Summary: An investigation into the deaths of archaeologists leads Mulder and Scully into an adventure that spans centuries...
Author's notes: -While it isn't absolutely necessary that you see The Mummy before you read this, it definitely helps. You might not understand some of the references without it. Also, this story gives away the ending of the movie. Your best bet if you haven't seen it: go rent it, watch it, then read this story! Even if you're not really into Egyptian stuff or Brendan Fraser
Enjoy the story!!
Erica Browne wiped the beads of sweat off her forehead. She spat dust out of her mouth, then climbed down into the ruins. The oppressive heat of the desert afternoon gave way to the cool, musty smell of the ancient tunnels. She flicked on her high-powered flashlight and waited for the rest of her team.
When all four of the archaeologists had entered the crumbling ruins, they headed deeper into the structure. Erica was tense with anticipation as she searched for anything of value. She furrowed her brows in curiosity at the lack of paintings or hieroglyphs on the walls.
When they reached a pile of fallen stone, Erica grimaced. But she dug in, pulling the rocks away to reveal the passageway beyond.
"Whatever created this rubble must've been some disaster," she said aloud as she wriggled her way through the small opening.
"No kidding," responded someone behind her. They continued through the small tunnel, looking carefully for remnants of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
A high-pitched, scurrying noise stopped them in their tracks. Erica shined her flashlight about, but saw no trace of the source.
"Scarabs?" one of the other archaeologists asked.
Erica nodded and moved forward more cautiously.
They continued on to a small chamber, but the door on the other side was blocked by more fallen stone. Without a word, the team set to work pulling the rock away.
They had almost finished when a low rumble echoed through the chamber. Erica and the others looked about warily.
"Shifting stone?" one man whispered.
No one made a reply. After a moment, they returned to the pile, listening carefully.
Suddenly, the ground behind them burst upwards. Out of the top of the small mound flowed a horde of scuttling, hungry scarab beetles. The team tried to scurry through the rocks, only to watch one person be devoured alive by the insects. One by one, the beetles swarmed the archaeologists.
Spurred onward by the tortured screams of the others, Erica squeezed through the small opening in the rubble. She raced down the passage, hearing the scarabs following right behind.
Erica came out of the tunnel in a large chamber filled with glittering riches. She slowed momentarily in shock, by was quickly urged on by the nearing beetles. The sight of a lone skeleton on the ground put a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, but she scrambled on.
The flashlight beam suddenly flicked off, and Erica found herself stumbling over small statues and gold furniture. As she hit the ground, her final scream of agony was accompanied by an unearthly roar...
Special Agent Dana Scully trudged into the small basement office. She dropped her purse by the door, then sunk into the chair across from her partner, Fox Mulder. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back gratefully as the fan swept a cool breeze over her.
"Do you have any idea how hot it is out there?" she asked, sitting upright.
Mulder looked up from his reading and shrugged.
Scully continued, "When I stopped at the bank this morning, the board out front read 93 degrees. And it's only nine in the morning!"
Mulder gave her a sly smile.
"What?" she asked. She was almost afraid to find out what was running through his mind.
He glanced down at the book in his hand, then back up at Scully. "Does the heat really bother you that much?"
Scully's eyebrows shot up in suspicion. "Mulder," she said slowly, "what are you reading about?"
He held up the book for her to see. "Ancient Egypt. More specifically Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead."
Scully rolled her eyes, and Mulder tossed a casefile across the desk to her. "Hamunaptra was a hidden city of ancient Egypt, supposedly the resting place for all the wealth of the pharaohs. It's long been hidden, the subject of only speculation and hope. Three months ago, a group of archaeologists from American University came into possession of a map. Now who drew it for them is unknown, but it gave the exact location of Hamunaptra. They set out for the site three weeks ago. Then, almost two weeks ago, they all disappeared."
Scully looked up at Mulder. "Well, what does that have to do with us? With the X-Files?" she asked.
Mulder smirked at her. "According to ancient texts, the city of Hamunaptra was cursed. Few people have ever returned from there. There's also a story that surfaced during the late 1920's about a cursed mummy that was brought back from the dead, and terrorized Cairo."
Scully snorted. "You don't honestly believe that, do you?" she asked. "That a person who died centuries ago - millennia ago - could come back to life?"
"Stranger things have happened," Mulder responded, then paused. "So I ask you again, does the heat really bother you that much?"
Sighing with resignation, Scully tossed the file onto the desk and sat back. "I take it we're going to Egypt."
Mulder frowned at her. "Come on, Scully, haven't you ever wanted to visit Egypt?"
"Of course I have," she answered. "I still do." She looked up at him with a pitying smile. "But Mulder, you picked a really lousy excuse, you know that?"
Mulder only shrugged, and handed her the envelope with her plane ticket.
Scully groaned with exhaustion. Beside her, Mulder bit his lip in frustration.
"Mulder, no one's going to agree to take us out there," Scully said. She wiped her face with her sleeve. "It's too damn hot!"
A tall man approached them. His face was grizzled with stubble, and his hair cropped short into a buzz cut.
"You two are looking to go to Hamunaptra?" he asked.
Mulder and Scully looked at each other, then at the man in front of them. "Yes," Mulder said simply.
"I'll take you - for a price," the man said. "Two thousand, in American."
Scully's jaw dropped in shock. "We can't-"
"We'll take it," Mulder interrupted her. Scully started at him, open-mouthed.
The man nodded. "My name's Daniel Karloff. I'll meet you at Giza Port tomorrow morning at dawn," he stated. Mulder nodded, and the man disappeared.
Scully pinned Mulder with an accusative stare and reprimanded, "Mulder, you know the Bureau's not going to cover a $2,000 guide to a so-called cursed city! And for all we know, this guy could be a terrorist...or - or..."
"We don't have much choice," responded Mulder. "I'll cover it." He sighed loudly, and took a drink from a water bottle. "Nobody else here is willing to go to Hamunaptra. Everyone we've talked to has been terrified of it."
Scully wrinkled her nose. "I guess we've only got one day left with air conditioning and a bathtub, huh?" She turned to lead Mulder back to their hotel. "Might as well make use of it."
En route to Hamunaptra
Perched on the back of a camel, Mulder looked around eagerly. All that greeted his sight was empty desert and darkness. Nevertheless, he grinned like a little kid.
On the other hand, Scully was regretting her decision to venture into the desert. "At the risk of sounding like a whiny child, how much farther is it?"
Karloff glanced back at her. His Dallas Cowboys hat was pulled low over his face, hiding his eyes. "Not much farther, now," he answered.
Scully frowned at the enigmatic reply, then sat back. Beside her, Mulder reached down to rub the camel's head. She smiled ruefully at him. "Is that why you wanted to come out here? Just to ride a camel?"
"Not particularly," Mulder responded. "But now that we're out here, I love it!"
Scully's camel made a noise not unlike a human belch. Her face scrunched up in mild disgust as she closed her eyes and imagined a nice, refreshing bath...
She nearly ran into Karloff as he stopped suddenly.
"What is it?" asked Mulder.
Karloff gestured toward the horizon. "Now we wait for sunrise."
Scully looked where he had indicated, but saw no signs of Hamunaptra. The sky beyond turned the deepest shade of red as the sun began its ascent. "Why?"
Karloff made no reply; he only focused his attention on the desert beyond.
Then, as if by magic, an outline shimmered into existence. As the sun rose, the outline became a solid rock formation, then a series of crumbling and fallen pillars. Mulder and Scully watched in fascination as the city of Hamunaptra appeared mysteriously before their eyes.
Without warning, Karloff urged his camel on, moving toward the ruins. The agents gaped at the ruins before them, at the immensity of the site.
"Wow," Mulder said softly as they entered the city. On either side, tall cliffs protected the ruins. Huge blocks of stone lay on the ground where they had fallen years before.
"There's the archaeologists camp," Scully pointed out. Off to the side, several tents had been set up, although it looked like at a couple of them had been torched. "You think terrorists did this?" she asked.
Mulder climbed down off his camel and looked over the camp. "Possibly," he answered, although Scully knew he didn't really believe it. Scully climbed off her own camel and joined Mulder.
Karloff called to them from a distance. "This looks like a good place to set up camp!"
Scully looked at the tents, back at Mulder, then left to help set up.
None of them noticed the man on the top of the cliff, watching them closely.
Mulder quickly tied off the rope at the top, then tossed the other end into the tunnel. He gave it a good tug and moved aside. "Ladies first," he joked.
Scully rolled her eyes and took the rope from him. Carefully, she dropped over the ledge and lowered herself into the cavern below. Moments later, she was joined by Mulder and Karloff. The trio flicked on their flashlights and scanned the room around them.
