"Valley of the Woeful Abyss" by Katy (click graphic to e-mail her)

A young woman is found murdered in her home. The only clue to the mystery is a missing Egyptian necklace. Asked by an old friend to investigate, Derek and Nick become obsessed with the woman, shutting out everyone else around them and running the risk of losing their sanity altogether in an attempt to put her violent spirit to rest:

Chapter one: The Murmur of Death

"I see blood run Ah, God! What have you done?" -Johann Von Goethe, "Faust"

"What rapture! Ah, what misery! Yet from this vision I can't turn aside." -Johann Von Goethe, "Faust"

A lurid smile permeated the killer's face after Megan Boyle's body had expired. After a long absence, Hatshepsut's necklace would be returned to the land of the Nile. Five hours later, an enraged murderer left empty-handed after an exhausted search for the priceless artifact that was nowhere to be found.

Derek slammed the phone down after Detective Ayers' call. He dreaded the duty before him, but he reasoned that it was better the news came from him than from a policeman's knock on the door. He called Nick Boyle into his office. The minutes following were agonizing for Derek as he waited for Nick to come in. When the young ex-SEAL finally appeared, Derek stood up and took a deep, ragged breath.

"Nick," Derek began to say, but as he looked at Nick's eager face he was overwhelmed. Derek hated this. The kid no doubt thought he was being called in for a new investigation.

"Derek?" What's wrong?" Nick asked him.

"An old friend of mine, Detective Ayers from homicide, called me a few moments ago," said Derek. As before, Derek lost his capabilities of speech.

"Homicide? Who got killed?" Nick asked, suddenly alarmed.

"Your sister," Derek was able to say. After a few moments of silence and after watching Nick's expression turn into that of agony, Derek said, "Nick, your sister was found murdered in her home this morning."

"Constance?" Nick breathed, painfully.

"No," Derek said, bewildered, "Megan."

Nick laughed nervously in relief. He said, "My sister's name is Constance."

"Not Megan?" Derek asked.


"And Megan Boyle is whom?" asked Derek.

"I've never heard of her, Derek, she's no relation to me or my family," Nick replied.

"When Pete called and told me the woman's name, naturally I assumed it was the sister you mentioned was living in the city," Derek explained.

"No," Nick said.

"Well, I'd better get over there," Derek said. "What for? I told you I don't know her," said Nick.

"The reason Pete called was because the murder was ritualistic in nature. They questioned a friend of the victim who's convinced that an ancient Egyptian artifact is the reason why the woman was murdered. It was when Pete mentioned the woman's name that I felt like having a heart attack," Derek explained.

"Well, let me go with you," Nick said, "Sounds like you may need my help. Besides, she may not be any relation, but I feel like I should go."

Derek smiled and said, "That will be fine."

Forty-five minutes later, Detective Peter Ayers walked with Derek and Nick past the yellow police line that surrounded an impressive home. Megan Boyle had lived in the hauntingly beautiful area of San Francisco known as Sea Cliff. While her house was impressive in size, it was nothing compared to the houses that circled it.

When they entered the house, Derek pulled his coat together. Nick balled his hands together and blew on them.

"Like a damn mausoleum in here. The maid said it's usually

like this," Pete said. "How can anyone live in such a sterile environment?" Nick wondered aloud. He looked at the various artifacts that decorated the place. It looked more like a museum than someone's home.

"She didn't really live here," Ayers explained. "Most of the time she was working out in the field or traveling."

"She was an archaeologist?" Nick asked.

"She was just an assistant to one. Her father was Jack Redmond," explained the detective.

Derek's eyes widened as he exclaimed, "THE Jack Redmond?"

"You knew him?" asked Nick.

"I met him a couple of times. He was like Indiana Jones, but without the fedora and the sense of humor," Derek said.

Kind of like you, Nick thought. "Well, I guess that explains things. I was just going to comment that this was far too huge a place for an assistant to have, " he said.

"Not only that, but her mother was Colleen Boyle, the opera star. They were killed in an auto accident here in the city around three or four years ago. Megan Boyle inherited everything. This house and their fortune, which she used to finance trips to Egypt. And now this. What a damn shame, she was only twenty-six years old," Pete said.

Derek said, "You said over the phone that you interviewed someone who claimed that one of Miss Boyle's findings led to her death."

"Yeah, Ginger Cahill. She and Megan grew up together and she was with her on her last dig. The two got back from Egypt a week ago and Mrs. Cahill claims that Megan started receiving threats," said Pete.

"Death threats," Nick said.

Of course," Pete continued, "The usual, a curse from an ancient Egyptian artifact. Megan was understandably rattled but she didn't believe in the curse. She believed it was someone trying to steal the artifact."

"What was the artifact she brought back?" asked Derek.

Pete Ayers whipped out a small notebook and started to flip through the pages. He said, "Uh, a necklace of Hash, uh, Hass, Hatt, crap, how do you pronounce it?" He showed Derek his notes.

"Hatshepsut," Derek said.

"Yeah, that's right," Pete said, "who the hell was he? Some Pharaoh?"

"Yes, she was a Pharaoh. The first woman in Egypt to be named Pharaoh. She didn't want to rule Egypt as a regent for her step-son so she took over power completely. She dressed as a man, her subjects treated her like a man, what's left of her statues and reliefs depict her as being masculine," explained Derek

"What, the first cross-dresser in history?" asked Pete.

"No, it was just the only way for her to have absolute power. She reigned for about twenty years. No one knows how she died and no one knows where she was buried. Her tomb did not contain her body for it was hidden from her successor, who proceeded to have every trace of her existence wiped out from Egyptian history," Derek said.

"Yeah, well, in the end it did get Megan Boyle killed," Pete said.

"Where is the necklace now?" asked Derek.

"Gone. The killer more than likely took it with him," said Pete.

"Is Mrs. Cahill a suspect?" asked Derek.

"No, she has an airtight alibi. She and her husband were at a charity function in Sacramento all night and there were several witnesses to the fact," said Pete.

"Nick?" Derek asked. Nick had wandered over to a small table that was lined with photographs. He picked up one of a pouty-faced red-head with a broad forehead and eyes that were too big for her face.

He asked, "Is this Megan Boyle?"

Pete Ayers walked over and looked at the picture. "No," he said. He picked up one of a blond woman in a light blue t-shirt and khaki shorts, sitting by the ruins of a temple. Although she wore no make-up and looked exhausted, she was strikingly beautiful. "This is Megan Boyle, quite a looker, isn't she?" Pete said.

Nick took the picture from the cop's hand and stared at it intently. He handed it to Derek, who in turn stared at it as Nick had.

"Where was she found?" Nick asked, suddenly.

"Upstairs, in her father's den," Pete told him.

He led them upstairs into the room where Megan Boyle had been murdered. Nick and Derek winced simultaneously at the outline of her body, which at the time of her death had been in a fetal position. The amount of blood was astonishing. Derek almost fell to the floor and thanked the gods that Nick and Pete hadn't noticed. He was rocked by the most desperate feeling. It was tearing his insides out. Megan Boyle had died a terrible death and for a few moments Derek thought he could feel her suffering and hear her cries. He put his hands to his ears.

Nick asked, "How did she die?"

"She was slit open from her throat to her navel and the killer most likely let her lay there and bleed to death. It was a very painful death," Pete explained.

"She was conscious," Derek said. It was more a statement than an inquiry.

"We don't know if she really was or not," Pete said.

"She was," Derek said, "And she knew her killer well. Have you found the murder weapon yet?"

"Nope," Pete answered.

Nick ran a hand over his face and walked over to the desk. He looked down at the calendar on the desk for the year 1993 and then noticed the hat and coat on the coat rack in the corner. She hadn't touched this room since her father died. Nick drowned out the sound of Pete and Derek's conversation and moved over to look at a photograph that was on a nearby shelf. It was Megan. It was an older picture, but it was a close-up. Her blond hair hung about her shoulders and she had just a touch of rouge on. Nick exhaled as he soaked in the full extent of her beauty. He hoped Pete and Derek wouldn't notice as he slipped the photograph from it's frame and put it into his pocket. He made a mental note to himself to take the picture out when he got back to the island and put it in a case file. Galina would have a fit if she saw he had a picture of a beautiful woman in his jacket.

