Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 7 (Day 2)

Michael O. Varhola

had revealed that they were affixed over the individual burial vaults by a variety of means, including cement, lead solder, and some form of glue, and he had the tools or chemicals necessary for dealing with all of these.

Being at chest level, the middle ones would be the easiest to work with, and the lower ones would involve a lot of kneeling and crouching and be more exhausting and time-consuming as a result but still be eminently manageable. The upper ones, however, which they would not even be able to see inside of without something to stand upon, would be more difficult, and if they wanted to loot them they would at the very least need a ladder or perhaps a platform of some sort. That all seemed like more trouble than it would be worth, and Paros decided that for the time being they would simply work with those on the lower tiers, which in any event they had an ample supply of.

Paros stepped past the first group of three vaults on his right, spread out his tools between them and the next group down the hall, and turned his attention to the tomb closest to the ground. Its capstone appeared to be affixed to the wall with a glue of some sort and, figuring the awl-and-crowbar method he had employed inside the Anemoi tomb the day before would not work well here, he instead selected a small vial of acid from the special padded pouch he had for carrying this substance. He then used a pipette to apply it around the periphery of the plaque, causing wisps of acrid smoke to curl up as it reacted with the adhesive, and, once he had utilized all the caustic fluid in the container, employed his crowbar to pop the stone off the wall. Pumayo and Selene caught it as it fell forward and lowered it to the floor, careful to avoid the edges where the acid had been applied.

With the iron sunrod he had struck jammed in the wall to provide steady light, Paros realized he would need to ignite another one to see inside the vaults, and that would most assuredly limit how long they would be able to operate in the catacombs. He struck this second light source and then thrust it into the vault, revealing that it contained a corpse wrapped in swaddling, like