Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 8Rachel's Night OutAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 83 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The evening had not gone well.
First, Rachel had failed to convince Amanda to join her tomb raid; now Amanda lay sprawled at her feet. This was the backup plan; but when Rachel had poured the powder in Amanda's drink, she'd reckoned on getting back to her room before she fell unconscious.
It had all happened so quickly - as Rachel had reached for the dropped keys, Amanda's knees had buckled suddenly. Rachel caught her as she fell backwards, lowering her to the ground.
She had tried, without success, to rouse Amanda. Now she had to get her inside and out of sight - before they were stumbled on by concerned neighbours.
Rachel stood at the door, desperately searching Amanda's keys for one that would open it. At last, a key turned in the lock; she pushed the door inwards then propped it open. Returning to where Amanda lay motionless on the grass, she reached under her arms and dragged h
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 4Two Weeks EarlierAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 43 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Another week, and the snow had gone from the ground. The winter sun popped out between clouds, appearing unexpectedly at low angles and blinding motorists heading west on the highway.
For Amanda, it was all starting to feel like deja vu.
This week, she took the precaution of visiting the short loan library the evening before her Mesoamerican class. As previously, however, the books she sought were missing. A brief interrogation of Glenn confirmed that, once again, the big-chested blonde had beaten Amanda to the mark.
The following morning Amanda towelled herself off after a shower, combing out her wet dark hair in front of the mirror. She resolved to have a quiet chat with the blonde enigma, today, and to ask her to play nice over the books. Hopefully the girl would see reason; maybe they could even study together.
Amanda dressed herself in jeans, a red check shirt and her trusty converse, then headed out to do battle.
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 3Three weeks earlierAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 33 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The semester had started, the snow was melting, and Amanda was back into the swing of things. Her head was full of Ancient Babylonians and Chinese mythology. This is how Amanda preferred to be: busy, and not languishing alone.
It was the morning of the first Mesoamerican Civilization class; Amanda, clad in woolly sweater, jeans and boots, set off in good time for the seminar. She planned to stop off at the short-term library, and make her usual ploy of bagging all the necessary books; before everyone poured out of class, two hours later, and fought over them. She'd obtained the reading list early from Professor Coe, who'd been impressed by her evident enthusiasm for his subject.
This time, however, Amanda was in for a surprise: as she scoured the library shelves, tracing her finger one by one down the list, she found each time that it led her to a book-sized gap. After finding none of the texts in stock,
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 2Four weeks earlierAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 23 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Four weeks earlier, Amanda lay on the same bed, looking at the same ceiling; only this time it was mid afternoon, and she felt restless.
Now in her sophomore year, at a certain well-known Ivy League university in a certain historic New England town, Amanda waited impatiently for the second semester to start. As she lay in her university dorm, she wondered if she might in fact be the sole occupant of the building. As with the previous year, she'd spent the winter break 'home alone'; her middle-aged father remained, as ever, deeply absorbed by his work in the Middle East and her mother had never been part of her life. Now, with the start of term less than a week away, Amanda had already finished the reading list, and her first week's essays, and contemplated writing them a second time just for something to do.
On a whim, she jumped up, pulled on her roll neck sweater, winter coat and a pair of boots. Amanda headed out;
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 7The Night BeforeAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 73 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Amanda had no idea what to wear for her evening with Rachel; with little optimism, she rifled through a cupboard full of cowboy shirts, cosy sweaters and well-worn jeans. Her only smart clothes were too formal: a ball gown, a business suit (never used) and a cocktail dress. Amanda grasped the definition of 'smart casual': clothes she didn't own.
What did Rachel expect, anyway? Amanda barely knew her. Would she want to talk archaeology or to party? This would be Amanda's first time at Sam's outside of a large group. Alone with the stunning Rachel, she didn't want to be out-dressed or outshone. She wanted to make an impression, so Rachel would treat her as an equal: not look down on her as a socially-awkward swot.
How then to avoid looking scruffy, or dressing like a frump? Amanda longed for the advice of her absent soul mate Ciara. Confident and always eclectically dressed, Ciara often reassured her: 'be yourself, you're gorgeous.'
