Disclaimer: Don't own anything from the Mummy cannon. Working on this with my friend Stormflight.

I apologize for changes in punctuation.

On with the story!

Chapter 9

:Pyr, is he ready:

:Yes.:

:Good. We need you.:

:We'll be there.:

(scene change. sorry, but I can't find any punctuation for this that'll stay)

Rick and Ardeth returned to the interior of the city, after they fixed the flat tire. A few blocks away from the clock tower, they left the car and continued on foot. After two hours of searching, Rick sighed. "Where is he? He can't simply disappear."

"He may have retired for the night."

"Why? One, he doesn't need rest. Two, it's only two o'clock in the morning. That still gives him a couple hours before dawn."

Ardeth shrugged. "I wish I knew."

"We might as well head back. Come on."

(scene change)

Alex sat on his floor, an open book before him. He sighed. He simply couldn't concentrate. He extinguished the lamp and crawled into bed. He tossed for a few minutes, then threw back the blankets and stood up. He meandered around the dark room, ending at the window. He looked out on the lawns and the garden below his room. Light from the moon overhead touched the plants, painting wraithlike forms that swayed in a breeze against the darkness of the night. A shadow moved forward. Alex squinted at it. Slowly shapes and colors revealed themselves – a humanoid form, with long, red hair. The face turned upwards; it was beautiful but strong. The eyes scanned the wall of the house; they stopped suddenly, locked with his. He didn't see; how could he when she was fifty feet away in the moonlight? But he knew, knew though he couldn't know—

They were red as fire.

Alex stumbled back from the window, and he bolted for the door. He hurtled out of his room, down the hall, and to his parents' bedroom. "Mum!"

Evie sat up, rubbing her knuckles into her eyes. "Alex?"

Alex grabbed his mother's sleeve. "They're here."

"Who?"

"The—the demons. They're here."

Evie looked at the open door as Jonathan appeared. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"Alex says the demons are here."

Jonathan bit his lip; he nodded. "Right. You wait here."

"But—"

"No buts, Alex. Stay here while we check this out." Evie set Alex on the bed, and she and Jonathan left, closing the door behind them. Alex pursed his lips, and he went to the door. Opening it carefully, he looked out. His mum and uncle were already partway down the steps. Alex followed them silently.

(scene change)

Jonathan took a rifle from the study wall. He loaded the rifle and looked at Evie. She nodded, and he extinguished the lamp. They went to the front door, and Jonathan looked through a side window. There was nothing visible in the moonlight. He slowly opened the door, and he and his sister stepped out onto the porch. Jonathan listened intently, his eyes scanning the darkness. There was nothing. Making sure the door was shut and locked behind them, he and Evie stepped off the porch. Gravel crunched underfoot; they moved onto the grass, rifles at the ready.

They made a circuit of the house, but they found nothing out of the ordinary. Jonathan snorted at the thought. Their lives hadn't been ordinary since the moment he'd picked the pocket of a certain American eleven years ago. He shrugged, and he and Evie reentered the house, securely shutting it behind them. As Jonathan unloaded the rifles, Evie went upstairs. Jonathan placed Evie's rifle on the wall and, slipping his ammunition into his pajama pocket, he started for the stairs.

Evie ran onto the landing. "Alex? He's not in my room or his."

"I'll check down here."

Evie nodded and vanished towards Jonathan's bedroom. Jonathan checked the library, the study, the kitchen—

Alex was gone.

There was a shrill, distant cry. Jonathan ran to the door, wresting the lock open, flinging the door back. "Alex!"

(scene change)

Alex waited until Uncle Jonathan and his mum were out of sight before easing the door open. He closed the door, hearing the lock click into place behind him. That was fine; he still remembered how he and his dad had slipped in through the cellar one night when they'd returned late from hunting and neither one had a key.

Alex tiptoed around the corner of the house that his mum and uncle had disappeared behind. They were ahead, moving methodically through the dark lawn. Alex started after them but paused. The boy was sure he'd heard something. He looked around, but he couldn't see anything odd.

Wait. There was something right there, near the wall. With a glance after his mum and uncle, Alex moved towards the wall. It was a gentle, flickering light, like a flame. As Alex got closer, it started to fade. He walked faster, but the light was gone when he reached the wall. There, though, where it had been, was a hole in the base of the stone barrier. Alex stared at the breach, his eyebrows drawn low in perplexion, and he backed away slowly. A low, desperate cry rang out somewhere beyond the wall. "Dad." Alex dove into the hole, wiggling through onto the road, and he sprinted away. He stopped as he realized that he didn't know where to go. Another, fainter cry sounded to his left. He spun and ran towards it.