"Nick?" Derek asked. "Did you hear me?" Nick snapped his head around. Derek and Pete were looking at him like he was a space cadet. He said, "I'm sorry, what?"

"I said, let's go talk to Mrs. Cahill," said Derek.

"Yeah, good idea," Nick recovered, quickly.

"You don't have to go far," Pete said. "She lives in that monstrosity of a house next door."

When Nick shook Ginger Cahill's hand, he felt like someone had walked over his grave. He recognized her as the red-head in the photograph at Megan's. Only she had too much makeup on and a pointed nose that reminded Nick of Pinocchio. Nick thought that Derek must have had a similar impression for he let go of her hand quickly.

Ginger Cahill led them into an enormous living room. Derek glanced at the decorating style of Ginger Cahill's colorful home that were a stark contrast to Megan's conservative one. She served them coffee and biscotti. Derek wanted to throw up. Just being in this woman's home made his skin crawl for less than the obvious reason of her reminding him of an snobby debutante. She didn't seem to heartbroken over the fact that her oldest friend was in a morgue while she was eating biscotti.

"Mrs. Cahill-" Derek began.

"Please, call me Ginger," she interrupted, "everyone does, what can I call you?" she purred.

"Dr. Rayne," Derek said as rudely as he could. If she had been offended by his behavior, she gave no notice.

"And you?" she asked Nick, while twirling her hair in her fingers. She seemed to pay no attention to Detective Ayers. No doubt in her book he was a lowly police officer, but the Luna Foundation was an entirely different matter altogether.

"I'm Mr. Boyle," Nick said, trying not to laugh at Derek's amused expression. She blinked twice and turned her attention back to Derek.

"And what are you a doctor of?" she asked.

"Plastic surgery," Derek snapped. Nick and Pete spit their coffee out in unison. Ginger Cahill gasped and grabbed a napkin while Nick and Pete looked at each other, flabbergasted. Derek glared coldly at Ginger as she fussed over Nick.

"I'm sorry," she said, "What did you say?"

"I'm a doctor of many things," Derek said, and left it at that.

Nick sat back in the sofa, trying to understand Derek's outright rude behavior. Even faced with the most annoying of people, Derek never resulted to insults or glaring eyes. He said, "Do you know who could have done this to Megan?"

"Obviously someone who wanted the necklace," said Ginger.

"Could you elaborate on that?" asked Derek.

"Well, she worked with an archaeologist named Dr. Payne. When they found the necklace, Payne wanted to make plans to bring it back to the states. He figured if they had found the necklace, then Hatshepsut's body couldn't be too far away. Megan had a fit, she didn't want anything to do with it," explained Ginger.

"Pretty odd behavior for someone who is interested in archaeology. You'd think she'd be all for it," commented Nick.

"Oh no," Ginger continued, "she was adamant about taking the necklace back to the states, her and Joyce both. Uh, that's Joyce Fordham. She was another student of Dr. Payne's and she was just as upset as the find as Megan was. Dr. Payne accused Megan of stealing the necklace when it turned up missing."

"It turned up missing in Egypt? Not here?" asked Pete. "You didn't tell me that before."

"I didn't think it was important," Ginger said. Derek rolled his eyes. She went on. "Megan was sort of 'fired' from the project and she had a huge fight with both Dr. Payne and Joyce Fordham. I decided to come back to the states with her, I felt obligated of course, she was my best friend. When we were on the plane, Megan admitted to me that she had stolen the necklace and had hidden it in a safe place back in Egypt. She started getting threats not a few hours after her return. Everyone believed her guilty of stealing the necklace, of stealing one of the most important finds of the century and ruining the only chance of finding Hatshepsut's body. Everyone hated her for it," she said. "Poor Megan!" she wailed and began to cry. Nick looked away, embarrassed.

Derek's blood started boiling. He felt ready to explode and, barely controlling his emotions, he stood up and muttered a farewell. Nick and Pete hurriedly jumped out of their seats and shook hands with Ginger Cahill before following Derek out the door.

"What's up with you?" Nick asked Derek, as they walked back over to Megan's.

In a voice audible only to Nick, Derek said, "I'll tell you later." He looked at Pete and said, "I want to look over Megan Boyle's home one more time, if I may."

"Of course. Feel free to do whatever you need, Derek. I trust you, you know that. I have to get back to my squad room. Catch you later," Pete replied. Derek waved him goodbye.

"Well?" Nick asked when they walked into the house. He stopped, the smell of lilacs filled the air. Derek didn't seem to notice.

"That Cahill woman is a bitch and a liar," Derek spat out venomously. Had Nick been sitting down he would have fallen out of his seat. Instead, his jaw dropped down past his knees.

"Whoa," Nick said, "I thought she was a little wacky but-"

"But nothing! She was just about the coldest woman I had ever seen in my life. She didn't give a damn about me!" Derek said. He recanted, saying, "I mean, Megan. She didn't care about Megan. I sat down across from her in there and I tell you that even the coldest crypts are searing hot compared to that woman."

Nick said, "To tell you the truth, I didn't buy her violin solo either."

Derek spun around and looked at Nick, who thought the older man would blow up at him. Instead, his features softened and he said, "Why did you take Megan's photo?"

Nick blushed slightly at being caught and stammered out, "I don't know, I-"

Derek put up a hand, and Nick realized the smell was gone. Derek said,"It's all right." He pulled a photo from out of his pocket and showed it to Nick. It was the one of Megan in the desert. "I did the same, I felt compelled somehow," he said.

"Come on," Nick said, "let's go have that look around." Walking up the stairs Nick said, "It's hard to believe she would have wanted the necklace to stay in Egypt, look at all these artifacts."

"They weren't hers, they were her father's. She didn't believe in taking objects from their place of origin, to be exploited by outsiders," Derek said.

"How the hell do you know that?" asked Nick.

"I just do," Derek said. Nick could tell from the tone in Derek's voice that the conversation was over.

He left Derek on his own and walked to the end of the hall. As he passed the study he averted his eyes. Nick suddenly felt like he had to see Megan's bedroom. He looked at the long hallway and felt like the one at the end was it. Opening the door, he was startled. The room was light and cheerful, not at all like the rest of the house. He was overcome again by the smell of lilacs. Nick closed his eyes for a few moments and then made a beeline for the closet. He fumbled through her clothes, then bent down and rummaged through the boxes. A gentle breeze hit Nick and he turned and grabbed a cushioned chair and dragged it to the closet. Standing on it, he felt around the top left corner of the closet and rested his hand on something square and leathery. He pulled it down and saw a dark green, leather-bound book with a Celtic design of intertwining flowers.

"Oh God," he murmured as he realized he was holding the journal of Megan Boyle. Before Nick could begin reading the journal, Derek started to scream in agony.

Chapter Two: The Flavor of Distrust

"There's nothing worse than taking something into your head: it turns into a revolving wheel that you can't control." -Ugo Betti

"One cannot live with the dead; either we die with them, or we make them live again." -Louis Martin-Chauffer

"To die completely, a person must not only forget, but be forgotten, and he who is not forgotten is not dead." -Samuel Butler

Nick shoved the journal into his inside pocket and took off running down the hall. "Derek?" he yelled. He ran into the study and saw Derek lying on the floor, in a fetal position and moaning.

"Please, I can tell you where it is...no, no it's not too late...please..." Derek said. Nick ignored the strong smell of lilacs that filled the room and tried to concentrate on what Derek was saying. "Damn you..." Derek said, "don't just stand there...you can't leave me like this...how could you...I don't have it with me...damn you...you'll never find it without me...you'll never find it..." A gust of air escaped Derek's lips and for a terrifying moment, Nick thought he was dead. Then Derek sat up and opened his eyes.

"The lilacs are gone," Nick mumbled.

"What? What are you talking about?" Derek asked, "and why am I on the floor?"

