Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

Nightmare In Egypt…Part 4/ Feras Werr

To Nigel's surprise instead of heading towards the hole, Angel hurried with excitement to the jeep. She wrapped around the waist of her beige denims her gun belt that contained two revolvers. She picked up her bullet belts and wrapped them diagonally around her upper body making them crisscross on her breast.
Nigel stared at her dumbfounded as she straightened out her white shirt that wrinkled underneath the heavy weaponry, "Why are you that heavily guarded?!"
"Can any of us guarantee that we won't encounter any treasure-hunters down there? Besides, those entrances have been sealed for ages. I don't know what dangers lay beyond those ancient doors Nigel. The Egyptian locals still believe that curses fill those corridors and chambers down there."
He laughed back and answered, "I never knew how far your thinking ran. Besides you have never fired a gun before." He looked her straight in the eyes and said jokingly, "Is it the balderdash that you see written on the antiques we unearthed here."
Angel replied arguing, "The reason all those curses were inscribed on the tombs that we as archeologists researched with our uncaring curiosity is that the Egyptians never appreciated anyone disrupting the peace of their dead. Now all that I'm saying is that it's best we approach this place as careful as possible; and I know I never fired a gun before but I feel safe this way."
"OK OK you win. It just never occurred to me to take a gun down to an archeological dig. We should have them give shooting lessons on campus with our curriculum you know." Nigel laughed uncontrollably as he emptied a pack of shot gun rounds in his pockets and picked up his pump action. Both departed towards the dig eyeing Mustafa whom was lowering a ladder into the hole. Very soon they were down enthusiastically studying the entrance. It was nothing more than an iron sheet with no apparent handle or device to open it. Nigel tried to force his fingers around its corners and edges but it was totally stuck to the stone walling facing them.
Angel commented, "I think our usual tools will not work here. Do you have any ideas Nigel?"
"There is only one way to find out." He looked at Mustafa and asked, "Do you happen to have a crowbar around here?"
"Yes I do in my Jeep. But are you sure you want to try opening this with a tool?"
"Mustafa there is no other way aside from blowing it with dynamite…"
"A crowbar is fine Mustafa thank you." Angel intervened and gave Nigel a funny look. "And you were joking about me coming down here with guns?
Nigel laughed at Angel's remark as he saw the Egyptian man with average height and dark brown complexion tie his long sleeved grey tunic around his waist. His muscular arms grappled with the ladder as he skipped up its steps with the briskness of a fox, his long white underpants releasing a swishing sound from his skipping. 
Angel explained studying the sturdy door, "Iron weapons were first used during Seti the first's reign."
"Making the molding of this door possible. This could be very much our treasure chamber." Nigel looked up and called, "Mustafa hurry up, dawn will break shortly!"
Mustafa soon came back with two crowbars and handed one to Nigel saying, "I thought each of us could pull at opposite ends…"
"Great Idea. Angel back up a little bit."
Angle backed up looking at the men as they fastened their bars on both sides of the door that was about four feet in length. 
Nigel stated, "On the count of three…one, two, three…" both pushed severely at the crowbars but lost their grip and the bars slid from their places. Huge amounts of dust dropped from the door as it wobbled from the crowbars unveiling inscriptions in hieroglyphics. 
Mustafa removed his white turban from his head and wiped the door well asking, "What does it say."
Nigel read the hieroglyphics, "The wise will not enter here."
His Arabian friend's black eyes and perspiring tan face raged with fear. His hospitable disposition shifted as he exclaimed, "It's a curse. Hey I think the thing to do is turn around and go back. At least that is what I’m going to do."
Angel shouted back, "Can't you wait for a few short moments! No curse has ever threatened anyone that worked in any Egyptian excavation site."
Nigel snapped back sarcastically, "And why are you wrapped in guns lady."
Angle ignored Nigel's comment and commanded Mustafa, "Silence and get to work or I will not pay you the remainder of your money."
Nigel calmed down the atmosphere and said, "OK. OK. Let us all relax here. Mustafa you are overworked from the extensive digging and Angel you are weary as much as I am from the long hours of driving." He picked up his crowbar and asked, "Mustafa can you please help finish the job you came her for."
