© Copyright 2012 - Darkraptor1 - Used by permission
Storycodes: MF/m; other/mf; release; entrap; majick; wrap; bandages; encase; entomb; buried; desert; curse; nc; X
continues from part one
Part 2: A Great Discovery
5000 years later...
Grabbing the radio, Steve brought it up. "Yes?"
"You'll want to come down here "I think we've got something!"
Steve grinned. "Really? I'll be right there!"
Even as the radio was put down, Steve was already grabbing his camera and running out of the tent. For once, he was able to ignore the blistering heat of the desert as he headed towards the dig site. Around him, men and women were eagerly shouting and running towards the dig site, all eager to see what had been discovered.
From within the crowds, Steve's supervisor emerged, jogged over. An Indian woman, eighteen years Steve's senior, she looked slightly out of place among the local workers, but her well muscled body left no doubt that she was more then capable of joining them on their excavations.
"So what do we got?" Steve asked, his excitement almost overwhelming him.
"Scanners show there's something man sized at the bottom of the pit," Geeta said. "With any luck, we should hit it within the next few minutes."
Steve grinned. "Awesome."
Leading the way, Geeta led him back towards the dig site, which was nestled near a large outcropping of rock that jutted up from the desert sand. There were numerous scaffolding platforms, winches, and cables strung about a deep hole that was being dug; at fifty feet, it had been very difficult to dig down that deep, but for the prize that might lurk down there, it would be worth all the work, blood, and sweat that had poured into digging.
Reaching the scaffolding, Geeta shooed the curious workers aside. While they were entitled to watch the unveiling, they would need to do so from a spot where they wouldn't interfere with the others.
"You said man sized," Steve told Geeta as they both got on a ladder and started down. "I take it you meant Sarcophagus sized?"
"Yes," Geeta said. "Precisely. And one of the bigger ones we've found."
They got off at the bottom of the pit.
"Really? How so?"
"If our scans are correct, then the sarcophagus is about twenty percent thicker then any other one we've found, that could mean that the mummy inside is that of a very important person."
"Which means they're buried with treasure!" Young as he was at the age of twenty, Steve still held dreams of finding gold and all manner of treasure out here on these digs. So far, during his foreign exchange trip for the university, that had yet to happen, but he still held out hope.
Geeta smiled. "Possibly, or he just wanted to be extra sure his rest would remain undisturbed."
"Well, afraid his luck is about to run out," Steve said, eagerly climbing down more platforms and ladders.
They finally reached the bottom of the pit, where several workers were already digging away at the caked mud, shovels tossing the earth aside and into baskets, where they were rapidly carried up to the surface, emptied, then brought down again. The workers, though weary and worn out from weeks of work, now had a surge of strength, and were tirelessly shoveling, eager to find what was beneath their feet.
Jumping down with them, Geeta took a shovel and joined in, her muscles bulging as she scooped out the hard ground. Above, Steve stayed where he was, taking pictures, for his primary task on this expedition was documenting every find they came across. And while they had discovered some pottery and a few settlements, this find promised to be the greatest of all.
The group dug for several more moments before Geeta's shovel struck something hard.
Everyone stopped, and looked at each other. A hush fell upon the site.
Kneeling, Geeta took a hand trowel, started to carefully dig away at the last of the mud remaining. With several scoops, the earth was pushed away, and she found herself looking at a thick stone surface, jagged and worn down.
Almost unable to breathe, she kept scooping the earth away, revealing more and more of the stone. And with each scoop, it became clear that this was something man-made, and not of the earth.
A few minutes later, and she finally revealed the massive, aged lid of a sarcophagus long buried. Long had they searched for it, and now that it was before their eyes, she couldn't help but smile.
As the workers around them cheered, Steve couldn't stop grinning either.
It took two hours to further dig away at the earth surrounding the sarcophagus, to make a cradle out of thick cables, and then raise it from its earthy tomb, heading up fifty feet and finally emerging into the open air. From there, it was moved into the main tent, where it would remain for the night, ready to be transported to the capital in the morning, where it would be examined and studied, adding another chapter to Egypt's rich history.
But that was still in the future. For now, the entire camp was in the mood to celebrate their find, and Geeta was more then happy to oblige, breaking out all the best foods and drinks that they had brought along, saving for such an occasion as this. And so, as the sun began to set, every worker and digger joined in a great celebration of drinking, feasting, and dancing.