"Nothing. Nevermind. Are you okay? What the hell just happened to you?" asked Nick.

"I don't know," Derek said, getting off the floor.

"You don't know? You don't remember anything?" Nick asked him.

"No, nothing," Derek lied.

"I found Megan's bedroom. I searched it," Nick said.

"Did you find anything?" asked Derek.

"No, nothing," Nick told him. Derek looked at him strangely and then walked out the door.

He said, "Let's go back to the island, I want to fill the others in."

On the way down the stairs, nick said, "It's too bad that Rachel is away at that convention, we could use her help."

Derek turned on him and said, "You mean, I could use her help, right?"

"No, that's not what I meant at all," Nick said, defensively. He let go of his defensive front to ask, "Are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine," Derek replied, tightly.

When the two men returned to Angel Island, the informed Alex, Philip and Galina of what was happening. Afterwards, Derek went up to his study, and Nick excused himself to go for a walk in the garden. He found a bench and sat down, pulling out Megan's journal. first page was

December 14, 1996

Joyce gave me this as a birthday present. I've never had much use for journals, but since it was a gift, I feel obligated I guess. We're in between lectures right now and I don't have anything else to do. I should study but my surroundings are a little distracting. I'm sitting in my most favorite place in the world, Deir El-Bahri. Hatshepsut's temple. My father always brought me out here and showed me the Valley of the Kings. But this place was always my favorite. Maybe it's because of Hatshepsut herself. When I was a young girl, I used to pretend I was her. I feel drawn to her in a way, as if I had known her. I envy her strength. She was younger than I am now when she became Pharaoh. She was just so strong, and there are times when I just feel so weak. But not here. Here I can feel the strength of the Pharaoh's coursing through me. It is almost serene, and yet it is so haunting to be standing here in their places of burial. She's not even here, her body hidden from her son and placed away in a secret tomb full of the riches and treasures she would take with her to see Ra. We should all be so lucky to be so loved, and so hated. Like Dr. Payne. I think he is a brilliant archaeologist, but there are times when I feel compelled to question his motives. The more and more I spend time around that man, the more I detest him and the fact that he is a great archaeologist flies right out the window. Ginger says I'm being difficult. Joyce keeps quiet about it. Well, nothing like a little help from your friends. The only thing I want to do right now is go home. My father would be disgusted with me. But I can't help it, the more I see what is being done here, the more I remember what my father was like when he was on a dig, the more I realize that I wasn't meant to be an archaeologist. I got into it with Dr. Payne yesterday. He claims the Egyptians got what they wanted: Immortality. They wanted it by being remembered for all eternity, that was their definition of immortality. They did not want to be taken from their tombs and have their bodies and treasures sent to the four corners of the world to different museums to be exploited and poked at and ogled. I saw a mummy at an exhibition in Boston once, I cried for hours. I felt so humbled to be standing in front of this creature who had once roamed the world with the likes of Rameses, or Cleopatra or Hatshepsut. And I felt saddened, almost as if I could feel it's sadness being away from the land it had once loved and once laid to rest in. I am torn in so many ways. I love archaeology and history. I love the feel of something that is five thousand years old, resting in the palm of my hand, I love the magic of it all, but I do not think it should be ripped from it's roots and put on display. God forbid anyone should ever go into Arlington Cemetery and take out our country's dead and put them on display along with all of their belongings and say, "See, here are the heroes of American History." But then who knows, our twisted society might just do that given a few thousand years for the "sake of history and art." In anger, I said as much to Dr. Payne, and was the subject of his wrath and his ridicule for several hours. I don't know what to do. I love this place and I hate it at the same time. It is my agony and my ecstasy. What I was thought beautiful, Dr. Payne has turned into ruins. "Give me sunlight and sea. And who shall steal my heaven from me?" I used to have that poem of Noyes on my wall. And I see the bitter truth in it. God damn that Payne for stealing my place from me, my heaven. I told Joyce how I felt and she says she feel the same way. Ginger is too busy flirting with the camp boys to care. Doesn't she know she's married? Damn it, here comes Payne now, and he doesn't look too thrilled.

Nick looked up to see Galina standing in front of him.

"What are you doing out here?" she asked him. He closed Megan's journal and stood up, encircling his arms around her.

Nick said, "I'm just catching some air."

"What is that?" asked Galina.

"What is what?" Nick asked, trying to hide the journal.

"That book," said Galina. She looked him evenly in the eye as he let out his breath and showed her the journal. "Megan Boyle's journal? I thought you told us you didn't find anything in her room?"

Nick didn't answer her.

Galina asked him, "Is Megan the woman whose picture I found in our room?"

Nick winced and cursed himself silently. "I was going to put it in her case file, I forgot," he said.

"She was really beautiful," Galina commented.

"She was," said Nick.

"Well," she said, "you'd better go tell Derek you have it."

"No," Nick said.

"No?" she asked him. "We may have done things differently in the St. Petersburg house, we usually shared crucial evidence with each other!"

"Look, I can't give it to him! I can't yet, Galina, Okay?" he asked her.

"Why not? I don't understand," she said.

"Please, just trust me, all right?" asked Nick.

"They're both lying, Philip. I can't believe they are actually lying to us!" Alex said, pacing back and forth hurriedly across the room.

"C'mon Alex. That's a pretty strong accusation. There may be somet'ing there not tellin' us but-" Philip began.

"No, Philip. This goes way beyond them just hiding something. They outright lied to us and to each other. You're not psychic, I am and I can feel it," said Alex. Philip got up from the table and placed an arm on Alex as she was pacing by.

"You're going t'go through the floor if ya keep that up, Alex," said Philip. "Look, if they are lyin' to us and themselves, there has t'be a reason. And you're right, you're the psychic, what do you want to do?"

Alex smiled at him, "Do you feel like takin' a wee trip to the city, Father?"

Philip was still chuckling from Alex's impersonation of him as they pulled into Megan Boyle's driveway. "What?" Alex asked, comically. Philip leaned his hand over onto the dashboard as his shoulders shook.

"I think you did that better than I did m'self," he said. She laughed with him and they got out of the car.

"C'mon, Fadder, let's go ahn solve us a merder!" she laughed, grabbing his elbow and dragging him forward.

Before they had gotten ten feet from the car, they heard a shrill scream come from inside the house. They broke out into a run and soon found themselves in Megan's living room, standing in front of a chair frozen in midair. It was poised above a young woman's head who was lying directly beneath it. Philip jumped forward and knocked the chair down as Alex dragged the woman away.

The woman was screaming in Spanish. Alex brushed the hair out of the woman's face. "Who are you?" she asked her.

"I'm Louisa, I was Senorita Boyle's maid," she said in a strong accent. "I came here to clean the mess upstairs, and I, there was a-" Louisa shrieked and began to cry again. Alex hushed her.

"It's okay, Louisa. Take a deep breath," Philip said. The young woman inhaled sharply and began to calm down slowly in Alex's arms. She finally sat up and began to tell them what had happened.

"Are you still reading that thing?" Galina asked when she walked into the room. Nick closed the book and sighed. Galina in turn sighed as well before she said, "You are obsessed with her, aren't you?"

"I am not, Galina. Don't read into things," Nick said.

"You're the one who's doing all the reading, Nicola," she said. He put the book down and stood up as she walked over to him.

"Look, I'm just trying to figure out who killed her. The key could be in her journal, you know that," Nick said. He pulled Galina to him.

"They why don't you read the last few pages, instead of starting from the beginning and scrutinizing every detail of her life?" she said. Galina closed her eyes and leaned her forehead on his. She said, "Just come home with me, I don't want to be sitting there and waiting for you all night, okay?"

"Sure," Nick said, smiling.

"Leave the book, Nicola," Galina said, firmly. He let go of her and backed away a few steps.

"Well, I can see I will be waiting up for you all night. When you've gotten over your little obsession, you know where I'll be," she said. Galina turned around, grabbed her coat from the coat rack and walked out. Nick picked up Megan's journal and sat back down in his chair.

Derek knocked on Nick's door and waited. When there was no answer, Derek said, "Nick, Megan Boyle's maid was attacked by an entity, Alex and Philip were there, they want us to come over there right away."