Mustafa picked up his crowbar reluctantly and said, "I will only help you open the door but the rest is up to you to finish."
Nigel replied, "OK but please lets carry on."
Both placed their crowbar again and pulled mightily till the door began shaking. Angel walked up to them encouraging anxiously, "It's moving out of place, more fellows, more." Nigel's and Mustafa's muscular arms pushed the steel bars as they began to twist the door's light metal edges. Suddenly it burst open with a huge clatter like the lid of a pressurized Champaign bottle, hurling a distance back and falling to the floor. Angel gasped as she saw a huge white object thrust towards her. It smacked on to her and knocked her backwards to the floor. Within a second's time she regained her awareness to find the horrible human skull looking straight at her. A wave of terror over took her as she felt its bony structure lie on top of her. She quickly shoved it away and jumped up crying hysterically like a helpless child. Nigel ran up to her and hugged her looking with awe at the pile of bones that rested on the floor. "Thank God it's only a dead skeleton."
Mustafa hurried to the ladder screaming, "To hell with my share of money, I'm leaving. You have just unearthed a hell hole."
Nigel argued, "Hey where are you going? That person could have been only lost inside the catacombs and died!"
Mustafa shouted from on top of the ladder, "I don't care. I'm leaving. Angel you know where to find me if you ever rethink your decision to pay me the rest of the money." Mustafa ushered his men to dismantle the equipment. Within short moments a dense darkness ruled the area followed by loud clanking. The engine sounded and then died out leaving behind bursts of sand swimming in the air. 
Nigel threw the crowbar on the ground and said angrily, "Just all what we needed."
Angel regaining some spirit remarked, "It's all my fault. I shouldn't have come down here with weapons. I think that is what got them a bit edgy." 
"A coward is a coward Angel. It's nobody's fault. He would have gotten frightened by something else eventually and left us."
Angel approached the bones and looked at them. The arms and legs of the skeleton crumbled into thin dust when it smashed on to her. This skeleton was ages old and not as Nigel had just announced to calm Mustafa. Its remaining wide pelvis suggested it was that of a woman. "But why was she left inside?" she thought in bewilderment. 
"Well we haven't gone this far to leave the place unexplored Nigel."
Nigel regrouped his disposition and affirmed, "You are perfectly right." He looked at her with a smile. "Let's take a look and see. At least we will find out what killed this person." 
Nigel lit his flashlight and guided Angel inside. As Nigel scanned the walls with his light they discovered that it was a cubed shaped room measuring about a thousand square feet in area. It was empty aside from its hieroglyphics filled walls telling of Seti the first's conquests in war and of his splendor as pharaoh of his people. The magnificent colorful paintings that were in perfect state depicted different scenes of ancient Egyptian life. The paintings looked as if they had been drawn only yesterday. One wall showed Seti seated on a movable throne that was carried by not less than eight men. He was surrounded with people worshipping around him suggesting his presence in some public celebration. The second was of an Egyptian man stocking crops of various shapes and sizes in a pile in front of him suggesting probably harvesting season with what it brought to the ancient people of its blessings. The third was of a painting exactly like the one they had seen before decorating the vault of one of the chambers in Seti's tomb. It depicted Seti as a long figure hovering over a number of men and hieroglyphic inscriptions. However one of the walls had mud bricks all over it. 
Nigel remarked breath taken, "These are the best preserved wall drawings I have ever seen of ancient Egypt yet."
"I don't know why time and its grinding elements have forgotten this chamber. What does this all mean?"
"I think this would be quite an achievement for us in our field."
"But why is it here all by itself? It doesn't seem to lead to anything or anywhere." Angel noticed a torch hung at reachable distance on one of the corners of the room. She walked towards it saying, "Look Nigel a torch. Do you think its condition is as good as the paintings are?"
"If I were you I won't even touch that thing." Angel gasped as she tripped on something. Nigel quickly lit the grounds underneath her feet. A small back sack with laces came into focus lying against a bright colorful background. Angel picked up the sack but suddenly screamed and threw it away as a mouse broke loose from it. She and Nigel involuntarily began skipping around themselves startled as the mouse madly ran across the grounds looking for an exit. It dashed outside the room but returned as the walls of the dig outside blocked any possible escape. Nigel aimed his shotgun at it and fired blowing it to shreds. Angel covered her ears as the powerful explosion echoed within the ancient walls. 
