‘Find her!’ The imprint on the creature’s mind was clear. ‘Find her!’ It played over and over again in its mind. ‘She is here,’ the inner voice continued. ‘Find her!’
A bony hand reached out of the box, attempting to push away the top that held its body in check. Luckily, the creature’s mission gave it more strength than it should rightfully possess. It was able to move the top enough to pull its emaciated body from its resting place.
The sound of voices alerted the creature which direction not to take. Instead of going through the door, it pushed its way into a hidden passage way. Once there, it barred the way by collapsing the roof above. The sound alerted nearby archaeologists who ran to protect their discovery. They watched helplessly as the passage disappeared.
“It’s gone,” one of the three women whispered. The sound was barely audible against that of dropping rock and sand. “The mummy is gone,” she continued before collapsing on the ground beneath her.
When Dr. Maria Hoffman regained consciousness, she found herself lying on a cot in the camp site. Her mind swirled for a few minutes as it tried to remember the events that landed her there. When she did, she bolted up right and began to get up.
“No, Maria. You must be still for a moment. You fainted,” a male voice said with a hint of healthy sarcasm.
“Not because of the mummy, you oaf,” Maria spit out. “It was because I’m four months pregnant. Get over yourself already,” she spat.
“That is a hell of way to tell me we are going to have a baby,” her husband retorted. “Still, I’ll take what I can get,” he laughed as he knelt by her side. “I didn’t mean anything by the comment,” he promised.
“Sure you didn’t,” Maria returned. “Don’t get too excited about the kid either. I’m still divorcing you.”
“Surely you can see that’s not a good idea,” the tall, dark man argued. “Not now. Not in light of everything.”
“I’m not discussing this now,” Maria fought. “I have to find out what happened to that mummy. Another hunter must have come through that passage way and taken it away.”
“I don’t think that’s what happened,” her husband said flatly. “Also, don’t think our other discussion is over,” he sniped.
“It is for me,” Maria said with fire in her emerald green eyes. “Now tell me what you mean when you say you don’t think that’s what happened to the mummy. It didn’t just get up and walk out on its own,” she snapped.
“Actually, I think that is exactly what it did,” Jack Hoffman continued. “There are footprints of a sort that lead from the sarcophagus to the passageway.”
“The dead just don’t rise and walk away,” Maria lobbed back as she finally stood on her own. She moved toward the tent door. “You’ve been watching too many horror films.”
“Have it your way,” her husband returned. He followed behind her as she made her way back into the dig. She entered the burial chamber carefully and moved to the area where the mummy laid less than an hour before. She bent down to the dirt floor and saw the impression of footprints of a sort; the kind that might be made by a foot wrapped in linen.
The footprints told a story of the creature dragging itself toward the collapsed passage way. Maria wanted to remain skeptical but the evidence in front of her would not allow it. She finally turned to Jack and nodded.
“You’re right. It walked away. The question is how and where did it go? I don’t think that passage can be cleared again in time to follow it.”
“Do you want to make fun of my love of horror movies now?” Jack couldn’t resist teasing Maria. It was one of the things she once loved about him. Now it generally made her want to slap him.
“It’s gone. The find of the decade and it’s just gone,” Maria cried.
“Maybe not,” Jack argued. I have the men carefully scouring the perimeter of this building. Maybe they’ll find evidence of which direction it took.”
Maria turned to stare at him. For a moment she saw the man with whom she’d fallen in love three years earlier.
“Why didn’t I think of that? Obviously it knew another way out,” she murmured more to herself than to Jack.
“I’ll go check and see if they’ve found anything,” her husband said quietly. Then he turned and left without another word.
Maria stood and examined the inside of the coffin. There was nothing there to indicate where the creature might have gone. Her husband returned quickly with a dejected look on his face.
“It’s still nearby somewhere,” he explained. “There is nothing to indicate the creature left this building.”
“Then find it,” Maria commanded. “How difficult can it be to find a mummy out in the middle of nowhere?”
Jack nodded agreement and hurried back out while Maria clutched her stomach. She was feeling nauseous again. She groaned. She did not have time for such silliness.
The sound of rock scraping against rock made her look up suddenly. Her eyes registered fear as she saw the creature headed toward her with its arms extended. It grunted as if it was trying to say something. She tried to stand and move away from it. Sadly, there was no place for her to go. At last, the mummy’s arms encircled her and began pulling her toward another hidden passage. Her scream was muffled by a linen clad hand.
Jack returned moments later to find his wife missing. He knew she hadn’t come out of the gravesite. He would have seen her had she done that. That thought in mind, he began searching for evidence of another passageway. He quickly found it. The drag marks led him straight to it.
“How does this damn thing open?” The frustration and worry on Jack’s face were strong. Despite what his wife thought, he still loved her deeply. He wasn’t going to give up on her.
Pushing the wall around the passageway, he finally found his way in. Grabbing a torch he followed the hidden corridor. His heart raced with fear.
Maria’s muffled screams could finally be heard. She was putting up a fight and beginning to win. When the duo entered a new burial chamber, she broke free from her captor and turned to face him. Cold yellow eyes peered at her from inside its cloth prison.
“Mine,” the mummy’s mind whispered over and over. “The princess is mine at last.” The creature moved forward to gently brush against Maria’s reddish brown hair. Then it yanked it out of its once perfectly formed bun, allowing it to cascade around her shoulders and back.
“Beautiful,” it thought deep within the recesses of its withered mind. “Beautiful like the first day I saw her. Now she is mine.”
Suddenly Jack Hoffman came bursting out of the passageway behind the mummy. Using the torch, he reached out to set the creature on fire.
“No!” The archeologist in Maria screamed out in frustration. “Put it out. He’s the find of the decade.”
“He’s an abomination,” Jack screamed back. “He’s not worth one hair on your head.”
Reaching for his wife, Jack pulled her around the screaming corpse and into the passageway. He barred their exit the same way the mummy had done earlier. He collapsed the ceiling behind them.
The mummy’s grunts and groans continued for a few moments. Then, they faded away as Jack pulled Maria back to safety. He ran out of the first burial chamber and out of the building. He didn’t stop until they reached the open air once again.
“Why, Jack, why?” Maria’s tears poured down her tanned cheeks. “I’ve worked my whole life to find something like that. Why did you destroy it?”
“I did it to save you,” Jack murmured as he pulled her close to him. “And to save our child. There is nothing more important. Can’t you see that?”
Maria’s green eye’s searched his gray ones. She couldn’t believe the love she saw inside of them. She had not seen it there for a very long time. Then something occurred to her. Perhaps she just hadn’t been looking closely enough.
“We’ll find another mummy,” Jack cooed as he held Maria gently. “We’ll all do it together, as a family. But this time, let’s make sure it’s really dead.”
Despite the situation, Maria found she couldn’t keep herself from laughing. It felt good to do so again. Then, she reached up and pulled her husband’s lips to her own.
‘Maybe I’ve found something special after all,’ her mind whispered. In her heart, she knew it was true.