Meela's Story

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.

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Chapter Six: Long Time No See

A few weeks later, Meela stepped off a train in Cairo, squinting into the sun from beneath a wide-brimmed hat.  She was dressed in a charcoal gray blazer and a form-fitting skirt, and carried a leather satchel at her side.  Her research had inevitably led her here, into the shadow of the pyramids.  She had seen them before, of course, but they never failed to amaze her.  The jostling crowd soon forced her to stop standing there, staring dreamily at the massive monuments.  It was just as well, as her train had arrived later than scheduled, and if she didn't get to the museum soon it would be closed.  There were plenty of things to do in Cairo to keep herself occupied until the next day, but she was eager to talk to certain people there.

The academic and archaeological circles were abuzz with the supposed discovery of the lost city of Hamunaptra.  The news had emerged very soon after her bizarre out-of-body experience, and she doubted it was a coincidence.  An expedition had set out to find the ancient necropolis but only three people returned alive.  The one American and two Britons were tight-lipped about the whole affair, and never publicly claimed to have found Hamunaptra.  They had found something, though.   The bags of gold artifacts they returned with obviously didn't materialize out of thin air.  They said they had found them in a small ruin which was abruptly covered up by a sandstorm and which they were never able to find again.

Like a handful of others, Meela found this tale hard to swallow.  Such a tremendous discovery would have been documented carefully with latitude and longitude and such.  Yes, it was possible to run across a site during a sandstorm and then not be able to find your way back later, but...  The timing and general feel of the whole affair told Meela there was more to it than met the eye.  She strongly suspected there was some connection with their tale and her own bizarre experience in her old body.

Then there was the matter of the plagues.  She was painfully familiar by now with the details of the Hom-Dai.  A slew of plagues was a part of the package, and the bizarre events that had taken place here in Cairo just a few months ago matched perfectly.   Water turning into blood, a freak meteor shower that rained fire on the city, an unpredicted eclipse, an epidemic of skin lesions...the skeptics fumbled for rational explanations, but Meela knew perfectly well what had happened.  It was so obvious there might as well be a huge sign proclaiming, "IMHOTEP WAS HERE," she thought with a smirk.

Yet the plagues had stopped as soon as they had begun, and Imhotep was nowhere to be seen now.  Moreover, Meela didn't sense him.  In her visions she was always able to sense when he was near, even before seeing him.  There was no reason to believe it wouldn't work that way in real life, too.  He definitely wasn't in Cairo or environs.   Another dead end, as opposed to the undead one she sought.

She had pieced it all together, drawing on her instincts, research, and memory of her out-of-body jaunt to that mysterious ruin.  The ruin had to be none other than Hamunaptra, and if trio with their gold artifacts weren't somehow related to both Imhotep and the lost necropolis, she'd French-kiss a camel.

Meela strode boldly into the Museum of Antiquities.  Most tourists were wrapping up their visit, but closing time was still over a half-hour away.  She wandered through the exhibits until she overheard the ones she was searching for.

"...can't believe this is finally done!  I thought I'd never get them all back in order!  So many books!" a British woman was saying.

"It was a mess.  I hope you're not as careless with your housekeeping," teased a male American voice.

"I most certainly am, Mister O'Connell!" the woman indignantly replied.  "This was merely an accident!  It could have happened to anyone!"

"Yeah," he said with a derisive sniff, "anyone who's clumsy as an--"

"Do you want me to marry you or not?"

"Of course!"

"Then I'd advise you not to finish that sentence."

"Okay, okay!" he said with a laugh.  "Keep your shirt on!  Or, on second thought..."

The woman giggled a little, and there was the unmistakable "smack" of a kiss.

"What am I going to do with you?" the woman asked in fond despair.

"I can think of a few things..."

"Rick!" she chided.

A second male voice was heard, this one with a British accent similar to the woman's.   "If you two are done acting like a pair of lovesick puppies for the moment, I'd appreciate a little help over here!"

The woman gave an embarrassed laugh.  "Oh, of course.  Sorry, Johnathan.   I just got a little, um, distracted."

"That's been happening an awful lot lately..."

Meela turned a corner and finally located the source of the voices.  Two men were unpacking a crate of books while a woman eagerly peered over their shoulders at the new arrivals.  Meela momentarily held her breath.  It was them.  The three people from Hamunaptra!  The woman was the Princess Nefertiri reincarnated, and the other two were vaguely familiar, as well.  If she only had full access to her memories...

