44: The Red Glow From Below

The Mummy of Queen Nitocris

The Mummy of Queen Nitocris
The Mummy of Queen Nitocris

The merciless sun beats down on the endless wheat fields and its heat is collected by the winds that ripple through the ears like the waves of a yellow ocean before blasting the scientist as he stands and aims his rifle towards a lone figure, arms outstretched; a target hanging from its neck.

It’s rifle practice day and the scarecrow once again drew the short straw. Fock squints, attempting to keep his supporting arm steady while his index finger prepares to pull the trigger. A buzzing noise hisses past his left ear just in the crucial moment and the bullet hurtles wide of its intended target, vanishing into a sea of wheat. A bee continues its search for pollen and the young scientist curses the insect, the scarecrow and the heat.

A daydream? A memory? A different time?

A different reality.

A roar. Running feet. Back to the Kakotopian reality. Fock’s mind reels. Nausea. A leech continues to flip and flap on the cold marble flooring of the monumental chamber. The smell of death, fire, cordite and fear strikes the Professor’s senses like a baseball bat with 10-inch masonry nails through it. It’s awake. It? What is “IT” this time? A buzzing sound is calling him back to the wheat fields of Massachusetts; it would be easy to go back. He just needs to control his thoughts.

But there is no time for thought. Just to run. Down a narrow fissure. Darkness. Panic. Joe and Irma at the front, closely followed by Singh. The party of investigators is heading in a south-west direction. The sound of scampering feet can be heard from behind.

Myles: “Freundlich-Fock: What the bally hell were those things back there? That wasn’t taxidermy? They were real? What’s going on?”

Wes: “Better get used to it, Connington. It’s going down hill from here fast.”

The investigators reach a steep section and have to climb up. Natalja has some problems, Gupta pushes her from behind and Joe pulls her up.

Wes: “What’s the hold up?!”

Whatever is in pursuit is getting close. Again it is the Eldritch Egyptian monstrosities. Grand is ready with a grenade. He throws it and it explodes with devastating effect.

Meanwhile, Natalja is up.

Natalja: “I can take it. I feel no pain. I have no weakness. I am Russian.”

Connington follows Gupta but stumbles and slips back down. Simon helps him up and pushes him back up. Simon follows him.

Just Trixie and Wesley below.

Wes: “Ladies first.”

The Antediluvian monstrosities are closing in. Wesley climbs as if some daemonic force was behind him.

Myles: “Let me help you, Madame. I’ve seen a number of injuries in my time.”

Natalja: “I do not need help. There is no time. I feel no pain or weakness. I already told you: I am Russian!”

The tunnel forks ahead. Joseph spots something! A huge pit in front of him! 30-40 feet deep. He is able to stop in time. And then safely cross. At the back, another of the charnel creatures pokes its head round the corner. Simon blows it off its shoulders with a well-placed shot. All safely pass the trap, but from behind the fiends continue to follow. The investigators continue down the passage and Joe suddenly sees more of the hideous monstrosities ahead of him. They speed round the corner, hideously moving in a human way but with heads too horrific to contemplate. Joe guns the first down, the second too. Gupta is behind Joe and takes aim at them as they try to grapple the Irishmen. He avoids their grasp and moves offering Gupta a clear sight of one who he guns down. Joe then annihilates the other with his trench gun.

Gupta: “Crocodile head: Could make some nice shoes…”

The back of the party decides to engage its pursuers: “Bracing for attack!”

From the front comes a response:

Joe: “Clear!”

Three cultists emerge from the darkness into the glare of the pit helmets. There are mown down by a combination of weapons. The decision is made to take a right turn.

Myles: “Are you sure this is the right way old boy?” He stares at his compass.

Grand: “Yes, we are doubling back on ourselves. Hopefully it will work out.”

Gupta: “Look! Black roses! Heavily thorned! What the bloody hell? Stay out of the way!”

The party cautiously avoids the mutated flowers until it reaches another T-junction.

Something is coming. The investigators go into stealth mode. Lights off. A sudden gust of wind buffets Gupta causing his grenades to jingle like the bells of Amritsar. Movement can be heard from behind. Lights back on and three more cultists can be seen down the passageway. They are briefly blinded as a lethal volley of lead follows cutting them down like wheat during harvest. Which way now? The party is disorientated.

Joe: “This way!”

Shouts Donelly.

Joe: “No! Go back!”

He suddenly screams. The others can’t see whatever it is he can see.

Joe: “The walls are moving, It’s breathing!”

Gupta: “Don’t worry, Mr Donelly, Sir. There is nothing there. Let me go first and you will see. You are just going crazy, Sir.”

Whatever it was has vanished. Gupta leads the party forward. Simon hears something from behind. A quiet rumbling noise. The tunnel reaches a dead end. The party is lost.

Joe: “We’ll have to go back.”

The Sikh looks concerned.

Gupta: “I don’t like it.”

