Eat your heart out, Indiana Jones.McBride was confident he had really found something here. Something new. Something previously undiscovered. Something no modern human had laid eyes on … until now. He had stumbled upon this surprising finding during one of his daily hikes/off-the-record artifact-hunting missions. His boss, the director of the local Archeological Society, had told him repeatedly not to waste anymore of anyone's time by searching these caves. "It's been done, McBride. There's nothing that hasn't been seen and nothing of interest." But he was wrong. Dead wrong. And now McBride had the proof.
The flash of his camera sent shocks of lightning through the dark cave as he snapped photos of the peculiar markings on the wall. One appeared to be the outline of a woman. From the manner in which she was depicted and with the presence of what seemed to be some sort of head piece, possibly even a crown, he guessed that she had been of high standing. An ancient princess. And there was another marking that appeared to be some sort of animal. Reptilian. McBride's heart race suddenly quickened as the implication sunk in. Could it be? Was it really possible that he had just discovered the first proof of dinosaur and early human coexistence? He'd be a hero. The poster child for greatness in the field of anthropological studies.
He was imagining his face on the cover of TIME magazine when his cell phone rang. It was his boss.
"I'm here. And I'm warning you, McBride. This better be good or you're going to be archiving soil samples till the end of all eternity."
McBride met him at the cave entrance and led him inside. He shone the flashlight on the wall and his boss gasped when he saw the markings. There were dozens of them. Maybe hundreds.
"That one looks like a rainbow," said his boss. "Can you imagine what must have gone through their minds when they saw that in the sky? How they could have even comprehended it? And this over here. A horse? Domestication this early is completely unheard of."
With every excited gush from his boss, McBride beamed a little more.
"What do you think they used to make the markings, Sir?"
"Typically some sort of native plant or flower ground into a paste. Possibly berries. I'm just amazed they've survived this long. These have to be hundreds of thousands of years old. That looks like a bird, maybe a butterfly. But what's that one? Is that …"
"What? What is it?" said McBride. When he saw what his boss was looking at, all the color drained from his face.
No mistaking it. It was the outline of an automobile. A fire truck, actually.
"Oh my God. Sir, I'm so …" but as McBride stepped forward to apologize, he stumbled on something. They both looked down to see a small wooden block with a school bus painted on it. McBride picked it up and spun it around in his hands. It was a rubber stamp, and the ink was fresh.
Just then, they heard voices coming from the entrance of the cave. It sounded like a couple of kids.
"Come on, Jake! I bet you I left it right over here."
Suddenly, two boys about 8 or 9 years old were standing right next to them. One was carrying an ink pad with multiple colors and the other a wooden box with colored pencils and more stamps. Both items had the words "Melissa & Doug" printed on them.
"Here it is!" One of the boys snatched the fire truck stamp out of McBride's hand and then ran away. Before chasing after his friend, the other said, "Gee thanks, Mister. We thought we'd lost it. Hey Jake! Wait for me!"
McBride wanted to run after them, and then just keep running. From the look on his boss's face, crawling up into a hole and dying wouldn't have been a bad idea either.