In a Mummy's Voice
By Katie Sullivan, a.k.a. KatieScarlet
Rated PG for mild cussing, violence and ickiness
This is the story of the first Mummy movie, told from Imhotep's POV. Consider this the prequel to my other fic, "Through a Mummy's Eyes."
People. Nearby. Not those accursed--or, rather, accursing Med-Jai, but outsiders.
Imhotep didn't dare get his hopes up. There had been plenty of times over the past 3,000-odd years when he sensed people approaching Hamunaptra. Sometimes they even made it into the ruins of the city itself, but they never suspected what lay beneath it--who lay beneath it.
He was quite helpless. Locked within a double sarcophagus and buried at the base of the statue of Anubis, his powers were very limited. He could sense the presence of people nearby. He could use telekinesis to play around with the sand directly above his resting place. But after a couple thousand years making sand castles got old.
So he existed in a haze of boredom, thinking only of his love for Anck-su-Namun and his hate for Seti and the Med-Jai, never really believing that he'd be set free.
Until today. Someone was disturbing the city. He got vague impressions of what was going on. They uncovered his sarcophagus. The cursed chest. They were removing the jars containing her organs. They were opening his sarcophagus.
If he had still possessed a heart, it would have raced with excitement. Finally, he would see the light of day! After over 3,000 years!
Three people. Speaking a language he could not understand. They noticed how the sacred carvings had been scraped off his sarcophagus and seemed to realize the significance of that.
They had the key...they were going to open it!
Light. Blessed light! Any moment now...
They opened the sarcophagus, but there was still no light. He was blind. He couldn't move. He couldn't speak.
Crushing disappointment overwhelmed him. After all this time, someone finally managed to outwit the Med-Jai and free him, and he couldn't see, move or speak.
Great. Just great.
There did seem to be some pity in the voices of his discoverers, and disgust as well. But even if they knew the truth, it was beyond their power to help him.
They departed, leaving him hanging out of his coffin like an extremely macabre wall decoration.
Time had lost all meaning for him, but he estimated at least a few hours passed. A heartbeat in the scale of time he had been waiting.
Then a voice reached him. A female voice. He could tell it was not within the normal range of hearing, but was transcending distance to echo within his head. The words were chillingly familiar. The Book of the Dead.
As she read the words--whoever she was--he felt his body coming alive, tingling like a limb that had been inactive too long. He could move. He could scream. So he did both. It seemed like the thing to do.
He finished screaming quickly, since without a functioning tongue he wasn't much good at it. He was more efficient at moving, however. Blind and reeling with confusion, he staggered out of his sarcophagus, relishing the feel of soft sand beneath what was left of his feet. His body was dry and stiff, but he felt no pain. He had gone beyond pain a very long time ago.
Imhotep knew what he had to do. As a High Priest, he knew all about the Hom-Dai, although he had never in his worst nightmares imagined he would personally become its first victim. He had no choice now. Once awakened he was bound to the law of the Hom-Dai. Like it or not, he would have to find the ones who had opened the canopic chest and suck them dry so that he might regenerate his decayed body. The thought might have turned his stomach, had he had one.
He slowly found his way though the silent, musty corridors of the temple. His sixth sense told him one of the doomed men was nearby. The soon-to-be victim was in distress for reasons he didn't understand, searching for something. Quietly, Imhotep crept up behind the man.
First things first. He needed eyes. He needed a tongue. So those were the things he took. The man shrieked in agony.
Imhotep let him go, stepping back into the shadows to rest for a moment. It was a heady experience, gruesome yet invigorating. Until Seti's murder, he had never considered himself a violent person, but there was something strangely thrilling about this power.
Now that he had eyes, he could see what he looked like, and it wasn't pretty. The millennia hadn't been kind to him. Funny, he had aged so well before... Death was unforgiving, though, it seemed...just like the Med-Jai.
He knew he had to continue, suck the rest of the flesh and life force from this hapless man. It was destiny and hopeless to deny it. But before he could gather his courage to finish the job and put this poor man out of his misery, someone else arrived. A woman in a long black gown, with reddish-brown hair. She looked terrified. At first she didn't see him, and tried to speak to his victim.
