a&n: This here is an edit/rewrite/whatever. I know I haven't updated since last year or whatever, but what I've written has been getting on my nerves a bit. Hence, rewrite! I hope this is at least a slight improvement on what used to be here. Changes won't be massive, but big enough to show a difference. I hope. Anyway, please read and leave a review! I love constructive criticism!
Disclaimer: I totally own The Mummy and all things associated with it. Pay up, people!
Unpleasant vibrations of charging horses thundering towards the ruins of Hamunaptra fuddled her concentration as she attempted to load her rifle. Unsuccessfully. The bullets kept slipping from her sweaty fingers so she dropped her knees and started crawling towards the battlements, trying to calm her sharp and erratic breathing that was threatening to turn into hyperventilation. Hyperventilating was a no-go zone for her at the moment; the tight cloth that was wound around her chest numerous times to hide her breasts made it twice as difficult to breathe.
God, what had she been thinking? An adventure, sure. She sniffed and slowed down her breathing to a relatively healthy pace. Well, damn adventures. Curse her and her stupid need to have an adrenalin rush. She loaded her rifle and took aim over the small rocky cover alongside countless of other Legionnaires.
Men. Hundreds of leering, over-sexed, sweaty, smelly men. After this, she'd be glad if she never saw another man again. And men, she considered, were complete and utter idiots. Any moron off the street could pick her for a woman. Granted, she was wearing a balaclava and didn't talk much, but for goodness' sake her figure wasn't that masculine. Still, broad shoulders and small breasts worked to her advantage in this particular environment.
Droplets of sweat clung to her forehead as she tightened her hold on the rifle, and as someone crouched down beside her she almost yelled and shot them, until she realised it was just the weedy-looking Hungarian guy Beni Gabor who considered himself to be her best friend.
Beni didn't even glance at her, instead just shoving her arm with his pointy elbow. "Your strength gives me strength, O'Connell," he murmured weakly. O'Connell nodded weakly, turning her face away from the man. She didn't trust herself to say anything at that moment, worried that she mightn't be able to retain the male-sounding timbre she had adopted as part of her disguise for whenever she did speak.
Beni looked at her strangely when she didn't respond, but didn't say anything and took aim like O'Connell was.
The Colonel, on his horse and looking all high and mighty, broke out of his tough-guy appearance, turned his horse and around and fled to take refuge in the ruins. It was with a great deal of disbelief that O'Connell and most of the Legionnaires stared after their cowardly Colonel – some merely annoyed, and others following his suit, running away from the soon-to-be-battlefield. Watching nearly half of the Legionnaires take off after the Colonel, O'Connell was considering that perhaps they had the right idea.
"Shit," she growled, only just managing to remember to put on her male-like tone. Beni looked at her pathetically.
"You just got promoted," he said unhelpfully.
O'Connell hissed. "Steady, steady," she whispered, using her free hand to wipe the sweat away from her face. Yeah…yeah, steady. I can do this, I can do this –
The Tuareg army, continuously surging closer, started to scream out war cries. More Legionnaires fled.
…I can't do this.
Beni nudged her arm. "Come on, O'Connell!" he urged. O'Connell shook her head.
"I can't do this." She took a deep breath – something that was very difficult to achieve with the cloth around her chest – and yelled, "FIRE AT WILL!"
The remaining Legionnaires fired wildly, shooting down the whole front line of the Tuareg army, but just seeing how big the army actually was told O'Connell in a second that no matter what they did, everything was useless and that she might as well turn her rifle on herself.
Beni threw a desperate glance at O'Connell and turned away to run off with some more Legionnaires who decided they didn't want to die immediately. Tripping over his feet and screaming hysterically after the other Legionnaires "Wait for me!" Beni soon disappeared out of sight. O'Connell gritted her teeth and turned back to cock her rifle.
"Thanks a bunch, Beni," she murmured. "Never liked him anyway…" She fired and hit a few Tuareg warriors. She wanted to run off too, but she figured that if she was going to die then she should get it over and done with. She was sick of pretending to be a guy, after all…
In a few seconds the Tuareg warriors – having the advantage of horses – leapt over the small wall that had once upon a time separated the two fighting armies. O'Connell ducked and fired again – only to discover that she had run out of ammo.
A blade swung at her face, nearly amputating her nose. O'Connell swore roughly and ran, dropping the now-useless rifle and pulling out two pistols from her belt, firing at any Tuareg that ventured too close to her, despite her previous idea to simply die quickly. Might as well go down fighting, she thought grimly as her pistols clicked dry. She threw them away and grabbed her last two pistols from her back holsters and continued firing, back-pedalling into the ruins while trying not to fall over into the sand.
She dropped the two pistols and ran, furiously swearing at herself. So much for 'getting death over and done with' and 'going down fighting'. She was a coward, just like the rest of them.
She didn't want to die.
O'Connell spotted Beni dashing through the ruins. So, he wasn't dead yet. She ran after him as soon as she saw him duck into an open temple doorway and start to slide shut the heavy rock-engraved door. "Beni!" she yelled, forgetting to lower her voice. "Beni, wait for me!"
