TITLE: Dry Bones
GENRE: Adult Speculative Fiction
She knew she could not deny what she had seen. There, ten yards outside their grid, the sheen of smooth stone and shadowy lines that distinguished it from the surrounding rock of the Montana Badlands.
Her brain ran through every possible permutation of what it could indicate. Hammer and chisel in hand, she intended to find out.
Against that notion came words of caution. Venturing outside their marked off grid would bring the attention of the entire dig team. Had she had seen a mere trick of shadows and sunlight? What would the other team members say if it proved to be nothing? The echo of teasing laughter and hurtful words echoed through the years. A voice inside her screamed, don’t risk it, don’t draw attention to yourself. Stay safe, comfortable, and secure.
Most days, those voices won out as Lilith faded into the background, her khaki shirt, and pants blending chameleon-like into the beige rock of the Makoshika State Park.
She wiped her hands on her pants, sweaty from more than the mid-June heat. The other graduate students busied themselves loading excavation equipment into the vans as the late afternoon sun dipped ever closer to the mountains.
The longer she debated, the harder it would be to act. If she hesitated and boarded the vans back to Glendive, she would toss and turn all night tormented by a brain that demanded answers she did not have.
Taking a deep breath, she silenced the voices of caution, and marched toward her discovery.