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Steve Olley

Steve Olley, Author of Only Something in me Understands

    Born in England, but raised as a free spirit, Steve travelled in search of adventure, lived on a kibbutz, crossed the Sahara, lost himself in the jungles of the Congo, found love and lost it, but not without reward, for it brought him to the shores of Lake Huron, and gave him a different kind of love as a father. Now he spends his time writing, and planning a trip to the French Alps and a second attempt on Mont Blanc.

Congratulations, Steve, for finishing in the Top Ten at the 2010 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll for Short Story, Other, with Only Something in my Understands!

2010 P&E Readers Poll Top Ten Finalist, Steve Olley, Only Someting in me Understands

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Only Something in me Understands by Steve Olley


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Only Something in me Understands by Steve Olley

     When journalist, John Brooks, hears of a young woman haunted by visions of an earlier life lived in Egypt, who has an uncanny understanding of hieroglyphics, he must meet her. And so begins a lifelong friendship that would take each of them to the brink, balancing at the edge of reason, in this heart-wrenching tale of enduring love.
     Based on the true life story of Dorothy Eady, who believed herself to be the reincarnation of an Egyptian priestess, who took her own life 3,000 years before. The first woman to carve out a career as an archaeologist in Egypt, she made predictions that led to discoveries that would astound her colleagues.
     But only her closest friends knew her deepest secret. The conviction that fuelled this remarkable and romantic life, that drove her passion for Egypt, and the love affair that was so strong, even death could not end it.

Word Count: 13,500
Pages to Print: 50
File Format: PDF                  Price: $3.99




Only Something in me Understands

    It all began in London, on a cold day in December, 1931, walking along Oxford Street on my way to the British Museum. As a journalist for The Sunday Times, my assignment was to interview Sir Ernest Wallis, former Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities, who was retiring after a long and distinguished career. The story did not fill me with enthusiasm, and as I turned off Oxford Street onto Museum Road, I wondered how I could transform a potentially boring interview into something the Editor would not fall asleep while reading. However, Sir Edgar was far from dull and the story he chose to share with me was as fascinating as any I’d ever heard.
Darkness closed about me as I crossed the cobbled courtyard and climbed the steps to the main entrance. A chill wind carried a swirl of snowflakes through the yellow light from the windows and it was good to leave the damp cold behind as I entered the museum.
    In the entrance hall a trio of guards stood whispering to each other in reverential tones, their voices muffled by the wood paneled walls and the soft padding of feet on cold polished floors. One of the guards led me up two flights of stairs and along a dimly lit corridor, past a group of students from the university, who were bent over the exhibits, scribbling in notebooks, consumed in their own worlds, lost in the folds of time.
    When we reached Sir Ernest’s office, tucked into a corner of the third floor, I thanked the guard, knocked and entered. I found Sir Ernest sitting behind a worn mahogany desk, smoking a pipe. The room, dimly lit by a single banker’s lamp, was crowded with boxes and stacks of manuscripts. Shelves along the wall overflowed with books, and, where space allowed, framed photographs hung on the walls, pictures of men in pith helmets standing before famous archaeological sites. Sir Ernest’s desk faced the door and behind him, through a tall but narrow window, the lights of London twinkled in the cold evening air.
    “Mr. Brooks, so pleased to meet you, please, do take a seat.” Sir Ernest was older than I had presumed, a shock of white hair swept back over his head, tweed jacket and matching waistcoat, handlebar moustache and a pair of round wire-rimmed glasses he removed as he stood slowly to shake my hand.
    “Hello, Sir Ernest. It’s good to meet you, and thank you for agreeing to the interview.”
    “Mr. Brooks, I am honored to meet you. I’ve read many of your articles. I always find them interesting. But for the life of me I can’t imagine why you would want to interview an old fogey like me.”
    “Well sir, you have worked at the museum for a long time. I thought you would have something interesting to tell us about all those years. How many has it been?”
    “Oh now you’ve got me. Let me think. Left Oxford in 1880 and spent six years working in Egypt and Mesopotamia and of course off and on since then, but I think I came to the Museum in 1886. So I’ve been here for forty-five years, the large part of that as keeper of Egyptian Antiquities.”
    “And that is the position you’re retiring from?”
    “Oh, no! I left that position to someone younger about ten years ago. No, I’m just a part time curator now. I am, after all, in my seventies.”
    “Sir Ernest, I’ve read about your work in Egypt and always wanted to know a bit more, with reference to the likeness of the Sphinx to the Pharaoh Cheopen.”
    “Yes, yes, all a long time ago now; basically I came to the conclusion the Sphinx is older than previously thought.”
    “How old do you think it is?”
    “Almost five thousand years.”
    “That’s older than the Pyramids, isn’t it?”
    “Yes it is.”
    “Fascinating,” I said, but in my head I thought This is dry old stuff. Interesting on a scholarly level, but this isn’t going to keep my readers awake.
    I must have betrayed some of these thoughts in my look, for Sir Ernest said, “I can see you were hoping for something a little more mysterious.”
    “I’m sorry, Sir Ernest, personally I have a great respect for archaeology, unfortunately that does not apply to many of my readers, even in The Sunday Times.”
    The old man smiled; perhaps it was a trick of the light, but I could have sworn I saw a twinkle in his eye.
    “Well I have something you may find a bit more exciting, something to curl the toes so to speak.”
    Intrigued, I looked up from my notebook at the old man. The dim light cast shadows across his face. Past him, through the window, black with the night, the snow fell steadily across the city.
    “Have you ever heard of a woman named Dorothy Eady?”
    “No, I can’t say I have.”
    “Miss Eady is quite the remarkable woman. I met her for the first time towards the end of the Great War. 1917, I believe, when she came under my tutelage. It was rare for me to take students, especially one as young as Dorothy. She was thirteen years old when she came to me for help with her hieroglyphics. Hard as it is to believe she already had a rudimentary grasp of the language. Strange, you may think, for a young teenage girl. But Dorothy was no ordinary child.
    “As I said, that was the first time I had met her, but it wasn’t the first time I had heard of her. For even at thirteen years of age she had already led an unusual life. When she was three years old, the poor child fell down the staircase at home. The doctor was sent for and duly came and pronounced her dead. About an hour later, he returned with the death certificate and a nurse to lay out the body, but found the child completely conscious, playing about and showing no sign of anything unusual. But then the strangest thing, her parents told me once she’d finished playing she started to cry, saying she wanted to go home. And no reassurance she was already at home could soothe her.
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