Raiding Native American burial sites may seem like a bad idea to you and other decent people, but it’s the sort of thing Michael Avar did frequently and with considerable enthusiasm. That’s what he had to do to find the arrowheads.
Michael first heard of them in graduate school, but it was just hints and rumors, not anything that could be published. His advisor, the sadly deceased Prof. Hayes, hadn’t wanted Michael wasting time and grant money on research that could never lead to an authorship credit, so Michael had to be extra sneaky to learn about the little green arrowheads.
The more Michael learned, the more he knew that this wasn’t the sort of thing he was going to write an article about even if he had solid research to share. The subject was too creepy for the journals to accept and too powerful for him to reveal to anyone else.
It all came to an inevitable head during that hectic time as Michael was finishing his dissertation on an analysis of grass seeds identified in the Cahokia Mounds. That bastard Hayes had been snooping around Michael’s desk, and he’d found the notes on Michael’s real research there beneath all the Cahokia field notebooks. But Hayes hadn’t found the flecks of green stone Michael kept in an envelope in the top drawer of the desk.
“Goddamit, this is folklore, not archeology!” Hayes had thundered, waving a notebook full of macabre spells and superstitions written in Michael’s handwriting.
Michael couldn’t defend himself for the usual reason of not wanting to piss off the professor who held the power to torpedo his doctorate, but that wasn’t the only reason he couldn’t argue with the old man. Any vaguely truthful defense of his clandestine research would cause Hayes to call the authorities, while a dishonest defense of his work would be implausible given the very nature of the notes that had rendered Hayes red faced and screaming.
So Michael killed him. It was easier than he had expected to take another human’s life. It was clumsy work, he knew, but his research had taught him enough to give his advisor a heart attack. He’d casually retrieved the envelope from the top drawer and shook the flecks of green stone out onto Hayes as the old guy railed against dark superstition. When the tiny pieces of rock hit Hayes, Michael held visions of the desired mayhem in his mind and then the next thing he knew Hayes was on the floor clutching his chest. Once Hayes stopped moving, Michael called for an ambulance. Of course, they couldn’t resuscitate the dead professor.
Given Prof. Hayes’ age and the lack of any obvious signs of an attack, it went down as death by natural causes. What with the tragedy of his advisor dying in such a dramatic fashion just before his dissertation defense, Michael’s doctorate was rubber stamped by the Department Chair. Then Michael set off for his post with the Historical Archeology Society.
His employer wouldn’t have approved of Michael raiding ancient Native graves, so Michael made sure they never knew about it. For more than two years, he’d desecrated burial sites on public ground and private land as he hunted for the green arrowheads. More than once he’d been chased by farmers with shotguns, but he never stopped his search.
Then, finally, he saw them. The fresh dug earth smelled of death and decay as he shoveled away the all too human bones in the grave. There among the ribs was what he’d sought for so long: a dozen green arrowheads.