I put the fist-sized rock on the counter. “I understand you’re an expert in antiquities?”
The shopkeeper nodded, placing the stone on a mirrored tray and examining its strange markings with a magnifying glass.
“Lacuna Ferratta,” he gasped.
“Is that like Hakuna Matata?” Alex snarked. I jabbed him in the ribs.
“Ancient stone tablet. It is map to ‘Imago Dei’, Image of God.”
Alex yawned. I gave him a dirty look.
“If you feel deposed to oscitate, you should wait outside.”
“Huh? English, Duchess.”
“If this is boring, you can--”
“No, you didn’t let me get any sleep last night,” he winked knowingly at the shopkeeper. I blushed, despite the untruth inferred.
“Imago Dei has power to change man to beast.”
“Shape shifting?” Alex came alert.
“This and the mate are missing pieces of map. That is why they are ‘lacunae’, the gaps. Ferratta was holy man. He hid the stones.”
“Why?” A miasma of dread surrounded me.
“The Imago, it is evil.”
“Fine, we’ll get a jackhammer and pulverize it,” Alex said.
“I think not.” The shopkeeper suddenly spoke perfect English. A silver pistol appeared in his hand. “Call it synchronicity. The other lacuna resurfaced in Alexandria yesterday.”