The door opened and Nick said, "Why don't you go? I'm busy." "With what?" asked Derek. Nick closed the door in his face, leaving Derek fuming. He spun around on his heels and left the castle.

Nick waited until Derek left before pulling out Megan's journal. He opened it up and began to read from it.

December 20, 1996

Something extraordinary happened to me today. Only Joyce and Ginger know about it, and so far I have been able to convince them to keep quiet. Not that it would matter if they weren't quiet, I have the only proof of my discovery. It was early this morning and I had been arguing with Dr. Payne. I finally became so disgusted that I left and wandered off the site on my own. I do not know how long I had been walking, but I sat down to rest and I felt as if something was sitting there with me, even though I was all alone. Then that something lifted me up and I walked another mile until I came to a small sand dune. Without knowing the reason why I was doing so I began to dig until I found a structure underneath the sand. Inside the structure was the key to the greatest finds of our century since King Tut's tomb.

Chapter Three: The Pharaoh's Savior

"The want of a thing is perplexing enough, but the possession of it is intolerable." -Sir John Vanbrugh

"There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it." -George Bernard Shaw

"It is hard to fight against impulsive desire; whatever it wants it will buy at the cost of the soul." - Heraclitus

"Why won't ya just let me do an exorcism?" asked Philip.

"No, absolutely not!" Derek shouted.

"I don't understand you, Derek," said Philip.

"No, you don't," Derek replied. "We'll go back to the island and you and Alex grab the equipment and get back over here. Study and record all you want, but do not interfere in any way! No prayers, no exorcisms! Leave her be! Do you understand?"

Alex and Philip nodded and then looked at each other in confusion when Derek had turned his back. Two hours later, the two were on their way back to Megan's home with a jeep loaded with equipment.

"What in bloody hell was that all about?" wondered Philip.

"I don't know. First Nick refuses to even come out here and boards himself up in his room, and then Derek flips out when you mentioned exorcising the place. I don't know what is going on between those two," Alex said.

"I think they're both off in their own worlds right now, Alex. I don't think they're both involv'd in hidin' somethin' from us. It's somethin' more than that. I think it's Megan Boyle. She's possessed them both somehow," Philip said.

"A spirit that possesses two men at the same time?" asked Alex.

"There is more than one way to possess a man. By spirit, by body, by soul, by memory, by-"

"I get the picture, Philip. So you think they're both possessed. Great, what do we do about it?" asked Alex.

"I want t'call Rachel back here," Philip told her. Alex nodded and fished a cell phone out of her purse. "And another thing," Philip said, "I hope we can put Megan Boyle's spirit t'rest soon, before she becomes even more violent than she was t'day. And if I have even the slightest feelin' of our lives, or the lives of anyone else in danger, I'm doin' an exorcism. Derek isn't in his right mind to be makin' decisions anyhow."

When Derek hung up the phone he was in shock. It was the second time that Detective Ayers had managed to unnerve him. Derek was finding it hard to believe that Megan's sole beneficiary to her estate was himself. She had left her entire fortune and all of her father's artifacts to the Winston Rayne Hall of Antiquities. Ayers had told Derek this in confidence, before the hearing which had been scheduled by Megan's attorney later that week. Derek also learned that Ginger Cahill had tried to push the hearing up to tomorrow morning. Yet no one came forward to claim Megan's body. None of her so-called friends had any interest in doing so. Joyce Fordham was in Egypt and could not be reached. So Derek had stepped forward and claimed it. Then he did something which had shocked both Ayers and the funeral director. He asked that Megan's body be embalmed and mummified. Derek had gone down to the castle archives and pulled out several beautiful pottery jars and had them sent over to the funeral home to hold her heart and organs. When the funeral director professed his lack of experience in performing such a ritual, Derek had a specialist called in.

After several phone calls to make sure that everything turned out right, Derek leaned his head forward on his desk and closed his eyes.

"Derek. Derek, wake up," a voice was saying. Derek opened his eyes and gasped. He was not in his office but in the middle of the desert. He looked down and saw he was wearing khaki shorts and a light pink t-shirt. He jumped when he realized the legs he had weren't his, but a woman's. "Dig, Derek, start digging," the voice said to him. He fell to the ground at the base of a sand dune and began to dig in the sand with his hands. Not long he found himself at the entry to a small cavern buried under the sand. He forced his way through the door and found himself emerged in darkness. Megan's hand went into her pocket, pulling out a lighter, and with her hand Derek flicked it on. Derek waited until his eyes grew accustomed before walking over and grabbing a rag that lay in the corner of the room. He searched for something to tie it to and when he found the remains of a torch lying by his feet he picked it up and lit it.

The room filled with an iridescent light. There was a small altar before him on which rested a small, wooden and gold carved box. He stepped forward and laid the torch on the altar and opened the box. He looked at the contents of the box for several moments before taking it out. He looked at what he was holding in Megan's hand and gasped. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. It wasn't just a necklace, it was a

pectoral. It was made of gold and silver and inlaid with semi-precious stones of lapis-lazuli, cornelian, turquoise and beads of colored glass. The pectoral was inscribed with hieroglyphics and adorned with a scarab-beetle and a depiction of the Falcon-God Horus on either side.

Derek pulled the torch closer to him and read the inscription out loud, "I am the daughter of the God Amun, ruler of the upper and lower kingdoms. I am Khnemet-Amon-Hatshepsut, Pharaoh of the Two Lands". Derek gasped and put his hand on the altar to steady himself. Derek held the necklace tight. He looked at the box and discovered a small reed of papyrus lying in the bottom. He pulled the reed out.

His eyes widened as he read the papyrus. It foretold the coming of a female goddess who would save the tomb of Hatshepsut and keep it from foreign invaders, as told by the oracle. She would come from a land across the ocean and she would die protecting the Pharaoh's tomb. The name of the goddess was Megana.

Megan's hand dropped the papyrus as Derek inhaled a sharp breath. His eyes closed and when he opened them again, he was sitting in his office.

Nick closed Megan's journal and then opened it again. He flipped back a few pages and read over her last entry:

I took a lighter from my pocket and after it was lit I found what was left of a torch and lighted it up. I saw before me an altar. I laid down the torch and opened a small box that lay there. Inside was a pectoral. It was a few minutes before I actually felt like I could touch it. It was the most beautiful thing! Dozens of colors and little beaded stones and jems. When I saw the scarab in the center and the carving of Horus in malachite I knew it was the pectoral of a Pharaoh. I moved it closer to the light and almost fainted in shock when I had read the inscription. It was Hatshepsut's! I held it close to me and I held on to it for dear life. Nothing could have pried that treasure from my fingers. Then I looked down and saw the papyrus. I opened it and read it. I could not believe anything I read. I thought for a few moments, that this was some kind of sick joke, maybe by Payne himself. But it wasn't. The necklace was real. After a lifetime of living in and around an ancient environment, I know a priceless artifact when I see it, without having to date it or run it through a microscope. This was real. It electrified my fingers when I touched it. Yet the papyrus, it was real, but how could it be? It was a map to Hatshepsut's tomb and it was a prophecy, with my name on it. Or maybe I'm just jumping to conclusions. A faraway goddess from another land across the sea named Megana who saves Hatshepsut's tomb, and dies doing so. I have to say it makes me very nervous. I picked up the necklace and the papyrus and shoved them into my bag. I don't know what to do with them. I don't want to keep them, but I don't want someone like Payne getting his hands on it. Maybe Ginger and Joyce will know what to do. I trust them with my life, I can trust them with Hatshepsut's necklace.

Nick sat back and laid his hand over his eyes. He sighed heavily and leaned forward. He looked over Megan's journal in his hands, feeling the leather underneath his fingers. He skipped over the next few pages which contained nothing more than Megan waiting for the right time to talk to Joyce and Ginger, and trying to keep Payne from being suspicious. Then Nick noticed an entry that was hastily scrawled.