"Look at that," Mulder breathed. He looked around at the stone slabs and torch holders. "I bet this is where they made the mummies..."
Scully brushed the dust off her shirt, then ventured toward the passageway ahead of them. Mulder joined her, but Karloff hung back nervously. The two agents led the search through the tunnels, memorizing the layout of the ruins as they went.
"God, it smells rank in here," Scully muttered, pressing her sleeve up to her nose. "Poor air circulation."
Mulder nodded. "Or a body."
Scully shot him a look, then turned again to look for anything of note.
As they combed through the labyrinthine corridors, the scuttle of bugs startled them. "What was that?" asked Scully nervously.
Mulder shone his flashlight toward the ceiling, but saw nothing. "Beetles," he murmured. "Scarabs."
Scully wrinkled her nose in distaste, then turned back to the task at hand.
When they finally stopped for a break, Karloff was nowhere to be seen. "Where'd he get to?" asked Scully, the disdain evident in her voice.
"Maybe he got lost," answered Mulder.
Scully shook her head vehemently. "No, no he was right behind us. I think we've been ditched, Mulder."
Mulder swore under his breath and rubbed his eyes.
A low groan echoed through the tunnels, startling Mulder and Scully.
"What was that?" Mulder asked.
Scully swallowed heavily. "The wind?" she replied, a bit unsure of herself.
"I don't think so," answered Mulder. He scrutinized the room surrounding them, then stopped beside her.
"I think our friend must be trying to trick us," Scully tried. "We better get back to the surface before we get left behind."
Mulder nodded his assent and moved toward the passage out. Suddenly, a glimmer of light caught his eye.
"Scully," he said. She looked at him with a curious frown, the followed him to a small opening underneath a stone door.
Mulder lay flat on his stomach, then wriggled his way through. Scully followed behind, slipping through the gap much more easily than Mulder had.
What they saw inside made them gasp in shock. All around the room, glittering treasures were piled high, and gold statues lined the path. Rare gems encrusted the loot. The room seemed to extend indefinitely, bound only by walls that neither Mulder nor Scully could see.
"I have never seen so much..." Mulder trailed off.
Scully nodded mutely and wandered amongst the piles. "There's got to be billions of dollars worth of gold alone in here..."
"Somehow, the phrase 'the wealth of Egypt' just doesn't do it justice," added Mulder.
Another sight, laying in the middle of the path, caught Scully's eye. "Mulder, come take a look at this."
Mulder jogged to her side and wrinkled his nose. "Who got caught?"
Scully inpected the skeleton, looking it over carefully. She noted the fez on the ground, then shook her head. "I don't know, but this skeleton looks like it's been here for decades."
Several yards away, Mulder grunted in disgust. "Not this one."
Scully hurried to his side and studied the body. Although it was undoubtedly recent, much of the flesh had already been eaten away. "Oooo..." Scully covered her mouth and nose with her hand. "Something tells me we're gonna need a dental cast to identify this one."
A high-pitched trill froze the agents. "What was that?" Scully whispered. "More scarabs?"
Mulder nodded slowly. "Yeah, and it sounded like a lot of them."
They stood and looked about, but saw no sign of the flesh- eating insects.
"Let's get out of here, Mulder," Scully urged.
"Yeah..." They turned and jogged back the way they'd come, but stopped dead in their tracks as a flood of scarabs rushed through the hole.
Mulder and Scully jumped back. "Shit!" Mulder exclaimed as he turned in the other direction. Scully followed closely behind, glancing back at the pursuing beetles.
Scully ran into Mulder as he stopped. "Wha...?"
Then she saw the solid wall before them. Behind, the scarabs closed in, surrounding them.
"Mulder..." Scully nearly whimpered.
They backed against the wall, eyeing the scarabs.
Unknowingly, Mulder backed into a small stone lever. His weight pushed it down, but he didn't take notice.
Then, a beam of light began to glimmer behind them. It spread across several feet of the wall.
In a last attempt to escape the scarabs, Mulder and Scully backed into the light where the wall had previously existed. Suddenly, they found themselves falling backwards into the pool of light, which promptly closed up behind them...
Scully's eyes drifted open and she groaned as pain shot through her temples. She reached up to rub her head gingerly, wondering if she was dead. Then, stiffly, she pulled herself into a sitting position. She was nearly forced back down as a wave of dizziness swept over her. Stifling it as best she could, she looked around for Mulder.
He lay several feet away, unmoving. Scully hurried to his side, methodically checking his condition. Satisfied, she shook his arm gently. "Mulder," she said softly, "Mulder."
He grunted as he came to, squeezing his eyes shut in pain. He finally sat up, then looked at Scully questioningly. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she replied in characteristic fashion. She stood on still-unsteady feet, then reached down to give Mulder a hand up.
Mulder frowned as he glanced over the room. "Where'd the scarabs go?"
"I don't know," replied Scully with a shrug. "Maybe they weren't hungry."
Mulder gave her an uncertain look. "Scully, I don't think there's much to keep them fed down here."
As Scully wandered back the way they'd come, she replied, "Unless they've just dined on a team of archaeologists."
At the mention of the team, Mulder stopped in his tracks and scanned the ground. "That body, Scully, the recent one - where is it?"
"Well, it was right over - " Scully turned to point it out to Mulder, but it was gone. All that covered the ground was sand. "Where...?"
Mulder knelt by the old skeleton. "Doesn't this look less decayed to you?" he asked.
Scully looked it over quickly, then shook her head. "I think you're imagining things, Mulder." She wrinkled her nose, then looked around at the treasures. "Let's get out of here while we still can."
Mulder nodded. "Hey, where's my gun?" he exclaimed. He shined the light around, searching for it on the ground, but it was nowhere to be seen.
"Mine's gone, too!" Scully called, the irritation permeating her voice.
Accepting it as lost - again - he then turned to the piles of riches. "Might as well make a little profit," he said, just barely audible. Scully was about to lecture him on taking things from a tomb and trying to get it past customs, but she decided that Mulder wouldn't listen to her anyway. Mulder grabbed several coins and stuffed them in his pocket. "Nobody'll miss it," he explained with a smile. "Besides, it'll cover travel expenses."
Scully rolled her eyes, then grabbed a coin for a souvenir.
They returned to the door they'd come in, only to find it blocked by rubble.
Scully's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Wait a minute, did I miss something here? When did this cave in?"
Mulder shook his head and turned the other way, looking for another exit. They moved about the chamber, checking each pathway. Finally, they found a small door where much of the rubble had fallen away. Mulder pulled the remaining few stones out of the way, and Scully climbed through ahead of him.
The passage in which they found themselves was unfamiliar. Scully swore in frustration and swung the flashlight around. She wandered through the corridor, pausing at the next room. "Right or left?" she asked Mulder over her shoulder.
"I don't know. Pick left," answered Mulder.
Scully shot him a warning look, then took his advice. The ground began to gradually slope up, and Scully hoped it was the right way rather than a dead end.
"You know," Mulder said as they walked. "I haven't seen any hieroglyphics or paintings on the walls here. Not even in that treasure room."
"Is that odd?"
Mulder nodded. "Yeah, I would've thought we'd at least see some in that chamber, but there were none." At Scully's uninterested nod, he continued. "See, when I was at Oxford, I became really interested in Egyptian stuff. The museums in London had plenty of mummies and artifacts and such, being as Egypt used to be under British control. So I started reading about the ancient civilization, the culture. It fascinated me. I'd read about Hamunaptra, but everything I'd read dismissed it as a fairy tale. I still can't believe I'm actually here."
Scully sneezed as she breathed in dust. "Yeah, well, at this rate, you could be here awhile longer."
They entered a tall room, and on their left, the pathway dropped off into oblivion. Scully and Mulder looked over the edge nervously as they passed through, then continued on their way.
A few minutes later, they arrived at an opening to the outside. They both heaved a sigh of relief, then walked out into the bright sunlight.
Shielding his eyes, Mulder scanned the desert. "Um, Scully, where's camp? And the archaeologists' tents?"
Scully looked up in alarm, searching for any sign of their supplies, but all that greeted her sight were cliffs, stone, and sand. "He ditched us!" she exclaimed angrily. "That rat bastard ditched us!"
She strode out into the sand, hoping to catch a glimpse of their guide making his escape. Eyes narrowed, she turned to Mulder. "Now what? He has all our food, our water, and our shelter."
Mulder looked up at the setting sun, then shook his head. "It'll be dark soon. I don't think we could find our way out of here by day, let alone by night. We'll have to wait for morning." He pulled out his water bottle, then shook it. Grimacing, he took a sip. "We'll have to make what we've got last."
