The Eleventh Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series
It had been almost a week since Landon had first encountered The Mysterious Mummy, and in spite of the initial scare he had gotten, the eight-year-old’s visit to Cairo seemed more or less ordinary.
Okay, it wasn’t ordinary. He was visiting a foreign country for the first time in his life, and he was playing with Dr. Salib’s grandchildren Adjo, a nine-year-old boy, and Nuri, a seven-and-a-half-year-old girl.
They spoke only broken English, and Landon couldn’t speak Arabic at all, but they managed to communicate and have fun playing with each other.
They couldn’t play right now, though. They were at The Egyptian Archeological Institute in Cairo. Grandpa’s friend Dr. Salib was the Director of Archeology at the Institute. Adjo and Nuri were really proud of their Jaddi or Grandpa. He was so important. Landon started feeling a little jealous because his Grandpa didn’t have such a big, important job like that.
Maybe the kids couldn’t run around and play, but today was still an exciting day. Three days ago, the lid of the sarcophagus was removed, and today, Landon would get to see the Mummy!
Once the mummy had been temporarily removed from the sarcophagus, Dr. Salib said they used something called a CAT Scan to see more of what’s inside, so they could find out something about the identity of the ancient corpse. That should give the scientists here a good look at the insides of the mummy without damaging the body.
Of course, there were other ways they were learning from the mummy. They’d took small bits of the mummy and got them wet, “hydrated” is the word Dr. Salib used, while other samples were examined using something called “carbon dating” to find out more precisely how old the mummy is.
“You see children,” Dr. Salib was giving them what Adjo and Nuri called “the lecture” on something called “forensics,” which both of them had been through many times before. “we can learn a lot about these mummies from examining their teeth and bones. They can tell us what sort of life this person lived and even the age he was when he died.”
Adjo rolled his eyes and Nuri poked him in his ribs with her elbow.
Dr. Salib looked sternly at his grandchildren and then spoke to them in Arabic. “Adjo? Nuri? Do you have something to contribute?”
“No, Jaddi,” they said in unison, suddenly looking as innocent as two kittens. Of course, they’d said “no” in Arabic, but Landon recognized the word from being around his new friends for the past several days.
“Dr. Salib, what have you found out about the mummy so far?” Grandpa put his hand on Landon’s shoulder. He was very proud of his grandson for asking such an intelligent question.
“There’s still a lot of work to do, Landon. These are just preliminary findings and will have to be compared with what we know of the period in which he originated. Also, one of my students found what appears to be writing on the inside bottom of the sarcophagus. It’s only partially intact, but it may give us more information about who this mummy was and why the circumstances of his burial were so unusual.”
One fact the archeologist kept to himself was the faint scratch marks on the inside of the sarcophagus lid. Could Landon have been right about hearing scratching from the inside? It was ludicrous, but the scratches had been fresh, and the fingers of the mummy contained recent residue matching the lid.
Dr. Salib waited a moment. “Now, if there are no other questions, let’s go in and see the guest of honor.”
Buddy had been eating mostly fish from the Nile since the mummy was discovered. He had to stay hidden but also close to Grandpa and Landon, so right now he was curled up on the Institute’s roof. He could sense what was going on inside, and felt unusually nervous. Something was about to happen, but the Ambrosial Dragon didn’t know what. He only knew that something associated with the mummy was intent on murder.
“I must ask that you touch nothing. The mummy is quite fragile and also, you could contaminate some vital piece of evidence just by blowing on the body.”
Landon suddenly was tempted to blow on the mummy, but the tone of Dr. Salib’s voice sounded serious, and he knew Grandpa was right behind him.
Dr, Salib looked at the expression on Landon’s face. “Not quite what you expected, eh?”
Landon thought mummies were wrapped in white bandages like in the books he’d read about them, but these bandages were falling off and turning to dust. The skin underneath was black, like the mummy had been in a fire.
Landon gasped before realizing why he was reacting that way. The mummy. He sensed something about him, something familiar. He sensed magic.
On the roof above, Buddy sensed the same thing. He sat up and his ears twisted this way and that. The dragon’s eyes widened. Something was here. Something else.
Dr. Salib took some time explaining the various features of the mummy and more about the sarcophagus, but while everyone else was calm and Adjo and Nuri feigned interest, Landon was a nervous wreck. Something was definitely wrong about the mummy, but with Dr. Salib and his grandkids around, he couldn’t say anything about it to Grandpa.