Within the main tent, though, Steve stayed with the sarcophagus. For him, drinks and feasting were one thing, but to be with an ancient object and be the first to document it, that was his way of celebrating.
As he took another photograph of the giant thing, the tent's doors were opened and Geeta walked in. She carried a glass of champagne, and was dressed in some of her finest jewelry, wanting to mark such a great occasion. "Steve, you're missing the party!"
"Oh, that's okay," he said. "I'm celebrating in my own way."
Geeta walked over. "Steve, you're young; you should be out there dancing, not cooped up in here taking photos! They'll be plenty of time for that later."
"Besides, we won't be able to do it for too much longer, weather reports say that a big storm is going to reach us in about an hour, then we'll have to retreat inside for the night. Come enjoy the festivities while you can!"
Steve wasn't really up for dancing and drinking, but he felt uncomfortable saying no to his supervisor. Maybe he could tear himself away for an hour or so.
"All right," he said, putting his camera down. "I guess I can do that."
Geeta smiled, took another sip of her drink. "That's the spirit!" Then she was out of the tent, and heading back to the music and dancing.
Standing, Steve set his camera on the sarcophagus's lid, along with his notebook, then headed for the door.
He stopped when something hit the floor.
Turning, he looked, saw that his camera and notebook were lying on the ground, having fallen off the lid. Puzzled, Steve went over and picked them up, looking at the lid. He had placed them too far from the edge so how had they fallen off like that?
Staring at it for a few seconds, Steve suddenly felt uneasy. Putting his things back on the lid, making sure that they were far away from the edge, he turned and left the room, nervously looking at the sarcophagus, as if it was suddenly going to move and come after him.
While he was able to join the festivities, Steve couldn't enjoy them for too long. The storm Geeta had warned him about was now coming in much faster then any of them had expected, and was closing in on them at breakneck speed. Within half an hour, the night sky was blocked from view, as broiling storm clouds rolled in, covering the stars.
It wasn't long before it began to rain, and the festivities were cut short, forcing everyone to grab the food and drink, and retreat inside the tents. But even then, undaunted, the workers continued to celebrate, refusing to let the storm hinder their fun.
Drenched, Steve and Geeta retreated inside the main tent, its thick walls providing shelter against the storm, and in here they would be safe and dry.
"Well, feel like celebrating some more?" Geeta asked, slightly drunk. While she didn't drink often, she was now buzzed, and more relaxed then usual.
"Actually, I'm good," Steve said, relieved to be back in his element: Academic studies, where he could document their finds. "I was thinking of looking over the sarcophagus a little-"
He turned, and stopped.
His camera and notepad were lying on the floor.
"What the hell?"
"What?" Geeta asked. "Something wrong?"
"My stuff," Steve said, picking them up. "They fell on the floor again."
"Well, better make sure to put them somewhere safe next time," Geeta said, taking another sip of her drink.
"But I put them on the center of the lid," Steve said, indicating where they had been. "There's no wind in here, and as far as I know, nobody's come through, how did they fall off?"
Geeta tried to think of an answer. But her buzzed brain was slower then usual, and more willing to accept silly answers. "Maybe they jumped off."
Putting the notepad down on the lid, Steve shook his head. "Notepads and cameras don't jump."
As if on cue, the notepad suddenly slipped off the lid and landed on the floor.
Both Steve and Geeta had seen it. For a moment they stood where they were, wondering if their eyes had played a trick on them. Looking at her glass, Geeta set it down, suddenly not feeling like drinking any more.
Going very slowly, Steve walked to the sarcophagus, placed his hand on the lid, and waited, scarcely breathing.
He felt the sarcophagus move.
"Oh shit!" he shouted, leaping backwards. "There's something moving in there!"
"What?" Geeta said, confused. "Don't be silly. There's nothing in-"
The sarcophagus moved again. Only a little, not even an inch, but still visible. The only way it could do that if there was something 'or someone' that was moving around inside.
"No way, no way!" Steve stammered, eyes wide. "That's not possible!"
But the shaking came again, and there was no denying what they were seeing.
"Geeta what do we do?!"
Geeta had never, ever seen anything like what she was viewing now. She had no answer for Steve. But after a few moments, her curiosity began to overcome her. There was something moving inside, and she wanted to know what it was.
Going to a supply crate, she opened it, grabbed two crowbars, tossed one to Steve. "Come on. We're going to open it."
"Wait, are you serious?"