Scully sighed in frustration, then headed back to the shade of the ruins. She sat back against the stone, closing her eyes. Mulder sat next to her silently. Scully immediately knew what he was thinking.
"Mulder, this is *not* your fault," she emphasized.
Mulder shook his head. "I was the one who insisted that he take us out here. If I had passed on the offer, we wouldn't be out here."
Scully grabbed his arm. "Mulder, he was the only one willing to take us out here. I probably would've done the same thing. Maybe not quite as quickly as you, but I would've accepted his offer in the end," she told him.
Mulder looked down at his lap.
"We'll be fine," Scully said, although she obviously was unsure of herself.
"It's not me that I'm worried about," Mulder said softly.
Scully's face hardened into a frown. "Mulder," she warned, "I can handle it. I'm not an invalid, okay?"
Mulder looked back up at her and shrugged. "I'm just concerned, that's all," he said finally.
Scully relaxed a bit, accepting his answer for the time being. Then, as a strong gust of wind blew through, she huddled up to protect herself from the stinging sand. Mulder scooted closer, using his body to shield her. Scully smiled gratefully, then rested her head on his arm. They watched as the sun sunk back below the horizon, and the sky faded from blue to red to purple and finally to black. Eventually, they drifted off to sleep.
Later That Night
Scully awoke groggily, rubbing her eyes. She looked around, wondering what had roused her. Mulder was sleeping soundly, and nothing else made a sound. She frowned in confusion, then settled in to go back to sleep.
Just as she was about to fall asleep, a low voice growled. She sat up, alert, listening for the noise again. Moments later, a soft, rumbling voice called her name. She tensed and extricated herself from Mulder, then stood up. She scanned the area around the ruins, but saw no sign of the intruder.
/Forget it, Dana,/ she thought. /Your mind is playing tricks on you./ She sat back down against Mulder, who barely stirred. Unsettled, she remained awake until the sun rose the next morning.
The grunting of camels caught Scully's attention. She looked up eagerly, hoping that their guide had returned. Then, shaking Mulder awake, she stood up and shielded her eyes from the glare of the sun. s soon as he heard the noise, Mulder jumped up beside her.
In the distance, three camels and their riders materialized. Mulder and Scully glanced at each other, then hurried out of the shelter of the ruins. They waved their arms in the air, calling for the caravan's attention. Then, the group turned in their direction. Scully breathed a sigh of relief as the trio approached.
The first man climbed off his camel and walked over to where the agents stood. He was tall, and even had a few inches on Mulder. His brown hair hung in his eyes, and his clothes looked worn and dirty. Scully hid a blush as she realized how handsome he looked. He scrutinized Mulder and Scully closely, then asked, "You two all right?"
Mulder and Scully nodded slowly. Mulder explained, "We came out here with a guide, but we were ditched soon after we arrived."
The man smiled grimly and nodded. "Welcome to Egypt."
Scully raised an eyebrow and glanced from the man to Mulder, and back to the man again. "This is a regular occurrence?"
"How do you think these 'guides' make their living?" he said with a snort. "You're lucky you actually got here." He paused. "The name's O'Connell. Rick O'Connell." He shook Mulder and Scully's hands. "And you would be?"
"Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, with the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation," Mulder explained.
O'Connell looked at them like they were crazy. "The what?" At their equally confused looks, he shrugged it off. "Never mind, I haven't been back there in awhile."
Then, O'Connell gestured to the two people traveling with him. They climbed off their own camels, and walked over to where the agents stood.
"This is Evelyn Carnahan," O'Connell introduced. A young woman came forward and shook their hands. She had long, dark brown hair which was pulled up in a practical braid. Her eyes showed a hint of the characteristic Egyptian eyebrows.
"How do you do," she greeted in a British accent.
Another man stepped forward, much shorter and less muscular than O'Connell. "And this," O'Connell continued, "is Jonathan Carnahan, her brother." Shaking his hand, Mulder and Scully stood back.
"How long have you been here?" O'Connell asked.
"About a day. We lost our guide yesterday afternoon," answered Mulder. "We were down in the ruins, when he just sort of vanished from behind us."
Jonathan swallowed visibly, then tried to compose himself. "You're here for the trea - " He stopped abruptly as O'Connell kicked his ankle. "What are you here for?" he asked, his voice wavering under his British accent.
Scully explained their job at Hamunaptra.
Evelyn frowned. "There was a team on a dig here? I didn't hear of any digs at Hamunaptra!"
Mulder shrugged. "Well, they vanished a couple of weeks ago. When we got here, we found their camp ransacked and a couple of their tents burned." He gestured toward an open area. "It *was* over there, but it looks like our guide took not only our supplies but theirs as well."
O'Connell scrutinized them, then asked, "You've been inside?"
Scully nodded. "Yeah, yesterday."
"How far did you go in?" O'Connell asked.
Scully thought about it for a moment. "Well, we went through a series of tunnels until we came to...a large room," she finished.
"Uh-huh. This room wouldn't happen to be full of treasure, would it?"
Uncomfortably, Scully nodded.
"That's what I thought."
"You've been here before," Mulder stated rather than asked.
O'Connell looked at Mulder critically. "We've been here a couple of times, yes."
"Then what are you here for again, if you don't mind my asking?" Scully queried. "Or is it just for the treasure?"
"Actually," Evelyn broke in, "we're here looking for a certain artifact. One that we're sure is here."
Mulder nodded. "The Book of Amun-Ra?"
Evelyn looked at him in shock. "You know about it?"
"Yeah," replied Mulder, "I have a special interest in Egyptian history. Specifically, the more...unscientific aspects of it."
Evelyn, Jonathan, and O'Connell all stared at him nervously.
"I'll go get my tools," Evelyn said suddenly. She hurried off to the camels.
Mulder turned to O'Connell. "In any case, can we hitch a ride back with you?" he queried.
O'Connell's jaw tightened and he nodded reluctantly. "We'll be here overnight. We leave in the morning," he replied in a curt voice. With that, he strode away, and Jonathan followed close behind.
Scully turned to Mulder uneasily. "Why do I get the feeling they're hiding something?"
"Because they are," Mulder answered. He watched from a distance as Evelyn unpacked her tools and carried them over to the crumbling door through which Mulder and Scully had left the ruins. O'Connell joined her a moment later, appeared to argue with her, then stalked away again. Mulder bit his lip, then glanced back at Scully. "I think it's time that we go back down, don't you?"
Some Time Later
Jonathan and Evelyn grabbed a pair of torches and lit them as they prepared to go into the ruins. Mulder and Scully pulled out their high-powered flashlights, curious as to why the others only used torches. As they flicked the lights on, Jonathan, Evelyn, and O'Connell looked at them in amazement.
"What the *hell* is that?" asked O'Connell, eying the flashlights.
Mulder frowned at him. "A flashlight."
"A flashlight. You know, push the button, the bulb lights up," Mulder said sarcastically.
"What do you think this is, the next millennium?" asked Jonathan.
Mulder and Scully only looked at each other.
"For God's sake, I didn't even know they made those things. This is 1930, not 2000!" he exclaimed.
"But it is 2000," insisted Mulder. He held out his watch to show Jonathan, but Jonathan only laughed. Mulder looked down at his watch and saw that it had broken, and nothing was displayed on its digital face.
O'Connell broke in between them with a torch, intending to go inside. "Oh, this place is really old anyway," he stated. "Let's just get this over with." He ducked inside the ruins, holding the torch out in front of him. Evelyn, Jonathan, Mulder, and Scully followed behind him.
As O'Connell led the way, Jonathan stepped nervously around every rock as if it were going to attack him. He glanced around constantly, searching for anything that could possibly hurt him. Evelyn seemed a bit more relaxed, but even she tensed as they navigated the passages. O'Connell was wary, but of the three, he seemed the least worried.
The sound of scarabs overhead stopped the group. They froze in a momentary panic, and only eased slightly when they realized that the beetles were above them.
They crawled into the large treasure chamber, and Jonathan and O'Connell broke into grins.
"O'Connell, you think we'll actually have the chance to take some this time?" Jonathan asked eagerly as they meandered through the huge room.
O'Connell smiled and a glimmer of greed sparkled in his eye. "Of course we will." His grin turned into a disappointed frown. "But first things first. We get the book."
Jonathan sighed in resignation, but looked around the room as far as he could see. He sized up the gold statues, trying to determine how much of it he could load up onto a camel.
Gazing around, Evelyn's face drooped. "This was so much more impressive-looking when it was lit by those mirrors. I wonder if they're still around here somewhere..." She craned her neck to look, but didn't spot what she was searching for.
