Parting Shot.

Carrie fled to her father’s study to escape the archeologists. By then, most of the artworks in the house had been sold, but the study still had a coveted collection of Near Eastern art. Carrie, twenty years old, lonely and unbeautiful, liked to sit among these magical objects and think of her father, ten years dead. Like all westerners, he’d treated his things with respect. But Carrie felt deep in her heart that these objects, like herself, like her Middle Eastern mother—whose beauty her father had been famous for—were more than decoration. They’d been created with purpose, to accomplish something hidden and wondrous: to induce rain or fertility, to commune with gods and spirits. Carrie, raised in America, didn’t know what their exact purpose was, but she did know that in all this silence, under this museum glass, her father’s horded treasure was lifeless. It’s magic needed human roughness—anguished tears, desperate negotiation, a bloody act of devotion. Only then could it be suddenly and exquisitely animated, and given instruction, and obey.