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INCIDENT IN THE TOMB
“The Explosive Finale!”
LIEUTENANT RICHARD AGAR – Canoe Cop
Julie and I may be cornered, but neither of us is about to go down without a fight.
“Come on, you dirty so-and-so,” she snarls at Hawas. “Show me what you’ve got!”
“You will die and my beloved Amunisis shall live again!” the crazed archeologist responds.
With the mummy of Rahotep bearing down on me and my back to a wall of fire, there’s nothing I can do to help my lady love. I don’t have time for any banter, either.
My canoe paddle slices the mummy in the knee and then the neck. My cuts are deep, and I put all the strength I’ve got into each one.
It’s a deadly combination that would cripple any normal man, but Rahotep doesn’t even seem to feel it. Nor does he seem the least bit concerned about the smoke-filled blaze mounting around us.
He plods toward me, arms outstretched. He’s no Olympic track star, but he moves a lot faster than I’d like.
I back up, coughing, as the smoke clogs my lungs. I keep the blade of my canoe paddle in front of me, hacking and slashing. I’m pretty darn certain, at this point, that it can’t hurt the mummy, but I’m hoping to buy myself enough time to figure out a better plan… Any plan, actually!
Hawas and Julie are grappling again, now, him trying to overpower her and get his hands around her neck, her struggling and kicking—and even snapping at his face with her teeth—trying to get him to back off.
“Rich…!” she screams.
My back is literally up against the wall of the ship now—one of the only parts of the bulkhead that isn’t burning.
“Julie!” I call back, my heart pounding and breaking at the same time.
The mummy swats aside my ineffectual paddle. I lose my grip, and it sails across the room, landing near where the brazier once stood.
Hawas has his hands around Julie’s neck.
This is it… for both of us!
“Rich…” Julie gasps. “Smash the ring!”
I have no idea what she’s talking about—but I trust her.
The mummy lunges for me.
I dive between its legs, feeling the monster’s bandage-wrapped fingers brush the back of my calves as I go.
I roll through a patch of flame—fortunately not catching fire—and end up in the center of the room. My paddle is lying there, and so is Hawas’ ruby ring—the one Julie and I recovered from the wreck two days ago, the day all this started.
“Rich…!” Julie’s voice chokes to a sudden stop.
I grab my paddle.
The mummy wades through the gouts of flames, as if they didn’t exist. It’s coming for me and nothing will stop it!
With every ounce of strength I have left in my body, I smash the paddle down atop the ring.
The ancient gold circlet flattens…
The ruby shatters as if I’d just hit a blasting cap.
The concussion shakes the whole burning ship and knocks me onto my backside.
And, did I imagine it, or—as it went up—did I see a flash of crimson light and hear a faint, inhuman scream?
Or was that just Julie screaming… Or Hawas…?
“Noooooo!” the evil Egyptian wails.
He loosens his grip around Julie’s neck for just an instant, and she manages to scramble free, coughing and gasping for breath.
Rahotep is practically on top of me now.
I pick myself up and ball my hands into fists. I know they’ll be even less effective against the mummy than my paddle had been, but…
I stare into the monster’s dead eyes.
Something inside those empty sockets blazes red with hatred.
Might as well make this quick…
“C’mon!” I taunt. “What are you waiting for?!”
The mummy turns away from me. His burning eyes focus on Hawas.
“No!” the insane archeologist cries. “Rahotep… no!”
The mummy of Rahotep lumbers toward him, ignoring the flames that lap up between them.
“I am your master! You must obey me!” Hawas shouts. He tries to back up, and runs smack into Julie.
She shoves him into the mummy’s waiting embrace. “Take that!” she says. “You sons-of-guns deserve each other!” (Or something close to that.)
The mummy grabs Hawas.
Julie dodges through the flames toward me.
I do the same, and soon we’re standing side by side, near the center of the ship’s burning exhibit hall.
Hawas screams as the mummy lifts him high overhead—like a weightlifter showing off his prowess. Burning debris falls all around them.
I take Julie’s hand. “This way!”
We dash to the front of the room—the bow of the ship. I pick up a burning piece of fake-Egyptian furniture and toss it through one of the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto Phantom Lake.
The sound of breaking glass almost drowns out the sound of the mummy snapping Hawas’ back like a twig.
By the time the tinkle of the shattering window subsides, Hawas’ screams have died away as well—this time for good.
Despite ourselves, Julie and I cringe—just a little.
The exhibit hall’s flames lick against our backs.
“Swim for it!” she yells.
We dive off of the blazing showboat and into the chilly waters of Phantom Lake.
A few moment later, we resurface…
The whole thing goes up…
NEXT: Final Report
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Shawn P. Conlin – Wolvesbane Academy
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