Imhotep knew her. She was so familiar that her name seemed right on the tip of his borrowed tongue. Who was she? She couldn't possibly be Anck-su-Namun, could she? He thought he remembered his true love's face so well. The thought of her radiant smile had kept him sane all this time. No, this wasn't her...was it? Perhaps his memory had faltered through the years. She was so very familiar...it had to be Anck-su-Namun. How could she be alive after all this time? Had they put some sort of curse on her, too? She looked far better than he did, if so.
The woman saw him and was shuddered violently with fear, her beautiful eyes wide. He approached her slowly, studying her features. There was something so very familiar about her, but he couldn't his finger on it.
"Anck-su-Namun?" he asked, trying out his new tongue. Yikes, was that his voice? It sounded hollow and ragged. Just the sort of sound you'd expect to come from a walking corpse, he supposed, but unsettling nonetheless.
"Come with me, my princess Anck-su-Namun," he said, holding out a hand.
She neither confirmed nor denied her identity.
Another man came, started to speak with her, and screamed when he saw Imhotep. For a moment he looked as if he'd merely stare in horror, too. Imhotep roared in his most terrifying manner, hoping to scare this intruder away from this woman who just might be Anck-su-Namun. To his surprise, the man roared right back at him.
There was a loud cracking, booming noise, and Imhotep suddenly found himself in two pieces on the floor. What the--?
He growled in anger and confusion as the others fled. So was she Anck-su-Namun or not? If so, he had to follow and make sure she was all right. If not--well, he really don't know what to do then. It was all happening so fast!
Alone again, he assessed his situation. Whatever manner of weapon that man had used had split his ruined body in two at the waist. That would be a problem.
Or would it? He carefully dragged his upper half over to the bottom, and soon discovered than he could knit the two back together through sheer force of will. Convenient...
He stood up, testing the feel of his reconstructed body. Now what?
He wandered around the dark corridors for a few minutes, trying to clear his head. He located the canopic chest that should have contained the Book of the Dead and Anck-su-Namun's canopic jars. It was empty now except for one broken jar and a handful of small gold trinkets. Apparently the ill-fated tomb raiders had thought them too insignificant to take. He clutched the jar in a bony hand, trying not to panic. He would have to collect the other jars and the Book to complete the task he started all those millennia ago.
Yet another man came running into his presence and, predictably, screamed in terror when he saw Imhotep standing there.
Feeling cranky and wanting to take his frustration out on someone, Imhotep stalked up to the man, ready to throttle him.
The man began reciting sayings in different languages, holding up different charms from his necklace for each one. It was all gibberish until suddenly he tried Hebrew. Imhotep stopped his threatening advance at the sound of a language he recognized.
"The language of the slaves..." he said. "I may have use for you. And the reward will be great..." He offered a few golden rings. Back in his day the glint of gold would open many a doorway, and he didn't expect that today's men were any less greedy.
The man gave a tentative smile.
Imhotep held up a shattered canopic jar. "Where are the other sacred jars?"
His new vassal explained that the other canopic jars were in the possession of a group of men outside the temple. Imhotep extended his psychic powers in search of them. Yes, there were strangers outside. They were leaving. If he lost Anck-su-Namun's canopic jars now, she'd be lost to him forever. He had to stop them! He sprang up, plunging his hand through the ceiling and sand, into the fresh air above. But no, it was too late. They were gone.
He would have to move quickly but carefully if he was to succeed. And this sniveling little man named Beni would help him, or else...
He found a robe, mask and gloves to cover his repulsive body. Aside from aesthetic reasons, until he fully regenerated he'd decay further whenever someone touched him. Accompanied by Beni as his servant and interpreter, he headed into what was now the most prominent city in all of Egypt--Cairo. He sent out a psychic search every so often, closing in on the men who were destined to be sacrificed so that he might regenerate. Conveniently, these same individuals also held the canopic jars.
Egypt had certainly changed in the last three thousand years. Cars and camels replaced horses and chariots. No one spoke his language any more. There were no signs of anyone worshipping Osiris, Amon-Ra, Bast, Ptah, Thoth or any of the other deities. Strange wires were draped from building to building, and lamps burned without flames or smoke. It was all terribly disconcerting. The sooner he found his sacrifices and canopic jars, the better.
