The Case That Time Forgot

The Case That Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett Read Free Book Online

Book: The Case That Time Forgot by Tracy Barrett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tracy Barrett
    Xena admired a clock whose cover was made of glass so you could see the movement inside. It was precise and orderly, just as she liked.
    The man who had let them in came up to where Xander stood looking at a case that held a special exhibit of ancient timepieces. “Not much good at night!” The man gestured at the sundial that stood in the center.
    â€œSo is that why they invented these?” Xander leaned closer to peer at the water clocks, hourglasses, and candles that had lines marked on them telling what time it was when the flame burned down to that point.
    The man nodded as Xena joined them. “Yes, you could use them even when the sun was down or on a cloudy day. Some of them werequite precise, but others gave only a rough idea of the time. Are you the children who were interested in Egyptian timekeeping?”
    â€œThat’s us,” Xena said. “So you got my e-mail?”
    â€œYes, I read it when I arrived at work this morning. I’m Mr. Grayson. I found some material for you in the library. Come with me.”
    In his bright and cheery office was a pile of books with colorful sticky notes poking out in several places. Mr. Grayson opened the books, one after the other, to show them photographs and line drawings of water clocks. “The drip holes were drilled to very exact specifications,” he told them. “But imagine what would happen if a bug or even some dust fell into it and plugged it up!”
    Mr. Grayson opened another book. This one was old, and the pages with photographs on them were covered with thin sheets of tissue paper that had become imprinted with a ghostly copy of the image on the other page. One photograph of a huge bowl shaped like a flowerpot and made of pale-colored stone, was captioned “The Thoth Clock.”
    Xander instantly recognized it from the broken pieces of the water clock from the casebook! “What’s this?” he asked.

    Mr. Grayson sighed. “What a shame. It was smashed over a hundred years ago.”
    Xena nudged Xander, who nudged her back.
    â€œIt was broken before anyone had a chance really to examine it,” Mr. Grayson went on. “We do know a few things about it, though, because in the nineteen fifties a similar clock was found, and scientists discovered a hole drilled right here.” He put his finger under a seated figure that was so battered it was unidentifiable. “It was capped with a piece of stone so perfectly made that you couldn’t see a seam.”
    â€œWas there anything in the hole?” Xena asked eagerly.
    â€œNot that we know of,” Mr. Grayson said.
    Xena felt a flash of excitement. That sounded exactly like a hiding place for something small, like the amulet, especially if it was hidden by a carving of a baboon, one of the ways that Thoth was pictured. And if it had been that perfectly made, no wonder the people in the Carberry Museum hadn’t seen it. They hadn’t had the chance to make a thorough examination, and even if they had, they might not have found the little hole with the limited technology of a century ago.
    Xena and Xander thanked Mr. Grayson and walked out into the chilly afternoon. Theyturned right on Upper Thames Street and made their way to the wide gray river, walking past several bridges, until they paused on the Victoria Embankment near Charing Cross. Traffic whizzed past them, so they went into the small park, where a huge column with squared-off sides and a pointed top loomed above them.
    â€œLook!” Xander flung his hand triumphantly at the two sphinxes at the base of the column.
    â€œWow!” Xena walked over and admired them.
    A tour group came up, the man in front holding a bright yellow flag. The group of chatting people who followed gathered in a small group to hear him.
    â€œClear off, you kids,” he said to Xena and Xander. “This tour is for paying customers only.”
    Xander moved away, but Xena stayed

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