December 25, 1996 I showed Ginger and Joyce the necklace. They were enthralled to say the least. Ginger suggested that we sell it for profit and Joyce wanted to find Hatshepsut's tomb and publicly announce our find to the world. I did not show them the papyrus, only the necklace. I didn't tell them I knew where the tomb was. I'm not sure why. I trust them completely, the three of us have been through so much together. But I just could not believe the reaction the two of them had. I told them as much and they both seemed to calm down over the matter and agreed to let me think about it for a few days and decide what I wanted to do. But this morning someone trashed my tent. Nothing was stolen. Someone else knows about the necklace. Ginger and Joyce say they did not tell anyone, and I believe them. They're the only family I have and they are the two best friends I've ever had. They both told me to report it to the police and to Dr. Payne. I know they are worried for my safety but I can do neither. The other night, after telling Ginger and Joyce about the necklace, I tried to figure out where to hide it. Then I remembered two men my father talked about, Derek Rayne and Harry Weatherton . Derek's the son of Winston Rayne and from what my father told me Derek is of high regard. He met my father and Harry on a dig years ago. My father trusted them and respected them, I surmised that I could do the same. I went to Cairo and found that Harry Weatherton had an office there. I told him who I was and after talking with him for a few hours, I decided he was trustworthy. There was just something in the old man's eyes. When he spoke there was truth in them. Not something many people have. I showed him the necklace and the papyrus. He agreed to keep it secret and said he had the most perfect place to hide both. I left them with him and went back to Deir El-Bahri. When Ginger found out what I had done she screamed at me for hours. I finally coaxed it from her. Her husband had several gambling debts and the necklace would pay them off. I gave her the money she needed and she seemed to be satisfied. I could not find Joyce, I don't know where she is. I don't know what to do now. Maybe Derek Rayne would know. I'm making plans to go home as soon as I can. In the meantime, this journal is going to end up in Harry's protection as well, at least until I leave for the states.

Nick pounded on the door and when Ginger Cahill's butler opened it, he pushed past the man and hurried into the living room. Ginger hardly had time to stand up before Nick started to shout.

"Did you kill her?!" he screamed. Ginger Cahill motioned to her butler that all was well and he left them. She looked at Nick Boyle in fury.

"Don't you ever talk to me like that in front of my staff again!" she snarled. Nick took a step towards her and she said, "NO! I didn't kill her. I told the police, my husband and I were at a charity function in Sacramento, we were there all night."

"Did you hire someone to do it?" Nick asked her.

"NO! Megan was my best friend in the whole-" she started to say.

"Cut the crap lady! You didn't give a shit about Megan Boyle! You just wanted the necklace for yourself. I know all about your husband and his gambling debts!" Nick shouted.

"Keep your voice down!" she hissed at him. "I admit, we were having financial trouble, but Megan loaned me the money to pay off our debt."

"But no amount of money could equal the amount you'd get for Hatshepsut's necklace on the black market. There was no big fight between Megan and Joyce, or Megan and Dr. Payne for that matter. She was never fired from the project. You're lying to me, and you and I are going to sit down and I'm not leaving until you start giving me answers" Nick commanded.

"Well," Alex said. "I was able to reach Dr. Payne in Egypt. He'd never heard of Megan finding any necklace. There was no fight over it. Megan Boyle left Egypt of her own accord. Ginger went with her."

"An' Joyce Fordham?" asked Philip.

"Dr. Payne said she was away on a dig and unavailable for comment," Alex replied. She sighed and leaned forward, putting her head in her hands.

"Alex, why don't ya go an' get some sleep? I can take the next watch," he smiled at her. Alex got up and started to walk to the couch when she was hit and knocked backwards. Philip screamed her name and dashed forward. "Are you okay?" he asked her. Alex groaned and sat up.

"What the hell was that?" she asked. A large vase that rested on a pillar flew at them. Alex and Philip ducked. Philip grabbed his bible and started to chant.

"May the spirit of Megan Boyle's body begone from this place!" he yelled.

"NO!" Derek shouted, running into the house. He ran forward and knocked Philip aside. He looked around him and at the ceiling. "Megan?" he cried. "Megan, are you still here?"

"What the hell is the matter with you?" Alex shouted. "She attacked me and Philip, she came after us!"

Derek ignored them both and shouted Megan's name at the top of his lungs.

Nick was about to say something when he heard a scream coming from next door. He stood up and Ginger Cahill gasped. It sounded like Derek. He took off and bounded out the front door. As he was crossing the small lawn in front of Ginger Cahill's house, he saw Rachel and Galina just getting out of the car.

"Was that Derek?" Rachel cried, running forward. When the three of them got inside they found Derek standing in a corner and Alex and Philip fuming with anger. Rachel said, "What in God's name is going on?"

Derek snapped out of his reverie. "What are you three doing here?" he asked.

"Father Philip called us," Galina said.

"I heard the screams, I was next door, at Ginger Cahill's," Nick replied.

"What were you doing over there?" Alex asked him. Nick told them what he had learned about Megan finding the necklace and Ginger and her husband's gambling debts.

"How did you find that out?" Derek asked. Nick pulled Megan's journal out of his pocket. Derek rushed forward and snatched it. He looked at Nick but said nothing to him. "Philip, Alex, I have made arrangements for us to go to Egypt. I want the rest of you to stay here."

"What about me?" Nick asked.

"You're too busy, remember? You have other things to do," Derek sneered.

Rachel whispered to Alex and Philip, "You were right, those two have lost it."

Nick stormed out of the house and walked back over to Ginger Cahill's with Galina behind him. They got to the door and Ginger's butler again got in Nick's way.

"There's no point," the man said. "She's not here."

"What?" Nick asked. He turned around and saw that Ginger Cahill's car was gone. "Damn it!" Nick shouted.

"We'll call Detective Ayers," Galina said, "We can have an APB put out on her and have her picked up."

"I don't like this," Rachel said.

"Look," Alex told her, "Just work on Nick, leave Derek to me and Philip."

"If you think that's best," Rachel said. "But I still don't like this."

"I know, we don't either," Philip said.

Three hours later they were in the Legacy jet and on their way to Egypt. Philip had asked the reason of the trip and was rebuffed, so he sat down next to Alex.

"What did he say?" Alex asked.

"Nothin', he won't talk to me," said Philip.

"What's he got in his hands?" she asked him.

"It's a photograph of Megan Boyle. You should see the way he's lookin' at it. His eyes are burnin' into that thing like a magnifyin' glass underneath the sun," Philip told her.

Alex squinted her eyes and then turned to Philip and said, "He's in love with her!"

Philip nodded and said, "I think so, or at least he's in love with the idea of her."

"God help the man who falls in love with a dead woman's picture," Alex said.

Chapter Four: The Sleeping Woman

"We are adhering to life now with our last muscle...the heart." -Djuna Barnes, from, "Nightwood"

"In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day." -F. Scott Fitzgerald

"We've traveled too far, and our momentum has taken over. We move idly towards eternity, without possibility of reprieve or hope of explanation." -Tom Stoppard, from "Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead"

Derek looked over Megan's journal, trying to will himself to open it. He kept a careful check on his emotions but found he was too exhausted to go on doing so. After several moments of badgering himself, he finally started to read it. He read past where Nick had left off and reached the last few entries:

December 31,1996

I left the necklace and the map with Harry. He promised me he would keep them hidden for as long I needed. I believe him to be telling the truth. The only thing I've brought back with me is this journal, and Ginger. I don't know why she was so persistent about coming back to the states with me. Dr. Payne pretended to be sorry I was leaving, the rest of the group were genuinely upset to see me go. I can't believe that I have made such an impact. And then I realized that they were scared. It was my money that was funding the expedition. I cut them a check and told them not to worry. The money should keep them well into the next year. Joyce was upset as well but I told her I would come back as soon as I decided what I was going to do. Yet I know exactly what I'm doing with the necklace, but I said nothing to Ginger or Joyce. I didn't want to get into an argument with them. They're all I've got. I just wish they would see why I can't let anyone else know about the necklace, and the tomb. It's nice to be home though. Poor Louisa, she missed me so. I think it's the house. If I hadn't grown up in it, I would think it was creepy too. Well, I might to try to contact Derek Rayne tomorrow. Harry said he was trustworthy. I just don't know. The more people that know about Hatshepsut's necklace, the more danger her tomb will be in. I don't know what to do. I just don't.