At the other end of the room, they dug a hole out that was big enough for them to fit through. They wiggled through the opening, then continued onward.
Finally, they stopped at the top of a large stairwell. O'Connell, Evelyn, and Jonathan looked down at the room below with nervous anticipation.
"You all ready to go back down there?" O'Connell asked. He held the torch out, then slowly moved down the steps. The others followed cautiously, casting uneasy glances about the chamber.
The room was cluttered with rubble, but its purpose was unmistakable.
"This must've been where they performed the rituals," Mulder said quietly, taking in the sight.
Ahead of him, Evelyn nodded. "It was," she answered gravely. She eyed the altar, then took another step away from it. Then, they turned to a pit that had obviously once contained water. She looked down inside, then jumped back.
"He's down there," she whispered to O'Connell. The tall man approached the pit, then peered inside. His face twisted into a grimace. Jonathan looked in with near horror on his face.
"The book is on top of him!" he exclaimed. "I'm not going down to get it!"
"Well, *I'm* not going to touch him!" Evelyn added firmly.
O'Connell shot them both a look. "I killed the guy, don't I get some credit for that?"
Mulder and Scully exchanged confused looks.
Scully broke in, annoyed. "I'll do it. It's just a body."
Mulder watched as she tied off the rope and dropped the end over the ledge. "Easy for you to say, Scully, you cut 'em up," he muttered.
Ignoring the comment, Scully lowered herself into the pit. Holding on with one arm, she reached down to the golden book below her to pick it up. As she did so, her hand brushed the body beneath.
It was still juicy.
She yanked her hand back in disgust, then quickly snatched the book up. She was surprised at how heavy it was.
As she did so, an unearthly groan howled through the room.
She heard the three adventurers above start to fret and argue amongst themselves. Scully shook her head and wondered why they blew the importance of the sound out of proportion.
Hastily, she shoved the book into the bag on her back and hurried back up.
As she hauled herself over the ledge, Evelyn eagerly awaited the book.
"What is this thing made out of?" Scully complained as she pulled the Book of Amun-Ra out of her bag. She struggled to get a good look at it in the poor light.
"Pure gold," murmured Evelyn.
Scully's eyes went wide, and she turned to Mulder. He nodded in confirmation.
"Now, let's get out of here!" Jonathan exclaimed as his sister looked the book over triumphantly.
Scully turned to Mulder. "Mulder, we still need to find the archaeologists," she told him as they hurried out of the chamber.
With a frown, Mulder replied, "I'm not so sure we're going to find them."
"And why is that?"
Mulder paused a moment before replying. "Because I don't think they've been born yet."
Scully's mouth hung agape. "You don't seriously believe that, do you?"
"I think Hamunaptra is holding more secrets than anyone could find," Mulder answered cryptically.
As if on cue, a cold wind rushed through the tunnels, blowing out the torches. Luckily, Mulder and Scully's flashlights kept the passage lit, but O'Connell, Evelyn, and Jonathan were seeming more and more unnerved with each unexplained incident.
The group made it out of the ruins in record time.
Evelyn sat alone at the fire, studying the cover of the book in her hands. She fingered the inscriptions, reading quietly to herself. Then, pulling a small box from her pocket, she flipped it open and placed it over the lock on the book. She turned the key gently until the latches clicked open, then pulled the book open almost reverently.
"Mind if I join you?" Scully sat down next to her, glancing at the book.
"Not at all," Evelyn replied. She held the book up for Scully to see. "The Book of Amun-Ra. In my opinion, it's the greatest book ever written."
Scully raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Why is that?"
Evelyn set the book down in her lap, then turned to Scully. "The ancient Egyptians recorded their most sacred spells in here. Well, here and in the Book of the Dead; with the difference being intent. To read from the Book of the Dead, well, it's supposed to be able to bring people back to life."
Scully snorted. "I don't believe in that kind of thing," she said firmly.
"Well, it's true," answered Evelyn.
Scully gave her a disbelieving look. "And you know this how?"
Evelyn paused and looked down at the book she held. "I've done it."
"You've brought someone back from the dead?" Scully repeated.
Evelyn nodded. "I was here looking for artifacts and happened to get ahold of the Book of the Dead. As soon as I started reading it..." She saw Scully's doubting face, then hurried to tell the story.
"In 1290 B.C., there was a high priest by the name of Imhotep. He had an affair with the pharaoh's mistress. When the pharaoh found out, Imhotep and the mistress, Anck-su-namun, murdered him. Imhotep escaped before the pharaoh's bodyguards entered, but Anck-su-namun killed herself. Imhotep stole her body, and took it back to Hamunaptra to perform a ritual that would bring her back to life. But the pharaoh's bodyguards interrupted the ritual before it could be completed. Imhotep's priests were all mummified alive, and Imhotep himself went through the Hom-Dai, the worst of all Egyptian curses. He was placed in a locked sarcophagus in Hamunaptra, and the pharaoh's bodyguards have remained for centuries to keep Imhotep from being brought back," Evelyn finished.
Scully was silent for a moment. "And you brought him back," she said finally.
"And the Book of Amun-Ra...?" Scully trailed off, holding up her hands.
"Kills him," Evelyn answered. "Or rather, makes him mortal, and he can be killed like anyone else."
Scully shook her head. "I'm sorry, I just don't believe in that sort of thing."
Evelyn shrugged brusquely and stood. "Suit yourself. But I know from experience what these books are capable of." She paused. "I've got to go find Rick."
Scully watched her go, then turned back to the fire.
Faintly, Scully heard a voice call her name. She looked around for Mulder, but he was nowhere in sight. She bit her lip nervously. "It's just your imagination," she murmured to herself. "That's all." Still, she found herself acting more on edge all night.
Elsewhere at Hamunaptra
Evelyn slipped into the tent where Rick O'Connell sat. "Hello," she said softly. "What are you doing in here?"
O'Connell looked up at her for a moment, then replied, "I don't trust them. All that stuff about investigating a disappearance? It seems like just a front."
"Whatever the case may be, we've got the Book of Amun-Ra," said Evelyn. "We'll be leaving in the morning. What could go wrong?"
Shaking his head, O'Connell stated, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's never to say those words." He paused and let out a chuckle. "Well, that and don't read from the Book of the Dead."
Evelyn smiled at him and sat down. "What are you gonna do with all the treasure you get?"
A twinkle of greed sparkled in O'Connell's eye. "Spend it, like I did the last time."
"You mean you're going to go get drunk every day," Evelyn said reproachfully.
"No, no," O'Connell insisted. "I'll spend it on something decent this time. Maybe I'll buy a house."
Evelyn sighed and looked upward in thought. "I'm not sure what I'd do," she answered. "Maybe I'd outfit my own dig, and get enough field experience to be accepted by the Bembridge scholars."
Furrowing his brows, O'Connell asked, "After all that's happened, you're still actually willing to go into tombs?"
"Sure!" she answered with a shrug. "I mean, how many times can you bring a cursed corpse back from the dead?" She thought for another moment, then added, "Maybe I'd settle down and start a family, as long as I could still make trips out to dig sites."
"Really?" O'Connell asked with a bit more enthusiasm than he'd hoped to show.
Evelyn nodded. "Of course."
O'Connell sat back and looked her straight in the eye. "Then let's get you some treasure," he said with a playful grin. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and headed out of the tent. Evelyn stared after him, a smile playing on her lips.
The Next Morning
As the group loaded their gear up onto the camels, Mulder and Scully slipped away. They stood by the entrance to the fallen city, contemplating their next move.
"Mulder, our job here is to find those archaeologists," Scully insisted. "Now, as long as we've got the chance, we might as well go back down there and look for them."
Mulder thought for a moment. "I *do* want to go back down there," he agreed. "But I still don't think we'll find them. On the other hand, I'd love to go take another look at the ruins."
Shaking her head, Scully replied, "Okay, we'll go check it out. But keep your eyes out for any sign of the team."
Mulder nodded his assent and they crept into the darkened passages. Flicking on their flashlights, they moved deeper and deeper into the complex. They passed through the huge treasure chamber, then the room where they had found the Book of Amun-Ra. Mulder looked around the room briefly, then moved through a small door across the room.
All that greeted his sight were cold, stone walls. Then, he noticed something leaning against the wall - a sarcophagus.
"Oh, look at this," he breathed, hurrying to the case. His fingers traced the remnants of the inscription. "These used to be the spells," he told Scully. "They've been carved off. This guy must've been in serious trouble."
Scully nodded. "Yeah. Evelyn told me the story last night." She quickly recounted the tale for Mulder.