Beni escorted him through a posh hotel to the room where he sensed his first victim was resting. He would finish the job he had started back in Hamunaptra. The poor man was blindfolded and drooling, without eyes or tongue. Imhotep would be doing him a favor by killing him now. The mummy listened from behind his expressionless black mask while Beni explained things to the other man in an unfamiliar language. He waited patiently until the man began screaming. Apparently Beni had finished explaining things, and the victim wasn't particularly happy about what he heard. Time to act. He removed his mask and resumed...er, absorbing the necessary materials. Beni ran from the room looking green around the gills. Not that Imhotep blamed him.
He threw off his black robe and paced the room, feeling his body strengthen as it incorporated the now dead American's essence into its own.
The door flew open, and the people from Hamunaptra were there again. The man with the loud weapons tried attacking him again, but this time the tiny projectiles had no effect. Gathering his psychic energies, he thrust out his hands and blasted the man backward, knocking him into a heap with the others.
The oddly familiar woman was cowering against a bookcase. He approached her slowly, trying not to seem threatening, but she seemed terrified no matter what he did. "You saved me from the undead," he said. "I thank you." He leaned in to express his appreciation with a chivalrous kiss, but an off-key musical note stopped him. Sensing danger, he turned. A cat! The incarnation of Bast. Until he recovered his true form, cats would be a threat, capable of reversing the regeneration process.
He dissolved in a burst of sand and rushed out a window.
Cats. Yuck. He'd never liked the furry little critters, really. He'd ticked off a fair share of priestesses of Bast in his earlier days because of that...
No matter. He'd figure it all out soon enough. He'd find the rest of the people who had opened the chest, get the Book of the Dead, find the female sacrifice he needed...and then bring back Anck-su-Namun.
He unleashed a fit of his powers, causing a sudden eclipse. That should keep everyone busy for awhile.
After locating a fresh set of unassuming black robes and a turban, he set out after his next victim. The Egyptologist was walking down the street in plain sight, toting a canopic jar. Easy enough. He attacked immediately, leaving a dry corpse in the middle of the street, and grabbed the jar. A sizeable crowd had gathered by this, curious and disgusted. Time to release another plague or two...flies this time. While everyone was occupied with that, he headed back to the hotel.
An open window provided him easy entry in his sandstorm form. The third victim put up no more of a fight than the others, considering the uselessness of his guns.
Imhotep stopped to consider his next move. He was almost himself again. A few holes here and there...he needed a bath...he was hungry...but overall, not bad. A scarab beetle skittered across his face, tickling him. Yeesh, he was sick of those little things. They'd been with him since Day One of the Hom-Dai, and he had come to hate them almost as much as he hated Seti and his Med-Jai. Well, he was hungry... *crunch* Hmm....not bad. Needed ketchup...
Anyway, back to business. That woman was close by. He sensed her presence. She was relaxed, maybe even sleeping. Perhaps this time he could get a good look at her without her screaming her fool head off.
He was still confused by her. He knew her from somewhere, but he couldn't remember where. He was pretty sure she wasn't Anck-su-Namun, but who, then?
He felt himself drawn to her. The door between them was locked, so he dissolved into sand again to gain entry through the keyhole. Then, back in human form, he saw her.
She was sleeping peacefully, unaware of his presence. He approached the bed with slow, sure strides.
No, it wasn't his beloved. He bowed his head in disappointment. Gods, he missed her. Soon...soon he would be with her again. Not soon enough. He whispered, "Anck-su-Namun," thrilled just to hear her name again in his own voice. He leaned down, imagining himself back then, with her. Forgetting himself and his fragile state, he leaned down and kissed the sleeping woman.
It wasn't Anck-su-Namun. The kiss was hollow, meaningless. Nothing but an empty substitute. To make matters worse, the contact with a live human reversed part of his regeneration, making the area around his mouth rot away again. Hardly worth it.
The woman was awake now, screaming and pushing him away. Then that man was back again. Instead of guns, this time, he held up something worse. A cat. Imhotep howled in fear and dissolved, fleeing from the feline threat.
Dammit, why did they have to keep meddling? What had he ever done to them? Besides desiccate a few of their companions, that was. Okay, and a few plagues here and there. But he couldn't help it. It was all part of the Hom-Dai.
