Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Curious Contents of Canopic Jars

This morning I found hidden within the canopic jar I purchased from an antiques dealer last Wednesday (whose shop has since vanished altogether, by the way) an epistolary of singular interest. Normally, I would not dare inspect the contents of such a vessel; let me be quite clear upon that distinction. My discovery was made solely upon the clumsiness with which I attempted to relieve the artifact of dust, which resulted in its subsequent enterprise to the checkered floor so fine for walking yet so destructive to a clay proprietor of the dead. To my bewilderment, that which revealed itself from out the rubble of pottery was not in fact, the ancient sand of gore but a folded bit of tanned paper bearing the initials S.S. I reflected a moment and considered the situation. It seemed the only logical counter to such an event would be to inspect the paper and observe its contents, which I did, but leisurely, so as not to appear too eager. I observed a single record in what seemed to be part of either a correspondence to a friend, an imaginary friend, or simply an entry in the authour’s own diary if he had one. If he hadn’t, I would suspect the former two possibilities suggested – unless the writer decided upon keeping a journal that very day and this was the start of his chronicle. In either event, the entry itself is unquestionably strange. It runs thus:

October 22nd, 1889

Shipment received from Cairo last evening was discovered empty this morning. Why, oh why did I wait to inspect it? At the o’clock of it’s arrival I had been late for a lecture in Paisley’s By The Sea and settled upon opening it in the morning. As I reached the foot of the stair the following day I observed the box had been opened, seemingly from within, and the contents missing.

I have since discovered curious tracks leading from the grounds into the moor. I shall investigate directly.

That was all that had been recorded. The significance of its contents is objective, and indeed, the mystery presented is very plausibly of natural instigation. Though the fever that haunts my brain naturally suggests otherwise.


Illustration © 2011 by J.E.Larson