"Damned for eternity. Ouch." Mulder winced. He inspected the side of the sarcophagus, noting immediately the gouges inside. He placed his fingers in the grooves - which were spaced just like the fingers on a human hand. "He was buried alive," Mulder observed. "There's scratches here where he clawed at the sarcophagus."
Scully shuddered at the thought. "Well, you said you were really into ancient Egypt. What did this curse involve?"
"I'm not really sure," Mulder replied. "I didn't read much about it. All I know is that the process itself was beyond painful. And these scarabs - " he held up an empty carapace " - would have eaten him alive, very slowly."
Setting the carapace down, Mulder looked over the inscriptions on the coffin. "He that shall not be named," he said slowly.
Scully frowned at him. "You can read it?"
"Some of it," he replied. "Having a photographic memory made learning hieroglyphics easier."
He looked around the room, searching for anything else of interest.
"Hey, what's this?" Scully asked as she picked up a chunk of stone. She handed it to Mulder, who studied it closely.
"They're...spells," he said finally. He looked at her in surprise. "I wouldn't have thought they'd put these anywhere near his resting place."
Scully shifted her weight impatiently. "Maybe they were here before he was. What does it say?"
Mulder glanced back down at the stone in concentration. "It says, and I translate roughly, 'O, Osiris, return to me the soul which has departed from my body'..."
An unearthly screech filled the chamber, and Mulder dropped the stone. They both looked up in shock as their flashlights gave out, flooding them in darkness.
Mulder grabbed Scully's arm tightly. "We are in big trouble," he whispered.
Outside the Ruins
As O'Connell threw the last bag on the camel, an all-too- familiar howl ripped through the air. He, Evelyn and Jonathan all froze in shock.
"Oh, no, not again," Evelyn murmured.
"Let's leave, now!" Jonathan yelled as he moved toward a camel.
Evelyn moved to join him, then stopped. "But the two - "
"They can find their own way back!" called Jonathan.
O'Connell shook his head. "She's right, we have to get them out of there." He grabbed a torch and lit it, and Evelyn followed suit. Jonathan reluctantly joined them.
They ventured down into the ruins, searching for Mulder and Scully. Racing through the rooms, they could only hope that the two hadn't been killed yet.
Using their knowledge of the layout of the city, they nervously avoided the ritual chamber. Within minutes, they were crawling into the tomb.
"There you are!" O'Connell exclaimed as he saw Mulder and Scully standing in the room. They quickly turned and rushed toward him. "Come on, we gotta get out of here, now!" The agents needed no further urging, and followed them out of the ruins.
The room had fallen deathly silent. Then, moving as stealthily as a cat, the form of a fully-regenerated Imhotep slid out of the pit. He looked up towards the entrance, and his eyes narrowed. With a menacing smile, he spun into a whirlwind of sand and flew out of the room.
Outside the Ruins
"Let's go, get on the camels now!" O'Connell yelled to the others.
They were halfway there when Imhotep emerged from the ruins.
He howled into the open air, and the camels spooked. They raced away, leaving the five people trapped there.
"Oh, no," Evelyn whimpered, her voice trembling. She slowly turned around, and found herself looking straight at Imhotep.
Looking over the stranded group, Imhotep raised his hands high into the air. Mulder and Scully watched in horror as an enormous wall of sand rose into the air. It swept across the site, the grains stinging their skin.
Scully hunched over and covered her eyes. She could barely make out the forms of Mulder, O'Connell, Evelyn and Jonathan. Shielding their faces from the sand, they struggled over to the side of the cliff where there was a minimal amount of shelter.
As soon as Scully pressed herself against the cliffside, the sandstorm abruptly stopped. She lowered her hand and gazed up to where Imhotep stood. It was her first good look at him. He was tall - almost as tall as O'Connell, although not nearly as slender. His head was completely shaved, and he wore a shabby robe around his shoulders.
Imhotep glared at them with contempt. "Anck-su-namun," he said plaintatively.
Then, as he raised his right hand into the sky, the cliffs around them began to tremble violently. A huge boulder dropped just inches from where Scully stood. It was followed by another, then another, cascading down around them.
Scully yelped as a rock clipped her shoulder. Mulder appeared beside her, grabbing her arm and leading her away from the unstable cliff. They stopped in the middle of the crater-like city, joining the three adventurers.
"Got any bright ideas?" asked O'Connell as he futilely aimed his gun at Imhotep.
Evelyn stammered a reply, "The...the book, where...where is it?"
Wordlessly, Imhotep took a step toward them. He crossed the sand slowly, approaching them with a smirk.
Mulder grabbed Scully's arm and pulled her behind him, while O'Connell did the same with Evelyn. The women protested, wriggling away from the over-protective men. On the other hand, Jonathan angrily demanded why he had to stand his own ground.
Evelyn searched frantically for the Book of Amun-Ra, finally spotting it on the ground some distance away. In a flash, she raced away from the group, diving at the book.
As soon as she had broken away, Imhotep moved to cut her off. He moved much more quickly than her, and easily overtook her. With barely an effort, he caught her arm and threw her into the cliff face. Evelyn slumped to the ground, unconscious. Imhotep hastily threw the book far out of reach.
"Evelyn!" Rick screamed. He raced to her side, fear and worry written on his face. Lifting her head into his lap, Rick cursed at Imhotep.
Imhotep stared at him for a moment, then turned to Mulder and Scully. He closed the distance between them rapidly.
Looking Mulder in the eye, he spoke briefly in Egyptian, then tried to move past him toward Scully. Mulder held his head up and blocked Imhotep's path. Imhotep easily knocked Mulder aside then moved toward Scully.
Her eyes widened in fear as he closed on her. She backed away nervously, but Imhotep held out a hand to her. He was nearly close enough to grab her...
A shot rang out and Imhotep fell back. A gaping hole appeared in his side, but no blood poured out.
Scully gasped in shock, then turned to the source of the shot. A hundred feet away, Jonathan stood, shakily aiming a gun at Imhotep.
Imhotep glared at him, then gave one final glance at Scully. He strode toward Jonathan, shouting in Egyptian. Jonathan backpedaled fearfully, then turned and ran.
A low grunt made O'Connell turn away. Two of the camels had returned, and the third was on the other side of the city. Seeing their chance, he lifted Evelyn into his arms and ran for the camel. Mulder and Scully saw what he was doing and made for the other one.
Imhotep ignored them, focusing on Jonathan. Terrified, Jonathan ran for the desert. He saw the others leaping onto the camels, and screamed out, "Wait for me!"
Suddenly, a blast of sand separated Jonathan from the rest of the group. He stopped so quickly that he slipped and fell, then turned in the other direction and ran. The remaining camel strode into view, and Jonathan made a break for it.
Imhotep slowed to a stop as Jonathan pulled himself up into the seat. With a good smack, the camel raced off in the direction of its companions.
Imhotep only stood and watched them go. He smiled to himself; he knew exactly where they were headed.
Cairo Two Days Later
Scully looked out over the city of Cairo. It was different than before - the buildings were shabbier, and there was no sign of technology anywhere. She had to admit, as much as it alarmed her, Mulder's theory was beginning to look true.
She glanced up at the horizon and frowned. So far, there had been no sign of Imhotep's presence. She wrapped her arms around her shoulders, flustered by the recent turn of events. Three thousand year-old corpses weren't supposed to walk again, incantation or not. And what did he want with her? While he attacked every one else, he didn't show signs of harming her or Mulder.
With a exhausted sigh, she wandered over to the bed and sat on it. She looked down at the light dress she wore, wishing that she had another pair of pants and a shirt with her. As it was, she had borrowed a dress from Evelyn, which turned out to be too large. At least it was confortable, though.
A knock on the door snapped Scully out of her thoughts. She opened it and let Mulder in. He was dressed in a set of O'Connell's clothes, with a pair of worn pants and a thin shirt. Despite the fact that they were slightly too large, Scully'e eyes lingered on him an extra moment. He looked rugged and strong, every bit the classic hero figure.
"What's up?" she asked.
Mulder shrugged. "Nothing much. O'Connell and Jonathan are down in the bar having a drink."
Scully raised an eyebrow at him. "I'm surprised you're not down there with them."
"I don't think my tolerance is as high as theirs," he replied with a laugh. "Besides, somebody's got to be sober enough to stop this guy."
Scully bit her lip and nodded. "We need to talk to them and find out what *can* stop him. For all we know, we've unleashed an absolutely unstoppable power."
Frowning, Mulder corrected, "You mean *I've* unleashed - "
"No," Scully said firmly. "We're both in this together, remember?"
Mulder sighed with resignation and nodded.
"Good. Now, let's go find Evelyn and Jonathan and O'Connell and find out how we can stop Imhotep."