Grandpa bent over Landon. “Are you okay?” he whispered.
Landon whispered back, “I’ll tell you later.”
Finally Dr. Salib was finished talking about the mummy. “Let’s proceed to the next room where we can see some of the few artifacts we recovered from the tomb.”
They followed Salib with Landon, Adjo, and Nuri in the rear. Then there was a sound, sort of like cracking, creaking, and moaning all at the same time. Everyone turned around at once to see the mummy sitting up.
Only Landon could see the mystic glow around the mummy. It was all kind of black and purple, the kind of light you see when opening a portal to another dimension.
But Buddy said he’d closed all of them, except for Dreamtime.
Everyone was frozen in shock. The mummy stood and faced them. Then it said something in what Salib recognized as ancient Egyptian. Without meaning to, he recited the translation out loud:
“At last I have been set free from my doom and those responsible will horribly perish.”
It was almost the same thing Buddy heard it say while the mummy was still in the tomb.
Those responsible? Who? Those who set him free, or those who made him a mummy?
“This way, quickly!” Dr. Salib escorted his party through the door to another room and locked it behind him.
There were a number of men and women working at different computers. Salib excitedly said something to them in Arabic. They all started talking at once, really fast. Landon guessed that Dr. Salib told them about the mummy and they didn’t believe him.
Then one of the woman pointed to her computer screen. It showed the inside of the other room and the mummy moving to the door Landon and everyone else had just come through.
Salib said something to one of the men, who then turned to Grandpa and said in English, “You and the children come with me. We need to get you out of the building.”
Grandpa turned back to Salib. “What about you and the others, Issa?”
“We will stay. This is an extraordinary occurrence. I doubt a 5,000 year old mummy is really dangerous and…”
He stopped abruptly as they heard a banging on the door leading to the mummy. Another. The door began to give. Another. The mummy was going to break through.
“We all need to leave right now,” Grandpa insisted.
“I think you may be right, my friend.” Dr. Salib said something to the group in Arabic and they all started walking fast out the other door. Almost everyone got out, but at the last second, Nuri tripped and fell. Landon and Adjo couldn’t stop in time and ran into her, also falling to the floor. Before Grandpa, Salib, or anyone else could get back inside, the door slammed shut and locked. One of the men fumbled with some keys but couldn’t get the key into the lock.
Grandpa yelled, “Landon!” Salib frantically shouted, “Nuri! Adjo!”
There were windows beside the door and Landon could see Grandpa and the others desperately trying to get back in. He looked down and both of the Egyptian children were unconscious.
Then Landon heard a loud crash behind him. He spun around. The mummy was leering maliciously at him, standing just six feet away!
The mummy cackled a dry laugh and said something Landon couldn’t understand. Then there was a voice in his head, a voice the boy recognized.
“Yes, it is me, my would-be apprentice. Tarmreiboth, the Dark Wizard from the Castle of the Storvian Mountains, the Ruler of the realm of Setioval.”
Landon had no idea how this was possible but he knew it was the truth. Somehow, Tarmreiboth was controlling the mummy…or he really was the mummy itself!
As the mummy lurched forward, its hands outstretched toward the boy’s throat, every bit of light had been extinguished. No light came in through the windows. He couldn’t hear Grandpa and Salib uselessly trying to break the windows with chairs.
Landon suddenly heard a horrible squeal. It was Buddy’s voice, but he sounded like he was in agony.
“Buddy!” Landon couldn’t even hear his own voice in his ears, but magically, he could hear it in his head.
Then he remembered his light making spell. Maybe mystical light would work in magical darkness.
Landon cupped his hands together and said the words of the spell. As he did, he noticed a blinding light coming from the tiny railroad lantern he wore around his neck. He could hear the sound of it screeching a warning in his mind.
The dragon’s apprentice finished the spell, and a ball of pure light appeared in his hands. Landon almost wished the spell had failed because what he saw next was horrifying.
The mummy had grasped Buddy around the shoulders of his front limbs. The two figures were surrounded by the same glow Landon had seen around the mummy. Both of them were shrieking and struggling. The mummy looking on the verge of falling apart, but something was holding it together.
