Oracle's Vision: The Mummy
Disclaimer: I do not own anything expect for Hana O'Connell. So don't sue!
Chapter 1: Prison Cells and Old Friends
Hana O'Connell held the hand of three-year-old Nawfal, who toddled beside her, his tongue poking out as he kept himself upward on the cobbled ground of the school yard. Though Hana's hand seemed to help a lot.
He squealed at the sight of his mother and pulled her behind him in his hurry. The young teacher laughed good-naturally and passed the child off to the parent, bidding them both goodbye.
"Miss O'Connell! Miss O'Connell!"
The young women paused on her journey back to the school, turning back to see two local teenagers running to catch up with her. She had seen them before around the city, recognised their faces, but she didn't know their names. What she did know was they tended to hang around by the prison, doing odd jobs for the Warden. She had a sickening feeling of who this call was about.
"The Warden asked us to come to you." One of the boys panted, leaning on his knees for support, "He says that your brother is in the prison again and this time it is serious. He asks that you go down to the cells as soon as possible."
Hana bit her lip worriedly, her eyes showing a mixture of anger and concern. Her brother had a habit of getting stuck in Cairo's prison, enough that the cruel, smelly Warden was more than a familiar face, but never before had his crimes been called 'serious'. Vaguely, as she rushed into the school building to grab her bag, she wondered what her impulsive brother had done this time.
"You slept with the French Ambassador's wife?" Hana repeated ludicrously, her hand on her chest.
The usual 20 minute trip across the city's centre took 15 minutes in her rush to reach the prison and she now found herself kneeling in front of the wooden cell she knew so well, her eyes on the dirty, uncombed man that she knew as her older brother.
He shrugged, seemingly uncaring. "It wasn't as if I asked her to sleep with me. It was her call and she was the one who forced me into the wardrobe. It wasn't my fault that the old man doesn't know how to please his wife."
Rick winced, grimacing, as the guards promptly hit him around the back of his head with batons.
"Hey!" Hana snapped at them in objection, her eyes flaring, "Rick, that's not the point. You have more intelligence than that - you knew what would happen if you were found out. Mr. Lawrence is baying for your death. I don't know how long I can get the Warden to hold him off."
Rick looked at his younger sister, guilt and regret swirling and clenching in his stomach. Since he had returned to Cairo three years ago, he'd been in and out of jail constantly, making his money with dishonest deeds. Though he hadn't meant to, he'd dragged his sister down with him.
"I'm sorry Hana …" he whispered truthfully, holding his hand out through the bars.
She grasped it comfortably and gave him a watery smile, blinking to keep tears at bay.
"O'Connell! You have more guests!"
The siblings turned at the Warden's voice, eyebrows raised, as the two well-dressed English people - a woman and a man - approached the cell whispering arguments between each other. Both were dressed as opposite to the natives surrounding them, seeming prim and proper. Definitely not the kind of people that were usually seen around the prison.
Hana straightened up in recognition. "Evie?"
The brunette woman looked equally shocked. "Hana? What are you doing here?"
Hana inclined her head. "Talking to my brother."
Evie wrinkled her nose. "That's your brother?"
Her brother's grip on her tightened and she turned towards him questioningly. "Who's he? And the Broad?"
Evie looked offended. "Broad?"
The man she was standing with – Jonathan, Evie's brother? Hana mused – laughed nervously. "Me? Oh, I'm, ah, a missionary. Spreading the good word and all ..." he nudged Evie forward, "And this is my sister, affectionately called Evie."
"She works at Cairo Museum of Antiquities." Hana added, "She helps me when I take the children from the school there on field trips."
"Well, I suppose she's not a total loss." Rick smiled stiffly, it flattering only under his sister's warning glare."
Evie looked aghast. "I beg your pardon?"
Hana shot her friend an apologetic look as Jonathan nudged her awkwardly in her side. She took a step forward. A loud noise deeper into the prison forced the Warden to leave, much the relief of the four foreigners.
"Mr. O'Connell, we found your puzzle box and we wanted to ask you about it." She smiled with forced pleasantries.
"No." Rick stated firmly.
"No?" Evie looked confused.
"No. You came to ask me about Hamunaptra." Rick corrected with a smug smile.
