Title: Hereafter

Author: Marxbros (Marxbros16@aol.com)

Rating: PG-13

Notes: I wrote this after being inspired by Ruse's Who We Once Were, where she describes beautifully a possible future where Imhotep holds immense power.  I was intrigued by that idea, and this story is lightly based on that starting point.  Feedback is appreciated! :-)

Disclaimer: I do not own "The Mummy," "The Mummy Returns," or any of the original characters.  I did, however, create the characters of "Hubert," "Pierre," "Anjelica," and all of the other fictional characters that did not appear in one of Stephen Sommers' films.

Chapter One: The Dream

***

"It's so good to be home!" Evelyn O'Connell dropped the heavy bag she was carrying onto the hall carpet and glided into her living room, her arms spread wide.  "I miss Egypt when I'm here, but I always forget how much I love this place," she murmured, as Rick, struggling with several bags, stumbled behind her.  They tumbled to the floor unceremoniously as Rick moved behind his wife, putting his arms around her waist.

"What you really miss is time to be alone with me," he laughed into her ear, and she smiled.  "Welcome back to Merry Old England."

She turned to look him in the eyes.  "You pretend to hate it, but you love the peace and quiet of London when you're taking a needed break from our adventures," she teased, running fingers absentmindedly through his hair.

"If you weren't always getting us into trouble, we wouldn't need to go on so many crazy adventures," he rejoined, smiling down at her.  She was so beautiful, so lively, so full of life.  Even now, in his deep subconscious, there was the twinge of sadness as he looked at her, which he did not yet understand.

"You love crazy adventures!  You just use me as an excuse for causing them so you can be the hero and set everything to rights," she said shrewdly, pointing out his rather old-fashioned love of saving the damsel in distress.

He laughed then, and they grinned stupidly at each other as they reveled in the feeling of love and warmth and home and rightness.  Everything was at rights.

"I love you," he murmured, leaning down to kiss her.

"I love you too," she whispered, and for a brief, beautiful moment their lips met and passion and heat kindled within them.

Evy pulled away, a puzzled expression on her face, as she realized she hadn't heard any loud noises for at least a minute.  "Where's Alex?"

Rick groaned, missing her sweet lips.  "I'm sure he's just getting into trouble," he said, pulling her back towards him.

Evy shot him an exasperated look and walked across the living room and into the foyer, to see Alex rummaging through one of the suitcases.

"Alex!  What are you doing?"  Evy scolded, bending over to see what he was doing.

"I'm looking for my scarf, mom.  You said you packed it."

"You need it now?"

"I want to wear it."

"Now?"

"It will complete my costume."

"Costume?"

"Yes.  M-O-M, I'm using my imagination to make up adventure games in my head."

"And you want to look the part," Evy finished, Alex looking at her expectantly.  "Well, dear," she began, her lips twitching slightly, "you might well notice that we have seven suitcases, and I have no idea which suitcase your scarf is in.  And when you want to rummage through bags and open them up, it is better to do so in your bedroom, so you don't have to re-pack everything in the hallway."

Alex looked down at the mess he had made.  He looked away guiltily.  "Sorry mum."

Evy laughed, and Rick, coming into the room and observing the mess, laughed too.  "Well then," she said brightly, "let's find your scarf."

It only took them twenty minutes to find it, surprisingly, and Evy was not surprised either when, ten minutes after the celebrated discovery, she found the scarf lying on the kitchen chair.

"Rick, we have an insolent son," she said facetiously, holding the dear scarf up to the light.

"Hmm..." Rick said, moving closer to her.  "He must have learned that particular trait from his mother."

"Then it must be a trait you adore," she replied, tugging his shirt and running her lips over his.  "I've missed you," she sighed, suddenly serious.  And Rick realized that the recent weeks, with Alex's many disappearances and Imhotep's awakening, had been a huge strain on her.  And under her serious gaze, he reflected and realized just how glad he was to be home and away from all their crazy adventures.  Those weeks had been a huge strain on him too, although he was better at hiding it.  And husband and wife simply embraced, holding each other tightly as the sky darkened outside the window.

But time appeared to pass strangely, as the sky went from light to dark quickly, too quickly, and the night was inky and purple and ominous.

They glanced up, looking out the window, strangely not surprised at the bizarre actions of the now gone sun.  They no longer spoke, but suddenly they both knew, in the dim, gloomy kitchen, something terrible were about to happen.  Rick's stomach plunged, his heart raced, he braced himself for a horrible blow, the fear churning in his gut.  He knew, he knew, that someone was going to die.

And suddenly he was looking down into Evy's face to hold her, for comfort.  But she seemed cold, distant, as though he couldn't quite hold her firmly in his arms.

And then, things became confused.  Suddenly Alex was there, standing near him but not near him, crying as he did when he was a baby, sobbing in fear.  And Rick reached out, gropingly, trying to feel for his son, but he could not reach him.  He could not see him, for suddenly his view was obscured, he knew not what was in his way.  He felt a brush of Alex's soft, gold hair, a touch of his smooth skin.  But then it seemed as though it was just a voice, an echo of Alex that tormented and teased him.

And then Rick knew that Loch-nah was there, with his gang.  Except that the gang was not in the room, and Rick felt a little relief at that, that it was only the one man alone.  But Loch-nah did not move, only stood there, and seemed to grow bigger and bigger.  And although he did not speak, it was as though Rick could hear him saying things, hateful, cruel thoughts that, for Rick's mind, did not form themselves into words.

He reached for Evy, Evy who had comforted him and saved him so many times in the past.  He looked down and was looking at his wife, Evy, but then he was looking at the princess Nefertiri, a younger, darker woman, who was Evy but who was not Evy, who stared at him with deep bottomless eyes.  It was as though he was looking at two different women standing side by side within the same body.

And he tried to run, but he felt his feet cemented to the floor.  He desperately writhed, strained to loose himself.  He watched in slow-motion as Evy/Nefertiri's face twisted into a horrible grin, laughed as she was hacked to pieces, laughed and laughed as Alex was murdered, as their bodies become nothing but bloody heaps, but still her twisted, sick face laughed and laughed and tormented him...

***

The nightmare was always the same.  Rick O'Connell sat upright in his bed, shaking uncontrollably.

After a few minutes, the terror subsided, leaving him weak and exhausted.  The stone slab underneath him pressed uncomfortably into his back continuously, and it was impossible to rest.

He was in the slaves quarters.  And he knew, that for the rest of his life, his nightmare had only begun.

***