Buddy’s skin and scales were wrinkling, like he was getting older and older in just a few seconds. If he got too old, would he die?
The light from his lantern was now more than enough to illuminate the room, so Landon stopped his light spell. He had to help Buddy, but what could he do? None of his spells were all that powerful.
So far, Landon hadn’t used his levitation spell to lift very heavy things, but he really hadn’t stretched his powers that much.
As Landon reached out to the sarcophagus with his mind and said the words of the spell, the lantern grew even brighter and made loud humming and squealing sounds. Landon wasn’t sure, but he thought the light on his chest was making his spells more powerful.
The sarcophagus shook and rattled. Buddy looked like he was about to turn to dust. The darkness spell he had cast was on the verge of failing, and Landon thought he heard Nuri and Adjo stirring.
Landon was desperate to save his friend. The dragon was closer to him than a brother. Tears were streaming down the boys face.
“I won’t let you die! I won’t let you die!”
The ancient stone coffin stood on one end, but Landon couldn’t make it move across the room. Then he remembered all the Star Wars games he’s played, and used his levitation like a Jedi’s Force Push.
Landon mentally shoved against the mummy just as he turned, distracted by the movement of the sarcophagus behind him. In that instant of indecision, Buddy used the last of his strength to push himself away from the undead creature. Landon’s push shoved the mummy into the upended sarcophagus which then landed on its bottom. Landon quickly levitated the lid back onto the long box.
Buddy, already starting to recover, used a spell to put a seal on the lid. The mummy would not be able to escape either by strength or by magic.
Landon wanted to rush over to Buddy to find out how he was, if he was getting better, but suddenly, the boy felt really light-headed and then passed out.
When he came to, Grandpa was kneeling over him. “Landon. Landon. Can you hear me?” Grandpa was feeling Landon’s forehead, then he gently rubbed his hair.
“I’m okay, Grandpa. What happened?”
“Don’t you know?”
Landon could hear Buddy’s voice whispering in his mind.
“No, I don’t. Don’t you?”
“What do you mean. What happened?”
“I saw the mummy coming at us. Before I had a chance to turn around and get the three of us to run to the door, everything turned black and I passed out. Nuri and Adjo must have been knocked out, too.” Only the last part of what Landon said was the truth.
Grandpa looked at Landon skeptically, but said nothing.
“Well, I’m glad you’re okay. Maybe we ought to take you to a hospital and have you checked out, just in case.”
Dr. Salib was bent over his own two grandchildren, speaking softly to them. Someone in a suit walked into the room accompanied by several police officers.
“Excuse me sir. I am Mr. Mensah Jahi, the President of the Institute’s board. I’m sorry to have to ask, but I’m afraid none of you are allowed to speak of what’s happened here this morning. We are attempting to avoid the potential for wide-spread panic should this incident become generally known.”
“I understand.” Grandpa looked over to Issa. “My grandson and I promise not to breathe a word. After all, who’d believe us anyway?”
The police and Mr. Jahi insisted that Landon, Nuri, and Adjo go to a hospital for an examination. Everyone checked out fine so Landon and Grandpa got to go back with Dr. Salib’s family to his house, that is, after they were questioned by the police and signed legal documents swearing they’d never tell anyone about what happened at the Institute.
Landon couldn’t wait to tell Grandpa all about it, and he couldn’t wait to see Buddy again and see if he was okay.
In the car heading back to Dr. Salib’s house, Landon was dozing in the backseat. “Okay, Buddy okay. Landon save Buddy. Buddy love. Buddy love.”
Landon smiled in his sleep.
Landon didn’t get to tell Grandpa what happened for a long time. He didn’t want to say anything at Dr. Salib’s house in case anyone heard him. He decided to tell him on the airplane, but Grandpa whispered to him to wait until they were back home.
“I’m going to miss you, James.” Issa Salib was shaking Grandpa’s hand, and even Grandpa’s adult hand seemed small inside of Dr. Salib’s.
“I’ll miss you, too, Issa.” The two men hugged.
“Thanks to the internet, I’m only a Skype call away, James. Don’t be a stranger.”
Adjo and Nuri came to the airport to say goodbye to Landon. Adjo shook Landon’s hand, but Nuri gave Landon a big hug. The little boy was embarrassed and started blushing. Nuri and Adjo giggled when they noticed.
