattered villages.
Erin flicked her curls and relaxed back into her seat. Like it or not, Seth knew time would reveal all these answers.
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“Oh, don’t worry about the mutts. They won’t touch you now. And the gate is open.”
“I checked – it’s locked,” Erin insisted.
“Let me see it.” Seth took a deep breath, eased out of the car and edged past the dogs to the gate. Although they continued to growl at him, they now kept their distance. At Seth’s touch, the padlock fell free and the gate swung open soundlessly on its rusty hinges.
“That’s impossible. It was locked.” Erin had joined him. She grabbed the padlock, caking her fingers in rust. She hated that Seth would think she was an idiot who couldn’t tell if a lock was open or not. “Honestly, Seth, I’m not making it up.”
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