The last month of Sam’s time with Professor Satsky in Greenland ground by. The ebbing darkness of winter was lifting and the eternal sunshine of spring would not be far away. If he climbed to the island’s tallest peak at noon he could just see the orange glow of the sun crest the distant horizon. He peered through his facemask as Satsky recorded the sack’s contents. East Finger 81° 31’ N. lat.
He had tried to get Satsky to bring him back to the Eemian cave but the old man steadfastly refused for fear they would discover it as well. He had spent hours over meals arguing his point—this must be shared with the world—but nothing he could say or do persuaded Satsky to change his mind. Sam could not find the entrance again without his help. They were at a standstill, and time was running short.
“I think that’s it, Burro,” he said. “Why don’t you rest while I finish up. It’s been a long six months.” He cleared his throat. “I couldn’t have done it without you. You’re a good sport, Burro.” He seemed to have trouble meeting Sam’s eyes. “I’m in your debt.”
“Tomorrow,” Sam said, and stopped. He started again. “Tomorrow, no one’s coming to replace me.”
“I know. I’ll seek the treasure on my own. But I want you to have something.”
Satsky pulled from inside his parka the black leather box he’d kept the bone in and handed it to Sam.
“Burro,” said Satsky. He said nothing else for a while. Then, “I can’t let these ancient people die. Help me find the treasure before they do.” He looked up to the purple twilight sky.
Sam hesitated before taking the box. When he did, he stowed it deep in his backpack, in the most protected spot he could find.
Satsky moved close enough to speak in a near whisper. “The devils, Burro.” He snuck a glance at the sky without moving his head, then pulled Sam close. “If the devils find the treasure before us…” Satsky nervously looked around while still pulling Sam next to his mouth. “We are doomed, Burro,” he rasped. “Doomed.”