January 2, 1996

The threats started yesterday, although I really didn't think they were that serious at first. But this morning, someone left a horrible note on my front door written in blood. I'm scared. Someone else knows about the necklace. I called Ginger and Harry and warned them, who knows what this person could do. I couldn't get through to Joyce. I thought of calling the police, but I just couldn't. I didn't want to tell them why I was getting the threats. But the more this goes on, the more I feel like Hatshepsut's prophecy might come true. I'm in danger and I have no place to run, no place to hide. I can't involve my friends in this any more than they already have been. And I can't call this Derek Rayne now, I would just be getting an innocent bystander into danger as well.

"Damn you, Megan," Derek said, "why didn't you just call me?" Derek found himself surrounded by the smell of lilacs. She was with him. He leaned back and pushed back his tears. He looked back at the journal and read the entry for the last day of Megan's life:

January 9, 1996

I feel death near me now more than ever. I can't sleep, I can't eat, every day I get phone calls and letters in the mail that are terrifying me. But I won't give in. I'll never let anyone get Hatshepsut's necklace. I'll never let anyone find her tomb. I'll take her secret with me to the grave if I have to. I know that is where I am going. I cannot ask anyone for help without telling them why I am in danger. I know more and more, each day, that Hatshepsut's prophecy will be fulfilled. I just hope I have enough strength to let it be. Dorothy Parker wrote, "Death will not see me flinch; the heart is bold. That pain had made me incapable of pain." Oh please, let it be as such for me! I don't want to die. I'm afraid. I will never see the Valley of the Kings again. My valle d'abisso dolorosa. My valley of the woeful abyss. Yet I know that this was my purpose in life, this was the sole reason for my birth. To die protecting someone that has been dead for centuries. This was my destiny. It is written in down in a papyrus over 3500 years old. How can I change what was written so long ago? Someone just rung the doorbell. I hope beyond hope that it is a friend, and not a foe. I hope I shall have the chance to write in this journal again, there is so much more I want to say before I die. Maybe I will call Derek Rayne tomorrow. Maybe he can help me after all. It is something I will have to consider.

It was the last page that was written in the book. Derek winced and then thought back to what had happened to him back in the study at Megan's house. He had remembered every detail of her death. He had felt it as though it was happening to him. He just didn't see the killer's face. He noticed the smell of lilacs had faded away as the pilot told them they would be arriving in Cairo in minutes. Derek shoved the journal into his bag and looked over at where Alex and Philip were sitting. They were watching him with great caution and looked away when he looked in their direction. Derek sighed and pulled Megan's picture from his pocket. He couldn't understand why he had fallen in love with this young woman. It wasn't because she came to him in the middle of the night and let him enter her body and be her, to see through her eyes and feel what she felt when she lived. She was dead, and Derek wanted her to be alive so badly.

"Derek?" the old man said, "Derek Rayne? My God! It's been almost ten years, hasn't it?"

"Yes Harry, it has been," Derek said. He looked at Philip and Alex and said, "This is Harry Weatherton, he is an old friend of my father's. Harry, this is Father Philip Callahan and Alexandra Moreau, they are colleagues of mine."

"Pleasure to meet you, but what brings you to Cairo? And at this late hour?" asked Harry.

"Megan Boyle," Derek answered.

The old man stepped back and asked, "Megan? Is she all right?"

"You don't know? Megan's dead, Harry, she was murdered," Derek told him. Harry's eyes clouded over and he turned around and looked out the window at the night sky.

"I told her to be careful, oh God, not her," Harry moaned.

"The necklace, Harry. I must have it, and the scroll," Derek said. Harry turned on him.

"No, Derek. I promised her I would never-" Harry stopped as the smell of Megan's perfume caught him off guard. "She always smelled like lilacs," Harry sighed. He looked past Derek as if he could almost see her standing there.

A voice heard only by Harry Weatherton replied, "It's all right Harry, give Derek the necklace."

Harry spun around, and as fast as his seventy-year-old body could carry him, ran into the next room. Derek and the others followed him.

He bent down and pushed a tile that was on the floor. The entire room began to move until Derek, Alex and Philip, found themselves looking at a passageway down beneath the floor. "It's down there," Harry said. "You'll forgive me if I don't run down there with you, I've got a bad touch of arthritis." Derek ran down the narrow steps, pulling out a flashlight as he went. Five minutes later he came out with the necklace and the scroll. Alex caught her breath at the sight of the necklace. Philip asked to see the scroll.

"Thank you, Harry," Derek said. The old man simply nodded.

Back at their hotel rooms, Philip was busy going over the scrolls as Alex examined the necklace with great excitement. Derek walked down the hall and locked himself in his room. He sat down on the edge of the bed and when he looked around him he realized he was back in Megan Boyle's bedroom. He put the pen down on the desk and ran to the closet, stashing Megan's journal in it's hiding place up in the closet. As he walked out of the room he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He was Megan. Wearing white cotton pajamas, with her long blond hair tucked behind her ear. Derek wanted to cry for her but realized he was walking again. He moved down the stairs and went to the door. Megan hesitated before opening it. When she put her hand on the doorknob, the worst feeling of evil slammed into Derek's psychic being. He cried at her to stop. He cried for her to run, but there wasn't any use in doing so. He was seeing something that had already happened.

A knock at his door threw Derek back into the present and he growled angrily, "What do you want?"

Philip said through the door, "I thought you might like t'know, I know where Hatshepsut's tomb is."

Derek sprung from his bed and in minutes the three of them were headed down to their jeep. They rode for most of the way in silence as Derek drove speedily over the uneven terrain. Alex finally asked, "Do you know where we're going? How can you see in the dark?"

Derek's answer was a slam on the brakes. Alex and Philip lurched painfully forward against their seatbelts. "We're here," Derek said. He leaped from the car with Alex and Philip behind him. He walked for a ways before coming to the small cavern that had contained the necklace and the scroll.

"All right," Philip said. "Look for something, anything that would look like a sleeping woman, the reed said the tomb rested in the heart of the sleeping woman, near the cavern that holds the pectoral."

Alex and Philip grabbed their flashlights and started to scour the desert. "I don't understand," Philip said. "It should be right around here." He looked back at Derek, who stood unmoving. "Derek?" Philip asked. He shined his light at Derek's face. His eyes were fixated on something beyond Philip.

He turned suddenly and said, "Alex, Philip, turn off your lights!" Alex and Philip turned off their flashlights and waited. "Don't you see it? Look! At the horizon!"

Alex and Philip looked at the tiny range of mountains on the horizon. Alex gasped. She turned to Philip and pointed him in the right direction. The miniscule range of mountains and hills, was in the outline of a sleeping woman. It was in similar fashion as the Kings and Queens used to lay with their arms crossed over their breast. Derek took off running with Alex and Philip behind him, shining their lights on the ground so they wouldn't trip over the terrain that went from solid sand to solid earth.

They reached the edge of the mountain range and came crashing to a halt as Derek's phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket, swearing and cursing the interruption. He said, "This is Rayne...what? Dammit!...no....no, just stay there. I can't talk now, I'll call you back."

"Who was it?" asked Alex.

"That was Nick, they found Ginger Cahill's husband. He was shot dead in his office. Ginger Cahill is nowhere to be found, but Nick seems to think she's on her way to Egypt," Derek explained. He looked up and started to climb the small hill in front of him.

"Maybe Ginger Cahill is dead too, maybe it's the people they owed money to," Alex said, climbing behind him.

"No," Philip said, "Megan gave her the money t'pay those debts off, remember? I think Nick is right, I think Ginger must have found out our travel plans and realized we were comin' for the necklace."

Alex looked up to see Derek well ahead of them and hurried her pace. She reached the top of the range with Derek and bent over to give Philip a hand. "Now," she said, "where do we look from here?"

