Welcome to The Book of Bones, a weekly adventure story. If you’re just joining the story, click here for Chapter 1.
Bones couldn’t help but tap his foot on the floorboard and drum his fingers on the dashboard in nervous anticipation as the sign welcoming visitors to Roswell, New Mexico appeared up ahead. Beneath the words of welcome, a stylized Zia sun peeked up over mountain peaks, and below it, the slogan caught Bones’ attention.
“Dairy capital of the Southwest,” he read aloud. “That’s not what I expected.”
“Don’t aliens like to give anal probes to cattle or something like that?” Jessie asked.
“They dissect them!” Bones said. “Have a little respect for the scientist from the other side of the galaxy, will you?”
“It’s just the people who get probed,” Amanda chimed in. “What is it with the probing, anyway? Are they all proctologists?”
“Screw you guys,” Bones said. ‘You’re not going to kill my good mood. I’ve been wanting to visit here for years.”
“You do seem pretty excited,” Amanda said, keeping her eyes on the road. “I guess this is like Mecca to you.”
“I don’t know. Graceland is up there, too.”
“Hey, check out the lampposts.” Jessie pointed to one of the streetlamps that lined either side of the main street. “They’re aliens.”
Sure enough, the bulbous lamps were formed in the shape of alien heads and adorned with large, black eyes that peered at passing cars with sinister intent.
“So cool,” Bones said.
“This guy we’re going to meet, Krueger,” Amanda began, “what can you tell us about him? Another UFO nut like you?”
Bones let the jibe pass. “Kirk Krueger. He helped me and Maddock out when we were looking for Atlantis.”
“Atlantis?” Jessie interrupted. “Oh my God. Tell me you don’t believe in that, too. It’s a myth.”
“We found it.”
The simple declaration left the young woman gaping. “You’re messing with me,” she finally managed.
“Nope.” Bones gave his head a single shake.
“This guy is full of secrets,” Amanda said, glancing at Jessie in the rear-view mirror. “And he doles them out like candy. He loves the attention.”
“That’s not it at all. Some stuff is classified, other stuff would be dangerous for people to know. Besides, ‘How’d you like to have a drink with the guy who found Noah’s Ark?’ is a lousy pickup line.”
“Noah’s Ark,” Jessie repeated, her voice flat. Her eyes flitted from Bones to Amanda, suspicion shining brightly. “I can’t decide if the two of you are serious or just trying to make me feel stupid.”
“I’m serious,” Amanda said. “And he is too. At least, he is about this.”
Jessie’s shoulders sagged. “Who are you, anyway?”
Bones sighed. “Just a guy who can’t stay out of trouble.”
“Don’t let him fool you,” Amanda said. “He loves every second of it.”
“Some of it’s pretty cool, but it can get bad. It’s definitely not for everyone.”
“So, this Krueger guy,” Jessie prompted.
“He’s an expert on ancient mysteries, Egypt in particular, but he knows his stuff, especially as it relates to contact with extraterrestrials. He’s been in hiding for a while now.” Bones stopped there. To explain further would require a lot more back-filling than they had time for at the moment. “Those are the broad strokes. He’s a good guy. He’ll help us if he can.”
Ten minutes later, they strolled up to the Roswell UFO Museum. The turquoise marquee shone brightly in the New Mexico sun, looking like a 1950s movie theatre façade. They paid their admission fee and proceeded inside.
The museum was heavy on reprints of newspaper clippings and government documents, especially those relating to the famed Roswell Incident of 1947, in which the government allegedly recovered a crashed UFO. Bones had read most of it before, but he soon found himself drawn in by the sheer volume of information on UFO legends and conspiracies.
“Do we just wait?” Jessie whispered.’
“He’ll find us. I sort of stand out in a crowd.”
They continued to browse the exhibits: equipment from the 1940s, dioramas of space ship crashes, and models of aliens. Bones was enjoying the relative silence when a mechanical rumble filled the room, followed by a high pitched whine. His senses on alert, he looked around for the source of the sound, and relaxed when his eyes fell on a group of aliens standing in front of a dark backdrop. Steam rose around them and above their heads, a scaled-down flying saucer rotated in midair.
“Cheesy,” he muttered.
“True, but the visitors seem to like it.” Bones glanced down to see a thin man of medium height smiling up at him. He hadn’t met Krueger in person, but recognized him from photographs. He’d dyed his hair brown, but his blue eyes and easy smile made him easy to recognize.
“You’ve got to be Bones.”
“I don’t really have much choice, do I?” They shook hands and Krueger ushered them into an office at the front of the building.
“You work here?” Bones said. “Won’t that make you easier to find?”
“Hiding in plain sight. Our mutual friend, Tam, thought it a good idea. Besides, things have calmed down on the Dominion front. I don’t feel like I’m in any real danger, but there’s no harm in playing it safe.”
At the mention of the Dominion, Jessie shot a sharp glance at Bones, but Amanda tapped her on the arm and mouthed, I’ll tell you later.
“So, you’re interested in the Book of Bones. I think I can…” He paused as the phone on the desk rang. “Excuse me.” He answered the phone and frowned as the person on the other end of the line began to speak. As he listened, the lines in his brow deepened. When he hung up, his face was pale. “I don’t know for sure, but I think we might have a problem. Some men are outside asking for you.”