"There's something in there, and I want to know what it is."
She went to the lid of the sarcophagus, jammed the crowbar in, began to twist and pull, seeking to break the long intact seals. Though strong, they were weak from centuries of rust and exposure, and soon began to crack, then snap. One by one they came off, falling to the floor, until the lid was free.
Dropping her crowbar, Geeta took hold of the lid and began to shove as hard as she could. "Come on, help me!" she said.
Still stunned that this was all really happening, Steve grabbed hold and pulled with her. Together, they yanked the lid off, and it fell to the floor with a loud thud. With the storm raging, no one else heard it, too caught up in having fun and enjoying themselves.
Peering into the sarcophagus, Steve and Geeta found a coffin nestled within the stone walls of the sarcophagus. It was dried out and cracked, but seemed relatively intact. Yet, it was also rather plain, considering how large and heavy the sarcophagus was.
"I thought royal coffins were more elaborate then just a box," Steve said.
"Oh no," Geeta said, her heart sinking. "Steve, I don't think this is pharaoh Aktalmet, this is just too crude for someone of royal standing, I think we dug up someone else."
Steve muttered a silent curse.
"Come on," Geeta said, reaching down and grabbing the lid. "Might as well see who's inside."
The nails that held it shut were still in place, but over the centuries, they had been loosened somewhat, and as she and Steve yanked, they were able to slowly, but surely, rip it off.
Then the lid was set aside, and they peered into the coffin.
A mummy lay inside, tightly wrapped, the bandages woven so thickly that it was impossible to tell the gender of the individual sealed within.
"Look at it!" Geeta whispered, unable to believe what she was seeing. "It's perfectly preserved." She reached out, stroked the wrappings. "It's like they're brand new, as if buried yesterday."
Steve, scarcely believing what he was seeing, reached out and touched the wrappings as well.
The mummy moved.
The two of them jumped back, stifling a shout of surprise and fear.
The mummy moved again, starting to roll about inside the coffin.
"Oh shit," Steve said. "oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"
Geeta stared at the mummy, convinced that she was either more drunk then she thought, or that she was loosing her mind. For a mummy to have been buried centuries ago, only to somehow come back to life was absolutely impossible. It just couldn't happen. And yet, here was one that was moving, and showing signs that there was a living individual within those wrappings, fighting to get free.
As if compelled by what she saw, Geeta went over.
"What are you doing?!" Steve said.
"If there's someone in there, we've got to get them out," she said. "Come on!"
Curiosity, and a desire to know what was going on finally convinced Steve to head over. Geeta, having pulled out a knife, was now cutting away at the bandages, tearing huge strips away. Grabbing a kitchen knife, Steve joined her, cutting away as fast as he could.
As they went, the layers of wrappings fell away, and the shape of a man began to appear under the bandages.
Dark, it was so, so dark.
Targonamey saw nothing, heard nothing. He could not remember how long ago his eyes had last seen light, or how long it had been since his ears had heard anything. He was aware of nothing beyond his dark and silent world.
But now, his imprisonment was coming to an end.
Targonamey had no idea how long it had taken to slowly chew through the wrappings that had been forced into his mouth and down his throat. For what felt like years, centuries even, he had slowly worked away at them, his teeth slowly undoing them, one stitch, one thread at a time. A lesser man or woman would have gone mad, but Targonamey was patient. He could wait. He was immortal, and had all of eternity ahead of him.
No matter what the accursed pharaoh had said, Targonamey knew he would not remain imprisoned here for eternity, trapped inside a box. For he knew that he could escape. Even as a drop of water, repeated endlessly, could wear away and destroy even the greatest of boulders, so could he slowly escape his cocoon.
He had chewed through the bandages in and around his mouth, and now, at last, his mouth was free. But even as he had tried to talk, to speak his spells once more, he found himself unable to. His tongue had been silent and still for so long, that it had forgotten what it was like to speak.
Frustrated, Targonamey tried again and again to speak, to force his tongue to move. If he could manage that, then he could speak his spells, and be free of this eternal prison. His arms, legs, and body were still immobile, not having moved a centimeter since his burial, and now that his mouth was free, the thought of being free altogether was enough for him to redouble his efforts.
Then there had been movement. But not from within his coffin, but from the outside.