Then it was time to go through security so they could get to their flight’s gate. Grandpa started messing with his carry on right before getting in line.
Then everything was routine, or it seemed that way compared to facing a living mummy…a mummy who turned out to be an evil wizard from another dimension.
Landon had to deal with long plane flights and jet lag, and he fell asleep in the back of the van when Daddy and Dani picked them up at the airport and drove everyone home. Baby could now stop pretending to be just an ordinary stuffed animal, and snuggled up against his exhausted friend.
Buddy was jumping up and down excitedly as his family pulled into the driveway, but quieted down when he saw Landon was asleep. When Landon woke up many hours later, he was in bed surrounded by all of his stuffed animals. Buddy, looking young, and fresh, and whole, was asleep at his feet.
“Tarmreiboth evil! Tarmreiboth evil! Use Dreamtime and necromancy. Use curse of mummy to try to get us, try to get Landon.”
Buddy was explaining to the family why the mummy came to life.
“How did he do that, Buddy? How did he know we’d be in Egypt, at the exact right time and place for his plan to work?”
They were in the living room. It was the weekend. It had been raining all week. At least the snow had finally melted. Grandpa had started a warm fire, and while Daddy sat Dani on his lap and was reading her a book, Buddy told them his tale.
“Dreamtime powerful, very powerful. You see present, past, future. You see many things and places, though Tarmreiboth not remember when wake.”
“So he concocted a plan to transport himself into a 5,000 year old mummy to strike at my son.” David had stopped reading and Dani squealed in protest.
“Sort of, sort of. Tarmreiboth used necromancy, magic of the dead, used mummy’s curse.”
“What mummy’s curse, Buddy? Landon was sitting on the sofa sipping tea and honey. He’d gotten a sore throat since coming back home.
“Mummy not King, not Prince. Mummy magician, evil magician, cast many bad spell. He in love with King’s daughter. King’s daughter only can marry Prince. King really, really mad when he find out.”
“So the King discovered that the magician was having a romance with his daughter.”
“Right, right. King mad. Use magic potions to knock out magician, paralyze. King bury magician alive!”
It was an incredibly horrifying story, especially to Landon and Baby. Baby hid his face in Landon’s shirt.
“Magician make curse. Say will kill King and King’s family. When seal on tomb broken, when seal on big box broken, curse come alive.”
“But somehow Tarmreiboth’s necromancy took over the curse, let the dark wizard take over the mummy through Dreamtime.”
“Right, right, Gramps. Tarmreiboth dream, make death magic in dream, share control over mummy.”
“Share?” This last part surprised Landon.
“Share, Landon. Mummy part mummy and part Tarmreiboth. Tarmreiboth part want to kill you and me. Mummy part want to kill Dr. Salib’s family.”
“Why Issa? Just because he broke the seals?”
“No, no. Not like that, Gramps. Not Salib. Kill Salib’s family, wife, children, grandchildren. Wife Nila come from very old, old Egyptian family. Lived in Egypt many long time, long time back to Kings.”
“Then you’re saying…” Grandpa let the sentence hang in the air.
“Saying Nila come from line of ancient Kings, ancient Egyptian Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses.”
Grandpa shook his head sadly and gave out a humorless chuckle. “How ironic. When Issa discovered the magician’s tomb and opened the sarcophagus, he was signing the death warrant of his family. He made it possible for the mummy to carry out a 5,000 year old curse against his wife and all of her descendants, including his grandchildren.
That night, after everyone else had gone to sleep, Grandpa stayed up in his room. He had his laptop open. He took a thin flash card out of his wallet. Issa had secretly passed it to him when they hugged. Grandpa put his cell phone in his carry on and slipped the card inside the phone’s case, so that to the X-ray machine, it all looked like one thing.
Grandpa slipped it into the correct port on his computer. It was all of Issa’s research. Everything he’d discovered about the mummy, the tomb, the curse before he and Landon left Egypt. Everything including what was written on the inside of the sarcophagus.
Grandpa stayed up until nearly dawn reading the contents and learning ancient Egyptian secrets.
This is the eleventh tale of Grandpa, Landon, and Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon I’ve written for my grandson. It’s also a direct sequel to The Mysterious Mummy.
If you liked this story and want to read the series from the beginning, visit The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us. At the bottom of the story is a link to the next one, and then the next, and so on. Eventually, you’ll get back here.