"Quite a fate for a small rascal."
"That wasn't necessary you know…"
"It would have continued to startle us till it found a way out."
"Or it's hole…" Angel grabbed the flash light and lit the small hole in the corner of the grounds underneath the torch. "Look silly."
"Well I'm sure the gang will be disappointed when they find out what happened to jerry."
Angel shivered as she replied, "Gang? Right I forgot all about that." She looked at the disgusting hole then attempted to divert her attention and study the bag that the mouse fled from. She lit it again saying, "That must have been the poor woman's bag, you know the skeleton outside." Nigel grabbed it from the outside and shook it, "It's empty. Those mice must have dragged everything from it into their hole."
"Nigel…I think I just discovered something."
"What?"
Angel moved the flashlight all over the grounds they were standing on. "Do you see what I see?"
Nigel's eyes widened with bewilderment as he followed the light. The torch seemed like a good idea right now. He walked up to it and removed it from its iron handle. He took out his lighter and ignited a fire. It surprisingly caught on quickly illuminating a wide area around them. H exclaimed, "The wood is fresh. Look there is something going on here that is very weird."
"And what do you make out of this also?" The scene was just remarkable. A painting of three women playing instruments in front of a pharaoh on his throne was spread on the entire grounds they were standing on. She continued, "I will never understand why anyone will want to draw a painting of a pharaoh on the grounds for people to step on!"
An uneasy sense began turning Nigel's stomach as he replied, "Wait a minute, I think I know what is going on." The skies outside began glowing with the dim lights of early dawn as Nigel's mind lit with knowledge. He gulped hard and eyed the bricked wall besides them and the three drawings with hieroglyphics around them. 
Angel looked at him and felt he was on to something from his looks, "Nigel I'm big enough to handle surprises, tell me what is going on."
"This room is turned around. We are standing on a wall."
"What! Are you insane?"
"Angel look! We are surrounded by paintings on every corner and wall. But the painting of Seti overlapping his guards; it was on the ceiling in his tomb not on a wall? And look at the bricks behind us."
Angel studied the paintings and walls carefully. A wave of panic overwhelmed her as she understood what Nigel just explained. "I'm out of this place now. I don’t care about the map…"
Suddenly sand shoveling and clouds of dust erupted at the entrance catching their attention. Nigel pumped his shotgun and slowly walked towards the source of the commotion. Angel withdrew a revolver, cocked it and walked carefully behind her partner. As they peeked around the corners of the entrance their blood curdled in their veins. Giant shovels of sand were being returned into the hole while big beastly palms surrounded the iron door and brought it towards them from their left. Angel panicked and screamed as she fired her revolver at the iron entrance. Nigel froze in his place with awe and alarm as the fiery bullets tore through the iron and made its bearer release beastly howls. After five rounds the door fell down squishing the beast carrying it and bringing the sand shoveling to a stop. Suddenly a huge thud to their right took their attention.  
Nigel's eyes widened with disbelief as he faced the fully erect lion. He gave it a good seven feet in length as it stood like a human on its hind limbs. Sharp beastly teeth lied behind its menacing smile as it looked at them terrorizing them. It was in full Egyptian warrior costume with a big shovel in its hand. His predator soon threw the tool away and took a dash at them with unseen briskness. Angel screamed with horror as Nigel fired madly his shotgun at their assailant. It stopped and danced around as the rounds ravaged its bulky body and broke it apart. Its beastly wailing filled the atmosphere then it crumbled into thin dust. 
Both stood in their places shuddering with fear as they saw the beast completely disappear in front of them. Nigel hugged Angel quickly and asked, "Are you alright."
"No I'm not Nigel." She broke down into heavy tears. He embraced her strongly and comforted her, "Shush darling. What ever they were they are gone." Angel cried for a few moments then calmed down as her partner's warm embraces succeeded in erasing away the terrors that the clashes caused within her. "They were so ugly Nigel. They scared me to death."