Amanda picked a thin, white tie
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 5One Week EarlierAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 53 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The evening before Mesoamerican Civilizations, Amanda tried her luck in the short loan library - albeit without much hope in her heart.
It was as expected. After reaching the third title on the reading list - and the third gap on the shelf - Amanda gave up. She headed to the main desk, plonking the list in front of Glenn.
"You wanted my phone number?" She took out her pen and scribbled on the paper.
Glenn looked up, bemused. "Erm, sure... cool."
"Here." Amanda handed him the list. "Give me a call when your girlfriend is done with the books."
Before Glenn could reply, Amanda spun on her heels and disappeared through the revolving door.
The next morning, Amanda woke early to a loud and angry sound. Rain splattered against her bedroom window, with force suggesting a will to get inside and drench her. Violent gusts of wind rattled the window pane, as if to emphasise the point.
Yawning, Amanda slid out of
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 6The Day BeforeAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 63 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Amanda spent every spare moment translating the crumpled copy of the tablet. Many of the hieroglyphs were unfamiliar or unclear, but the Illiterati Codebook and Amanda's obsessive energy were up to the challenge. She had, nonetheless, a demanding timetable of classes, reading and essay deadlines to meet. The extra work was punishing and took its toll: one Latin seminar, Amanda's eyes felt heavy and she decided to rest her head on the desk - just for a few moments. She woke twenty minutes later, to a stern look from the teacher and the words 'Scholarae ne dormiat in auditorium!'
Late on the evening before Mesoamerican Civilizations, Amanda finally completed the translation. The half-tablet was not much use alone; combined with hers, its full story and purpose were clear. If Rachel possessed the actual tablet and not just a copy.... the possibilities were huge.
Amanda climbed into bed and turne
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 1PrologueAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 13 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Amanda's eyes flickered open. She let out a soft moan. Her head throbbed and her mouth was dry.
She looked up at the ceiling in her room, with its familiar cracks. Something was wrong. She felt cold.
It was dark outside... What time was it? Amanda turned her confused head to look at the alarm clock, feeling a damp patch on her pillow where she'd drooled into it. The clock's red display said 5:25, with a PM symbol on the right. A panic hit her - what day was it? In the dim light, Amanda's left hand groped for her phone, where another red LED flashed furiously. She examined the screen:
6 MISSED CALLS
But... why hadn't she heard the phone ringing beside her??
Amanda's long, graceful arm reached for the switch of her bedside light. Her deep blue eyes filled with brief, stabbing pain, as she took 40 watts in the face.
Amanda Jones and the PygmiesThe scenery could not have been more perfect in the eyes of Amanda Jones. She was sitting on top of a grassy cliff a few feet above a small river beneath her. To her right, the roar of a massive waterfall soothed her despite its ferocious sound. Ahead of her, she could see the clear, sunny sky overlooking a vast green valley in the distance. All in all, Amanda was in paradise. Her decision to go on her college expedition to South America could not have been a better venture. She laid back on the grass, letting the suns warm rays gently touch her bare midriff. Amanda was dressed in her almost standard attire: a white blouse tied in a knot across her ample bosom which left little to the male imagination; a pair of figure hugging blue jean shorts; semi opaque black tights that shimmered brightly thanks to the additional sun on them; and a pair of white and blue tennis shoes fit for a stroll across the jungle turfAmanda Jones and the Pygmies3 years ago in Profiles More Like This
The Casket Caper - Part SevenSomething over an hour later...The Casket Caper - Part Seven1 month ago in Short Stories More Like This
Amanda was delighted to be out of the casket. She hated enclosed spaces: they recalled a best-forgotten episode where she had once been packed in a crate. The Assyrian casket was particularly uncomfortable and smelled like… well, there wasn’t a word for it. But it brought to mind 'decay'.
In any case, Amanda was now free, and climbing the back stairs of the museum. The only light switched on was the one above the fire exit, but it was enough for her to make her way to the third floor.
The fashion room was dim, cold and lifeless. Only a small amount of daylight seeped through windows which were necessarily shaded to protect the exhibits. The only sound was the quiet whirr of the air conditioning above and the occasional honk of a car horn from the street.
