It had been 5 months since Annie's older brother Rick went to fight in the French Garrison. Annie was Rick's half sister who had stuck by him since they were placed in the orphanage here in Cairo. Since she turned 16 Annie had been working to earn them both some sort of living. She had managed to hold two jobs serving in a bar and working as a gardener in one of the noblemen's homes. Annie worked 3 days a week at the nobleman's gardens while the four other days she spent working in the bar. Sometimes Annie would end up working more than three shifts at the bar causing days when she would work from morning till four in the morning gaining only three hours of sleep until she went to work once more. If Annie lived on her own one job would have been enough but then Rick wouldn't have a roof over his head. Not to mention the money was essential considering Rick knack for getting into trouble and spending a few days at a time in Cairo Prison.
One night as Annie was walking across her bedroom to her small balcony. Her shoulder blade length copper red hair blew in the slight wind. She sat down and leaned against the railing staring at the stars.
"I hope you're alright Rick otherwise I'll make your life a living hell if you don't get your ass back here in one piece" Annie muttered sighing.
There was no mistake that Annie did lover her brother it was he recklessness that made her lose her temper one too many times. As long as she could remember Rick and Annie had been close. Annie supported their living, much to Rick's protests, and Rick in turn helped keep the house and taught her to use guns and knives. Rick had also taught her how to defend herself and Annie gained sort of a boyish attitude but still remained feminine. Annie would wear dresses and skirts when to occasion called but mostly went with pants and boots.
The next morning Annie was on her morning shift at a bar in one of the more popular hotels in Cairo. Most of the tourists came to stay at that hotel because it was more to the standards of the wealthy tourists. Her uniform consisted of a white blouse shirt, black vest, black pants and black high heel shoes. It was usually quiet in the morning it was always in the evenings that people came for a drink. Annie was wading a few tables when a familiar figure to her entered the bar.
"Rick?" Annie inquired.
"Hey Ann." Rick called falling to the floor.
Annie quickly ran to him and hoisted an arm over her shoulder. She quickly took him into the back room and sat him down on one of the chairs. She got Rick a glass of water and handed it to him.
"Oh my god Rick you look like you ran through the desert." Annie commented taking in his appearance.
"Funny you should say that because I kinda did." Rick answered. "Thanks for the water."
"Look stay here and I'll try to get someone to cover for me and then I'll take you home." Annie told Rick leaving the room.
"No!" Rick interrupted stopping Annie, "Don't risk your job for me."
"I'd rather risk my job then to let you be uncared for." Annie said truthfully.
"No, just let me stay here until your shift is over. I know how your boss is." Rick countered. "Look just go back to work and I'll stay here. I'll be fine. You can annoy me when your break comes up."
"Alright Rick, but you don't have to sit back here. Come sit at the bar." Annie said helping him sit in the bar stool and handed her brother another glass water. "So tell me what happened out there."
"Well. We fought in Hamunaptra and I'm the only survivor." Rick said in a low tone of voice because of the other people present.
"Hamunaptra?" Annie whispered in shock, "You mean you guys actually found the city of the dead?"
"Yeah we did. I even found this there." Rick continued taking a strange box from his pocket.
Rick placed it in front of Annie and she stared at it curiously. Taking it into her hands she turned it slowly.
"What is it?" Annie asked her older brother.
"That… I don't know." Rick answered putting it back into his pocket.
"What happened to Beni?" Annie asked as she started giving one of her co-workers some ordered drinks.
"He ran out on me just before the Arabs jumped their horses over our defenses. Other than that I don't know if that guys alive." Rick answered sipping his water.
"Well if I ever see him again I'll give him one. That coward." Annie said angrily as she gave Rick a sandwich which he started to eat fast but one look from his sister made him slow down.
As the day wore on Annie and Rick talked on what they had been doing during their separation. As Annie continued her story about what she had been doing, Rick couldn't help but notice that his sister had been overworking herself in his absence. When he had joined the Garrison she could have quit one of her jobs but she kept them both and at times worked double shifts.
"Ann you're over working yourself." Rick stated with worry in his eyes.
"Am not. I'm just trying to save up some money." Annie defended.
"For what?" Rick asked.