"Here," Derek said, "This mound here, is the heart of the sleeping woman."

Before Alex could ask Derek how he knew, Philip grabbed her elbow and whispered, "D'you smell it? That scent of lilacs?"

Alex inhaled and whispered to Philip, "When that old man smelled it, he said it smelled like Megan, you don't think that-"

"That Megan is here? I do, and she's leadin' Derek so it would be best t'follow him," Philip responded quietly. They aimed their flashlights at the back of Derek's feet and followed him into a cavern that was much bigger than the one before. As they headed down into the cave, Alex notice it turned from a cave into a temple. All along the walls were hieroglyphs and drawings. The cave path turned into steps that led them down deep into the heart of the sleeping woman.

Ginger Cahill followed them from their hotel to the sand dunes by the Valley of the Kings. She waited for them to make their move and waited until they were already up the mountain before climbing up after them. She followed the glow of their flashlights and kept a careful distance. She would have to be patient and wait for them to find the tomb. Then she could kill them and take the treasures of Hatshepsut. They would make a pretty profit indeed.

Chapter Five: Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)

"A flower and not a flower; of mist yet not of mist. At midnight she was there; she went as daylight shone. She came and for a little while was like a dream of spring. And then, as morning clouds that vanish traceless, she was gone." -Po Chii-i, "P'u-hua Fei hua"

"In one short night the brightest stars expire. But still we ask the fortune of our lives. Even from this flattering spring-tide of the skies, 'tis good or ill, as sun or star survives. Oh! What duration is there? Who relies upon a star? Or hope from it derives, that every night is born again and dies?" -Pedro Calderon de la Barca, "The Constant Prince"

Alex and Philip shined their lights on the wall. Alex laid a hand on the wall to steady herself. The colors on the painted reliefs were astonishing, even in the strained glow of their flashlights. "It looks like it was done yesterday, look at that," Philip exclaimed, "Osiris, God of the Dead...Isis, his wife...Horus the Falcon-God...the colors! Look at those colors!"

"Neith," Alex murmured, "Mother of the sun, goddess of war and protector of the Red Crown of Lower Egypt...Thoth the God of Wisdom...I've seen paintings and hieroglyphs before, but never this dazzling, never this vibrant. It doesn't look like time has touched them at all, how can that be though? There should be some decay, some ruin, but there isn't."

"Down here," Derek said. A bright light filled the tunnel as he lit a torch. Derek motioned for Philip to help him move a large stone out of their way. A narrow passageway stood in front of them lined with pillars carved in sycamore wood and painted with lotus flowers. Derek lit two more torches and handed them to Alex and Philip.

When they left the passageway they entered into a large room that shined and sparkled in the light. "Oh wow," Alex breathed. The first chamber of the tomb was lavishly decorated with painted reliefs of limestone and sandstone, depicting moments of the great Pharaoh's reign. Giant reeds of papyrus hung from the walls. There was a wooden rack of clothing against the wall. Pleated gauze dresses and shawls sewn with glass colored beads, and ceremonial costumes decorated in gold-painted peacock feathers, were hanging from the rack.

In one corner was a cedar chest topped with alabaster perfume jars. Derek walked over and picked one up. He opened the lid and found crushed lilacs inside. The smell wafted up and seemed to grab hold of him. Philip caught the jar before it crashed to the ground. Derek mumbled and apology for his clumsiness and watched as Alex picked up a small mirror of polished silver. She laid it down and examined the cosmetics jars filled with crushed malachite, lapis-lazuli and red ochre. There were alabaster jars filled with henna and glass beaded collars. Rings, earrings, fans made of ostrich feathers and painted in an iridescent play of colors. Alex turned around when Philip called out to them.

"Look at this! It's the award of the Golden Fly," he exclaimed.

"The Golden Fly was only given to soldiers for gallantry and bravery on the battlefield," Derek said.

"Look right there, on the wall," Alex told them. The three of them looked up to see a battle painted on the wall. Many Egyptian soldiers fighting with their enemy as the Pharaoh rode her chariot, clad in battle gear.

"Could it be Nubia's army?" Philip asked them.

"Might be," Derek said, "The Egyptians were always fighting with them."

Alex fingered an oil lamp that rested on a wooden stand. She then caught her breath at the wooden chair sheathed in gold and silver with ebony inlays. The back of the chair had a floral border done in semi-precious stones. In the center was a painting of Ma'at. The Goddess of Justice and Balance in the Universe.

Philip walked forward to a set of hieroglyphs on the wall. "Behind this wall is their bodies," he said.

"Their?" asked Derek.

"Hatshepsut's and Senmut's," Philip said.

"Of course! Senmut was Hathsepsut's strongest supporter and her lover. Some rumored that Hathsepsut's daughter, Princess Neferure was Senmut's daughter," Alex said. She rested her hand against a stone that lay in the wall and jumped back as the wall began to move.

"Talk about lucky," Philip said, as he walked towards the open chamber in front of them. Alex and Derek went in after Philip and cried in surprise when their torches lit the room. On the wall was a painting of Hatshepsut and Senmut, and it looked exactly like a painting of Megan and Derek.

"Oh my God," Derek said.

"That's you!" Alex exclaimed.

"That IS you!" Philip cried.

Derek walked forward and looked at the gold and wooden carved sarcophagus of Hatshepsut. "Her body was laid to rest in a hurry. Her step-son was hunting down anyone who might have supported the Pharaoh while she was alive. Senmut brought only one slave with him, and laid Hatshepsut's body in here, without embalming it. They had no time to perform the burial ritual, and he hated that, he wished he could do more. Senmut's slave buried him next to her," Derek explained.

"It says all that on there?" asked Philip.

"No, but I know it anyway," said Derek. He leaned forward and started to push the lid from Hatshepsut's sarcophagus. The lid moved as if it had only been lying there for a few hours, and not three thousand years.

"What are you doing?" cried Alex. Derek pried the lid off and let it drop to the floor. He cried out. Hatshepsut's body had not decayed. Her chestnut hair still shone, there was still color in her lips and cheeks, but the thing that made Derek cry out was the fact that Hatshepsut was Megan Boyle's exact double.

"How can it be, over 3000 years and she looks like she was buried yesterday," Alex gasped.

Derek whirled around and started on Senmut's coffin. Philip stuck his torch in the wall and ran over to Derek's side. "You don't want t'do that, Derek," Philip told him. "I don't think you want t'see what's under there."

Derek kept pushing until the coffin lid crashed to the floor. Derek looked and saw himself lying in the coffin. Senmut's body was in the same shape as Hatshepsut's. Derek stepped back and leaned against the wall. "Megan was Hatshepsut, she was the prophecy, she saved herself, she saved her own tomb, and I was there..."

Philip and Alex watched as Derek walked over to Hatshepsut's coffin and drop to his knees. He began mumbling incoherently.

"What's he saying?" Alex asked. Philip shook his head.

"I don't know, it's not any language I've ever heard, unless...unless it's ancient Egyptian. I wouldn't know it if I heard it, no one would, it hasn't been spoken in-" Philip stopped as the bullet ricocheted around the room and lodged itself into the ground. Philip threw an arm over Alex's head and pulled her to the ground with him. Derek didn't seem to hear the gunshot and kept on mumbling to himself by Hatshepsut's coffin.

Philip glared with contempt at the gawky, red-headed woman as she entered the burial chamber. "Y'must be Ginger Cahill," Philip commented. She smiled slightly and leveled her gun at his face.

"Get up off the floor, both of you-" she said. She noticed Derek down by Hatshepsut's sarcophagus and said, "You too, Dr. Rayne, or you'll be the one needing the plastic surgery." She sneered at him, pointing the gun at his face. When he didn't move she growled at him, "I SAID GET UP!"

Derek looked down at the white gauze loincloth he was wearing. It was a stark contrast to his dark, olive colored skin. He looked over at his beautiful Pharaoh, lying on a slab of granite. It had only been a few hours since Thuthmosis had poisoned her, and already he was hunting them down. Senmut cursed and damned himself for not being there when she had needed him the most. "My love," he whispered in her ear. "We'll be together soon." He turned when Aneket, his slave, called out to him.

