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INCIDENT AT THE EXHIBIT
ARDATH HAWAS – Egyptologist
We’re nearly ready, my darling. You won’t have to wait much longer. The replica of your tomb has been prepared down to the tiniest detail. Soon, the moon and the stars will meet in the proper conjunction, and you will live and breathe once more.
“Is this creature on the altar really worthy to house my ka, Ardath? She is not a princess, is she?”
No, sweet Amunisis, she is no princess—but you have to understand, princesses are difficult to come by, in this day and age. There are so few left! And none at all in our native land of Egypt. Yet, she is beautiful, is she not?
“Yes. She is lovely—tall and fair, with perfect skin, luxurious brown hair, and a pleasing well-toned figure.”
She is a swimmer by trade—a diver, more accurately. I chose her specifically for her physical characteristics; she has the bearing, the looks, and the grace of a princess. Her body will suit you well.
“And what will happen to my old body?”
You need not worry about that shriveled husk resting in the Minneapolis Museum of Antiquities, Princess. When the sacrifice is complete, it will crumble into dust, and you will be reborn into this lovely new form.
“And what of my guardsman, Rahotep? Will you find a new body for him, too?”
Why should I? He serves me—I mean you—well enough in his present state.
“My eyes are displeased by the sight of him, as he now exists, Ardath. Do not look so shocked, my would-be suitor. Rahotep offends me even now, as he stands by the sacrificial altar staring at us with his empty eye sockets. Is his appearance not appalling?”
Appalling, yes. But his devotion to you cannot be questioned, my princess. He volunteered to be slain, so that he could stand guard over you for all eternity. After your death, the High Priest adorned him with your favorite necklace, as a sign of his pledge to you, and yours to—
“Foolish priests! That necklace was mine!”
But you promised it to Rahotep, when you were alive, as a chaste token of…
“A promise I never intended to keep. What men and women whisper to each other in the night are mere words, Ardath, nothing more. That necklace belonged to me! And once I live, it shall be mine once more—for all of time!”
Most assuredly, my love. Take it now, if you wish. You seem solid enough at the moment.
“I am, and I shall. Tell me this, though: Why did you give my prized possession to this callow American girl?”
Only to mark her, so that Rahotep would know his victim when the time came, so that you might live again.
“And will you make him live again, Ardath? Will you find Rahotep a comely body that does not offend my sight? He was so handsome in life! And so… tall… and… Why do you shake your head, my would-be lover?”
Because the time of Rahotep has passed, Princess. I know he was once Royal Executioner, but, in truth, he was never worthy to be more than a guardsman to you.
Your scowl perplexes me, Your Highness.
Yes, Rahotep’s sacrifice was great, but has not my own been great as well?
I have transgressed the laws of both man and gods to come to this moment, to bring about your resurrection.
I have plundered the tombs of Egypt. I have dug in the sacred burial grounds where none were meant to dig. I have lied, stolen, and slain—all for you!
“It was Rahotep who did the slaying.”
Yes! But at my command.
And if we were discovered, it is I who would pay the ultimate price.
Without the ring I wear to control him—the ring I stole from its sacred resting place—the mummy is nothing!
Rahotep is but a husk! It is my soul—my body and brain—that overflows with love for you, Amunisis.
Together, you and I shall sail rivers of passion as deep and long as the eternal Nile—such sensual voyages as were denied you during your all too-brief lifespan.
Why do you smile so, Princess?
“I think that perhaps you overestimate my inexperience, Ardath. I am a blooded princess of Egypt! What I desired in life, I took.”
Take me then, my love! Take me as you wish! Who in this lifetime has sacrificed more for you than I?
“In this lifetime? None.”
Then say that you are mine! Say that you love me as I love you, and that we shall be together for all eternity!
“First… Complete the sacrifice.”
I shall! Though the time is not yet upon us—not quite.
Behold the ceremonial Dagger of Anubis, which I have stolen in secret from your tomb.
With it, more than three thousand years ago, your body was ritually prepared for burial. Now, in just a few short minutes, I shall plunge this very blade into the chest of Miss Browning… Here, just below the breast bone, and into the h—
“Get away from me, you creep!”
Ah, Miss Browning, I see that you are awake.
“You’re damn right, I’m awake! Get away from me, you freaks! What in the heck do you think you’re doing?! Untie me!”
Such a pity! Your death would have been much more painless if you’d remained asleep.
“Asleep, my eye! When I get out of these ropes, I’ll show you pain, you little weasel!”
“Ardath, are you sure that this foul-mouthed creature is worthy to be my vessel?”
Can you doubt it, my princess? Not only such a lovely body, but such fire in her as well!
“Hey, you’re the little witch that was following me tonight! The one with the cats! You got a beef with me, lady? Well, cut me loose, and we’ll settle it face-to-face, woman-to-woman!”
“Ha ha ha. Perhaps you are right, Ardath. Such fire! It’s almost a shame to snuff her out.”
“Snuff me out? Good God, you people are psycho! Help! Somebody, help me!”
There is no one here to help you, Miss Browning. There is only the princess, and Rahotep, and I. And we have… other plans.
“Help! Help me!”
Scream all you want. There is no one to hear.
But don’t worry, Miss Browning—soon, you’ll have a better life.
“Get your hands off me, you bastard! What do you think you’re doing?!”
In just a few short minutes, I will plunge the Dagger of Anubis into your heaving breast…
And you will die!
And when you awaken once more… You will be a Princess of Egypt!
NEXT: Scene of the Accident
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