An Excerpt from: The Curse of King Ramsses II
Copyright © 2012 Victoria Roder
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
“Are you okay, Mia?” He pushed his round glasses farther up his thin nose.
Too afraid to speak, I nodded. It seemed Mr. Wister didn’t believe the stories of the curse. Hovering in the display with the hair on the back of my neck standing at attention, I knew the rumors must be true.
“Just like the other mummies in this display, King Ramesses II has been deceased for a long time. His body has been preserved with resin-soaked linen bandages,” Mr. Wister said.
“Of course he’s been dead for a long time, otherwise he wouldn’t be mummified.” I whispered.
“No need to whisper, Mia. There is nothing to be afraid of here.” Mr. Wister stepped toward the roped-off area of the king’s sarcophagus. It was made up of two separate pieces and shaped like a body. It appeared to be made of stone, and the top half of the sarcophagus had the impression of the king’s face painted gold, and his eyes and eyebrows were outlined in black. The king’s headdress was decorated with alternating stripes of blue and gold. The mummified king rested in the bottom half, which was carved with hieroglyphics. The top half of the sarcophagus was placed above him, and the halves were separated by glass.
“The hieroglyphics carved into the sarcophagus are prayers from the Book of The Dead, engraved over and over,” Mr. Wister said.
The farther away I moved from the mummy, the safer I felt. I stepped backward, backward, backward until the heel of my shoe bumped something, and I stumbled. Flailing my arms, I tried to stabilize myself.
Toppling, toppling… An unearthly howl that belonged in the horror movie hall of fame escaped my throat. My arms waved as I tried to catch myself, but I crashed to the cold floor. I didn’t stumble over something, but someone! In the middle of my shriek, I realized, it was my mom’s boss.
“Oh, goodness. Oh my, it’s the little redhead.” Mr. Percy straightened up from his crouched position and snorted.
From the floor, I looked up at the man, who wasn’t much taller than me. “I’m sorry, Mr. Percy. You scared me.”
“I dropped my pen. Stooped to find it, but it’s dark, dark, dark.” Mr. Percy held out his long fingers to help me to my feet. “King Ramesses II had red hair, too, just like you. Yes, yes, yes, red hair.”
I tucked my own red hair behind my ears, and a chill ran down my spine. The hair on my arms stood tall like soldiers. Why would Mr. Percy keep comparing me to a creepy mummified king?
I moved my lips to ask him, but no sound came out.
Mr. Wister stepped between Mr. Percy and me. Ushering me toward the exit of the temple, he said, “Come, Mia. I think we’ve experienced enough excitement for one day. Good day to you, Mr. Percy.”
“King Ramesses II had red hair too. Now, he has no hair at all. The king loved his red hair, Little Miss Redhead.” Like a parrot, Mr. Percy repeated the phrase over and over. “The king loved his red hair. Did you know the king loved his red hair?”
Mr. Wister escorted me toward the entrance and the statues there. On the wall of the narrow corridor, I saw it. The picture of King Ramesses II reached from the floor to the ceiling. The painting depicted the Egyptian king smelling a lotus flower. Resembling a ride on the tilt-a-whirl, I felt as if the room spun around me.
“The lotus flower! New life,” I whispered.
My knees jiggled like Jell-O, and Mr. Wister wrapped his arm under mine, supporting my weight as he guided me out of the display into the safe light of the hallway.
“Yes, Mia. The Egyptians believed the lotus flower meant the regeneration of life.”
“Regeneration means coming back to life. Ramesses II lives!”