"They were made out of sand. Can sand harm us? It was like they were there only to scare us. Maybe you were right. Curses do exist around here. But they only scare you and not harm you."  
Angel looked up and wiped her tears. She replied with light sobs breaking her voice, "You are right. You are perfectly right. We have to be strong about this and not over do things."
Nigel moved to the iron door and removed it explaining, "The other guy disappeared with his partner see." Angel nodded her head in understanding. But an object gleaming in the distances where the other beast was killed caught her attention. The skies that were awakening with the brightening sunrise reflected on it making it visible. Angel walked up to it and studied it. It was a T shaped object the size of a key. She picked it up and approached her partner whom was still looking at the iron door with a pale face revealing a little bit of his freight to her. Unaware of his disclosed fears to her he managed in a confident voice, "Truthfully speaking you were right…taking those guns with you…" Angel shivered as she thought of what would have happened to them if it wasn't for their weapons. She replied, "Your face is all pale. Are you alright is everything OK."
"Yes all is well…Don't worry about me…It's just I'm not used to shooting…" In seconds his entire disposition shifted into shock and his face began screaming with disbelief. He pointed to the door and continued, "I still cannot believe that I just shot down the most hideous sandy make believe creatures that ever existed in the world of legends by my shotgun! Pinch me Angel, smack me across the face…maybe I'll wake up and this would be all a bad dream." He crouched down and threw up his hands frustrated, "Where the hell has this map taken us too…its sunrise up there but down here its fairytale land."
Angel knelt besides him and hugged him warmly, "Calm down baby, Calm down, it's going to be alright." Nigel closed his eyes and leaned his head on Angel's warm breast and asked, "Can we go home? I’m just as shocked as you are. Let's go home."
Both slowly stood up and walked towards where they had parked the jeep. The skies above shimmered with the excellent rays of the morning sun and the warm desert breeze brushed against their exhausted skin. They breathed deeply and treaded along the yellow sands that lied in their path feeling relieved that they had just left the chamber behind with its unsolved mysteries. Angel felt at peace that she had honestly tried to do her best to resolve the mystery of that map. She failed due to circumstances that she felt were stronger than her. She was blessed with a strong friend like Nigel and grateful for his miraculous will to walk with her even into the unknown. It was apparent to her that she wasn't walking away from the experience empty handed but with certainties that Nigel's feelings for her were true and concrete. It was as if the days were proving that their paths were paralleling and their destiny unifying into the same fate. 
Nigel suddenly bellowed startling her, "ANGEL WHERE THE HELL IS OUR CAR!"
A sudden wave of hysteria overtook her as her eyes roamed the entire area around them. "Nigel…I don't know…I don't believe it…" she rubbed her eyes and scanned the area again. It wasn't there. The only thing that was present all around them was the yellow sands of the desert.
Nigel yelled out threateningly, "If that Mustafa…oh boy I'm going to kick some ass when I get back to our hotel…and where is the hole! For goodness sakes! Nothing is giving us a break here!" Both gazed at the entrance of the room that was wide open right across from where they stood. He continued in frustration, "I’m about to freak out. That hole was three meters deep into the grounds!" 
Angel's head was swirling in circles as their surroundings seeped through into her mind. The chain of events that was unraveling was choking and seemed to have no end. Nigel ran back the short distance that they crossed and felt the grounds in front of the entrance. "Nothing but sand!" Angel caught up with him and stated, "I just remembered. When we killed the creatures and decided to leave the room we walked in a straight line towards the jeep. We were so overtaken with the clash that we didn't notice the hole when it disappeared." Nigel went into deep thought for a while. Angel continued, "We didn't climb any ladder when we left."
"So where are we. And no one around to answer that for us."
Suddenly Angel remembered the T shaped key that had dropped from the creature earlier. It perhaps can help with something. She searched for it in her pocket and handed it to Nigel. "This fell from the sand animal we shot down earlier. It's the only thing we got so far. I wanted to give it to you but you collapsed and we left immediately afterwards."    
Nigel took it and studied it in his hand for a while, "It looks like a key of some type." 
Something sparkled inside the room that was completely illuminated with the morning sunlight. "Nigel look…that wasn't there."
