There was no light at the end of the tunnel. And the flaming torch that Rick O'Connell carried flickered and threatened to extinguish itself as he strode down the passage of the pyramid. Some would call his demeanour purposeful; Rick would have called it numb.
His wife… his beautiful Evelyn… his whole world… was gone. A grain of sand that had slipped all too quickly through his fingers.
Rick was used to living life by the skin of his teeth, he knew all too well that every breath he took could alter the course of his existence, yet with all they had faced in their time together he had never expected this.
Rick clenched his jaw, stealing himself against the tide of tears that would surely overwhelm him. He bit his own tongue hard and used the pain the gesture produced to ground himself. He could think of nothing but his wife's lifeless body lying in the sand a few feet away from their son… Alex…
"Meet your son, Mr. O'Connell," Evelyn murmured, her voice dripping with exhaustion yet laden with pride all at the same time. She lay back against a mound of pillows, her dark curls wild, her eyelids heavy. She had clearly been to hell and back, but was as breathtaking now to her husband as she had ever been.
Rick could not break his gaze from the writhing pink bundle that his wife held in her arms. The child's wide blue eyes locked on his own for just a moment before they fluttered closed, but that was all it took. Rick O'Connell was entranced…
Rick shook his head, struggling now to dispel the image of Evy falling, her lips quivering and tears spilling from her eyes as she realised the enormity of her fate.
The faint scent of her blood which clung to his shirt stung the back of Rick's nostrils and, for just a second, he paused…
"Gees, God damn it…" Rick exclaimed, slapping his palm somewhat clumsily to his neck, which was smeared with the remnants of his shaving cream.
"Have you cut yourself again darling?" Evelyn inquired, her head suddenly appearing around the bathroom door. She smirked, almost lasciviously, as she noted that her husband stood swathed only by a far-too small towel which was wrapped around his waist. Rick returned his wife's smile, and extended his arms to her. Evy was encompassed in his embrace within seconds, and standing on her toes in order to examine the nick that leaked a thin trail of crimson down Rick's throat. Her soft lips were kissing his neck just as quickly…
The crackling of the flames from the torch masked the echoing of Rick's heavy footsteps through the tunnel. This god-damn tunnel of darkness which seems to have no end. Strangely, the idea of turning back never once crossed Rick's mind as though it were not a possibility at all. He would walk for an eternity if need be.
Rick realised that he had not relaxed his jaw, but made no move to for fear that his whole façade may crumble as easily as the ancient walls around him might at any second. Rick barely noted his surroundings anymore; a patch of faded heiroglyphs on the wall, the smashed remnants of a large vase, an open and empty sarcophagus…
Of course, there would have to be a funeral. But Evelyn was the one who planned things, whilst Rick simply tagged along and shifted the heavy objects…
"No no no! The sofa must go over there, that's where the coffee table just has to be otherwise the bookshelves can't go there and then I will simply have to find a new place for the bureau!"
Rick arched an eyebrow, weary yet undoubtedly amused, and leaned heavily against the piano that had been abandoned in the hall long ago by some disgruntled removal men.
"And here was me thinking we wouldn't possibly have enough crap to fill a mansion!"
Evelyn tutted disdainfully, hiding an excited smile as she retorted, "Language darling."
Rick guffawed, dragging his wife to his side and wrapping her in a bear hug before she could utter a protest.
"Oh this is so exciting," Evelyn breathed as she nestled into the warmth of her new husband's chest, her blue eyes dancing in the dimn light of the evening, "our first night in our first home…"
Oh God, Evelyn…
Every memory that filled Rick's head, every breath in his body, every beat of his heart… was for her.
"To love, honour, and obey…"
Rick walked a little faster now.
"… from this day forward…"
He found his pistol in his hand, but scarcely remembered reaching for it. His knuckles tightened around the handle until his grip became so intense that his entire hand whitened.
"… in sickness and in health…"
A million images filled Rick's mind, their soundtrack the rush of Rick's own blood in his ears.
Evelyn… that day he had first laid eyes on her at the prison… the moment he had slipped an engagement ring onto her finger as he balanced comically on bended knee on the balcony of a Parisian hotel… dressed in elegant white and clutching a posy of custard-coloured roses… walking the floor at 3 am with their infant son as she hummed lullabies in a voice barely above a whisper…
"… until death do we part…"
The finality of the word haunted Rick, and as the light from the torch reflected off his wedding band he felt a dull pain in his chest, as though his heart were refusing to beat anymore without its mate.
Rick longed to stop. His legs suddenly ached, and his body was so unbearably heavy. But he knew, should he stop, he would give up. And then her voice was there, in his ear, her breath tickling his neck, still warm.
"Darling, you look tired…"
Rick O'Connell allowed himself one final moment of reverie, which he paid for with a single tear that dropped from his cheek and was lost within the sand barely a breath later. His chin dropped onto his chest, the torch dipped, and in the black passage in the pyramid at the oasis of Ahm Shere, in a country that his wife had loved with her last breath, Rick said his goodbyes… to the world.
When Rick raised his head seconds later, it was there; a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. Richard O'Connell, the hero, walked on.