Visions of Destiny

Rating: PG

Summary: Rick O'Connell's childhood as an orphan in Cairo where he's confronted with his destiny the first time.

Comments: I never found a story about the mummy character's childhood. Maybe there aren't any so I thought this should change. This won't be the last story :) Thanks to my friend Julia helping me with Rick's former name. I translated the story for MArcher, Shelby, Jennifer and Rachel, you're great. And thanks to MArcher for beta-reading and correcting my mistakes *hug*.

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Stephen Summers except Sadiki, Fatima, Ramses and Ricks parents so far.

"Hurry up, they'll get us." The young woman looked anxiously back to their chasers, while she pulled her five-year-old son through the narrow side roads of Cairo's town center as fast as possible.

"Mum, I'm afraid."

"I know, honey. Come on" she gasped, pain was written all over her face. One of the men hurt her with his knife. The wound didn't bleed very much, but left Emily O'Connell suffering great pain.

The day had not started that bad. The O'Connells, a middle-class family from Chicago, had arrived in Egypt after an apparently endless ship journey where thay had planned to spend their vacation. Emily's father died and inherited them a little wealth. The whole afternoon they had spent at the bazaar, wondering about this strange culture. Near dawn they had made their way to the hotel, but they had never reached it. They got lost because of the many side roads and were attacked by a group of robbers. Emily could escape with her son, but her husband was stabed by the bandits.

Now they ran for their life! Richard who could barely keep step with his mother looked desperately for a place to hide. "This one, mum!", he called suddenly, as he spotted an empty house. They crawled between a few wooden shelves which the former owner of this house had forgotten, or didn't care about. Ten minutes they waited for any sign that their pursuers no longer searched for them. The voices of the angry robbers became quiet and Emily told her son that they could leave their hiding-place without risk. "What are we going to do, Mum?"

"I'll see if your father is still alive. But first I need to make sure you are safe." For hours they wandered through narrow streets 'til they arrived at an orphanage. "Richard, I'll leave you with these people. Behave well, and don't worry about me. I'll come and pick you up as soon as possible." She kissed his cheek and disappeared in the night.

Five years passed and Richard O'Connell never heard anything from his mother. Maybe the robbers had found and killed her, maybe she had died because of her apparently harmless injury before she could call for him. He would never get to know it. But the years went by and he had given up hope of getting away from these people who couldn't even pronounce his name with their broken English and called him Rick. At least the overseer could understand him as he was the only boy whose native language was English.

"I've a belly full of it" he muttered and watched the other side of the street.

"What did you say?" asked Sadiki in a strong Arabic accent, also an orphan and Rick's best friend.

The two boys had climbed onto a roof at the bazaar and hoped one of the donkey carts driving past would lose something edible. The people at the orphanage cared to some extent for them, but they had not enough fare for all the street kids and didn't really bother if one of them starved.

"I said I don't want anymore" Rick shouted. It was hot and he hadn't eaten yet. Two things which made him most angry.

"Did you two already find anything?" a tired voice behind them asked.

Izmael, called Izzy by everyone, laid in the shadow of a sunblind and dreamed of his future. One day he wanted to become a famous pilot, but the other kids thought he was a crank. Rick and Sadiki had enough mercy to feed him as he was too awkward to do so himself.

"There's a cart full of dried fruits" Sadiki told his friends. His plan was simple. He and Rick should slid down the marquee underneath them, snap some of the fruits and run away as fast as possible. "Hey, look at this" Sadiki shouted excitedly and pointed at a tattooed rider in black. "At the time when my father was still alive, he told me stories about those warriors. They call themselves Medjai, maybe some sort of secret cult. My grandfather was one of them, otherwise I would not know about their existence." Rick looked curiously over the roof-edge. The warrior seemed familiar to him, as if he had known him and his fellows for eternity. But he could swear that none of these horsemen ever attracted attention to him.

Wondering, he shook his head. He had no time to think about strange sects as his empty stomach wanted to be filled. "Later, Sadiki. First lunch." The two rushed down the roof and chased after the cart. Each one of them took as much fruit as he could carry and thrust his way through the crowd. They had agreed to muddle through to their hiding-place at the outskirts separately as it would be harder to chase them.

"Thieves" the man on the cart shouted. "They are stealing my fruit."

Rick ran as fast as his legs allowed. He glanced back to look for possible haunters, stumbled over a stone and fell down in front of a four-part British family. The mother and the son, which Rick estimated at 13 years, gave way frightened.

"Go away, you dirty hoodlum" the father, who had a little girl at his hand, ranted at him.

At the sound of his words, tears appeared in Rick's eyes. Not because they had hurt him, actually the man was right. For the first time in a very long time, he heard proper English that reminded him of his own family. "I'm so sorry, sir." he said and stood up.

"Hello, I'm Evelyn and who are you?" the little girl asked smiling.

"Don't talk to this scum, Evy!" her big brother complained and his mother agreed.

"Let's go on, George."

Rick stared after them and saw the girl beckoning him. Something was wrong. Everything seemed to spin around, became unclear and disappeared.

Instead of Cairo's bazaar, he was inside a huge palace. But not only his surroundings, also his appearance had changed. Shocked he stared into the pompous fountain in front of him. Tattoos covered his face, the face of a grown-up. "Phineas?" He turned around. A beautiful woman in a golden robe hastened towards him. "Phineas!" She seemed to mean him. The black-haired beauty spoke in a language he didn't understand. Nevertheless he nodded and followed her. It appeared that she wanted to show him something.

