40: Rocking The Casbah

Omar Shakti - meeting Faraz
Omar Shakti

Cairo, Egypt, Africa:

19:00 PM:

The night has enveloped Cairo, darkness shrouding the dusty maze-like networks of back streets squares.

The Clive Expedition moved from Giza (Sphinx and three main pyramids) to Memphis.

What to do this evening? Probably too late to go to Omar Shakti’s place to check it out. To our horror, our hotel rooms have been cleaned, laundry washed, and a copy of the evening paper has been pressed and left.

Joe, Gupta and Trixie go back to the Dark Mistress. And the mosquitoes.

The call to prayer rises into the night air, a cacophony of competing Muezzin.

The Sphinx - Giza - Meeting Faraz
The Sphinx – Giza

In The Morning:

09:17 AM:

Trixie and Wesley go to scope the mosque before meeting Faraz. Gupta, Joe and Reg go to get some trucks. Irma and Simon go to the English Newspaper offices, The Cairo .

Irma: “I am still working on something I will let you know when it is finished.”

Nigel Wassif: “Come into my office. I have some information on Omar Shakti, his name has come up in association with gangsters? The Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh. A criminal brotherhood. If I was inclined, I would say they are dangerous criminals.”

Irma: “Does anybody know more about them?”

Nigel Wassif: Omar Shakti is a man with influence. A large plantation. He exports cotton.”

Irma: “Any stories of missing persons? Anything unusual?”

Nigel Wassif: “You mean like rich people? Foreigners? No one else would appear in the news. I feel I should help you.” Says Nigel Wassib. “What is it you want to know?”

Irma: “We are on the trail of a death cult. The Bloody Tongue. The Sand Bat.”

Meanwhile, Trixie and Wesley draw a number of amused, bemused and angry looks from the local populace around the mosque. Seconds before the call to prayer begins, the shops and streets empty as every one busily heads to the mosque. Faraz can be seen scurrying from an alley, across the square and up to the mosque. He waits outside.

We enter a side room in the mosque with Faraz. It’s the Al Hussein mosque.

Faraz: “You want to know about the Carlyle party. Sneflu ended the reign, and I came into possession of some items from the Black Pharaoh. A strange circlet with a zircon. Supposedly for eternal life. I sold the item to his agent Warren Bessart. I had stolen the artefacts from the house of Omar Shakti. I thought I would make my fortune. These are powerful men but… Something came to my house and burnt it down. I received no warning. I paid stupid men to steal these things from Omar Shakti. It is dangerous, I need incentive. If it could be arranged now? The Black Pharaoh! There is a price for such information. This money is of no use to me. I need local currency! Ah silver Mexican dollars. How many do you have?”

Trixie: “We’re going. Unless…”

Joe: “Faraz, you heathen bastard I’ll kill you!”

Faraz: “OK! OK! I will tell you! Clive expedition has a mummy, there is something in the mosque of Ibn Tulum that they cannot get. The Efreet burnt my house and my face. I had to start from scratch.”

Joe: “Faraz, you have done us a service, so I won’t fucking kill you.”

Faraz: “You brought a weapon into this holy place? Profanity! You are crazy men! I will pray for you, infidels. I will pray for your souls!”

Reg: “I say old boys, no need for all this. I wouldn’t want to sit at a poker table with you. I wouldn’t know if you are bluffing. Don’t wave that thing around old boy.”

Outside, Wes sees some men who seem a little intense and reaching into their robes.

Black Pharaoh Cultists: “The Black Pharaoh will not be denied!”

Screams one of them as Joe comes out. He swings a spiked club at him. Wesley jumps up and runs over towards them. Gupta shoots one and injures him but not before a blow with a club almost demolishes him. Casting deflect he narrowly avoids death. Gupta fires a second shot and blood sprays across a camel as the body collapses to the floor.

Trixie fires her .38 and takes out another. Gupta shoots again and takes another one down!

Reginald: “Wha-? What happened?”

Irma: “Nothing to worry about.”

Simon: “Nothing going on here old boy. Enemies of the state you know. Come on let’s go!”

The investigators quickly exit the scene of the battle. One guy is shouting at us in Arabic. Particularly at Trixie. She fires a bullet into the air above his head.

Reg: “Oh my god!”

On the way, we lose our bearings in the back streets. But it is important just to get as far away as possible. We can no longer feel safe anywhere.

Reginald: “What the hell are you fellows doing? You killed those men!”

Trixie: “Well honey, you know, sometimes things like this happen. Someone doesn’t like you honey?”

Reg: “What?! We need to get away from here! And things LIKE THIS DON’T JUST HAPPEN!!!! I need a drink. You should’ve bloody levelled with me! What are you up to?”

Trixie: “We weren’t expecting trouble so quickly, honey. Where’s your backbone?”