After a few minutes, Alex slowed. "Dad. Dad, where are you? Dad?" There was silence. His heart started beating against his sternum, his throat tightening. "Dad."

A hand clapped over his mouth, another on his shoulder. He grabbed at the long, slender fingers, but they dug against his face like steel. "Come quietly, boy, and we won't harm you," a female voice whispered in his ear. He started kicking ineffectually as the hands dragged him off the road. He reared back his head, exposing most of his mouth, and he bit down on the hand. The woman yelped, and Alex screamed. The woman grabbed him. "That was not so wise," she hissed. She firmly planted her hand across his mouth, but he could feel blood welling out of her broken skin against his face, tickling like ants crawling across his lip. He squirmed against the woman's strong hold.

A snarl rolled through the air, accompanied by the padding of feet. The woman was shoved aside, and Alex twisted away from her. He sprinted away but glanced back. A slender, black and white dog was worrying the woman. She wrested the dog's jaws from her flesh and tossed the dog aside. It leaped up, its tail streaming like a banner, and ran at the woman; she jumped to her feet, red hair flying around her like a cloud, and raised her hand. At the last moment the dog darted aside as the woman threw a globe of fire at it; the fire buried itself in the loam, which closed over it. The dog leaped at the woman, and she grabbed its body. Her hands glowed. Alex reached for something, anything; his hand closed on a rock. Remembering all his dad's lessons, he leaned back, wound up, and pitched the rock at the woman.

It struck her temple, and she cried out, releasing the dog. It landed on its feet and backed away. The woman glared at Alex, and she pointed at him. The dog barked, staring past Alex, and he looked back. A man was coming towards him. He ducked and darted away, onto the road. He heard the man's footsteps closing on him, and he twisted towards the other side of the road. Broad, strong hands fell on his shoulders and lifted him. He thrashed the air, and his foot connected with the man's knee. The man only grunted and held him tightly. Alex shouted.

There were more footsteps, some uneven, and Alex looked back. A woman ran towards them, dark hair flying behind her; further down the road, the first woman came after, her feet pounding the road. The man turned, and he sidestepped the newcomer's charge. Or rather, he tried to. The dark-haired woman shifted her feet, ramming into the man's shoulder. White teeth flashed, and they sank into the man's flesh. He yelped, and the woman caught Alex as the man dropped him. She whirled and kicked out at the red-haired woman; the redhead stumbled back.

Lights flashed across the scene, and Alex looked towards their source. "Dad!"

The car stopped, and Rick and Ardeth leaped out. Rick pulled out his revolver. "Alex."

The woman jerked away from the man, and carrying Alex, she sprinted towards the car, her steps uneven. Rick came out from behind his car door, and the woman threw Alex past the gun into his arms. Rick placed Alex in the car, and he and Ardeth jumped in behind. Rick backed up and turned into the drive. The gates were already open; the dark-haired woman stood beside the gatepost. Evie and Jonathan were visible, running down the drive.

The car pulled up beside them. "Get Alex inside," Rick said.

"Come." Ardeth gently pulled Alex out.

"Alex."

"Mum." Alex ran to Evie, and she scooped him up.

"What were you doing?"

"Mum, I'm sorry."

"Come on." Ardeth and Jonathan gently pushed them towards the house.

"But Dad—"

"He's coming, partner," Jonathan said

Alex looked over his mum's shoulder. The woman limped up to Rick, her hands held up. He regarded her and nodded towards the house, and he followed her, covering her with his revolver. Evie carried Alex inside and to his room, and Jonathan pulled back the covers. Evie laid Alex down. "What were you thinking?" she said.

He hugged her. "Mum, I'm sorry. I thought I heard Dad and he was hurt, and I wanted to help him. I didn't mean to—I'm sorry."

"Sh, sh. Just don't do it again. We were really worried, and you could have been hurt."

"Yes'm." Alex buried his face against his mum's shoulder, and she embraced him tightly.

He heard more people enter. "Evie? Is he all right?" Rick asked.

Evie pulled back. "Alex?"

"Yeah, Mum. I'm all right." Alex looked at Rick and Ardeth, who were flanking the woman. Now that he could see her properly, he recognized the long-nosed face, even though the hair was no longer a simple dark brown but went from bronze roots, to gold, silver, brown, green, and finally yellow at the tips. It was Sylvpeak.