Speaking of plagues, might as well get another one over with. Boils and sores were next up. All who were afflicted would become his mindless slaves, so at least being the undead wasn't all bad...
He soon tracked down the last of the cursed victims, holding the last of the canopic jars. The crowd of his zombie-like followers parted to allow him passage, and he decimated the last victim. Renewed power surged through him as his body returned to its original state. At last he was himself again! What a relief!
No, not himself. Better than himself. For now he had all these supernatural powers! Yet it all seemed pointless, without Anck-su-Namun at his side to share his happiness. Now that the other business was all taken care of, he could turn his attention to that most important of tasks.
The woman he had chosen as a sacrifice was trapped with her male companions at the end of a street, boxed in by his mindless followers. He walked toward her with a smug grin, eager to see all her vibrant energy transferred to Anck-su-Namun.
He spoke to her, and Beni translated. "Come with me, my princess. It is time to make you mine forever."
"For all eternity, idiot," she corrected with disgust.
"Take my hand and I will spare your friends," he said, reaching out to her.
She mumbled with the others. The one they called O'Connell tried to ready his gun, but the Med-Jai leader stopped him. Imhotep smiled as the woman came to his side. She was afraid, he could tell, but bravely tried not to show it. Yes, her life force would be perfect for his Anck-su-Namun.
He led her away, commanding his brainless slaves to kill them all. He wasn't proud of breaking his word that way, but he saw the look in that O'Connell man's eyes. He was in love with this woman. Imhotep knew that look. He'd displayed it...and tried not to display it...plenty of times himself. And he knew that, like him, this man would do anything to save the woman he loved. Imhotep wasn't about to let him ruin everything now. Let him wait three thousand years for his turn.
The sand vortex deposited his servant and sacrifice unceremoniously in the sand outside Hamunaptra. Imhotep descended from a sand dune with considerably more grace, squinting into the desert sun. That noise...he had never seen or heard an airplane before, but he sensed the approach of the woman's lover, the Med-Jai leader and two others. Somehow they had escaped his crowd of followers.
If you want something done right, do it yourself, he thought in disgust. It seemed that was still true, even after all these centuries.
He gazed intensely in the direction of his approaching enemies, summoning his powers over the sands. His two travelling companions gasped as a gigantic wall of sand erupted from the desert and began to pursue the small airplane. He opened his mouth as if to yawn, and a mirror image of himself appeared in the wall of sand, attempting to "eat" the plane.
The woman protested and his servant said something smug. He tried to shut them out. He couldn't afford any distractions at the moment. He needed to concentrate on what he was--
She was kissing him. What in a thousand and one Arabian nights...?
For a split second he wanted to lose himself in the moment and believe it was somehow Anck-su-Namun who was desperately crushing his lips with hers. He fought to shake off the illusion. It was just this oddly-familiar other woman, and she was desperate not out of passion but out of concern for her friends in the plane.
He realized all this, but too late. His concentration had been broken, and the wall of sand began to collapse in on itself. He whirled to look, but there was nothing he could do. No matter, though. The woman's interference had come too late. The plane crashed behind a sand dune. Those meddlers were out of the way. It wasn't done as neatly as he had planned, thanks to that woman and her unwanted kiss, but the end result was the same.
No, wait... He cast out a probing thought and found that three of the four men on the airplane had survived. He swore silently.
Not trusting himself to speak, he silently led the way into Hamunaptra.
He wandered ahead, nearly forgetting the two others following him. This place brought back to many memories--most of them unpleasant. Lost in thought, he finally led them to a particular wall. There was nothing unusual about it to the untrained eye, but Imhotep's sixth sense was infallible. He opened one of the canopic jars and blew its dust at the wall. Immediately, two mummified figures came to life and crawled out of the wall, awkwardly stumbling toward him to bow in the traditional greeting. He bowed his head in return.
"Kill them and wake the others," he told the creatures who had once been his priests.
While the mummified priests attacked the intruders and his servant wandered off to he-cared-not-where, he prepared for the ceremony. He tied the woman to the same altar he had planned to use all those years ago, next to the pitiful mummified form of his true love. There were plenty of people laid to rest in Hamunaptra, but his heart had led him straight to Anck-su-Namun's body without hesitation.
He ran a tender hand over her linen-wrapped face and murmured her name. Soon, he promised.