"My lord, Senmut, the new Pharaoh has reached the valley, he is coming this way." Derek grabbed Hatshepsut's body and laid her in her coffin, pushing the lid over it and sealing it shut. "He won't find her, you'll make sure Aneket?" The slave nodded, he had loved his Pharaoh as Senmut had. He would die before he ever said a single word to that bastard Thuthmosis. Aneket did not know that in a few hours, when he would be caught trying to escape, that he would do just that. Senmut ran over and laid in the coffin he had prepared for himself. "Aneket, push the lid closed," he ordered. Aneket cried as he did so, burying his master alive. Derek opened his eyes. He was no longer Senmut. He looked down as a feminine hand laid on the doorknob in front of him. He was in Megan's body again, crying for her to run away, crying for her not to open the door.

"Joyce? Ginger?" Megan cried. "What are you two doing here?" Derek cried when Joyce pulled the large knife out. Derek turned and ran up the stairs. If he could just get to her father's study, the gun was in there. Derek gasped as he was pushed forward. Megan's body hit the ground and Derek turned and screamed as the knife left a searing trail from his throat to his abdomen. "Why didn't you just give it to us when we asked?" Joyce screamed. Joyce lowered her knife towards Derek's face.

"Please," Megan said, "I can tell you where it is."

Ginger screamed, "It's too late for that now!" Megan coughed on a lump of blood in her throat.

"No," she moaned, "no it's not too late, please..."

Joyce and Ginger both smiled. Joyce said to her, "Yes, it is. And I hope you suffer!"

Megan pushed her pain away and summoned her strength. She screamed at both of them, "Damn you! Don't just stand there! You can't leave me like this! How could you! I don't have the necklace here! And damn you both, you'll never find it without me!" Megan's breathing started to slow down in rugged, heaving gasps. "You'll never find it without me... you'll never find it.." Derek felt Megan die and suddenly whipped his head up as he heard screaming coming from somewhere close by.

"GET UP!" Ginger Cahill shrieked at him. Derek looked at her, but remained where he was on the floor, shaking with fury.

"You and Joyce Fordham killed Megan, why? She was your friend!" Derek shouted. "What was the arrangement? You two would split the profit from the necklace?"

"You're not getting the big picture, Dr. Rayne. Why go through all that trouble for a necklace, when I could have the treasures in this tomb? Joyce had the same problem, she just didn't think big enough," Ginger said.

"Where is Joyce now? Dead?" asked Alex.

"Yep. Profits are much better when they're all yours and you don't have to share. I had my mope of a husband do the job, he got rid of the body. But then he started to panic when you got involved, I knew the rat was thinking about testifying against me to get himself off the hook, so I took care of him," she told them.

"That's who's haunting Megan's house. Joyce! I knew it couldn't be Megan," Derek said.

"Sorry folks, but time's up. You first Dr. Rayne," Ginger pointed the gun right at Derek's heart.

Philip and Alex looked at him. The look on their faces turned into a mixture of fear and wonder. Derek realized they weren't looking at him, but behind him. The gentle touch of fabric brushed his cheek and a breeze of lilacs blew by as the figure walked past him. Ginger Cahill shrieked and pulled the trigger of her gun. Alex and Philip ducked down but the gun did not go off. They heard Ginger's screams as she ran out of the tomb. Derek watched as Hatshepsut went after her.

For a few moments there was silence. Then a blood-chilling scream erupted from outside the tomb that sent Alex, Philip and Derek running. They reached the entrance to the tomb and saw Hatshepsut standing at the edge of the cliff. Alex and Philip stayed still as Derek stepped forward.

"Careful!" Alex warned.

"It's okay, Alex. She won't hurt me," Derek said, walking forward. He reached the edge and looked over. Ginger Cahill's body laid at the bottom and somehow, Derek knew it wasn't the fall that had broken her neck. He turned and looked at the Pharaoh. She said nothing but put her arms around his neck and held him close. After a few moments, her body went limp as her soul left it, but Derek knew her soul was still there. He turned and carried Hatshepsut's body into the tomb and placed her back in her coffin, kissing her forehead before he laid the lid back on.

Alex watched the scene with great empathy. After a few moments had gone by, Philip said, "The exorcism wouldn't have worked even if I had tried it, I was trying to exorcise Megan, when Joyce was the one who attacked us."

"When we get back to the states, you can exorcise that place all you want, and send Joyce Fordham to hell where she belongs," Derek told him.

"I can still smell the lilacs, it was Hatshepsut that was with you all along?" asked Alex.

"Hatshepsut and Megan are one in the same. They shared the same soul. Just as Senmut and I are the same soul. We will meet again, somewhere, in another time and place," Derek said.

Nick, Rachel and Galina flew to Egypt and brought Megan Boyle's body with them. Derek had a sarcophagus made just for her and as he was closing the lid of the coffin, he laid Hatshepsut's necklace around her neck, along with a wreath made of lilacs.

"I feel like I should say somethin', but I don't think it appropriate that I do. I'm not the right kind of priest." Philip said, handing over the Egyptian Book of the Dead. "It would be better if y'did it anyway, Derek." Derek smiled sadly and began to read a prayer for Megan:

"Homage to thee, Osiris, Lord of Eternity, King of the Gods, whose names are manifold, whose forms are holy, whose Ka is holy. You make the soul to be raised up. You are the beneficent Spirit among spirits. Your heart renews its youth. The stars in the celestial heights are obedient to you, and the great doors of the sky open themselves to you. May the Goddess Ma'at embrace Megan at the two seasons of the day. May Ra give her glory and power. Hail, all Gods of the House of the Soul, who weigh heaven and earth in a balance. May Thoth and Ma'at mark out her course day by day. May she behold Horus when he is in charge of the rudder of the Boat of Ra. Let Ra grant her a view of the Disk, the Sun, and the Ah, the Moon. May her Ba-soul come forth to walk about wherever it so pleases. Let her name be called out. Her heart is upon its throne. She will see the things which have been hidden, she is crowned upon the throne like the Queen of the Gods. She shall not die a second time in the land of Kher-Neter. The King of Eternity is with her. She is with Horus as the protector by the right side of Osiris. Hail, they who make perfect souls to enter into the House of Osiris, let Megan enter in and be with you in the House of Osiris. Let her hear even as you hear, let her have sight as you have sight, let her stand as you stand, let her be seated where you are seated. May she enter in under favor of Osiris and may she come forth. May her words travel with you, may she be as glorious as you are. May her soul lift itself up before Osiris. May she rise up in the Company of Gods."

Derek looked around him and realized that no one else heard Megan's voice as she said to him, "Senmut, how shall I tell you that which I have seen here? I have stretched out my wings over Osiris. I have completed my journey. But I will wait for you. I know the hidden roads and the Gates of Sekhet Aaru. I follow the heights unto heaven. There is a light which you do not know. Times and seasons are in my body as it awaits your return. I have risen up out of my chamber like a hawk, I have risen, I have gathered myself together, I have taken my seat among the Gods. I have become a Spirit-soul therein. I will appear in the place of happiness wherever you shall go."

Derek whispered a farewell in an ancient tongue and hung his head when her spirit left him. Yet he knew, as he knew that his soul and hers belonged together, that she would always be near him. She would always come to him when he called, and when he made his final journey, she would come for him.

By Jose Luis Hildago

The night crushes you so I look for you.
Like a maniac in shadow, in a dream, in death.
My heart burns up like a single bird.
Your absence murders me, life has closed.

What loneliness, what darkness, what a parched moon goes by,
What distant people are looking for your lost body.
They ask your blood, your lips, your sound,
Your inseparable absence in the growing night.

My hands don't hold you and my eyes miss you.
My words look for you on foot, uselessly.
Inside me the quiet night is long, lies down,
Stretches like a river whose banks are alone.

But I go on looking for you, digging you up, dissolving you,
In shadow, in a dream. I nail you down in memory.
Silence creates your unsayable truth.
The world has closed. For me, permanently.

The End

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