Mulder sat back in his chair and rubbed his face. They were getting nowhere. "Okay," he said, "let's get back to basics. The Book of Amun-Ra was left at Hamunaptra, so it's a safe bet that Imhotep has it."
Everyone nodded in agreement.
"So," continued Mulder, "if you all brought him back from the dead the first time, what does he have against you that he'd attack you three and not Scully or me?"
Evelyn looked between Jonathan and O'Connell, then back at Mulder. "Well, *I* was the one to bring him back the first time," she stated. "Jonathan killed Anck-su-namun - "
"I didn't kill her, Evey!" Jonathan protested. "I only read the inscription - "
" - and directed the guards to kill her," finished Evelyn. "That's reason enough for Imhotep to want you dead. I was the one who read the inscription that made Imhotep mortal. Then, Rick, you actually killed him. I'd say he might be upset about that."
"Just a little," Rick replied, holding his thumb and forefinger close together.
Evelyn turned to Mulder, "You read the inscription that brought him back again." Guilt washed over Mulder's face, and Scully took his hand comfortingly. "I can say from personal experience that he tends to favor people who do that."
"What about me?"
All eyes turned toward Scully.
"He didn't even threaten to attack me. In fact, he was almost trying to be nice to me. Not that I even appreciate the attention, but why would he focus on me?" she asked.
The others looked at each other, unsure of the answer.
"That's still a mystery," Evelyn finally said.
Scully shifted uncomfortably. "Okay, so what can we do to stop him?"
O'Connell snorted. "That's the hard part," he answered. "It was damn near impossible last time, and we even knew how then."
"I think we should go back and get the Book of Amun-Ra," Evelyn stated. "It's our best chance. Maybe there's a spell in there that reverses this - maybe even the same one as before."
Jonathan shook his head. "No, I'm *not* going back there. I've had enough misfortune there as it is, the last thing I want is to go back and be ripped apart by a mummy! Besides, he wasn't brought back in the same manner as the last time. We don't even know that this will work!"
Mulder looked down at his hands. "I think going after the Book of Amun-Ra is the best chance we've got," he agreed. Jonathan looked at him in shock.
"Me too," added O'Connell.
"Me three," Scully piped up.
Jonathan looked around at everyone else, his mouth hanging open. "You're all insane!" he exclaimed.
"We'll go prepared this time," O'Connell added.
Jonathan rolled his eyes heavenward. "How do you go prepared for something that you can't fight?"
O'Connell looked directly at him. "By enlisting the help of the people who know him the best - the Med-jai." After a moment, he added, "We'll leave tomorrow morning."
Scully slept soundly, exhausted after their ordeal. She had gone to bed quickly so that she would be awake and ready to go by the time they left the next morning.
Silently, a few grains of sand trickled through the lock on her door. Then the sand began to cascade through the hole, forming a small pile on the floor. The flow of sand gradually slowed to a halt, and the pile reshaped and materialized into the form of Imhotep.
He stood tall, then gazed with admiration at Scully, who still slept. He crossed the room noiselessly, kneeling at her bedside. With one hand, he reached out to brush a lock of hair from her face.
She stirred slightly, then her eyes peered open. As soon as she realized who it was, she opened her mouth to scream. Imhotep hurriedly pressed his hand over her mouth, stifling her calls for help. He held her down on her bed, despite her wriggling.
For her part, Scully kicked and struggled with him. She tried desperately to sit up, to pull away from him, but he held tight. He was considerably larger than she was, and sheer size alone kept her pinned down.
Fear gripped her as Imhotep pulled her from the bed. He kept one hand firmly over her mouth while the other held her arms at her sides. Then, an unnatural wind picked up in the room, and the shutters flew open. Imhotep dissipated into a whirlwind of sand and flew out into the night, carrying Scully with him.
The Next Morning
Mulder pounded on Scully's door, trying to wake her up. "Scully?" he called.
He pounded again, calling her name. Worried, he backed away from the door and waited a moment. Then, taking a step back, he threw his weight into the door, breaking it in.
Inside, the room was empty.
"Scully?" he asked softly. He walked slowly into her room, noting that she was gone from the bed.
Then, he noticed a small glimmer on top of the sheets. He strode to the bedside and reached down to pick it up.
It was Scully's crucifix.
Mulder looked up in horror - he knew exactly what had happened to her.
Scully opened her eyes slowly, the room around her coming into focus. She reached up and rubbed the exhaustion from her face. Then, she reached down and found she was laying on a hard, flat surface.
A stone slab.
She pushed herself into a sitting position, and looked about. She was back at Hamunaptra, in the ritual chamber. Imhotep stood across the room, speaking softly in Egyptian. She bit her lip anxiously as she wondered what he wanted with her. She swung her feet off the slab and hopped to the ground.
On the other side of the room, Imhotep turned to look at her. A frighteningly pleasant smile crossed his face, and Scully found herself immobile with alarm. He moved toward her slowly, without making any startling movements.
"Let me go," Scully finally demanded.
Imhotep looked her in the eye. He spoke soothingly in Egyptian, but the fact that she couldn't understand him made Scully even more tense. Imhotep reached out and took hold of her arm, sending Scully into a panic. She struggled to get away, but Imhotep had a grip like iron. She was backed up against the stone altar, with nowhere to go.
Scully pulled her foot back and kicked hard at Imhotep, but he did not even flinch. She pummeled him until she was exhausted, but he didn't even seem to notice.
He reached a hand up to her face and tenderly traced one finger over her cheek. Scully froze, almost unsure whether to be terrified or flattered. Then her instincts took over and she pulled her head back. Imhotep pulled his hand back, as if recognizing some boundary, and backed off. He gave her one last look before returning to his prayer.
Mulder paced back and forth, practically wearing a hole through the floor. His eyes were unseeing, deep in thought.
A few feet away, Jonathan, Evelyn, and O'Connell sat and watched him uneasily.
"He has her, I know he does," Mulder insisted.
"Nobody's debating that," agreed O'Connell. "He almost seemed to be flirting with her."
Mulder looked up sharply, jealousy flooding his features. "I have to go after her. Now."
"Wait just one minute. We need a plan of action," Evelyn countered.
Mulder stopped and looked at her impatiently.
Jonathan thought for a moment. "What does he want with her?" he asked.
"Maybe he wants to try to resurrect Anck-su-namun again," suggested O'Connell.
Mulder frowned at him. "Why would he need Scully for that?"
O'Connell looked directly at Mulder with a tense expression. "Because he needs a human sacrifice to bring her back," he answered softly.
All the color drained out of Mulder's face and his eyes went wide. "He'll kill her?"
"Wait, wait," Evelyn broke in. "He's lost all of the canopic jars. He can't complete the ritual without them. It must be something else he's after."
Mulder shook his head vehemently. "I'm going after her, whether or not you are. I have to!" he said.
"We have no defense against him," Jonathan warned.
Mulder threw his hands into the air and retorted, "We were going to go back today anyway! We can go back and try the Book of Amun-Ra and save Scully!"
O'Connell let out a heavy breath. "As much as I hate to say it, I agree with Mulder. Whether or not he has her, we have to stop him before he destroys the world."
Evelyn nodded in agreement.
Jonathan looked between the three of them, then shook his head. "I don't know why I even bother. Let's get it over with."
Scully stood in the middle of the chamber, waiting for some sign from Imhotep as to his plans for her. She absently toed the sand with one foot while she tried to think of a way to escape.
For the most part, Imhotep had left her alone. He sat by himself, obviously thinking something over and working it out in his mind. Whatever it was, Scully wanted to know. She hated being left in the dark, it only made her more antsy.
Finally, Imhotep got to his feet and headed for Scully. She watched him closely, like a small animal watching a predator. He stopped in front of her, then took her wrist. Scully gasped and pulled away.
Imhotep held her gently but firmly as he led her out of the chamber.
"Where are we going?" Scully demanded as they ventured into the treasure room. Imhotep made no reply. Scully repeated the question, but he remained silent.
They walked through the darkened, crumbling passageways until they reached the entrance. Imhotep led her out into the hot sun, then the familiar feel of Imhotep's powers engulfed her.
Moments later, they were moving away from Hamunaptra in a cloud of sand.
Some Time Later
Mulder, O'Connell, Evelyn, and Jonathan pulled their camels up short as they approached the city of Hamunaptra. They scrambled down and jogged up to the entrance. Climbing through the tunnels, they approached the ritual chamber. Based on past experience, Evelyn had guessed that's where Imhotep would've taken Scully.
As they entered the chamber, Mulder knew right away that they were gone. He cursed loudly and kicked at the sand. Evelyn, Jonathan, and O'Connell quickly searched the room for the Book of Amun-Ra while Mulder wallowed in misery. He wandered around the room without taking his eyes off the ground.