Reginald: “Here with no bullets or breaks in it thank you very much!”

Irma: “What do you know about the agent Bessart?”

Reginald: “Nothing, but he must be registered here somewhere? All foreigners have to register.”

We turn up at the hotel at about 03:00 PM. Natalja offers Reg a pistol:

Reginald: “I’ve been here for years and never needed one of these. But I’m beginning to think I will need some danger money here!”

Natalja takes a cab to the consulate. She gets some dirty looks as a woman travelling alone. She finds an address for Bessart. The investigators suspect a trap and want to be prepared for trouble.

18:00 PM:

Later on that evening. The investigators decide to go and pay Bessart a visit. On the way they decide to drop by Faraz. The incantation “Skin of Sedefkar” is cast by all who can. The investigators are expecting trouble and don’t want to be taken by surprise.

We try to take our least conspicuous weapons. At Faraz’s shop Irma tries to pick the lock. Someone comes over to us speaking Arabic. There is no one in the shop.


After he goes, Irma tries to force the door quietly. Inside Faraz is dead. Gagged, his limbs shattered, his body broken. It must have been recent. We head to the street of Scorpions and find it. Searching the street we find a red door. Abdul Ubdur clothing shop. No one is there. A guy comes along the street towards us. He is wearing scuffed western shoes and his face is hidden. He looks at us, turns and runs. He leaps over a cardboard box and flees down an alley. Investigators pursue. He is caught and pleas for his life in French.

Warren Besart: “What do you want?”

Natalja: “Tell us answer to questions and you will live.” He is carrying a hookah. He is haggered and looks like he has been living rough. He takes us into his tiny cluttered room.

Warren Besart: “Messieurs, what do you want? I am scared – what do you want?”

(HANDOUT 31 explains his other comments)

“A lawyer contacted me. I agreed to act as purchasing agent for Mr. Roger Carlyle of the United States, who was represented to me as a wealthy American. On written instructions from Mr. Carlyle, I purchased certain artefacts from Faraz Najir, an antiquities dealer, and illegally shipped them out of Egypt to Sir Aubrey Penhew in London. I know the artefacts were ancient, but nothing more.”

“When the Carlyle Expedition came to Egypt, I arranged for all their equipment and permits. Their main site was at Dhashur, in the area of the Bent Pyramid.”

“One day at Dhashur, Jack Brady came to me and told me that Carlyle, Hypatia Masters, Sir Aubrey, and Dr. Huston had entered the Bent Pyramid and then vanished. Brady was excited and suspected foul play, since the diggers already had fled the site and work had come to a stand-still. We did not know what to do, so we drank.“

“The next morning, Carlyle and the others reappeared. They were excited by some tremendous find, but what it was, they would not say, nor did I learn, for Sir Aubrey was a fiend for secrecy. All of them had changed in some inexplicable way, and a way not for the better; I did not ask further.”

“That evening, an old Egyptian woman visited me. She said that her son had been one of the diggers. She said the diggers had fled because Carlyle and the others had consorted with an ancient evil, the Messenger of the Black Wind. She said that she could recognise that the souls of all the Europeans but Brady and myself were lost. If I wanted proof, I should go to the Collapsed Pyramid at Medium at the time when the moon is slimmest—the night before the dark of the moon. God help me, I went!”

“I took one of the trucks, pretending to leave for a night in the pleasure quarter of Cairo. But instead I drove the twenty miles south to Medium, and secreted myself where she advised. There in the midnight blackness I saw Carlyle and the others disport themselves in obscene rituals with a hundred madmen. The very desert came alive, crawling and undulating toward the ruins of the pyramid. To my horror, the stone ruins themselves became a skeletal, bulging-eyed thing!”

“Strange creatures emerged from the sands, grasped the dancing celebrants, and, one by one, tore out their throats, killing all until only the Europeans (and one other robed celebrant) remained.”

“Something more loomed out of the sand, the size of an elephant but with five separate shaggy heads. Then I realised what it was—but it is madness to speak it! I saw it rise and in a great ravening swallow as one all the torn corpses and their hideous murderers, leaving alive only five people amidst the stench of the blood-soaked sands. “I fainted. When I recovered, I wandered into the desert. There further horrors awaited me. Stumbling up a rise before dawn, I saw beyond hundreds of dark sphinxes, rank upon rank drawn up and waiting for the hour of madness when they will spring to devour the world! I fainted again, and this time I left the world for many months.”

“A man found me; for two years he and his mother cared for me—me, a man mindless and returned, I came back to Cairo. But I began to dream! Only hashish helps now, or opium if it can be found. My supply is low again, and my life is intolerable without it. Will you gentlemen please contribute? Only strong drugs keep me from insanity. Everything, gentlemen, everything is lost. There is no hope for any of us. Everywhere they wait. Perhaps you will join me in a pipe?”

Journal Wesley

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