Eye of Ra Story ‑ Chapter One

An unusual day

Charlotte was eager to get to work at the museum. Today's exhibition was to receive a visit from the Major, with several prominent dignitaries from the town council. The museum was in serious need of funds, which it hoped to attain by local endorsements. She aimed to go into the museum well before the rest of the staff, as she was ultimately responsible for the security of the shipment.

The strangeness of this exhibition struck her once more. Why was a skeleton from Cairo being shipped to a small town in France? She had been informed that John Hunter the curator of the Cairo museum was escorting the coffin along with armed guards. Charlotte thought this to be excessive behaviour.

Charlotte looked at herself in the hall mirror as she got her coat from the rack. She was attractive in a classical sense. She had long black curly hair. The face staring back at her was oval with petite features, and a pale complexion. Her long eyelashes covered large green eyes. She was slight of build and tall, measuring six feet in stocking feet.

Relations had told her how much she looked like her mother. Charlotte had been shown photographs of her, and there was certainly a marked resemblance. Unfortunately, she had never truly known her parents they were killed in a car accident some twenty years before - when she was still an infant.

As she drove to work, she found herself thinking about her parents' accident, and wondering not for the first time - what had caused the car to crash. Charlotte could not understand why there had been so much secrecy surrounding their deaths. The Egyptian police gave no satisfactory explanation of the cause to the accident.

When her parent's car was examined, no fault could be found. Seemingly, their car had veered across the road and crashed against a tree without another vehicle in sight. The police raised suspicions as to it being an alcohol-related accident. However, both her parents were known to be teetotal. The police declared the case closed due to insufficient information.

As she let herself into the museum, a large armed guard barred her from the entrance and startled her so much she let out a scream. A man's voice coming from the office spoke with the guard in a foreign language, and the guard stepped aside to allow her through.

"Sorry about that," a young man said as he walked towards her. "He is not used to this country and its customs, allow me to introduce myself I'm John Hunter."

She found herself shaking hands with a handsome looking man in his mid- thirties; he had fair hair with a tanned complexion. John was over six feet tall and stocky built. Surprisingly, he spoke with a strong Scottish accent.

"I'm sorry; I had forgotten that you were going to be here early, although I had been warned to expect you, said Charlotte removing her coat."

After they had finished with the pleasantries, the pair made their way into the museum's exhibit hall. In the centre of the room on a plinth stood the coffin surrounded by armed guards.

"Is all this, necessary I don't understand the need for armed guards, "Charlotte said moving forward."

"I'm afraid so the coffin was only allowed out of Egypt with that proviso." He lifted the lid to the coffin revealing the skeleton. "Meet Adios, John said gesturing towards the coffin."

"I tried researching your man Adios before your visit, but I could not find much information," said Charlotte moving in a little closer to get a better look.

"It's a long story said John. I'll tell you the story over a cup of coffee; it will explain how our quest has led us here to Pyoneia."

They sat behind a desk drinking their mugs of coffee. John told the story of how ten years before he had received a grant from Cambridge for his thesis on Egyptian Archaeology. When his funds run out, he wanted to continue his research, so he got a job working at the Cairo museum. The curator had disappeared some weeks ago, and John had found himself temporarily responsible for the museum.

He went on to explain some of the history of Adios, and other dignitaries. How when the pyramids of Egypt were being built, the people of the local villages would bury their important family elders in caves. Their bodies were placed in a sarcophagus, along with their most precious possessions. This practice went on for generations. When the caves became full, they were sealed, and new caves were cut out of the hillsides...

A year ago, archaeologists discovered a new colony of caves, and started excavations. The sarcophagus's they found had the names of the deceased engraved on them, making identification easy for the archaeologists. Adios was the penultimate coffin to be taken from the caves, the latter that of his wife 'Isis' whose coffin had lain besides his.