As he neared the altar, something out of the ordinary caught his eye. There were small spirals in the sand, obviously created by someone dragging their toe through it.
"They were here!" he exclaimed suddenly.
The others crowded around him, looking at the sand where he pointed. "It's my guess that Imhotep doesn't stand around making patterns in the sand. This looks like it was done by someone who didn't have anything else to do - someone who was kept captive here."
O'Connell glanced at Mulder. "Like Scully."
Mulder nodded, then looked up. "We need to find out where they went."
A loud popping noise startled them, as a small mound of sand burst upwards. Scarabs poured out of it, rushing hungrily toward the humans.
"Run!" shouted O'Connell. They took off through the tunnels, barely keeping one jump ahead of the beetles. Mulder looked back and saw the horde of scarabs chasing after them, and managed to step up his speed even more.
Within minutes, they broke out into the sunlight, and the scarabs disappeared from view. They stopped to catch their breath and think about their next move.
A shuffling noise somewhere behind them made them all hold their breath. They turned around slowly, only to find themselves face-to-face with a line of men on horseback.
O'Connell exhaled slowly. "Oh, it's you," he said thankfully.
One man urged his horse forward. Egyptian symbols adorned his face, and he was dressed all in black. "You have unleashed the Creature again," he accused.
Mulder looked away guiltily.
"Where did they go?" demanded O'Connell.
The Med-jai looked over the group, then back at O'Connell. "Thebes. The Creature has taken her to Thebes."
Scully looked out at the relics that surrounded them. She wished for the hundredth time that she understood what was going on. Then, she turned back to the sparsely-furnished hall. Imhotep looked around, admiring the familiar architecture.
"Where are we?" Scully asked. "And why are we here?"
Wordlessly, Imhotep led her into an adjoining room. He gazed around, as if he were reminiscing.
"Dammit!" Scully exclaimed. "I want answers. You've dragged me all over the place like I'm some piece of luggage. What are we doing here?" She glared at him angrily.
Imhotep turned to her, and a grin spread across his face. "We are at Thebes," he said.
Scully fell silent for a moment. He had spoken to her! Not in English, but in Egyptian, and she had understood! She recovered quickly, trying to hide her surprise.
"Why are we here?" she asked.
Imhotep took her hand and smiled proudly. "We are home," he replied, as easily as if they were a husband and wife who had just returned from vacation.
Scully shook her head and pulled away. "It's not home for me," she said softly.
Imhotep only smiled at her. "It will be."
Elsewhere in Thebes
As Mulder, O'Connell, Evelyn and Jonathan rode into Thebes, the sight that greeted them was their worst nightmare.
The people of the city had revolted, throwing off the local government. Instead, they had taken to following a new leader. It only took a few minutes for the group to learn that they now took their orders from Imhotep.
"He's starting a new dynasty," Evelyn realized. "He's bringing back the ancient style of rule to Egypt."
"And that's why he wants Scully," added Jonathan. "I mean, every pharaoh needs a mistress."
Mulder grew red in the face, angry that Scully could be treated in such a way. "I want to find her, now," he growled.
Playing along, Jonathan stopped someone on the street. "Excuse me," he asked in Egyptian, "where could I go to pay tribute to Imhotep?"
"The ancient palace," the man replied happily.
Jonathan thanked him, and they moved off toward the ruins of the palace.
Scully sighed and ran a hand through her hair. She glanced out the window, wishing she could just climb out and leave, but Imhotep would've been able to stop her without a thought.
The late afternoon sun reflected off the room's white walls and lit it brightly. It was surprisingly cool, but Scully knew that the apparent change in temperature could also be due to her change in clothes. She absently picked at the white linen dress that Imhotep had given her to wear. The cloth was so finely woven that she could practically see through it.
Then, taking a deep breath, she stood as Imhotep entered. She noticed that he had donned a crown, such as the pharaohs of ancient Egypt used to wear. He looked her over appreciatively, smiling. "It suits you," he said.
Despite her frustration, Scully felt a blush creeping up on her cheeks.
Imhotep reached out to tuck an errant strand of hair behind her ear. Scully pulled back slightly, tensing under his touch. As if sensing her reluctance, he took a step back.
"If there is anything you desire, you need only ask," he told her.
Scully bit her lip, then replied, "I want to leave," she answered quietly.
"I'm sorry," replied Imhotep, shaking his head. With that, he sat across from her and laid back, intending to remain for the time being.
Elsewhere in the Palace
Evelyn wracked her brain for anything she could remember on the layout of Thebes. It had been years since she'd been there, and she had only remained in the old palace for a short time. Little had changed since then, but the memories had grown faint, especially the details.
"How much farther is it?" hissed Mulder impatiently.
Evelyn stopped and looked around. "I'm not sure exactly," she answered.
Mulder's jaw tightened in determination. He glanced back the way they had come, making sure that they had not been followed. Then, as Evelyn thought over the layout of the palace, Mulder forged on ahead. The rest of the group called after him softly, but Mulder paid them no heed. Finally, they followed him down the hall, blindly trusting his instincts.
Scully eyed Imhotep warily as he rested. Her gaze fell upon the window to her left, and for several long moments she contemplated making a run for it. But Imhotep would've heard her running, and stopped her immediately. Then, there was no telling what punishment she'd face. And at least so far, he'd been very hospitable. In fact, he'd treated her like a queen.
A shiver ran over her as she considered his purpose in bringing her to Thebes. She felt like a wench, albeit a pampered one. /Fetters of gold are still fetters,/ she thought to herself.
Suddenly, Imhotep leapt to his feet. His eyes focused on the door to the chamber, scrutinizing it. He called to the guards, who appeared immediately in the doorway.
"Intruders," he told them in Egyptian. "Destroy them!"
"No!" shouted Scully. She jumped up in front of him, eyes wide with horror. She moved for the door, but Imhotep caught her arm and held her tightly.
The guards drew their swords and rushed away.
Scully yanked her arm away from Imhotep, then glared coldly at him. "Leave them alone!" she yelled.
Imhotep shook his head slowly.
Shouting broke out in the hallway, accompanied by the sound of gunshots.
Mulder rounded the corner and found himself face-to-face with a lineup of guards, their swords drawn and ready.
O'Connell had already drawn his pistol from its holster, and quickly fired off several rounds. Two guards fell to the ground, motionless, but a dozen more advanced on them. O'Connell fired again, hitting one guard. He pulled the trigger desperately, but it only clicked uselessly.
O'Connell tossed the gun aside. "A little help here would be appreciated!" he shouted at Mulder and Jonathan.
Mulder searched the hallway frantically for anything he could use as a weapon. His gaze fell upon a torch, mounted on a wall nearby. If nothing else, he could use it as a club. He dove for it, yanking it out of the holder just as two guards closed on him.
Swinging it around, he knocked one guard into the wall. The other swung the sword at his head, but Mulder ducked out of the way. O'Connell tackled him from behind, sending the sword spiraling out of his grip. Jonathan picked it up and hurriedly fought off an oncoming guard.
Evelyn stood back helplessly, unable to find a weapon to fight with. One of the guards broke from the pack and rushed her, and Evelyn scrambled to get out of the way. His blade missed her by mere inches, and it was only O'Connell's timely intervention that kept the guard from swinging at her again. She grabbed the sword of a fallen guard and held it up, but her swordfighting skills were seriously lacking. It was all she could do to defend herself against the remaining guards.
Mulder took out one guard, then turned on another that attcked him from the back. He sliced at his opponent, unaware of a guard preparing to strike from behind. O'Connell leapt for the man, cleanly slicing off his head. As Mulder finished off his adversary, he turned in surprise to find the decapitated body sliding to the ground next to him.
He gave O'Connell a hurried thanks, and moved toward the remaining group of guards. O'Connell spotted Evelyn, cornered by a guard, and charged the man with a vicious yell. The guard turned around, his sword clashing with O'Connell's. They exchanged parry for parry for a long minute before O'Connell could run him through.
The tables turned quickly. The three remaining guards were overpowered within moments, as Mulder and O'Connell finished their grisly fight. Jonathan looked up from his perch across the hallway. O'Connell rolled his eyes at his cowardly friend, then they turned and hurried down the hallway.
Scully shifted in agitation as she listened to the shouts and screams of the fight outside. At one point, she thought she heard Mulder yell, and only hoped that he hadn't been seriously hurt or killed.
Imhotep stood by the doorway, waiting for them to enter. His concentration was focused solely on the fight outside, and he didn't so much as glance back at Scully.