Amanda shuddered. It was a summer evening outside, but the museum was chilly and her arms and tummy were covered in goosebumps. Right now she wished she had more on than just a tie top; perha
Amanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 9AftermathAmanda Jones: Outfoxed, Part 93 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Amanda Jones sat alone on her bed, counting the cost of Rachel's betrayal.
The tablet was gone, of course. Her passport had disappeared from the drawer. Most injurious of all, however, was the loss of the Illiterati Codebook. It had been her most prized possession, both invaluable and irreplaceable. Amanda wondered if Rachel appreciated its true value.
Rachel - where was she now? Presumably on her way to raid Lady Xoc's tomb - with Amanda's passport, to stop her following.
They were meant to have gone together. Against her material losses Amanda weighed the loss of her supposed friend. It hurt, deeply. She had been such a fool; trying to fill a Ciara-sized gap, she had put feelings onto a person who didn't merit them. Had Rachel ever cared about her? Or had she played her right from the start? Was she serious about teaming up - or
The Casket Caper - Part ThreeThe foyer of the Birtwhistle Museum was cool and dark, in contrast to the outside world, though no less hectic. In the line to buy tickets, a party of excitable teenage students jostled and showed each other fascinating things on electronic devices. Their shrieks of laughter echoed around the stone hall and up to the high decorated ceiling.The Casket Caper - Part Three1 month ago in Short Stories More Like This
Amanda caught sight of Lafarge in the line ahead. His back was to her, though he bristled with irritation at the antics of the young people behind him.
Ahead, a sign declared that museum tickets were $16, or $10 for students. Amanda panicked momentarily and groped in the tiny front pocket of her rather insubstantial shorts. She was in luck – when she pulled out her hand it held her last, crumpled, $10 bill. This happy discovery had another implication: with a pang of guilt Amanda realised that she’d left Benny’s without paying. She would have to drop by on her way home and apologise profusely.
Lost in that thought, Amanda looked up
The Casket Caper - Part SixStalking surreptitiously through the Birtwhistle's top floor in search of a hiding place, Amanda found it deserted apart from museum staff. She passed a number of side doors and tried the handles, each time without success.The Casket Caper - Part Six1 month ago in Short Stories More Like This
After many locked doors one finally gave: Amanda stepped through hurriedly, glancing over her shoulder to make sure that no-one had seen her.
The sound of a throat being cleared made her spin around in surprise.
She was in a long, wood-panelled room. A group of suited, elderly men regarded her with interest from behind a polished table.
“Oh!” said Amanda, feeling terribly silly.
She sensed a dozen pairs of curious eyes looking her up and down. Amanda looked down herself and saw her bare midriff and tiny shorts; she squirmed - her face flushing.
“I…..” her mouth opened and closed without making further sound.
“May we help you?” asked a bearded fellow from over his spectacles.
“Wrong room!” blurted Amanda and bolte
The Casket Caper - Part EightSensation returned to Amanda suddenly and painfully. The first thing she became aware of was a pulsating, throbbing headache. The pain was so intense that, for an unknown time, it overwhelmed all other feeling.The Casket Caper - Part Eight1 month ago in Short Stories More Like This
Then, as consciousness slowly returned, Amanda opened her eyes just a crack and found herself in pitch blackness.
Where was she?
Something was on her face.
She lay disorientated, confused by the crushing pain in her head, dimly perceiving a rhythmic sound which she identified as her own breathing.
Amanda now noticed that it was not just her head that hurt – her whole body ached from top to bottom. She tried unsuccessfully to sit up - and suddenly realised that she couldn't move. Her legs were bent up against her chest. Something bit into her ankles, holding them together. Her hands were pinned behind her back - they felt cold and numb.
A forlorn wail of despair formed in Amanda’s throat but she found that her mouth was sealed shut - the sad sound e
The Casket Caper - Part OneThe Birtwhistle Museum closes at 6pm weekdays and is, as a rule, a silent and tranquil place during the evening. Most of its human occupants are long dead – mummified no less – and so have little to say to the security guard who occasionally patrols the halls.The Casket Caper - Part One2 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Up on the third floor, however, the Fossett Collection is an exception. It is a room exclusively of clocks, many of which are lovingly maintained in working order. Once per hour, the room rings out with a brief cacophony of whirrs, clicks and chimes – before returning to the deathly silence characteristic of its neighbours.
