Jasfoup wiggled his toes in the sand. The Mediterranean sparkled as far as the eye could see and the waves were depositing nautilus shells and amphora in a line that stretched from Ugarit to the necropolis at Minet el-Beida. To his left julie and Jedith were talking in low voices – probably about him – and to his right Harold was building a sand castle.
"It's your birthday in a couple of weeks," he said.
"Is it?" Harold didn't even look up.
Jasfoup watched him crush a spiny murex shell to make minarets for his castle. "Well, two weeks and six thousand years." He grinned. "How do you feel about the end of our contract?"
He looked up then, consternation contorting his face. "The end of our contract? I'm going to die?"
"Er... I didn't say that." Jasfoup's attention was suddenly focussed on a small crab trying to hide under his toenail. "I'm not saying your birthday and the sudden, violent termination of our contract together are related." he coughed. "Is there anything special you'd like for your birthday? Thunderbolt-proof hat, for example?"