Selma Gubbins always wanted to be an archaeologist, ever since a school trip aged seven when she was allowed to dig in the soil with an old spoon and not have to talk to anyone as she lost herself in her own little world. She gave herself over to achieving that ambition with the single eyed desperation usually witnessed in the starving. And while solitude fueled that ambition, curiosity and a belief in otherness drove her to wonder at what she was uncovering in those former lives revealed in minute fragments of stone and bone that her brush and trowel brought back into the light.
The Two Talkers were limestone columns that had intrigued the archaeological community for decades. Were they part of a larger whole, an ancient gateway or memorial to a clannish chief? Or were they, as local lore had it, two old men so engrossed in their conversation that they did not see the devil creep up and turn them to stone?
Selma felt something the first time she witnessed them, standing sentinel in the driving rain. She was sure their mystery would reveal itself to her, sometime, with diligence and imagination. Over many years, she returned and led investigations, penning papers with theories both ancient and modern. And yet the truth, of which she was certain, remained elusive to her.
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