Mummy Fanfic by Katie Sullivan
Rated PG-13 for innuendo, mild cussing and mature themes
Disclaimer: Meela/Anck-su-Namun, Imhotep, and all other characters besides Jeffrey are (c) Universal and are used without claim to copyright as a fan tribute. I maketh no money from this fic. Sueth me not.
Chapter Three: Homeward Bound
Meela stood at the prow of the small ship carrying her upstream, southward to Thebes. Her pulse quickened with each passing mile, urging the craft to go faster. She had asked for a week. She had two days. She had to make them count.
She closed her eyes and concentrated on the hiss of the water around the prow, trying to remember. It was exceedingly frustrating, after those moments of utter clarity, to have her memories so hazy. She knew she had been an Ancient Egyptian woman named Anck-su-Namun who had loved Imhotep and killed Seti, but beyond the surface details the picture got fuzzy. Who were her parents? Did she have siblings? How did she end up as a concubine of Pharaoh? How long had she fulfilled that role before the fateful confrontation that left her with no apparent options except suicide?
There were more questions than answers, but she knew three things clearly. One, some part of her still loved Imhotep. Two, if she could only find him, she instinctively knew he could revive and clarify her memories. Three, her best hope of finding him lay in convincing the Curator she wasn't entirely crazy.
Meela hung her head. And to think just a short time ago her only worry had been choosing classes for next semester and avoiding a social life. Her mouth twisted into an ironic smile, and she forced herself to unclench her sweaty fists. Destiny was playing no small part in this whole mess, and it would probably steer her in the right direction. If, that was, destiny had pity on reincarnated concubines and cursed priests.
She sighed, shook out her hands to relieve the tension, and headed back to her cabin in search of a drink.
Thebes was nothing like she remembered it, of course. "Meela" had never been there before, but Anck-su-Namun had been quite familiar with it. Modern construction had overrun the ancient buildings. The few surviving ruins weren't even satisfactorily restored. She wandered through the streets with her eyes half-closed, trying to sort out the disarray of hazy memories and modern contamination. The Curator trailed behind her with a skeptical frown, lugging both their suitcases.
"The palace was over there," she muttered, peering into the distance.
"No one has yet uncovered the palace of Seti the First," the Curator informed her.
"The palace was over there," she repeated firmly. "And the marketplace should be right about..." They turned a corner and she pointed triumphantly. "Here!"
"Anyone with a nose and ears could tell that," he said wryly, taking in the jumbled mess of kiosks, produce, handicrafts, haggling adults, crying children and dirty animals. He jumped aside and yanked his suitcase away from a hungry camel with an appetite for leather.
"Yes, it's here now, but it was here then, too!" she said crossly. "It looked a lot like this, actually..." With a distant look, she wandered off again, and he was forced to follow. "I remember a building, nearby..." She squinted. It felt as if someone were watching her. The hairs on the nape of her neck rose, and she turned toward the sensation.
A rushing in her ears overwhelmed her, and in the time it took her to blink she was back in ancient times. She blinked again, several times, and shook her head, but the vision was still there. The bazaar was devoid of any modern touches; no electric wiring hung from the eaves. Music from a tinny radio was gone, replaced by a reed flute somewhere behind her. There were no camels, since they had been introduced to Egypt much later in history. Everything seemed more real. Colors were brighter, smells stronger--not necessarily a good thing, considering the livestock in evidence--and sounds were clearer.
She looked down at herself and found she was now wearing a gold-fringed loincloth composed of about as much cloth as a standard doily, though with thankfully less holes. The rest of her body was covered in intricate swirls of paint and gold bangles. Strings of gold beads clicked in her hair as she lifted her head again, mortified by her scandalous lack of clothes. Yet the Curator was nowhere to be seen, and no one in the marketplace noticed. Indeed, many of them were robed in the same minimalist fashion. She relaxed then, suddenly realizing that although Meela tended to dress with more modesty Anck-su-Namun adorned herself like this frequently.
But no...she didn't do this to herself. It was forced on her by servants of Pharaoh...
The feeling of being watched grew stronger, and her gaze jumped to the far end of the bazaar.
The Temple of Osiris. The part of her that was Anck-su-Namun recognized it immediately, and the part that was Meela saw that artists' recreations of the crumbled temple had been somewhat inaccurate, not to mention entirely unable to convey the sheer majesty of the place. Her wide eyes took in soaring columns topped with lotus capitals and coated in color-coded hieroglyphics. Twentieth-century ruins were always devoid of color, the paint having worn off long ago. But this was no ruin. It was a magnificent temple, glowing with color and life, humming with activity, dominating the skyline. And there, standing atop the short set of stairs by the main entrance...
"Imhotep!" Her heart leapt into her throat, and she dashed forward to greet him.
He smiled a slightly sarcastic but endearing smile and reached out a hand toward her, the sleeve of his black cloak fluttering in the breeze. His smooth, bronzed skin shone in the sunlight, making him seem like a living statue. An aura of authority and confidence radiated from him, and his dark brown eyes beamed love in her direction.
Her bare feet flew across the stones. She lightly scaled the steps to throw herself into his arms--
--and found herself sprawled in the dust in the middle of a lifeless ruin.
"Meela, are you all right?" the Curator asked. He set aside the two suitcases and stooped to help her up. "What in the world were you doing? You were in some sort of trance."
"I... I..." She stood on shaky legs, disoriented to suddenly be clad in modest khakis, a navy blue silk blouse, and high leather boots. She ran a hand through her hair, but no beads greeted her searching fingers. "I..." she tried again. She tilted her head back to look at the rows of stone columns, now stripped of any traces of color. Many were tipped over, crumbling into the sand from whence they came. And, of course, there was no sign of Imhotep. "He was here," she said, her voice sounding frighteningly small.
She was briefly startled to think of him as "her" priest, but she nodded. "Yes. Imhotep." She explained her vivid experience, and the Curator listened patiently.
She waited for him to say something, to judge her sanity now, but he merely picked up the suitcases again. "The inn is this way."
He walked away from her, and she forced herself to follow, dragging her feet as she tore herself away from the shadows of the temple.