"Oh!  The latest study on Ramses the Great!  I didn't know that had been published yet!"  Nefertiri--or whatever her name was now--snaked a slender arm between the others and grabbed a volume from the crate.

"Fine," the dark-haired man with the British accent said, standing up with a hand on his lower back.  "If you like it so much, you unpack them all.  I need a drink."  He wandered off, rubbing his sore back and complaining under his breath.

"Johnathan, you always need a drink," the woman formerly known as Nefertiri said with a sigh.

"Now then, where were we?" the lighter-haired man said, leaning over to steal a kiss from her.

Meela stepped forward to interrupt before either of them got too "distracted" again.  "Excuse me, do you work here?" she asked politely.

The other woman looked slightly embarrassed, ran a hand quickly through her disheveled hair, and nudged her companion away.  "Er...yes.  I'm Evelyn Carnahan.   May I help you?"

"I hope so.  I'm a graduate student in Egyptology--"

Evelyn's eyes lit up with interest.

"--and I'm doing a study on ancient curses.  I was just wondering if perhaps--"

"Let me guess," the American interrupted.  "You wanna know about Hamunaptra?"

"Well...yes.  Among other things," Meela replied.

"It doesn't exist."

"But--"

"No, listen.  Every day somebody comes in here asking us about Hamunaptra.   And I'm tellin' you, we didn't find it.  We found a pocket of artifacts in the desert, loaded up some gold, lost the place in a sandstorm, and that's it.  You've read it all in the papers already.  No lost cities.  Okay?"

Evelyn was somewhat less rude.  "Honey, why don't you go get a drink with Johnathan?"

"But Evy--"

"Oh, hush.  Don't you trust me?"

"Not a bit," he said with a crooked grin.

She rolled her eyes and shooed him away.  "Now, then, Miss...?"

"Pasha."

"Miss Pasha.  What my fiancÚ said was the truth.  We didn't find Hamunaptra."

"But just for the sake of argument, let's say you did.  Would it have been...south of here?"

"It's a myth.  I really can't say."

Meela fought back a smile.  Nefertiri never had been a very good liar, except when covering up her affair with a Med-Jai warrior.  Suddenly, Meela realized that the American man who had just departed was that very same paramour.  No wonder he seemed familiar!  She stifled a frown.   Everybody else got reunited with their soulmates in subsequent incarnations.   Why were she and Imhotep kept apart?

She returned her attention to the task at hand.  Evelyn had an aura of sweetness around her that Meela found oddly annoying, but she managed to remain completely civil.   "Yes, yes, I understand," she said with a gracious smile.  "But just tell me...what do you think Hamunaptra would be like?  If it were real, I mean."

Evelyn shifted her weight and began putting books on shelves.  "I'd really rather not talk about it, if you don't mind."

"And about the recent plagues...what do you suppose caused them?" she pressed.

Evelyn stopped puttering with books and regarded her curiously.  "Do I...know you?"

Surely the memories of her life as Nefertiri weren't available to her...were they?

Meela shrugged.  "I don't believe so."

"Oh.  Anyway, those so-called plagues were nothing, really.  Just a series of rather odd coincidences."

Meela bit back a smirk.  Definitely not a convincing liar.  "Oh really?   They reminded me of an ancient Egyptian curse called the Hom-Dai.  Have you heard of it?"

Evelyn dropped a book on her foot and made a visible effort not to swear.  "I...um...don't believe so."

Meela pretended to believe her.  "I was just thinking that perhaps someone had found Hamunaptra and stirred up forces related to the Hom-Dai.  Is that possible?"

Evelyn stammered awkwardly for a moment, pretending to be very interested in the binding of the book in her hand.  "I'm sorry, Miss Pasha, but I really don't time for this sort of nonsense right now."

"Just one more question, also related to my research," Meela said, realizing that her welcome was quickly wearing thin.  "Have you ever heard of a priest from the era of Seti the First named Imhotep?"

Evelyn's eyes were in danger of popping out of her head.  "I...   No!"

"What about a woman from the same era named Anck-su-Namun?"

"I'm sorry, I can't help you."  Evelyn dropped the book back in the box and hurried from the room.