The following day was set aside for the opening of Isis's sarcophagus. However, the Egyptian government heard of the archaeologist's plans, and appeared at the excavation site. Without explanation, they removed her sarcophagus placing it in a tomb in a cave. They surrounded the tomb with a four-foot thick wall, and then sealed the cave by dynamiting the entrance. Armed guards now patrol the surrounding area day and night.

"My god, what are they afraid of?"

"I'm not sure, but it certainly has them spooked. Officials have been tight-lipped about it. Some good news though, after months of research on Adios and Isis, I have found a direct link to her from someone here in Pyoneia."

"This is getting exciting interrupted Charlotte."

"Yes it is," said John. "Because Charlotte that someone is you actually."

"Take a drink, you look very pale," John passed her a tumbler of water that he had asked a guard to fetch.

"I will be fine in a minute it was just a bit of a shock." Charlotte said taking a few sips. "I'm sure there has been a mistake?" Charlotte said.

"I'm sorry for being so blunt, I know it's hard to believe, but I have proof; you really are the only direct descendant of Isis remaining," John said. Getting up he took the glass from her and continued...

"Placed between the two coffins was a stone chest. In that chest, there were spearheads, amulets, and several scrolls. There were also two caskets each with their names on. We have already opened the Adois casket, the contents which are being kept in the Cairo museum." John moved towards her and lowered his voice. "I've smuggled the casket out of the country, which belonged with Isis; I thought you might like to open that one since you are related to her," John said pointing to his rucksack with a nod from his head. "I think it may be of some help to you."

The guard, who was still in the room, was staring at Charlotte intently.

"Why is that guard staring at me?"

"Don't worry," said John. He spoke to the guard who then left the room. "Abdul-Hadi can be trusted. Unfortunately, he only speaks Arabic. He was one of the helpers of the caves, and he has seen the etchings. The cave walls were covered in images each scene depicting the same striking looking woman. She hardly changed over generations, and you bear a stricking similarity to her," said John.

"I would like to her story, and why you think that I'll need the contents of the casket," said Charlotte.

"I have not been able to find out very much. All I do know is through the generations I could trace; she always had a short lifespan," John bowed his head avoiding Charlotte's eyes.

"Oh don't tell me she died in her early twenties," she said flippantly. For some reason, the date of her impending birthday entered her head.

Looking at John's bowed head, Charlotte realised that he was deadly earnest.

"I'm afraid so," he said in a quiet voice.

John crossed the room and picked up his rucksack. Opening it, he carefully lifted out a bronze casket.

"I believe the answer of how to stop this curse from happening again lies within this casket. This is why I risked everything to bring it to you. "I'd love to help if you allow me to." John gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.

He handed her the casket. Charlotte could not believe what was happening to her. It was too much to take in. She could not prevent the feeling of nausea rising from her throat. She got up and ran from the room dropping the casket.

Some minutes later, a composed Charlotte returned into the room. There she found John and Abdul-Hadi talking heatedly. She could see that John was holding the casket in his hands. The clasp was broken and hanging off which must have happened when she dropped the casket.

"Open it," he said gently passing it to her.

She stood with her hand on the lid on the casket. Her hand started to tremble, and John put a reassuring hand over hers. As they opened the lid, a puff of pungent smoke invaded the air. Inside the casket was a perfectly preserved finger, on the finger was a ring shaped like an eye. In the casket, there was a lock of hair trapped in a bone hair clasp, and a very ornate amulet.

Charlotte reached into the casket and lifted the amulet, which was heavily encrusted with gems. Underneath these artefacts, there was a scrap of parchment. She took the parchment out and carefully opened it up. It had a series of hieroglyphics inscribed on it.

"Do you understand this?" She said offering it to John. At that moment, Abdul-Hadi started shouting and screaming in his native tongue and ran from the room.

"Superstitious lot I'm afraid," he said apologetically. "Let me have a look." Taking it from her, he examined the parchment. "I can understand the majority of it, and I may be able to decipher the rest given time. According to this though, only you can read these words out loud for it to have any effect."

