Nisa was so exhausted that by the time night fell, she collapsed in her cot, fell straight to sleep, and didn’t wake until way after dawn, when Oliver woke her.
She sipped water from her canteen as he gestured outside. “The sand storm is over. The workers have already started digging out the pyramid.”
After Nisa finished her drink, she glanced up at him. “So, it was completely buried, then?”
Oliver nodded. “Yep. Sadly. We’ll have to see how fast the day’s progress goes before we see how long it set us back.”
“I’m gonna grab a quick bite to eat and then I’ll get out there. Uh, Ollie?” Nisa asked as she stood up and walked over to the washing basin to clean herself off—not that it did much good out here, considering how filthy she was bound to get in just a few minutes’ time.
“Yeah?” He glanced at her over his shoulder where he stood by the tent’s entrance. “Don’t worry; I’ll stay here when I’m not dealing with other things. If I’m gone, I’ll post my two best guards.”
“Thanks. You’re the best, Ollie.” Nisa winked at him.
Oliver’s lips slid up into a huge grin. “Don’t forget it, either.”
With that, he disappeared outside the tent’s entrance. Nisa quickly washed up, grabbed some beef jerky and a granola bar, and immediately darted outside.
The sun bore down on her skin and she was so thankful her skin beautifully tanned instead of burning. Poor Susie’s skin burned in the hot sun, so she preferred to be in the tent’s researching, or down in a tomb where the sun couldn’t get to her. Not that Nisa could blame her.
If Nisa hadn’t known where the pyramid was, she wouldn’t have known where to go to find it. The sand dunes had risen, causing a hill to stretch along the horizon in front of her, which was where the pyramid had been buried. Workers gathered around the area, using shovels and machinery to carefully start digging the sand out.
Nisa grabbed a shovel and started getting to work. In less than an hour, sweat coated her skin in an uncomfortably thick layer, but she set her mind to work and didn’t allow herself a break, except to drink water. Fortunately, the wells they had dug had plenty of it—if this area had been in a drought, then their problems really would have started multiplying.
The wind was calm and still, which helped when digging the pyramid out. By the end of that afternoon, the tip of it was exposed. Nisa leaned on the end of her shovel for a break, as Bea hollered at her from her tent. Breathing heavily, Nisa handed her shovel to someone else and hurried inside Bea’s tent where the statue of the creature sat on two different stands on either side of the room. Oliver’s security guards were posted around every side of the tent—just like they were at Nisa’s tent too.
“What have you found out?” Nisa asked. She used her scarf to wipe sweat and sand off her face as she sat down in a chair. Now that she had finally relaxed for a moment, her legs felt completely like jelly.
Bea grinned from ear to ear. “This creature definitely isn’t from earth—not even among the dinosaurs or any fossils known to man. It’s three-legged, Nisa. Not born deformed or amputated. The only explanation I have is an Egyptian made this from their imagination, but they had to draw inspiration from somewhere. The odd thing is was the room it had been built in—the room was small and didn’t have much else in there. I took some pictures of the walls for you to read… uh, here…” Bea shifted her laptop over on her desk to give Nisa a better view of it.
Nisa’s eyes scanned the hieroglyphics as Bea continued talking.
“I mean, it seemed more like a basic room. It would have been something a commoner might have been buried in, or a living room of some sort. I know in some tombs they prepare them like a house, so that the deceased would be able to, you know, live there during the afterlife—at least, the Egyptians believed that—so, this was probably one of the main living room areas for the mummy you and Susie found.”
Nisa clicked her tongue. “These talk more about the cursed man. They wanted to make it feel like home. In case he found his way out of the sarcophagus in the afterlife, if he felt at home, he would be… less inclined to haunt them, essentially. ‘Return for his revenge’ is how they put it.”
Bea’s mouth opened and her eyes shifted to the statue of the creature. “That’s so odd. So, they hated him, murdered him, and instead of giving him the burial of a criminal, they make his tomb… worthy of a king in hopes of appeasing him?”
Nisa nodded. “Pretty much. That’s what it seems to be. What I find odd, other than the obvious, is the way they had a lock over his sarcophagus. Did they hope it would trap him?”
Bea shrugged. “Right, so if he ever, quote, returned, wouldn’t he have been more aggravated about being locked up?”
Nisa chuckled, shaking her head. “Maybe they thought that a nice afterlife home would make him forget about all that.”
Bea shook her head. “Maybe. But if they created this statue for him to feel more like home, then did they think this creature came from his home?”
Nisa sighed, wiping sweat that drippled from her brow down to her eye. “Some of the words used to describe him are the same as aliens.”
Bea pulled the gloves off her hands with a laugh. “Nisa, tell me you don’t think this is Ancient Aliens stuff!”
Nisa stood from the seat, staring at the creature’s statue until her eyes watered. “No, but there is something weird to all this, Bea. We have a creature that isn’t known to earth, a cursed man known as an alien from a strange land, and a language not known to earth that, up until now, hadn’t been able to be translated. I mean, what other explanation is there?”
Bea smacked her thighs. “I don’t know; a rational one!”
Nisa gnawed on her lower lip. “When you eliminate everything else, whatever left, however improbable, has to be the truth.”
Bea sighed. “Look, I need to get back to this. Will you tell the others I won’t make the bonfire tonight?”
Nisa frowned. “Did I miss something? What bonfire?”
Bea glanced at her over her shoulder. “The workers are all having a bonfire to rest and celebrate our recent findings. Should be starting here soon.”
Nisa nodded, running her hands through her matted, sand-coated hair. If she was going to the bonfire, then she definitely needed to find a way to try to smell a little better.