She didn't like the weedy, shifty little Hungarian fellow much, but came to the conclusion that if she wanted to live through the day then she could at least pretend to be his best friend. Beni glanced up at O'Connell, smirked, and continued to close the door.
What the –?!
"Don't you dare close that door!" she screamed, picking up speed as four Tuareg horsemen starting closing in on her. Beni ignored her. "DON'T YOU DARE CLOSE THAT DOOR!"
Beni slammed it shut.
So much for him being her 'best friend'…
She slammed her hands onto the door. "Bastard, I'll get you for this," she snarled viciously before running off again as the Tuareg fighters ventured a little too close for her liking. Racing through the sandy ruins, O'Connell couldn't help but think about how stupid she was being. As if she could outrun four Tuareg horsemen with very sharp swords, or scimitars, or whatever the hell they were called. What was she thinking? Of course this would be how she'd die – served her right, too.
Her dreaded suspicion was proven correct when she was cornered to a pillar. Defeated, O'Connell turned around and ran a hand through her boy-short hair – all part of the disguise – and bit back the urge to swear in her final minutes. Stupid men and their inane obsession with swearing, it had worn off on her. Obviously she'd been a guy for too long. Two of the four Tuaregs pointed their rifles at her, cocked and ready to fire.
She didn't want to die, but now that she was about to she found herself wishing that she had simply suffocated due to the tightness of the cloth compressing her breasts in an ungodly fashion. It would have been so much faster. A little less dignified, but definitely would have let her avoid this inevitable slaughter.
Well, there was nothing she could do about it now. She closed her eyes and waited for the shots to come and finish her off. Hey, die with dignity, 'Richard'.
A couple of horse-sounding whines and neighs came instead, and the Tuaregs started yelling something in Arabic – O'Connell had no idea what. Listening with her eyes closed, she heard a few scuffles, roughly spoken words that she assumed to be Arabic oaths, and then…nothing.
She opened her eyes cautiously, only to be greeted to the blissful sight of no Tuaregs, and no-one trying to kill her. Releasing a whoosh of air she had no idea she was holding she turned around – only to find herself staring into the crumbling eyes of a statue that had no doubt once seen better days. She yelped and stumbled backwards into the sand, landing rather unceremoniously on her ass, still staring at the statue – no doubt some Egyptian God. A low moaning noise issued from the surrounding sand, enhancing the creepy feel to the dead silence pressing down on her.
O'Connell staggered to her feet and started to walk away, ducking underneath some sand that was behaving badly and trying to kill her –
Wait. Sand wasn't supposed to move on its own, let alone make a – was that a face?
Quickly realising that this was not normal behaviour for sand, O'Connell turned away and ran away. Right…so the sand's moving on its own, everyone's dead except for me and the Tuaregs have left without taking any important artefacts from the ruins…God my life sucks. Just my luck to get caught in these 'cursed ruins'.
She snorted as she jumped over the wall to escape into the Sahara desert. Ha. Curses. Bull-bloody-shit.
Reaching a safe distance from the ruins of Hamunaptra, she stopped and looked around in all directions. "Oh, screw this all to the torturous flames of hell," she seethed. She had escaped almost certain death only to remember that she had no food, no water, no transport, no map, no compass, no weapons, no money and no friends, stuck in the middle of the desert. "Now I'm going to starve to death…or cook to death…or whatever…"
Now she really wished she had suffocated. Or had been shot. So much more dignified.
She focused on the horizon, trying to remember which way was towards Cairo. She knew she would never make it, but what the hell, she could bloody well try. She started to walk in the vague direction of where she assumed Cairo to be, only to freeze, experiencing the unpleasant tingling sensation that someone, or something, was watching her. She turned around, her eyes scanning the cliff, to see a group of people on horseback. Merely watching her. Not aiming with guns and not shouting out death threats. Just watching.
So, obviously, they didn't want to kill her, but it didn't look like she was going to receive any help from these silent, unresponsive and unhelpful people.
She tore her gaze from the cliff side and started to run towards the horizon, praying that somehow, someone would find her, or that she'd stumble across some conveniently placed oasis and a stray camel. And some food and maybe a bag of money.
That would be nice.
But for the moment, Rachael O'Connell was just glad to get away from the stupid Egyptian ruins. "Stupid Egypt," she muttered as she ran, trying to undo the cloth that was compressing her breasts. "Stupid men. Stupid bloody Hamunaptra. Why am I even in Egypt?"
* * *
The dark, handsome Arab glared down warily on the Legionnaire who had escaped the ruins alive, his rifle pointed downwards and unloaded. The Med-jai warrior beside him raised his own rifle and took aim. Ardeth Bey grasped his brother's arm and shook his head.
"You do not want to kill him?"
Ardeth shook his head again. "No, Anzar. The desert will kill him."
Anzar sneered at Ardeth. "Still unwilling to kill, I see."
Ardeth did not respond to his brother's taunts, never once letting his eyes stray from the Legionnaire.