Photo Credit - Vanessa Barger
The tomb was bathed in the soft glow from the flashlight in my hand. Cobwebs decorated the corners, but they were small. I wasn’t supposed to be here. My dad had brought me along to keep me out of trouble, but archaeology was his deal. Not mine. Still, something woke me, lured me to the dig site in the middle of the night.
There it was again. The creep factor down here made my skin crawl. Still, it this had to be the most interesting thing that has happened over the past month of my exile from friends and working cell phones. I rounded the corner and stopped cold. Gavin, a student from my father’s class, bent over a box in the corner of the small room. He opened the lid.
Everything around me changed. It was like being transported to another time. The walls were bathed in sunlight. Rich colors were etched into the stones. What appeared to be two Egyptian guards rushed me.
“Ankhesenamen, the pharaoh awaits you.”
“What?” I no longer held the flashlight in my hands. My jeans and tee were gone, replaced by white robes which were torn and covered in blood.
“Are you alright?”
I looked at the guards, who watched me with confused expressions on their faces. “No, I’m not alright. Where am I?”
“You are home.”
“What? What do you mean home?”
Suddenly the guards knelt. “Pharaoh.”
“As you wish.” The guards vanished from the hall, leaving me with this man, wearing what I guessed was traditional Egyptian clothing from the books my father had given me.
”Ankhesenamen, you’ve been absent from us for some time. Now you turn up in bloody clothes. Where have you been my child?”
“Who are you?” In some dark recess of my mind, I felt as though I knew the man who stood before me.
“Amenhotep, Pharoah of Egypt, and your father.” He reached up and brushed my dark hair from my face. “That is some bump on your head.”
He drew his hand back and blood stained the tips of his fingers. “I will let you get cleaned up, but first we must see to other affairs first.”
With his hand along the small of my back, he led me into a large room. In the center of the room was a boy, kneeling on the ground, guards on either side of him with whips at the ready. His back was bloody.
“Do you know this boy?”
I walked around the boy, his sandy blonde hair covered in dirt. He looked up at me with eyes so hazel green I gasped. “Not possible. How are we—where are we—?”
“Are you taking this peasant as a consort?” The pharaoh’s tone was clipped and disbelieving.
“Am I what?” I glanced back at the boy I’d admired from afar as he worked beside my father on the dig. Heat flushed my cheeks. Gavin met my gaze and mouthed one word, which I said out loud. “No.”
“He was caught rummaging through your room.” The pharaoh stood facing me. “You know the punishment for lying Ankhesenamen?”
I watched as the guards pulled Gavin to his feet. One drew a blade and I yelled, “Run!”
Gavin raced towards me, grabbed my hand and pulled me through the hallways. “I don’t know what the hell is going on here, but we are getting out of here.”
We ran through the halls, rounded the corner, guards close behind us, and suddenly I was back in my jeans sprawled across the hall floor. Gavin crushed me as he tripped and landed on top of me.
“Sorry Mina.” He scrambled off of me and helped pull me to my feet.
“What happened?” I asked as I dusted myself off.
“I opened that.” He pointed to a box that lay on the floor. “The memory box of Ankhesenamen.”