Meela watched her go, both amused at her reaction and unsatisfied with the depth of her answers.  She slipped out a side entrance and watched until the other man, the Briton, returned to the museum from the nearest bar.  He was still toting a brown bottle of something fortifying that was rapidly emptying.  When he saw her standing by the entrance, posed against the doorframe with her shapely legs displayed beneath her knee-length skirt, he stopped in his tracks with a goofy grin.

"Well, hello!" he said with a painfully obvious visual survey of her curves.

Her ability to judge character was usually good, and this case was no exception.  He'd tell her what she needed to know, if she played her cards right.   "Hello," she purred.  "Johnathan Carnahan?"

His voice was slurred with drink.  "Thatsh my name, don' wear it out," he said with a chuckle that made it seem as if he had invented the phrase at that moment and was exceedingly proud of it.  "And, uh..."  He attempted to slide up to her gracefully but stumbled a little and just managed to stay vertical.   "What's a loverly thing like you doing jus' shtanding around 'ere?"

She pretended to be flattered.  "I was waiting to talk to you, of course."

He sobered up slightly and looked at her with a wary eye.  "You're not with Omar, are you?  Because I sh-wear I didn't know that was his shister."

She stifled a laugh, instead turning her amusement into a beguiling smile.   "No, no.  I'm Annie," she said, twisting her ancient name into an untraceable pseudonym.  "And I heard you know all about Hamunaptra and that--" she forced herself to say "--beastly mummy creature.  I'd love to hear all about it.  I just adore scary stories, if I've got someone like yourself to make me feel safe..."  She stepped up to him smoothly and feigned picking a speck of lint off his cravat.  "Could we maybe find someplace nice and private to talk?"

Johnathan nearly fell over.  "Well, shince you put it that way!"

Before long they were at a table in a open-air cafe down the street.  Meela threw her most potent feminine vibes in his direction, and between her flirtations and the vodka Johnathan was soon most informative.

"Oh, yesh, we found Hamu--  Harpoon--  Hambone--  Hamaptra--"

"Hamunaptra?" she supplied.

"Yesh, yesh, that's it.  Bloody awful name for a lost sh-idy, that."

"And what did you find there?" she prompted.

"Well, not much, at first.  Then we were jusht minding our own business when whomp!"   He slammed on the table to accentuate the last word, startling some of the nearby patrons.  "This hee-yooge sarg-- sarc--  sark-cough-er..."

"Sarcophagus?"

"Yesh!  Sarcogga--  Yesh, that was it.  The bloody thing fell through the sheeling, right on top of ush!

"Oh my!" she said, regarding him with wide eyes.

"Well, my shister, Evy, had this key thing that she yoo-shed to open it, and what did we find inshide but a mummy!"

"No!"  It took all Meela's patience to stay pleasant and not strangle this tipsy Englishman into getting to the point.

"Yesh!  A great big juicy mummy!"

She wrinkled her nose delicately, inwardly mournful.

"The sh-trangest thing.  Usually those fellows are all dushty and shriveled up, you know, but this chap was shtill decompostering...er, decomposhing.  You know."

"Yes, yes."  She somehow managed to keep a smile on her face despite the grief blooming inside. Imhotep...

"Sho later Evy wash reading from thish big black book the othersh found--"

"Black book?  What black book?"

"Hmm?  Oh, the book.  The Book of the Dead, they called it."

Meela nodded, truly wishing she was able to take notes.  "And what happened then?"

"Well, to make a long shtory short--"  He nuzzled her feet with his under the table, and she tried to maintain her come-hither look instead of kicking him in the shin.  "The next thing we knew, there were locusts and sh-carab beetles all over the place."  He took a swig from his bottle and rubbed compulsively at his upper arm.  "Beashtly little crittersh!"

"And the mummy?"

He leaned forward confidentially, overwhelming her with the vodka on his breath.   "The bugger came back to life!" he announced in what was intended to be a whisper.  "Sh-cared the living daylights out of us all, I'm not ashamed to tell you!  And then he sh-tole the eyes and tongue from one of the Americans!"

"How horrible!"

"Well, we got the hell out of there, as you could imagine!  But one-sh we got back to Cairo, we thought we were shafe, right?  But damned if the blighter didn't follow us, and shtarted shucking apart the rest of the Americans!  To make things even worsh, more plagues came along with him.  I shwear, it was like shomething shtraight out of Genesish!  And the mummy fellow, Imhotep--"

Meela's heart leapt.  "Imhotep?"

