The Inheritance Ch 2
Ajalise couldn’t believe they had the diamond. But she understood where the old heads were coming from, and hoped it would deter William from Ahm Shere, too. The desert blurred around her as her mind wandered off into hundreds of different scenarios. If she gave William this relic of the ancient world and storied piece of his family’s history, she knew it would most likely just encourage him to keep going. She hoped he was more like the stories of his great grandmother’s brother than the legendary woman who started this whole thing. But she knew better.
Then she slammed on her brakes. From the direction of Hamunaptra rose a great wall of sand and dust. A low, rocky mound in the distance would be her refuge, if she could get to it in time. Racing towards the coming sand across the desert floor, she drifted her car to a near crash against the side of the rocks. This didn’t sound like the usual sandstorm. It was far too quiet until the deep rumbling came from the dust, like the final groans of a dying man. She kept her head down – not wanting to see if anything was being carried by the winds. Once the light returned in her car, her vision went black.
The image of a great canyon appeared before her. Towering sheer cliffs of limestone, almost Dover white in spots, cut by a river of crystal blue water below. She was flying through the canyon until it suddenly came to an end, the waters of the river making itself known as the source of life for the lush green of the jungle surrounding it. But there was no other life there. Only the trees, the bushes, the plants, and the water. The pyramid in the center with the diamond at its peak reflecting the light. The ground shook and slowly, the lush world of green and water and stone was pulled into the earth. Then she saw it. Trees, all the plants, and fertile earth, sucked into to the temple and down a pit, trees compressed around the pyramid as it was brought into the bowels of the earth. Silent and whole.
Ajalise came to, slowly releasing her grip on the steering wheel, stretching her tense arms and hands. The storm was gone. Even her car was clear of sand and dust which should have surely covered it. But what was worse, she could still see the trickle of that river, slowed by the intensity of the desert climate, seeping through the layers of compressed organic matter acting as packing material around the pyramid. The screams of the undead muffled by layers of earth and rubble.
She sped off towards Hamunaptra.
Ajalise picked up her phone. There were no new missed messages and for once William wasn’t answering.
When she arrived, the camp site was all but completely swept away. The remaining cars were nearly buried by sand. The tents were scattered and flattened by sand. She got out of the car and ran towards the opening of the tunnel. The wind was still blowing hard enough to keep up wispy plumes of sand. She shielded her eyes as she ran towards the tunnel entrance.
“William,” she screamed. Nothing. “Nasir!” Still nothing.
Ajalise headed inside, trying to walk through the mounds of soft sand deposited at the entrance. Half way in, she noticed how strange everything looked. Clean. Dusted off almost to a shine, like the sand was sucked out of the tunnels.
“William!, “she screamed.
“We’re here! Everyone is alright!,” he shouted back.
She followed the wires that led to the treasury and stopped at the entrance of the chamber. The gold remaining seemed to increase and was definitely shining brighter, as though newly minted.
“What the hell happened here?,” she said.
“We just added another day to our excavation,” William said with a gleeful smile. “Is everything we took topside is gone?”
“No, the cars are still there,” Ajalise replied.
“Then we are saved, my dear, Lissi. We will all be rich once we leave here.”
“After the bank, Ahm Shere.”
“You can’t just deposit 3000-year-old gold into your account, you know,” she said in a faraway voice as she marveled over the mounds of gold and golden statues scattered around the black stone room. Even new engravings revealed themselves on the walls after the storm.
“That I do. Don’t worry. The Egyptian people will get plenty to brag about,” he said. Ajalise leaned against the wall in relief. “I thought you were gone,” William said as he moved to stand next to her.
“I uh, saw the storm in the distance. Got a little worried. Where’s Nasir?,” she asked.
“He left after you did. But the storm…It was magical, Lissi. Like the gods blessed us with their gifts.”
“Or like whatever is still lurking here wants to you to take this and be gone.”
Ajalise sighed, “Follow me outside,” she said. “The Medjai gave me a message for you.”
William followed her out to the car she took and waited as she took a bag out of the trunk. She opened it and lifted the diamond.
“This is all that remains of that story.”
“How did—you? They—”
“Doesn’t matter. Take this and go, William. Please.”
He took the artifact, set it on the roof of the car with a sigh and took Ajalise’s hands.
“I already found it, Lissi. Nasir is there right now.”
“Of course, he is. How did you find a way in?”
“Technology! Satellites or echo location or another, you’d have to ask Nasir, it was his idea. And you were right. There is definitely some strange activity underground.”
“Egyptian hell portal. Jesus, William, really?,” she said as she snatched her hands away from his.
“C’mon. Those are just stories to make an archaeologist’s life sound more interesting.”
“Are you insane? We–,” she cut herself off with a deep breath. “The hell makes you think the hell part is fake? After everything we’ve seen!”
“Lissi, hear me out.”
“How long have you known?”
“How long, William?”
“We searched for both sites simultaneously, but we found Ahm Shere first. I contacted you because Hamunaptra was more important to be me.”
“Because of the big ass room filled with gold?”
When he looked down, that told her everything she needed. Ajalise pushed passed him hard and walked to the car, pushed the diamond onto the ground, got in, and this time she would not stop for anyone.