It's been a long time since I've been to Dubai. I was here in the '30s, while the British were chasing pirates. I was searching for other treasures entirely ... chasing rumors of a lost city, of mighty heroes that defended Kahndaq and Egypt in antiquity. Investigating names like "Shazam" and "Nabu." I never learned as much as I wanted, but I've heard the names resound since.
I look out at the skyline while the local bureau chief, Shirazeh Nasser, explains to us some of what's been happening in parts of Syria and Iraq, the stories of a ghost who hunts and kills terrorists. Drums is unconvinced ... doesn't see how some anti-terror vigilante is our sort of mystery. I listen to them talk, but I'm captivated by the skyline, the way it stretches out into the desert, the way it reaches far into the sky. It's hard to imagine this was the same place I saw all those decades ago. It's almost unrecognizable.
Shirazeh is a veteran bureau chief, and she doesn't flinch at having the field team in the office ... I hired her myself, after all, almost a decade ago. She's had a series of keywords to look for, a series of mysteries I've wanted to dig into for decades, but had to put on hold.
"You told me you wanted to look out for ghost stories, Mr. Snow," she says, and there's something almost mischievous in her voice, a sense that she knows I'm going to be interested in what she has to say. "You told me to look out for ghost stories, lost cities and teenagers with inexplicable abilities. You told me when I began to see those elements emerge, that I should hit the alarm. Well, they have, and now you are here."