As fast as the vision had come, it disappeared. "Damn, what was that?" Rick shouted and jumped up. Two men he didn't notice grasped him and pulled him away. "Hey, what do you want from me?" He flounced wildly, but had no chance. Terrified he stopped. The men had the same tattoos as the black riders Sadiki had shown him. "Let me off, where are you taking me?" But the men remained silent. Surprised, Rick recognized that they were taking him back to the orphanage. But into a part of the house he didn't know. None of the children were allowed to enter the room of Fatima Yalmar, the owner of the house.

The two men carried him downstairs into a room only lit by a few candles. A shrouded old woman sat praying on the floor but when they entered she looked up. Rick had never seen old Fatima without her shroud, but now she took it off. Her face was also covered with numerous tattoos. 'Where the hell did they bring me?' Rick asked himself.

"Is that the boy you were looking for?" one of the men asked.

"We'll see" the old woman said in a croaking voice. "Sit down, young one."

Hesitantly he took a seat in front of her. "What do you want from me?"

"You'll see soon." Rick looked up to her, full of expectation. "For many years I have had visions of you, O'Connell" the woman started slowly.

'Great!' Rick thought, 'She's crazy.'

"Visions of an American who saves all of us. I have to confess that I don't like the idea that no one of our tribe seems to be the chosen one."

"The chosen one?" Rick who had no idea what she was talking about, asked.

"Although you have been living quite a long time here with us, I waited until you were old enough. Now the time has come." She took Rick's hand and closed her eyes. For a long time she didn't say anything and the boy thought she had fallen asleep, but suddenly she stared at him surprised.

"Tell us, Fatima. How can an American be our savior?" one of the men wanted to know.

The old woman stood up and walked towards the two Medjai. They spoke in hushed Arabic so that Rick could not understand them.

"The prophecy says it would be a stranger from the west. Furthermore he was once one of us. I was surprised myself, but it's true. The little one is the reincarnation of Phineas, the bodyguard of Princess Nefertiri. As you know he was, at Sethos' time, one of the most talented Medjai's around."

"Phineas?" one of the men shouted angrily. "Don't speak about him as if he was a hero. As YOU know he didn't follow Pharaoh's orders and was moreover the secret lover of the princess. That transgresses the code of the Medjai!"

"Maybe he did make some mistakes in the past, but now he's another person."

"But the soul never changes..."

"And if my visions and the prophecies of the elders are true, he's the only hope of mankind against a superior enemy. I can't tell you which evil will infest us, but he'll defeat it."

The two men gave up. "Maybe you're right, Fatima. As a precaution we should give him the sign."

"Right."

She came back to Rick who looked up at her saucer eyed. The men griped him from behind and pulled away his right sleeve.

"What are you doing?" Rick asked shocked as he noticed Fatima coming towards him with a blackened needle.

"It'll hurt, O'Connell. But a brave warrior as you will endure it. In my visions I heard a voice telling me to give you this sign at the age of ten so that our brothers will recognize you when the day of judgement has come. Drink this, it will soothe the pain." She offered Rick a silver goblet with a strange liquid. "If someday a Medjai asks you for the watchwords you'll know the answer." She whispered some Arabic words in his ear, but they didn't make any sense to him. It seemed to be part of a shibboleth.

Sweat ran down his forehead while Fatima scratched the skin of his forearm with the needle she had dipped into black paint. 'Everybody will start to think I'm member of this crazy sect.' Rick thought shocked and watched the work of the Medjai. An hour later the tattoo was finished and the paint dry. Rick looked at it with fascination and horror at the same time. In the middle there was a pyramid with an eye inside, surrounded by two big snakes wearing crowns of Egypt rulers. "What does this mean?" Rick asked the old woman.

"Protector of man"

'Oh my goodness.' then he spoke, "Can I go now?"

"Of course. And don't worry. You'll see when the time has come."

The two Medjai escorted Rick outside. "It's not as easy as Fatima says, little one. You have to prove your abilities."

"Yeah, alright" Rick muttered and ran away. What did these guys want from him? Should he join this sect as a kind of redeemer? 'Never!' he swore himself. He had other problems besides letting himself be worshiped. He searched for something to cover his tattoo. A few minutes later he found a piece of leather he could tie around his wrist. Apparently one of the traders had lost it. On his way to the secret hiding-place he thought abou the strange experience with that little girl and his following vision. Was there any connection between her and his vision? After all he had never felt anything like this before. His stomach protested loudly and he hurried to get to his friends. He could also think about this vision after dinner. Quickly he climbed up a small hill on the outskirts of Cairo where the three boys had built a cave. Carefully he entered the small entrance.

"Rick, where have you been so long? We thought someone caught you." Sadiki threw some fruit to him. "I see from your booty you didn't save anything."

"I've been held up." Rick defensed himself. "Tomorrow I'll care for food, okay?"

Izzy looked up from his meal and pointed at Rick's arm. "Did you get hurt?"

Rick smiled nervously. "I thought it looks kind of dashing."

Sadiki shook his head in disbelief while Izzy gave him a stupid grin.

After the meal Rick climbed outside the cave and watched the sunset. He had never felt any connection to this country but he loved the way the colors of the setting sun touched the sand. In such moments he felt like the last human being on earth. He couldn't remember his life in Chicago and even if his mother was still alive, he wouldn't recognize her most likely. The only things that mattered were his friends, their daily fight to survive and a prophesied future he didn't understand.

End