Jumping at the chance, Scully scanned the room closely for the Book of Amun-Ra and its key. She didn't move from her place, afraid that Imhotep would notice. She heard O'Connell's shouts of triumph outside, and let out a slow breath. Then, on the far side of the room, she spotted the book, resting on a table. But where was the key?
All of a sudden, the door burst inward, and Mulder, O'Connell, Jonathan, and Evelyn charged into the room. O'Connell threw his sword at Imhotep, impaling him through the stomach. But Imhotep didn't even seem to notice. He pulled the offending sword from his midsection and moved quickly toward the intruders.
Evelyn ducked to the side, catching sight of Scully.
"Over there!" Scully called to her. She pointed at the table on which the Book of Amun-Ra lay. Evelyn's eyes lit up, and she sprinted across the wide room. Scully searched the room for the key, and finally spotted it several yards away. She dove for it, and gripped it tightly.
The young woman turned toward her. Scully held up the key, and Imhotep turned to her with betrayal and anger written on his face. He charged her, reaching for the key, but he was too late. Scully pitched it across the room to Evelyn, who snatched it out of the air.
A group of guards rushed in the door behind Mulder and Jonathan. The two men whirled around and put up their swords, slashing at their opponents.
Imhotep turned toward Evelyn and the book. He crossed the room in long strides, shouting. But Evelyn ducked to the side, avoiding him. She hopped out the window, and Scully leapt out quickly after her.
From his place inside, Imhotep roared. A high rock wall beside them began to crumble, sending showers of stone down upon them. Evelyn was knocked to the ground by a falling rock, and the Book of Amun-Ra skittered away. Recovering, Scully dove after it, fitting the fallen key into the lock and turning it.
"Evelyn, get over here!" she yelled over the din.
Inside, O'Connell pulled himself to his feet just in time to fight off imminent death. Jonathan moved out of the way of the fighting, only using his sword if a guard approached him. Mulder came after him, yelling for some backup. Jonathan shakily moved to his side, raising his sword against the wave of attackers.
Imhotep moved into the fray, heading directly for Mulder. Mulder was backed against a wall, and Imhotep took him by surprise. He reached out and snatched Mulder's throat tightly, cutting off his air. Mulder's eyes bulged, and he struggled and kicked at Imhotep, but the self-proclaimed ruler withstood the beating. His hand tightened around Mulder's neck.
Frantically, Evelyn searched for the inscription. Scully looked up from the book and saw Imhotep pin Mulder and shouted in terror. She jumped up and pulled herself through the window, rushing Imhotep in a rage. She threw her weight into him and tried to divert his attention, but Imhotep didn't budge. Pummeling him from behind, she screamed at him and tried anything she could think of to get him to stop, but Imhotep's anger remained focused on Mulder. Within moments, Mulder's face took on a dreadful shade of blue.
"I've got it!" Evelyn shouted from outside. She read several words from the book, and Imhotep froze. His eyes grew wide, and he turned and looked at Evelyn in horror. Suddenly, a translucent, shimmering chariot glided through the room. As it passed over Imhotep, it dragged his soul away with it, leaving him powerless.
He dropped Mulder's now-unconscious form and moved toward Evelyn with his sword. But before he could even take two steps, a sword sliced through his abdomen. He gasped in pain and threw his head back, getting a glimpse of his executioner.
As he slid to the floor, Scully slid the bloodied blade from his body. She looked down at him with disgust, her dress now dirtied and torn. As she watched, his lifeless body deteriorated, until only a gooey mass of bone remained.
Letting the sword clatter away, Scully dropped down next to Mulder. She cradled his head in her lap, brushing his hair away from his eyes. His face had regained a more normal shade, and his breathing came slowly but steadily.
Finally, his eyes slid open, and Scully breathed a heavy sigh of relief. "He's dead," she told him. Mulder relaxed, then reached up to take her hand.
"Are you okay?" he asked in a raspy voice.
Scully nodded. "I'm fine." As Mulder's gaze fixed on the blood on her dress, she told him, "It's not mine." He nodded slowly, then pulled himself into a sitting position.
Evelyn climbed back into the room with O'Connell's help. Then, he bent down and picked up the torch that Mulder had dropped. He pulled a book of matches from his pocket, then struck one on the stubble on his cheek. Lighting the torch, he looked at Imhotep's body for a moment. Then, he tossed the torch onto the body and set it ablaze.
All five onlookers watched in morose satisfaction as the shriveled corpse went up in smoke.
Hamunaptra The Next Day
Mulder, Scully, Evelyn, Jonathan, and O'Connell stood outside the entrance to the ruins of Hamunaptra. Across from them, the leader of the Med-jai, Ardeth Bay, sat perched on his horse. "Again, you have our gratitude for stopping the Creature. Let us hope we do not have to meet again."
O'Connell bobbed his head. "Yeah. Now why'd you want that charred body?"
Ardeth Bay looked back at the ruins. "It must be returned to its resting place. Here, we can watch over it, and guard it against intruders."
"A lot of good that's done," muttered Jonathan.
"You must go soon," said Ardeth Bay. "May Allah smile upon you always." He made a quick gesture with his hand, then whirled on his horse and raced away.
They watched him go for several moments before turning back to the entry.
O'Connell lit a torch. "Ready to go back in, one more time?" He stepped into the ruins, leading the way toward the treasure chamber.
Once there, they approached the place on the wall where Mulder suspected they would find their "ticket home." Evelyn looked over the inscriptions surrounding the lever and gaped in amazement.
"This is incredible," she breathed. "According to this, the other end of the portal moves through time, based on the movement of the sun!"
Mulder looked over at Scully and smirked in triumph. "When will the year 2000 be coming up?" he asked.
Evelyn studied the inscription for several more moments. "In a few minutes," she replied. She turned away from the wall and faced Mulder and Scully. "I suppose this is good-bye."
The agents nodded in unison.
"Well," said O'Connell, "don't bring him back anytime in the future, okay?"
Mulder snorted. "Not a problem." Then he looked at the lever and added, "I wonder how many other secrets the Egyptians hid from us."
Evelyn laughed lightly. "More than anyone will ever find," she answered. She glanced back at the inscription, then took a deep breath. "This is it."
Jonathan handed them a torch and a box of matches. They said their good-byes, and Mulder and Scully turned bravely toward the portal. They watched closely as O'Connell put his weight down on the lever. In front of them, the stone wall shimmered and gave way, and bright light illuminated the chamber.
Mulder reached over and took Scully's hand firmly in his own. Then, with a deep breath, they stepped together into the pool of light...
Mulder and Scully awoke almost simultaneously and struggled to their feet. They fought back waves of nausea, and Mulder fumbled with the match and torch. Finally, he held up the flame, shining it around the room.
All around, undisturbed treasure glinted back at them. They took a few hesitant steps forward, searching for any sign as to the date. Then, as they made their way out, they passed a rotting corpse - the one which they had found before their adventure began. Scully plugged her nose and bent down to inspect it.
"It's the same as it was when we left," she announced. Mulder sighed with relief, and they moved out of the ruins.
As they navigated the now-familiar tunnels, they stumbled across several recent bodies. Scully looked them over once, but she knew who they were - the archaeologists.
"They've been eaten by scarabs," she said. Her voice held no surprise.
Mulder held the torch up, then pointed to another body, several yards away. A torn Dallas Cowboys cap lay next to it. "There's our guide," he said with a grimace.
"Let's get out of here," Scully replied, standing.
They hurried out of the ruins into the sunlight. The camp was still set up, undisturbed. The camels remained, grunting with agitation. Mulder and Scully hurriedly threw their belongings onto the backs of the camels and set off, using a map drawn for them by O'Connell. The sun set against their backs as they rode out into the desert, heading for home.
Assistant Director Skinner looked over the file of papers at Mulder and Scully. He frowned at them; their skin was bright red with sunburn. "So, you're final analysis on this is that there was no crime involved?" he asked.
Scully nodded. "Yes, sir. All evidence points to an incident involving scarab beetles."
Raising his eyebrows, Skinner pressed, "And you found no evidence of anything out of the ordinary? Anything 'paranormal'?"
Mulder and Scully locked gazes for a moment before Mulder answered, "No, sir, none whatsoever..."
But thousands of miles away, across the Atlantic Ocean and the sands of the desert, at Hamunaptra, the name "Imhotep" rumbled in the wind.
Okay, I know some of this information isn't scientifically/historically correct - I've picked apart the inaccuracies in The Mummy a million times. :P But for the sake of continuity, I went with the information given in The Mummy over the factual info.
Also, I know the beginning of the story sounds a lot like the book "Ruins" but it was the only reason I could come up with! LOL