Hana looked surprised. Hamunaptra? She didn't know much about Hamunaptra other than the children in her class believed it was cursed (not hard to believe since it was called 'The City of the Dead') and that Evie wished to find the book of Amun-Ra supposedly hidden there. What she really wanted to know was how her brother knew about it – Rick never really cared for Egypt and all its wonders, all its history.
The Carnahan siblings moved close to the cell, crouching and lowering their voices, as if about to be told a great secret.
"How do you know this leads to Hamunaptra?" Evie asked curiously, a small, gold-coloured, star-shaped box in the palm of her hand.
"I know. I was there." Rick gave a stiff smile to the siblings.
"You were?" Hana sounded surprised and annoyed. Rick gave her a look that clearly said 'I'll explain later'.
Evie's face lit up with excitement, clearly not noticing what has pass between her friend and her brother. Jonathan scoffed from beside her, his arms folded across his chest.
"How do we know this isn't just a con?"
Rick gave him a look. "Do I know you?"
Jonathan looked nervous, pulling at his collar. "No, no I don't think so – just one of those faces you know."
Hana didn't believe him for a second and, judging by the look on Evie's face, neither did she.
Recognition flickered in his eyes. No one had time to do anything when Rick reached through the bars and planted his fist in Jonathan's face. Jonathan cried out and dropped to the ground, clutching his nose. Rick groaned as the guards hit him hard in response. Hana gasped in protest to the beating. Evie stepped over her brother, no reaction to what has just happened.
"That's your brother?" Hana smirked.
"Guilty." Evie mumbled with a smile before turning to Rick, "Were you really at Hamunaptra?"
Her eyes narrowed. "You swear?"
He grinned. "Every damn day."
"No, I mean-"
"I know what you mean. Seti's Place. The City of the Dead."
"Could you tell me? You know the exact location?"
"Do you really want to know?" Rick questioned with a knowing smile, gesturing Evie closer at her nod. She complied.
All Hana could do was gap as her brother smashed his lips to her innocent historian friend.
"Then get me out of here!" Rich demanded as he was dragged away by guards, "Do it Lady!"
"What? Where are you taking him?" Hana asked panicked.
"To be hung Miss O'Connell." The Warden explained, not sounding the least bit sympathetic.
"What?" Evie demanded.
The Warden merely raised an eyebrow. "Apparently, he had a very good time."
It was then the fat, stinking man walked off, heading towards his special viewing box that was especially for him. The two women followed at his heels, desperate.
"I'll give you a hundred pounds for that man's freedom." Evie began the bargaining battle.
"Lady, I'd pay one hundred pounds to see him get hung." The Warden returned his attention to the execution before him with a kind of sick glee.
"Two! Two hundred pounds!" Hana added her watering eyes on her brother who was already having a noose wrapped around his neck. No – she couldn't let anything happen to her brother! There had to be something she could do!
The executioner said something in Arabic, in her hysteria, Hana didn't understand but it seemed to aggravate the Warden. "Of course you don't let I'm down!"
"Five hundred!" Evie tried again.
"Wait a moment!" The Warden paused, "And what else? I am a very lonely man ..."
Evie gasped at the insinuation and slapped the man's hand away from her thigh. The man's eyes darkened with anger before he turned back and waved his hand: a gesture to proceed. The executioner nodded once and pulled the lever.
"No!" Hana threw herself towards the ledge, her eyes wide, as the trapdoor opened and her brother dropped.
The Warden laughed. "Ha! His neck didn't break! Now we must watch him strangle to death!"
Hana gave a choked sob, tears falling from her eyes, and she glanced towards Evie pleadingly, begging her to do something – anything!
"He knows the location of Hamunaptra!"
The Warden looked shocked. "You lie!"
"I do not!" Evie assured, sounding offended once again.
The Warden was still disbelieving. "You're telling me this godless son of a pig knows the way to the City of the Dead?"
"Yes, and if you let him go, we'll give you ..." Evie trailed off, looking unsure of what to offer, "... ten percent!"
"Fifty!" the Warden argued.
"Ah, deal!" Evie agreed quickly, realising the Warden's mistake and not allowing the man to correct it.
The Warden looked annoyed but nodded stiffly. "Cut him down!" he called.
Hana cried out, behind her hand, in relief as she watched the executioner begrudgingly cut down the noose, sending Rick crashing to the floor, gasping for breath – but alive, and that's all the twenty year old cared about. She glanced at Evie and mouthed the words "Thank you".
Evie gave her a smug smile in return.