His priests gathered around--those who weren't busy fighting his enemies--and chanted along with him as he read from the Book of the Dead. Once more the sacred pool bubbled and churned to life as Anck-su-Namun's spirit fluttered forth. It oozed past the sacrifice and entered the female mummy beside her. Anck-su-Namun gasped and opened her eyes. Imhotep's heart sang. She was confused, disoriented and physically fragile--but alive.
Now to keep her that way, once and for all.
He raised a gold ceremonial dagger, preparing to drive it into the chest of the sacrificial woman. He wouldn't enjoy killing her, but any price was worth paying if it brought back Anck-su-Namun.
"With your death, Anck-su-Namun shall live," he said, feeling he at least owed her an explanation. "And I shall be invincible!" He clenched his teeth, tensing up for the fatal downward stabbing motion.
Someone shouted from atop the flight of stone stairs, and he looked up to see one of the interlopers holding up a large golden book.
"The Book of Amun-Ra..." Imhotep whispered. The power contained in that book could kill him, or at the last make him mortal again. Either way, it was a threat that had to be dealt with immediately.
He laid the ceremonial dagger beside this beloved's drowsy form and headed off toward the man with the Book. As he neared the stairs, he turned back toward an odd noise. O'Connell was attempting to cut the sacrificial woman free! Imhotep angrily commanded the priests to kill him. No one, not even the gods themselves, would stop him now.
The idiot with the book read from the cover, inadvertently summoning a horde of soldier mummies. The soldiers prepared to attack the interlopers, and Imhotep grinned. Thanks, he thought to the one with the Book. You saved me the trouble!
He watched with admiration as Anck-su-Namun shakily got to her feet and grabbed the golden dagger. Before the woman could back away, Anck-su-Namun took after her with the shining blade. If Imhotep wasn't able to complete the sacrifice to make her whole, she could do it herself.
O'Connell was busy fighting the soldier mummies. Suddenly, the other man figured out the last symbol and finished reading the inscription on the cover of the Book of Amun-Ra. The soldiers stopped in their tracks just seconds before killing O'Connell. Panicked, Imhotep shouted, "Destroy him! I command you to destroy him!"
The soldiers ignored him.
Behind him, he heard the man with the book say in flawless ancient Egyptian, "Destroy Anck-su-Namun!"
Imhotep gaped in horror. "Anck-su-Namun!" he screamed. She looked up at the warning, pausing in her quest to kill the other woman. "Give me that book!" he demanded of the man. He tried to snatch it away, but before he could a heart-rending scream rang out. Imhotep turned and stood helplessly as, for the second time, he saw only the silhouette of his beloved being killed.
No! He quivered in anger and grief, then turned back to the man with the Book. "Now you die!" he snarled, attempting to strangle him.
A sword blade swished out of nowhere to sever his arm. Still immortal, he felt no pain, just anger. He snatched up the arm and jammed it back on, then returned his attention to killing O'Connell.
Just as he was about to crush the life out of this meddlesome man, his powerful hands locked around his neck, he heard that same female voice reading aloud once more. This time it was not from the Book of the Dead, but from the Book of Amun-Ra.
He stopped and turned to stare. No. She wouldn't--
But she did. She finished reading the spell, and a sudden flash of blue light flooded the dark temple. Osiris himself galloped forward on a ghostly chariot and snatched away Imhotep's immortality. He tried running after it, to no avail. The god and his invincibility were both gone into the ether.
Those rotten, interfering morons! How dare they?!
He resumed his attack, but this time his opponent was ready for him. In his blind hatred, Imhotep failed to notice the man's sword.
This time he felt pain. Plenty of it. He glanced down in disbelief at the sword run through his stomach. The man yanked the blade free, and Imhotep staggered backward, clutching the wound.
He had been beyond physical pain for so long that he had nearly forgotten what it was like. Nearly.
He reeled backward in agony, straight into the oily waters of the temple's pool. The cursed liquid immediately reversed his regeneration, and felt his body rotting away in an instant. He glared up at the people who had ruined everything. Before his vocal chords deteriorated, he managed to say, "Death is only the beginning." He knew the woman, at least, understood. This was not the end. He had gone through far too much and clung to hope and love for far too long for it to end like this.
Then the blackness rushed up to reclaim him once more.