I had already completed this task, but I found myself doing it over. I just kept brushing over the same crack in the relief in front of me, despite the fact that I'd cleaned it at least a dozen times already. It was as if I were enveloped in a dark fog, one that shrouded the outside world in complete abstraction.
I don't know what brought this strange mood on -- I should have been relieved, even happy, for the dig in Cairo had been a success, and we'd recovered several items that we tentatively dated at being over a thousand years old.
I stared at the the relief, trying to focus. Trying to find some meaning out of the glyphs that were etched there. But they slipped through the holes of my distraction, and I sighed, frustrated with myself.
My sigh must have been more audible than I thought, because Henri lifted his head from his own station and smiled at me. The crooked line of his grin disarmed me, and I looked away, flustered.
"Can't concentrate, huh."
"It's just been slow-going today," I said, careful to keep my voice noncommittal.
"Hmph," he said, and bent back down to his work, his ashen hair falling over his brow. That's what I liked about Henri, nothing ever seemed to get to him. Not even me, his crabby assistant. Henri was the head archaeologist on this project, and he'd hired me 18 months ago as his assistant. I was an intern of sorts, not being formerly trained, but possessing enough informal studies and passion of my own to convince him (somehow) to hire me.
As I focused on one of the glyphs, something about it caught my attention. I had dismissed it originally as being the ubiquitous symbol for "Ra," or the Sun god, but as I took a closer look, I noticed something was off.
The hieroglyph for Ra was usually represented sitting upon a lion with rays of light about his head, and a bundle of ears of corn in one hand. This glyph had him sitting upon a lion (check), and there were rays of light shining out around his head (check), but instead of corn in his hand, he was carrying something else. Something that looked like a dagger.
"Um, Henri, I think you need to come see this..."