This is the fourth part of a fiction serial, in 736 words.
Filling a shot glass from the bottle and lighting a cigarette, Mel downed the vodka in one gulp and pressed the button to play the second memory card. Anita must have been filming, as it was Glen talking to the camera.
“Hard to believe we are finding the artifacts just lying around behind the ruined dwellings, and in the sand just short of the water line. I would have thought somebody would have discovered this decades ago, look at these”.
He turned and lifted up a warrior’s helmet. The leather had perished, but what appeared to be an iron or bronze dome, cheek pieces, and a nose bridge protector were intact.
“This reminds me of the helmet found at Sutton Hoo, and that was dated to the seventh century. This could be Saxon, or Viking, and look at this large knife, the shape and style is from around the same period.”
The knife he had picked up was more like a small sword. Mel heard Anita’s voice. “Show them the neck thing”. Glen reached forward and picked up a decorative crescent-shaped metal object, the rings on each side indicating it had once been attached to the wearer by either chains or leather straps.
“Probably part of protective armour, or possibly ceremonial, what is known as a gorget. It could even have been a badge of rank of some kind. This stuff is amazing! It’s just lying around!”
He was genuinely excited, and his enthusiasm was infectious. Mel was smiling as he poured another shot. Glen was getting into serious presenter mode as he continued.
“Before we even start diving, there is work to do here, collecting and recording the wonderful things that are just all over the place”.
Pausing the video, Mel went through the paperwork and checked what had been found by the helicopter crew, then handed over to the Irish police. There was no mention of any antique or ancient finds, not one.
Still prancing about on the beach in front of the nearest ruin, Glen was showing more things to the camera.
“Cooking pots in metal of some kind, stil intact. Drinking vessels made of wood bound with metal, and horn ones too. Im going to bet that this island was a Viking settlement, perhaps a stopover during their sea voyages across the Atlantic. If no local people ever inhabited the island later though, I am wondering who would have built the stone walls of these dwellings. My guess is that they used stone cut from the rock above us, and we know the Vikings preferred to use wood, but there is very little wood on this island”.
Glen was a pretty good presenter, his tone rising and falling for emphasis as he spoke, and his expression suitably quizzical as he pondered the evidence of Viking artifacts versus much later stone buildings. Mel needed something to eat, so he paused the playback and wandered off to the staff rest room, hoping to find something left behind in the fridge.
After microwaving a portion of chicken chow mein that someone had presumably saved for later and forgotten, Mel carried it back with a fork into his office and ate some with a vodka chaser. Before starting the video again, he checked with Google about Vikings using stone to build, and was pleased to discover that those from Norway did indeed sometimes use stone in their buildings. When it came to getting the script of the film down, he would be sure to remember that.
Anita was in shot when the clip resumed. Her face was screwed up, and her left arm pointing at the beach beyond the nearest ruin. “I tell you it was over here. It wasn’t a shadow, I know the difference between a seal and a bloody shadow, love. It came up the beach, saw us, and slid back into the water. But it was big, larger than any seal I have seen in these waters before”. She jogged down to the spot she had been indicating, then turned and shouted. “See? There’s a track in the sand, come and look”.
The next moment, Glen was seen on camera. He was lying on the ground next to a visible track in the sand. He turned and smiled at his wife.
“I’m six foot five, and that track’s a good six inches longer than me. That must have been some seal, ‘Nita’.