"That was hish name.  Imhotep.  The more people he shucked the life out of, he shtarted regenerating hish body!"

She leaned forward intently.  "What did he look like?"

"Bald.  Pretty shtrong, too."

"Was he...handsome?" she couldn't help asking.

"Not as handshome as me, I asshure you," he said with a cheeky smile.

It took all her self-control not to roll her eyes.

"Anyway, that rotten bashtard kidnapped my shister!  Sheemed he needed her to bring his dead girlfriend back to life."

Meela's sat up with her spine rod-straight.  "What?"

"Yesh.  She had shome crazy name...  Anuckshoo--  Anucknuck--"

"Anck-su-Namun," she said, losing patience with his inebriated mind.

"Wow!  Yesh, that was it.  How did you know?"

"I'm studying Egyptology," she explained quickly.

"Ah.  Sho yesh, this mummy fellow wanted to bring her back to life before he took over the world or whatever, and he had to kill my shister to do it!  Well, I couldn't shtand for that!"  Johnathan chugged the last of the vodka, tipping the bottle far back to get the last drop.  "Me and a couple other chaps headed shtraight back to Hammer--  Hammock--"

"Hamunaptra."

"That place, yesh.  We barged right in with guns blazshing and shaved my shister Evy!"

Meela blinked in confusion, wondering why they would shave Evelyn, and then realized what he meant.  "You saved her?  How?"

"I found this great big golden book that was short of like the opposhite of the black one, from before.  It had this shpell in it to take away the mummy's powersh."

Meela narrowed her eyes, guessing the rest.

"Oncesh he wash mortal, all it took was a shord--"  Judging by the stabbing motion he was making with his empty hand, that meant "sword."   "And viola!  One dead mummy!  Well, dead again, I mean.  Not undead.  Re-dead?"  He stared intently at the empty vodka bottle as if the correct term was etched there.

Meela frowned, greatly disturbed to hear of her beloved's demise.  If he was dead...now what?  She hardly dared to contemplate it.  But there was one more important detail to be clarified.  "So he didn't succeed in raising his girlfriend?"

"Oh, yesh, he did.  I forgot that part.  But I used the golden book to shummon a group of sholdier mummies, and they hacked her to bits."

She looked away, trembling a little now.  "And...your sister?"

"I told you, I reshcued her."

"But you said Imhotep needed her to bring his girlfriend to life."

"He needed her to give hish girlfriend a new body.  Her old one was...well, old!  All mummy-fied, you know."

"I see."

"But he didn't get to that part.  That'sh why those soldier ones killed her so easily.  Or re-killed her.  You know what I mean."  He shook the empty bottle mournfully, obviously wishing for a refill.

Meela put a hand to her mouth and lowered her eyes, too overwhelmed with his story to ask any more questions.

"Are you all right?  Need a drink?"

She wanted to say yes to both questions, but all she could do was nod.

"I sheem to be fresh out," he apologized.

"I should probably be going," she said, shakily getting to her feet.

"Don't you need a little...you know...'comforting,' after hearing such a scary story?" he hinted with his best attempt at a charming smile.

"Um...I don't think so."  She turned to leave.  "Oh, one more thing..."

He looked up expectantly with unfocused eyes.  "Yesh?"

"What happened to those books?"

"The black one and gold one?  Buried when the shidy collapsed."

"The city collapsed?"

"Yesh," he sighed.  "The whole kit 'n' caboodle, down under the shands.  We only managed to get a few bagsh of gold and artifacts before she went under.  A crying shame, I tell you."

"So both of the books and Imhotep's body were buried when Hamunaptra collapsed into the sands?" she summarized.

"Yesh, yesh, exactly.  Are you shure you don't want a drink?  Maybe a nice walk by the river..."

She wanted to verbalize her doubt about his ability to walk, but instead she just shook her head and started to back away.  "No.  But thanks for a very...interesting story, Mr. Carnahan."

"My pleashure, Miss."

Meela's heart throbbed with excitement and despair and she hurried away from her informant.  The details he had provided were invaluable, but the situation had suddenly gotten much more complicated.  She clasped her hands to her chest and sighed.  Oh, Imhotep...

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