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Nine Lives PROLOGUE
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Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Jun-21-2012 11:06

The inside of the tent was sweltering, and rivulets of sweat streaked the back of Mollys neck as she perused a scroll. The only illumination offered was a dusty old lamp, nearly clogged with the desert sands of Egypt that surrounded her on all sides. Her eyelashes were clogged with the damned sand- her ears, her hair, it gritted between her teeth when she spoke, and her entire mouth tasted of parched rocks and sunlight. It was more torture than a soul should have to bear.
But she only had to bear it for a night longer, she thought as her blood began to pound with adrenaline. For there on the scroll, concealed in the centuries-old hieroglyphics, was the answer to the riddle they had been searching for. The location of the 9 scored ankh of Hatshepsut, or The Nine Lives as it was called in most theory. A priceless ankh cast of white gold, encrusted with 9 huge rubies around the rim, and priceless stones all down the hilt. It was a long-lost treasure, coveted by many seekers. It was said to be cursed, however. Some said that the Gods grew infuriated at Hatshepsuts arrogance, of her taking the sacred symbol and making it gaudy with worldly accoutrements. The very thing that was to guarantee her enduring life, was said to have cursed her, and brought her downfall. It was said that Senenmut, her chief architect and lover, had realized this mistake and hidden the artifact away. But it was too late for he and his queen both. The only thing that remained of this legacy was the tattered papyrus scroll he had left as a riddled guide to the ankhs location.
Molly had pored for hours over the papyrus, and the singular riddle it contained.
"If you go where it is most holy. The ninth will grant you life." Just beneath this was a crude sketch of a pillar. Molly had suddenly been struck with its meaning. Most holy. The temple Senenmut had built for Hatshepsut at Deir El-Bahari. It was called Djeser-Djeseru, or "Holy of Holies" The ninth will grant you life- the

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Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Jun-21-2012 11:14

rough-hewn in a crude ankh. The stone beneath her fingers gave a little, rattling. Praying to the Gods for silence, she groped for its edges and slid it out of the column. There, just behind it, winking at her in its obscenity, was the bejeweled artifact. She grasped it and passed it to Thomas without a moment to spare, rising as he dropped it into his satchel. She turned to him with a triumphant look and suddenly registered the eerie silence, and Thomas' pale face in torchlight that was suddenly too bright.
"Well done, my darling wife." Came Jack Billings voice, and she spun on her heel to find her husbands handsome face an inch from her own, as was the pistol he had aimed at her. "Now hand over the ankh, and I won't have to become a widower."
"Don't do it, Thomas." She said immediately, but concern for her well-being won out, and Thomas handed Jack the satchel.
"Good man" Jack said casually, and then shot him between the eyes. The men circled around the scene chortled at Molly's scream. "Tell you what, dear. We'll give you a fighting chance. You'll get a three minute head start, then we'll be after you. We'll see how long you can last in the desert without your faithful assistant."
Tears streaking down her cheeks, Molly wasted no time, turning on her heel and fleeing as fast as she could. As she darted down the terraces towards the horses, she prayed to God for Thomas, and for the strength to face her husband some other time, in some other place, and regain the cursed treasure her friend had died for."


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