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Book Spotlight - THE GREAT THIRST BOXED SET - Mary C. Findley



“Come on. Come on. Come on!” Talia chanted, until the messaging application appeared. The characters she typed were not English.

Arrived stateside. Keep your word.

The response came after a long lag.

How many lies told to pull that off?

Talia ignored the taunt and repeated her message.

Location of artifacts?

Proof of life first.

You withheld dive info.

Proof of life.

A video link appeared after some delay, time-stamped to within moments of the current time in western Syria. Talia forced herself not to react to the sight of her aunt and uncle in a small room half-filled with sand, lit only by slits near the roof, and no apparent water or food. Remmy paced like an angry bear, but very slowly and clumsily, slipping on the sand. Sophia sat huddled in a corner. The video clipped off abruptly. Talia typed in co-ordinates of the dive site off Ugarit.

What recovered? the question blinked into view.

Nothing. 5 witnesses can confirm. You searched our stuff. I paid. We left. Let them GO.

A longer pause ensued than the last one. Another video popped up – Remmy and Sophia being pushed out of a desert-camoed hummer onto a dirt road surrounded by a windy, desert landscape. The vehicle drove away and both of them collapsed.

You can’t just leave them! Talia pounded the keyboard. Where are they? How can I send help?

You only said let them go. Be careful what you wish for.

Talia typed threats, demands, pleas. No response. Finally something clicked in her brain. She subjected the video to a rigorous examination, hammered out searches, and finally came up with co-ordinates. She took out a satellite headset.

“Cherub-rider, I need a big favor,” she said into the mic when she had finally made the connection.

“Copy that, Evangel. Anywhere you say; anything you want.”

Talia repeated the co-ordinates. After a pause, the male voice that had answered swore. “Syria?”

“You know what you owe me,” Talia said. “Pick up two packages, critical. Whatever’s needed. You know I’m good for it.”

“Means going in and out hot. May need to pay some fines for me.”

“Send me a bill. Hot is exactly what I need. Sending you video feed.”

“Holy crap,” the voice said a few moments after Talia had sent the feed of Remmy and Sophia in the desert. “Should I be blowing something up afterwards? No charge for that. God knows where I’d be if it wasn’t for those two–”

“Not yet, but maybe later.” Talia finally allowed herself to smile. “Thank you, Cherub-rider.”

“No, thank you, Evangel. The honor is to serve. Cherub-rider going in double hot.”

 
 

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