About to leave for Tobruk, Captain Tom Harper is asked to take Lieutenant Jane Kenny with him to get to a hospital ship leaving in three days. When they are attacked by a German half track they are thrown together with a strong attraction and spend a sizzling night in each others arms in a cave high above the desert. But it doesn't end there when they discover an ancient tomb to keep them company. They escape only to be caught near the end of their journey and face death.
Jane gasped when she saw a second body in the shaded portion of the coffin, a body that appeared smaller than the first. "There's two bodies," she managed to say, after staring at it.
"Yeah, my guess is it might be this bloke's wife and his favorite dog. I read somewhere, that once the head of the house died, they buried his wife with him. Of course this was only for important people."
"You mean she died with him?" Jane said, trying to take in what he meant.
"Yeah, they probably strangled her and lay her with him. You can see she's not wrapped with the same care as he is."
"But that's barbaric," she managed to say.
Tom laughed. "That was the custom at the time. Aren't you lucky you weren't married in those days?"
"I think I would have remained a spinster."
He shook his head. "No, you would probably have been married off when you were thirteen or fourteen, maybe even younger."
"Younger?" she said dubiously.
"Yeah, in those days they would have picked someone out for you when you were only six or seven. It would have been tough, fronting up to some old man of around fifty."
She shook her head in wonder. "You mean they had sex with children in those days?"
"It's been with us for a long time. Women were made for the comfort of men and to bear children. It wouldn't have worried men in those days to have a young girl for sex. It would have been expected."
Jane couldn't believe what he was saying. "I would have kicked him in the family jewels if he'd tried it on me."
"Then you would have been stripped, held down by his men and raped."
"My God," she said, shaking her head.
He grinned and looked around the cave. "What are you looking for now?" she asked.
"There's no guards in here, so I thought there might be some rope."
"Did I mention I'm a great shot and came first in my class for self defense?"
"Maybe I'd better behave." He reached into the coffin and pulled out a gold chain with the figure of a small ibis hanging on it. "Here's a peace offering."
She took it in her hand and studied it. "It's beautiful. Should I keep it?"
"I won't tell anyone if you don't. He won't want it anymore."
He turned her around and slipped the golden chain over her head. "Beautiful," he said admiring her.
"But it's robbing his grave," she said, feeling it in her fingers as if it were fine crystal.
"If he were alive today he would have been showering you with gifts like this. Beautiful women always attracted men of importance."
She tucked it into her shirt and pecked him on the lips. "I thought I was dark and ugly."
"The light is better in here."
"Are there any more treasures in there?" she asked, looking into the opening again.
"Probably but we'll leave him in peace now. Let's get the lid back on."