Given the normal passivity of the Birtwhistle by night, it is therefore noteworthy that a recent summer evening saw a level of drama and excitement somewhat unprecedented in the museum's prestigious history.
On the second floor, in a room directly beneath the Fossett Collection, is a large and ornate casket on a plinth. Fashioned in bronze, the casket bears the designs of winged, bearded hors
Amanda Jones and the TigraAmanda Jones and the TigraAmanda Jones and the Tigra3 years ago in Settings More Like This
Another speckle stream of sand descended from the stones above. Within seconds of its initial descent, it had landed right on the precious head of hair of Amanda Jones. Amanda sighed as she felt the sand hit her head and started to brush it off. Before her hand reached her head, she paused and sighed, "Egypt, better start adjusting to the environment. It's only been four days. Brushing sand out of my hair would be redundant now. But hey, that'll make the shower later all the more enjoyable." Her mind made up and a smile on her face, Amanda shined her flashlight down the narrow stoned walled, sand covered corridor and continued to travel downwards. It had been four days since she left the States for the first time to travel abroad with her college archeology class. For four days, Amanda and her class had enjoyed much of Cairo and the wonders the city had to offer
The Casket Caper - Part FiveThe paper bore the elaborate letterhead of someone called the Marquis de Villard. Amanda translated from handwritten French scrawl.The Casket Caper - Part Five1 month ago in Short Stories More Like This
‘To Monsieur Gilot, c/o Hotel Belleclaire, New York
Well done on your success in locating the clock. The item I require is contained within it. Once you have this object in your possession, kindly contact my secretary. He will arrange for collection, and payment of EUR50.000.
The clock must be opened as follows: hour hand is to be turned back and forth between the symbols below, according to the same sequence. Please act with discretion. After retrieving the item, please restore clock to its original state.
At the bottom of the letter, were inscribed four Egyptian hieroglyphs, which Amanda recognised as Reta (to give), Noob (gold), Nefer (beautiful) and Sat (daughter).
She looked up at the clock. It was made principally from black marble, but had a bronze sphinx looking dow
The Casket Caper - Part TwoAmanda Jones – anthropology student and amateur detective – was very partial to coffee, particularly when it came with free wi-fi. On arrival in New York, she had turned her fine detective skills immediately to finding the best Italian espresso within a few blocks of her father’s Upper West Side apartment.The Casket Caper - Part Two2 months ago in Short Stories More Like This
Her need was not only for refreshment – her father’s parsimony had left Amanda's summer base lacking the basic human right of high speed internet access. His unsatisfactory excuse was something to do with saving $100 a month while away in the Middle East.
The quest for coffee and wi-fi had led Amanda to Benny’s Tea Shop, on the corner of Columbus and West 73rd St. Benny, short for Benedicto, was a generous, middle-aged man who took an instant liking to Amanda; plying her with pastries which the slim girl refused demurely. It was only after a sustained week-long assault that Benny discovered Amanda's weakness – iced ci
The Casket Caper - Part FourAmanda strode purposefully through the Birtwhistle Museum - though perhaps not as inconspicuously as she would have liked. First, she rounded a corner at speed and banged her knee on a badly-placed china pot. Then, while hopping from the scene, she narrowly avoided upending two elderly ladies like skittles. Sharp exhalations and scornful looks followed Amanda as she retreated ruefully.The Casket Caper - Part Four1 month ago in Short Stories More Like This
Now on the second floor, Amanda had lost Lafarge completely. From a map that she clutched, she could see that the crescent-shaped museum offered multiple ways to ascend and descend. There was no quick and foolproof way to methodically sweep every hall. Anxious at losing the duplicitous doctor, Amanda quickened her pace: her world became a blur of picture galleries, silverwork, cut glass and ceramics.