"I don't know. I just… feel like I just should. Save up for emergencies you know?" Annie tried to explain.
"Yeah." Rick muttered.
"Hey O'Connell you don't get paid for overtime!" Annie's boss yelled.
"Sorry sir." Annie answered rolling her eyes and finished up her work.
Annie helped Rick back to her place and made a bed for him while he was bathed. As soon as they had finished dinner Rick collapsed onto his bed and was out like a light.
Three years later Annie was once again making her way to the Cairo prison. As she entered the prison she was brought in front of her brother. Rick was unshaved slightly and his hair was already down to his chin.
"Just like old time's eh dear brother?" Annie snapped at Rick.
"Hey good to see you too Ann." Rick answered.
"Rick I didn't want to spend all that saved money on bailing you out again. I don't know if I can take this anymore." Annie yelled before getting teary eyed.
Neither Rick nor Annie said a word for a moment. Rick was about to break the silence but stopped when Annie knelt down to his level and placed a hand on his. Just by looking into her eyes Rick saw something was terribly wrong.
"I lost my jobs Rick." Annie answered his unasked question.
"After this bail there's nothing left. I don't even know if it's enough to get you out, but there's no more. I've decided that I have to sell the pendant I had left from mom."
"You don't have to sell it Ann." Rick said through gritted teeth.
"I have to Rick. Otherwise there's no way for me to pay the rent." Annie said a tear slipping from her eye. "You're all I have left Rick. I don't want to be alone in this world. Remember the promise you made me when we ran from the orphanage?"
"Yeah I remember." Rick mumbled looking away from his sisters eyes. "I promised never to leave you."
"And that's exactly what you did when you joined the Garrison, but you came back. I was so worried the entire time you were gone that I almost fell into pieces. When you came back it was one of the happiest moments of my life but now you're here in this prison for wanting to have 'a good time'." Annie stated her voice trembling slightly.
"I'm so sorry I have to put you through this Ann. I really am." Rick apologized.
Before Annie could say something else the warden approached with two well dressed people. A man and a woman, who resembled each other. Annie couldn't help but think that perhaps they were siblings. As they came closer the woman wrinkled her nose and whispered something to the man before turning to Rick and Annie.
"This… this is the man you stole it from?" the woman asked carefully pointing at Rick with her wallet and in a proper English accent.
The man who stood beside the woman cringed at his companion's outburst. "Yes now can we please go?"
Rick, in his typical blunt fashion, was unfazed by this comment. Annie remembered that Rick would speak to anyone the way we wanted despite their title or rank. He just didn't give a crap. "Who are you?" he asked. "And who's the broad?"
"Rick!" Annie snapped but was ignored by her brother.
"Oh, well, I'm just a local missionary chap, you know, spreading the good word and such," the man said, in an identical accent to the woman's. "But this here is my little sister, Evy."
"How do you do," Evy added.
"Yeah?" Rick replied. "Well, guess she's not a total loss."
"Rick, I swear one more comment like that and I'm leaving you here." Annie trailed off not knowing how to threaten her brother at this particular time.
Evy continued to look scandalized. "I beg your pardon?"
Suddenly, there was shouting across the yard. "I'll be right back," The warden announced disappearing to the otherside.
"No rush," Rick drawled sarcastically only to find himself hit on the head by one of the guards.
"Rick, are you alright?" Annie asked in a whisper kneeling down to him to examine his head.
"I'm fine Annie, I'm fine. I'm sorry I got you into this mess again." Rick whispered in apology.
"What are big brothers for?" Annie smiled.
Evy cleared her throat lightly to gain Rick's and Annie's attention. "Um excuse me, we found your puzzle box and we've come to ask you about it," she said with a slight hesitation.
"No," Rick disagreed.
She looked confused. "No?"
"No?" Annie asked Rick also confused.
"No," he repeated himself. "You came to ask me about Hamunaptra."
At his words, Evy looked at Rick shocked at the fact that he had dared speak the cities name. "How do you know the box pertains to Hamunaptra?" the Evy asked, barely disguising her excitement.
"Because that's where I was when I found it," O'Connell returned his tone again sarcastic. "I was there."