The investigators reverse back up the passage. This time Grand is at the front. Back into stealth mode for whatever awaits them further down the passage. Two of them are hiding round the corner. Simon kneels to allow the others to catch up. When they do he throws a rock down the passage to distract them. They don’t move. Suddenly they charge. They can’t resist the challenge! Simon shoots, cutting one of them almost in half, Irma shoots with his trench gun and takes him down, the last with a hippo head, tries to charge but Irma blows him away. More appear, one with a cheetah head, is cut down by Grand who then has to reload, as does Irma. Tunnels merge. Which way to go?

Myles: “Does anyone have a camera?”

Asks Myles.

Irma: “We don’t have time, let’s move,”

Growls Bloomberg.

The order of the party is reversed to its original order now there is a bit more space to move. Gupta notices we are back on a main tunnel. It is smoother and better made. Nothing can be heard. Another T-junction.

Joe: “We’re on the home stretch boys!”

Says Joe. The investigators move out as quick as Natalja can move. What awaits them? A rock. Which falls onto Wesley’s miner’s helmet.

The passage slopes upwards. It is the way out. The investigators take a quick breather. A swig of water. A Lucky Strike. And prepare for the ambush that no doubt awaits them. No sound can be heard. Connington offers to go ahead: “I can speak Arabic. Perhaps I can help. Stand back while I open the door.” He steps out and says a few words in Arabic. He clearly speaks very fluently… “I think we’re clear!” He hisses. Gupta and Joe in their cultist garb follow him out.


Myles: “Get down!”

A man and a woman appear. They walk off, hand in hand. The truck, badly damaged from the earlier attack is still there. The decision is taken to head back to the boat anchored at the Cairo Harbor.

Myles: “What the bloody hell was that, Grand? A mockery of the gods? We shot them all. What the hell do you do?”

Irma: “We clear out rat holes.”

Myles: “Was this like at Misr house? I heard about that. The thing in the fog? Men with animal heads grafted on? How can that be natural? Nightmares? Parapsychology? Is this a threat to the crown?”

Irma: “We are fighting a cult which is trying to destroy the planet. You know much about us. Tell us how you know.”

Myles: “I was involved in the Arabic uprising to beat the Turk. I need to know the nature of the threat. Your names are on a watch list. I know who Shakti is but he is believed to be the head of a criminal gang.”

Simon: “He is the priest of the cult we just witnessed.”

Myles: “Gavigan’s gang?”

Irma: “This gang is thousands of years old and it is spread throughout the world. China, Australia, Africa, England and the USA.”

Myles: “There is something I have to ask Mr. Donelly.”

Irma: “Myles you must understand that we are fighting for the right cause. We are professional. We have to get better armed and get Shakti. Remember, you probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer down there without us… Your conventional methods will not work against such an enemy. Stick with us if you want to live.”

The Mummy of Queen Nitocris

Queen Nitocris With Her Crown, Necklace and Girdle
Queen Nitocris With Her Crown, Necklace and Girdle

The truck gets closer to the docks and the investigators get ready to return to the nuclear powered vessel. A perimeter check is undertaken which reveals nothing. The investigators board the boat.

It is about 01:00 AM in the morning and it has been a long night for the investigators. Natalja in particular needs a good nights rest.

Myles: “I don’t suppose you have a drink here?”

Grand: “What’s your poison old boy?”

Myles: “Whisky.”

Grand: “Good choice old boy. Now get that down the hatch and have a think about things.”

Some experiments are undertaken with magical items to destroy the items of Queen Nitocris. Without success. Until Simon uses the two silver daggers. One of them cuts the girdle! It is destroyed!

Myles: “I need answers. What is going on here?”

Irma: “You think we can comprehend more than you can? We have tried to explain this to you – we can’t do more than that.”

Myles: “Donelly there is something I must ask you. What was the train to Liverpool that you were found near?”

Joe: “It was a ghost train, to be sure. It was!”

Myles: “I’ll make a confession. August 1923 you were on a top-secret mission in Mesopotamia? Correct? This was above my clearance.”

Myles gets an answer which he again has difficulty comprehending.

Irma: “This cult is a powerful religion with a god with many forms. An avatar.”

Myles: “An ancient death cult.”

He is given access to Trent’s cabin and can equip himself with Trent’s former protective gear and remaining weapons. The investigators realize that he has some good demolition and explosive skills.

Myles: “Are they a threat to the canal? We can get access to more resources if they are!”

The next step is to take out Omar Shakti. Myles has had it under surveillance for a long time and is aware of certain dangers.

Myles: “They’ve added to the defensive construction work and drafted in more guards. It won’t be easy to get in and they may be expecting you. I also saw a European looking fellow, light hair, possibly Scandinavian.”

Irma: “Or he could have been Australian.”

Myles: “Yes, that’s true old boy. He appeared to be instructing the men on defences and the like. Then he got into a car and drove away.”

Irma: “What direction did he go?”

Myles: “South of the plantation, but he could have been heading anywhere.”

Irma: “True, but if the car was distinctive in any way we could track it down.”

Myles: “Very true, the motorcar is not so common place in Cairo. Excellent idea Irma.”

The plan is to drive up there just before dawn in the captured truck, and another truck for back up, still dressed in the ceremonial clothing. And hope for the best.

The Mummy of Queen Nitocris

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