“There you have it,” said Vasquez, setting the heavy clay down. “The tablet that the owner of Holy Books Family Stores was trying to smuggle to her Bible museum.”

“I can read cuneiform, you know,” said Jeffers.

“The hell you can,” said Marston. “What kind of asshole can make anything of those chicken scratches?”

Jeffers jabbed a thumb at herself. “This kind of asshole. I studied archaeology for five years before the money ran out.”

“Well, have a go, then,” said Vasquez. “These aren’t going anywhere until the Feds get here tomorrow.”

Jeffers tugged on a pair of gloves meant for body cavity searches and hefted the tablet.

In the temple of Inannah, the sanctuary of Eannah
At the altar, when she saw Inannah
The priestess began to cry.
The Lady of Heaven saw her as her tears were flowing down.
Why is she crying?
Why are priestess’s tears flowing?
“For the sake of my family, which is ended!”
“For the sake of my barrenness, which cannot bring forth an heir!”
“Whom shall I send to tend the graves of my forebears?”
Inannah, the Lady of Heaven, was moved.
“I will give to you of myself that this be not so.”
“But I warn you, there is no taming the wildness of a god.”
“If it be male, the child will be like unto an earthquake.”
“If it be female, like a flood will it come into the world.”
The priestess appealed to Inannah, at any price willing.
“Simply repeat what we have already spoken.”
“And I will be upon you in my mercy and my rage.”

Jeffers looked up. “That’s really weird,” she said.

A heavy blow at the door interrupted her next thought.

“Is that Tillmann?” said Vasquez. “Tell him to ease up.”

“Tillmann’s sick,” said Marston. “There shouldn’t be anyone else here.”

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