Extract from Chapter One: 'First Contact'

Three weeks after the event, I discovered the metal object Adams had pressed into my hand seconds before he had expired. I must have put the object in my pocket and in the chaos of the event, I’d forgotten about it. I’d bundled the jacket into a plastic bag and left untouched since that traumatic day. The jacket was beyond a routine dry-clean. Before consigning it to the trash, I checked the pockets and felt the hard lump in the jacket pocket. Reaching in, my fingers closed on something circular and flat, too big to be a coin, I pulled the object out.

medallion

It was a medallion, about the circumference of a Coke can, perhaps a little smaller. As thick as three or four stacked dollar coins and made from a dull yellow metal, I guessed was bronze. Henry Adam’s life-blood still encrusted the nicks and crevices of the surface. A long chain of small ringlets threaded through a clasp on the top. On one side, three embossed dragons intertwined with one another, their limbs and necks creating an intricate pattern which suggested a Celtic influence. Set inside the perimeter, I could make out some worn writing which I recognised as Latin and looked like a later addition, the letters etched or stamped into the bronze. I read the words out-loud: “dum spiramus tuebimur”.