As she crossed from the West wing to the East, Amanda dashed past treasures of the ancient world: brooches, necklaces, axe heads and stone tablets. An impressive Assyrian casket briefly caught her attention
Penelope's Next Mission: The Dealer, Part 7Lianne woke up again, still feeling very drowsy and out of it. She realised right away that she was still in the same predicament she had been in when she awoke the last time; and once again, she had no clue where she was, or how much time had passed.Penelope's Next Mission: The Dealer, Part 73 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
She dimly recalled that at some point, someone had removed her from the ‘container’ she was in, long enough to allow her to eat, drink, and relieve herself. It was so hazy though; she knew she had eaten, but couldn’t remember what she ate. She still couldn’t remember seeing anything; whoever these people were, they obviously didn’t care much for light. Although she couldn’t remember seeing anyone else, she had the nagging sense that she was not alone; that there were others, just like her, in the exact same situation.
And then, she thought about her boss, Penelope. Was she here somewhere too? Did she know what had happened? Was she going all ‘Black Arrow’
Amanda Ciara and Penelope Part 2The next fifteen or so minutes were not as bad as Amanda would have thought. After placing the unconscious Penelope in her nearby rocking chair, the two girls went on to bind her hands and ankles. All the while, Amanda began to tell of her several encounters with the Illiterati to Ciara. Ciara didn't interrupt her and listened patiently. When the two were finished securing their mysterious new guest, they stood in front of her, making sure they were satisfied with Penelope's bonds. "Well you have been busy haven't you," Ciara finally said. Amanda rubbed her head, "Yeah. It's almost a miracle I'm not dead yet." That remark made Ciara look at Amanda angrily, "You're damn right Amanda. Why didn't you try to contact me? Ok, maybe one random encounter may have been cause for 'ehh', but four in the last year? You should have come to me." Amanda was startingAmanda Ciara and Penelope Part 23 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Penelope's Next Mission: The Dealer, Part 3Penelope D’arcy, also known (only to herself though!) as Black Arrow, had gained entry to the Casino where she suspected there was some sort of illegal activity going on. The activity was related, she thought, to a number of recent disappearances of women in the West End; and she suspected that whoever was behind it, was the same man who had not long ago purchased partial ownership in six casinos, all on the West End, and all under different names.Penelope's Next Mission: The Dealer, Part 33 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Penelope was in an empty office that she had gained entry to through the building’s ventilation system. She had chosen this room to enter, primarily because her floor plan she had procured had led her to believe that there was no security cameras inside it.
She rubbed her head again, where a metal grate had hit it a few minutes before, briefly knocking her out. There was still a very slight bump there, but it didn’t hurt now, not like it did when she first came to. But she couldn’t help but let
Amanda in the village of peril.. Part 1The day was young, but the Amanda was already up. Groggy from her comfortable and well needed night's sleep, the beautiful student folded the covers away and sat up. She let out a cute little yawn before rubbing her beautiful, blue eyes.Amanda in the village of peril.. Part 12 years ago in Settings More Like This
The time was 7:34am. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the air was fresh. Rare, but welcoming smells of the nearby beaches that sat on the other sides of the hills crept into the village every so often. Along with the beautiful smell of the sea, flowers and pollen made their presence known. Sutton Poyntz was beautiful...
After waking up properly, Amanda got up and checked her phone. She was missing Ciara and was desperate to hear from her. But there was nothing.
"Ergghh.. come on babe, please!" muttered Amanda.
It was Amanda's second day in Sutton Poyntz. As beautiful and secluded as this place was, she couldn't help feeling impatient. Caroline told her that she would be back on the road by lunchtime.
With the bed in a state, Amanda opened her bedr
Penelope's Next Mission: The Dealer, Part 8Penelope began to stir once again. As she put her hand up to her head, her first thought was that as much as the thought of getting knocked out excited her, this was getting a bit much!Penelope's Next Mission: The Dealer, Part 83 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Wherever she was, it was dark. She was sitting on carpet, she seemed to be unrestrained, and still fully dressed. “Hello?” she called out weakly.
“Ah, you’re awake,” a familiar voice answered. Penelope could just make out the face of Thomas Blake as he knelt in front of her.
“Where am I…what happened…” the heroine known as Black Arrow mumbled.
“You and your friend got gassed, and we were told to bring you here. Something big is going down, and we may need your help, after all.”
“My friend…”Penelope breathed. “Curia? Where is she? Is she okay?”
“She’s fine…other than being unconscious, of course. We don’t have much time. The Deal