When Targonamey felt his sarcophagus moving, he was so shocked that he completely forgot about trying to speak. He had stopped, and waited, feeling as his sarcophagus had seemingly been magically lifted into the air, rising effortlessly upwards, only to then go back down. But not into another grave, but to be moved horizontally, until it had stopped.
Targonamey realized that he had been removed from his tomb. But for what purpose? Who had dug him up?
More importantly, were they still out there?
Realizing that he had a chance to escape, Targonamey quickly thought, putting his plans into motion. He had to attract their attention somehow, get whoever had dug him up to open the sarcophagus, and the coffin. He had to make them curious, for he knew that once someone was curious, they were like flies walking into a spider's web.
Focusing once more, he willed himself to talk, to have his voice come once more. It was a struggle, and he fought for all he was worth, but at last, he managed to make a sound. It was a choking noise at first, and nothing at all resembling words, but as he kept working, he finally managed to twist the sounds into words.
Thrilled at hearing his voice again, Targonamey spoke, chanting one of his old spells. It was a simple spell of movement, mainly used for distracting guards, but hopefully it would work here. If he could enchant his own cocoon, he could make it move, and thus, cause his coffin and sarcophagus to move.
And that would get someone's attention.
For a long time, he kept the spell going, making his bandaged, mummified form move again and again, even as his own body remained immobile.
Then his efforts paid off. He heard the lid of his sarcophagus being opened, and then the coffin. He stopped the spell, and his mummy went still.
It wasn't long before he felt his bandages being removed.
For the first time in centuries Targonamey smiled.
"Almost there," Steve said, cutting away another bandage. "Damn, how many layers are there?"
"Looks like a lot, maybe twenty or so."
"You ever find any mummies wrapped up like this?"
Geeta shook her head.
At last, they reached the final layers of the wrappings. They were still tight, and showed all the marks of master embalmers who knew their craft. But such work was ignored as the two continued to cut away, until, with a final, careful stroke of the knife, they cut away the bandages encircling the mummy's face.
The bandages fell away, and revealed the smooth, perfectly intact face of a man. He was older then both of them, yet it looked as if he only just been buried yesterday, and that time had not touched him at all.
"Holy shit"" Steve whispered.
Unable to resist, Geeta slowly reached out to touch the man's face, wanting to feel for herself that this was a real human being, and not some wax dummy buried out in the desert.
Her fingers touched his skin. It was still warm.
The man's eyes opened.
Steve and Geeta hadn't dared to believe that there was really someone alive within the sarcophagus, but seeing its occupant open his eyes was too much for them to bear, and they both jumped back, knocking over a table and scattering supplies across the floor.
Within the coffin, Targonamey rose, tearing away the last of the bandages around his limbs, but it was slow work, for his arms and legs, having not moved for centuries, were weak, and he stumbled, falling over. Ignoring the terrified gazes of Geeta and Steve, Targonamey finally managed to get the last bandage off, leaving him naked on the tent's floor.
Cautious, Geeta took a step towards him. "Are you all right?" she asked.
"I... I don't think he speaks English," Steve said.
"I know, but we have to show him that we're not going to hurt him. Maybe he'll understand the tone of voice, at least."
She walked closer to him. "Can you hear me?"
Targonamey looked up at her. Their eyes met, and the two looked at each other, two souls from two vastly different eras, looking at each other, face to face.
There was a sudden glow from within the coffin, a red light rising.
"What's that?!" Steve said, backing away.
Targonamey looked back, suddenly remembering what the pharaoh had done, the coffin had been cursed, so that if he did ever manage to escape, the coffin would immediately take him back, re-wrap him, and then seal him inside once more.
He would have to act fast.
Struggling to his feet, Targonamey grabbed onto Geeta. She yelled in surprise, caught off guard at the unexpected movement. She was even more surprised when Targonamey turned, spinning her around so that she faced the coffin, instead of him.
From within the coffin, bandages suddenly shot out, moving completely on their own. They made for Targonamey, but hit Geeta instead. The magic that moved them, while powerful and relentless, was not very smart, for while it would go in Targonamey's general direction, it would automatically wrap whoever it touched first, assuming that it was him.
Thus, when the bandages touched Geeta's skin, they immediately began to tie themselves around her limbs, even as more and more bandages shot out, grabbing hold of her.
Terrified, Geeta struggled, grabbing onto the wrappings, trying to rip them off her. And for a moment she managed to tear a few strips off. But even then, they simply came back towards her, relentless, never to stop until they had accomplished their task.