"Or perhaps it was and we didn't see it form the darkness when our good friend took off with the equipment." Both cautiously approached the bright sparkling. A brass box was situated underneath the iron seat of the torch at the side of the picture of Seti hovering over his subjects. There was a small hole in it as if something fitted inside. They both eyed each other frightened. Nigel picked up the key and stated, "Are you ready dear?"
"After what just happened I think I'm ready for anything."
He placed the key into the brass box. He moved it sideways till he felt emptiness to the right. He turned it and waited. In a moments time the grounds underneath their feet began to tremor. They screamed with panic as they felt the room circling upwards. They wobbled in their place till the tilting made them fall backwards.  They yelled with pain as they smacked on the sandy brick walling that used to be behind them. The room continued its powerful circling movement making them shake and toss in their places like dice on a gammon board till it finally came to a stop. They both sat up with dizzy heads and aching bodies eyeing the complete shift in their surroundings. As their senses came back they were able to stand up and maintain their balance. 
The sandy bricks were underneath their feet and the walls were properly in place where they should be. Seti's pictures covered the ceiling just as in his tomb. "Well the room is back into it's proper position but other than that we are stuck with aching backs." Angel cried a bit and rubbed her back, "I haven't had a fall like this since I was a child."
"I don't have a damn explanation. I think I'm ready for retirement once we straighten out this mess we are in." 
A loud shuffling sound resembling the movement of a tremendously heavy object erupted in the backgrounds and caused tremors in the grounds. Both looked at each other with fearful faces then madly dashed outside the room heaving clouds of dust behind them. "What have we done Angel…Tell me!" 
"I don't know but if it can shake the grounds it can make the pyramids crumble!"
Their legs worked the grounds restlessly taking them farther away till they were at a safe distance from the pyramid of Khafra. A profile of the sphinx was in view as they stopped panting and breathing heavily. The quaking soon ceased leaving the area in total quiescence. 
The solid structures around them survived the quaking but their vulnerable human spirits took a powerful beating from the waves of terror that broke loose in them. Long moments passed before they settled down and regrouped their strengths. 
They stretched out on the grounds facing the skies, totally worn out from the running. "There is bound to be buses approaching the area," Angel thought. They would give them a lift to safety for sure. With some patience it will be all over. She felt it in her senses that their bad luck would be over very soon.
Nigel's stomach turned as he felt hungry and thirsty. An inescapable menu of delicious foods with their perfect aromas began stirring his senses; he began releasing groans as fried chicken, steak and pasta came into mind. Oh and that exceptional mouth watering Koshary. He would soon order some from Abu Ahmad, the guy that makes it on his mobile vehicle just across the street from his hotel. He would ask him to put some extra hot pepper on it. "Angel do you smell it?"
"Smell What?"
"Somebody is cooking or roasting beef."
Angel got up and felt Nigel's forehead, "You don't seem to have a fever."
"No I'm serious." Nigel smelled the atmosphere a couple of times, "Holy heavens, the atmosphere is full of it."
"Nigel calm down. Your just hungary. There is bound to be a tourist bus arriving after a while. They will take us back with them to Cairo."
Nigel lied back on the grounds, "I'm hungry, tired, stranded in the desert, scared to death by earthquakes and mad lions and imagining things…what else could be wrong with me?" 
Angel's stomach began making funny noises, "I'm not any better than you are."
"Do you know who came to my mind? Abu Ahmad and his superb Koshary…with his white Turban and his black Tunic."
Angle moaned as she replied, "Stop, this is torture. I’m beginning to wonder what sand taste's like."
"Do you know he asked me once if you were married."
"You must be joking."
"Oh no I'm not. Apparently he has a son that is eligible for marriage. He is an accountant at a private company."
Angel's cheeks blushed with a deep red as she laughed, "I'm sure his son is a good man but…I want to be with you."    
Nigel sat up stunned by her announcement. He looked into her adorable blue cat eyes as they sparkled magnificently under the warm Egyptian sun. They were extraordinarily radiating with love and telling him so much about her feelings for him.  
"I have one thing to say to you sweet Angel."
"Yes?"
 

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