Charlotte paced the room; it seemed to be taking forever for John to interpret the words and transfer them onto paper. Finally, when he had finished the translation, he handed Charlotte the original parchment, which she returned to the casket. He then turned over the paper containing his translation and covered it with his hand. He placed his other hand on hers and looked earnestly into her eyes.

"As I understand it Charlotte you cannot change history. However, you will be guided how to remain in the present. If you choose that option, you will never be able to go back to the past. This is going to transform your life forever, whatever decision you make. You will be given certain powers, which you must use with care. If you share the secret of these powers, with anyone save the one you truly love, and who feels the same way about you in return; your life will end: As have generations before you."

Charlotte felt as if the ground was opening up beneath her.

"I'm going to need to think hard about this John it's such a big risk to take." Charlotte said. "Will you leave me with my thoughts for a while please?" John folded the piece of paper containing the translation; placing it in his pocket, he left the room.

Charlotte's mind was in turmoil, so much had happened in a short time. The museum was due to open in about ten minutes. What was she to do? Should she accept her life for what it was now, albeit dull and secure? Then, there was the fear she may only have months left to live? Should she take the risk of a different life?

John had said that she could only speak about this to someone she truly loved or there was no future for her. She absently trailed her hand in the casket touching the ring as she did so. She was immediately thrown from the chair by some unseen force. She squirmed on the floor in agony. It felt as if her finger was being cut off. When Charlotte looked down at her hand, the ring was firmly positioned on her finger, and the embossed eye was blinking at her! John ran back into the room and picked her up off the floor.

"Charlotte what's happened - are you ok?" he asked concerned. She held up her hand and showing him the ring on her finger. "What the hell have you have done?" He shouted grabbing at her hand to pull the ring off. It would not budge.

"I just touched the ring in the casket, and was knocked from the chair by some invisible force," she said.

"Well, I think that clears that up. There is no doubt now, you are the chosen one," he said putting back the chair knocked over in the fall.

"Have you come to a decision?" he asked.

"Yes, I'm going to read the translation. I feel stronger somehow," she said." I feel I could take on this world's problems, or even those of the past."

"I believe you could," John said, with a bemused look across his face. "Do you have you a mirror with you? If so you need to take a look at yourself."

"That's a silly thing to ask a French woman," she said. Reaching into her purse, she pulled out a mirror and gazed at herself in awe.

Gone was the pale face, she had seen that morning in the mirror. She now had a tanned healthy-looking skin, with a slightly fuller face. Her black hair was a mass of tight glossy curls. However, the principal change to Charlotte was her physique. She looked fitter; her body felt like it belonged to a finely tuned athlete.

"I think I prefer this body," she said looking down at herself.

"I second that," said John in admiration. The museum clock struck the hour

"Oh no, the curator will be here soon he's always fashionably late." She said hysteria rising in her voice.

"It's now, or never then," said John.

He took the folded paper from his pocket and passed it to her. Then, he closed the casket and tucked it firmly under his arm. She held out her hand and clasped his.

"It's such a big step that I'm taking. If you are joining me, you have to be sure John. It is not too late to change your mind."

"What if the predictions are right Charlotte, I could not live with myself if I had not done all I could to help you. I am thirty-four years old, and it is about time I took a few risks. I've always played safe Charlotte; I'm ready to have a life which has adventure in it," he said squeezing her hand.

Charlotte could hear the curator whistling as he came up the museum steps. She started to read aloud from the translated parchment. When the last words were spoken, once again she was thrown on the floor. This time though it was with John. They found themselves in a cave. Light was shining through a small hole in the roof, and they could see a tomb in the middle of the cave with a body slumped over it. John recognized it right away it was the missing curator from the Cairo museum.

She looked down at her hand. The ring was glowing as if it was on fire. In her head, Charlotte could hear her name being called in Arabic. She was not in the least surprised that she was suddenly able to interpret the language. Far above them, they could hear voices...