Geeta's fate was sealed. She just didn't know it yet.
"Hey!" Steve yelled, running over. "Get off her!"
Grabbing Targonamey, he threw him to the ground, grabbed hold of Geeta and tried to pull her away from the coffin, while trying to tear the bandages off. The two of them, working together in panic mode, were able to pull several bandages off Geeta's body, yet, even together, they couldn't stand before the bandage's relentless assault. Even worse, when the bandages touched Steve's skin, they started attaching to him as well, the magic spell deeming him to be an accomplice who was trying to assist the individual the spell was working to embalm.
For that, it would take him as well.
The bandages came faster and faster, pouring out of the coffin so fast, the eye could barely follow them. They went around Geeta and Steve, wrapping around their limbs and bodies, covering over clothes, over skin, and covering them up, squeezing and compressing them tighter and tighter with each second.
Steve and Geeta struggled and fought, but their efforts were useless against ancient and evil magic. Soon, their bodies were starting to disappear under the layers of white bandages now encasing them. Limbs were forced together, and their arms were pinned to their sides, then wrapped in place, trapping them there.
When their legs were forced together, the two fell to the ground, unable to rise. Their struggles were fading now, kicks and punches being reduced to wiggles as the bandages claimed more and more of their bodies, encasing and wrapping around them, turning them into mummies.
From his place on the floor, Targonamey watched, grinning, as the two began to scream in despair, realizing that they couldn't escape, and that they were doomed. All that was left was for the bandaging to be completed, and they couldn't stop it.
The bandages, now having fully wrapped their bodies, began to bring them together, so that Steve and Geeta were face to face with each other, and from there, they were wrapped together, the bandages squeezing them tightly into one unit.
As their heads and faces were wrapped, they both looked at each other, both realizing that this was the last time they would ever see each other, or the outside world again. Perhaps, in those last moments of sight, they were both asking each other the one question that demanded an answer:
Then their faces were covered over, and the time for seeing was over.
It didn't take long for the mummification to be completed. The wrapping continued for several more minutes, until both Steve and Geeta were mummified; wrapped together in an inescapable embrace. It should have been Targonamey who was trapped within the bandages, but the spell didn't care. It had what it wanted.
The two were dragged up and over the sarcophagus, and then into the coffin. It was a very tight fit, and the sides of the coffin bulged slightly to accommodate its new occupants. Once they were inside, the lid then slid on and closed over the two, the nails flying back into place, and screwing themselves in.
As the heavy lid of the sarcophagus was dragged back into place, Targonamey thought he could hear the sound the muffled screams of those who had taken his place. Then the lid was in place, and the screams vanished.
Grabbing onto a chair, Targonamey pulled himself up, wheezing with the effort of doing so. His body was still alive and intact, but it was weak, and he would need time to rest, and recover his strength. Such a task wouldn't take long.
The sarcophagus moved. Surprised, Targonamey watched as it was dragged outside of the tent, as if an invisible rope was yanking it along. The magic that resided within the sarcophagus was returning it to the grave, and would ensure that the earth would cover it once again, burying it deep within the desert.
For Steve and Geeta, it was to be their final resting place. The various spells in the sarcophagus, unable to tell the difference between them and Targonamey, would work to keep them alive forever, punishing them for Targonamey's crime. For the rest of eternity, they would remain wrapped inside his coffin, never to escape, never again to see the light of day, or to ever be free of their restraints. Even past the end of time itself, they would suffer the punishment of eternal life, but to be forever immobile.
Targonamey didn't care. They were two nameless people who had served their purpose. He was now free, and they had taken his place. Such was the price to be paid for freedom, but it was one he gladly gave.
He grinned. The pharaoh's plan had failed. All his spells, all his greatest defenses, had failed, for now Targonamey was free once more, and ready to begin his conquest of the earth.
With a loud growl, Targonamey's stomach gurgled.
For the moment at least, that conquest would have to wait. Before he could embark upon such a crusade, Targonamey wanted to feed, rest, and gather his strength. Plus, there was a curiosity to know more about the world as it currently was. How long had he been buried? What was the world like? A highly developed mind as powerful as Targonamey's had a great sense of curiosity, to constantly know about the world around them.
But first, food. And then he would need to find some clothing. Once those things were done, then he would waste no time in beginning his conquest.
For the moment, at least, the world was safe, unaware of his presence, and the danger that Targonamey posed.
It was an innocence that would not last.