Read Imhotep Online

Authors: Jerry Dubs

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Time Travel, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Teen & Young Adult

Imhotep

BOOK: Imhotep
2.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

IMHOTEP

A novel by Jerry Dubs

 

IMHOTEP
is self-published by Jerry Dubs

[email protected]

This book is a work of fiction. Although based on
historical events and figures, the names, characters, places and incidents
described in the novel are the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously.

Copyright
2010 by Gerald B. Dubs

All rights reserved.

 

Copy
editing by Ted Palik

[email protected]

 

Cover
design by Kyle Mohler

[email protected]

 

Cover photograph by Jerry Dubs.

 

ISBN 978-0-9846717-2-4

 

For Deb

Thanks for taking this adventure with me.

Novels by Jerry Dubs

 

 

 

IMHOTEP NOVELS

Imhotep, published 2010

The Buried Pyramid, published 2013

The Forest of Myrrh, published 2014

The Field of Reeds, scheduled for publication 2015

 

OTHER FICTION

Kaleidoscope, published 2011

The Earth Is My Witness, published 2011

 

Table of Contents

Novels by
Jerry Dubs

In the Two
Lands

Prologue

Disappearance
at Saqqara

Into the
Tomb of Kanakht

Empty Room
at the Mena House

A Secret
Entrance

Djefi, First
Prophet of Sobek

Lost City of
Ineb-Hedj

Welcoming a
God

Measuring
the Balance of Kemet

The Temple
of Sobek at To-She

Journey to
Iunu

The Feast of
Re In His Barge

Tim and
Diane

Abandoned

Gathering at
To-She

The Cutting
Out of Sobek's Tongue

King Djoser
in the Garden of Ma'at

The
Embalmers of Thoth

The Truth
Finds Brian

Prince Teti

Imhotep
arrives

An offering
to Khnum

Ambush in
Tahta

On the Road
to Waset

Ma'at
Disturbed

At Abu

Imhotep and
Djoser

At the
Temple of Sobek

The Training
of Sobek

Thoth
Unbalanced

The Eye of
Re

Heralds of
the Flood

Brian Reborn

Djefi at Kom
Ombo

Gathering at
Kom Ombo

Preparation

The Hunger
of Sobek

Banishment
of Djefi

Thoth
departs

Flight from
To-She

Siamun in Pursuit

Return to
Ineb-Hedj

At the Tomb
of Kanakht

Into the
Tomb of Ipy

Epilogue

It's history

Hetephernebti
and the Onion

The Terraces
of Turquoise

About the
author

Author’s
note:

 

In the Two
Lands

 

KING
DJOSER
- Ruler of The Two
Lands (also called Kemet)

Hesire
- King Djoser’s personal
physician

Imhotep
- Royal architect, adviser and physician

Inetkawes
- King Djoser’s wife

Kanakht
- Vizier to King Djoser and to his
father, King Kha-sekhemwy

Sekhmire
- Commander of the palace
guard

Sati
- His wife

Siptah
- His son

Prince
Teti
- Son of King
Djoser, Prince of The Two Lands

His
personal guards:

Bata,
Meryptah
(brother of
Meryt at Iunu),
Nesi
(brother of Makare at Khmunu), and
Rensi

 

AT
IUNU, TEMPLE OF RE

Hetephernebti
- Sister of King Djoser,
and High Priestess to the sun god Re

Meryt
- Wbt-priestess in Temple of Re

 

AT
KHMUNU

Makare
- Commander of guards at
Khmunu, brother of Nesi

Nimaasted
- Priest of Thoth at Khmunu

Tama
- “Voice of Truth” for
the goddess Ma’at

Samut
- Messenger in service of Tama

Waja-Hur
- High Priest of Thoth, scribe of the
company of gods

 

AT SAQQARA and INEB-HEDJ

Paneb
- Chief artist at the
necropolis of Saqqara

Ahmes
- His adopted son

Dedi
- His oldest daughter

Hapu
- His youngest daughter

Jarha
- A friend of Paneb

Takhaaenbbastet
- Paneb's wife

 

AT
TO-SHE and KOM OMBO, TEMPLES OF SOBEK

Djefi
- First Prophet of the
crocodile god Sobek

Bakr
- a guard at the Temple
of Sobek

Dagi
- A boatman for High Priest Djefi

Karem
- A boatman for Djefi

Kem
- Karem's wife

Kiya
- Karem's daughter

Neswy
- Yunet’s uncle

Pahket
- Servant girl

Sesostris
- Priest of Sobek and
stepfather to Djefi

Siamun
- Commander of the guards
at the Temple of Sobek

Yunet
- Chantress at the Temple of Sobek,
sister of Djefi, former wife of Siamun

 

AT
ABU, TEMPLE OF KHNUM

Rudamon
- Physician at the Temple of Khnum

Sennufer
- Priest of Khnum at Abu, father of
Sekhmire

Prologue

 

W
aja-Hur, Reckoner of Times and Seasons,
was confused.

Holding a charcoal drawing stick in his hand, he stood halfway down the
tomb’s unfinished hallway.  He wiped his hand against his white linen kilt
leaving behind a black smudge.

His frail body quivered slightly as he stretched himself to examine the
hieroglyphs drawn along the top edge of the wall.  His own hand had drawn
them, he was sure.  He was, after all, Scribe of the Company of Gods, high
priest for the god Thoth.  He had been drawing hieroglyphs all his
life.  He recognized his work. 

But the hieroglyphs were wrong. 

Where he had meant to draw the symbol for eternity he had instead drawn the
hieroglyphs for a hundred lifetimes. 

Waja-Hur
shook his head. 

A
hundred lifetimes was a long time, a very long time. One lifetime was proving
to be too long and wearisome for him.  There was no one left alive from
his youth.  His children had grown old and passed on.  Their children
were growing old now, and still he lingered in The Two Lands, a tired old man
ready to make the final journey to Khert-Neter.

He
sighed. 

A
hundred more lifetimes would be enough for him, but the Book of the Dead called
for eternity, and Kanakht, vizier to King Djoser, ruler of The Two Lands,
deserved nothing less.

The
inscription over the false door must invite Kanakht to pass through it to The
Fields of Reeds for eternity, not for a hundred lifetimes.  As they were
drawn now, the symbols created a doorway that would open after the passage of
five thousand years.

What
had he been thinking?

He
picked up a rag to wipe away the incorrect symbols.

Down
the long hallway, at the entrance to the tomb, the boy who was holding the
reflecting disk sneezed.  The polished brass plate the boy was holding
jiggled making the sunlight that angled into the tomb swirl.

Waja-Hur
gave a small gasp at the illusion of motion.  Putting his hand on the wall
to steady himself, he dropped the rag.  As he bent to pick up the dirty
cloth, he felt a wave of dizziness, as if he were spinning like a dancer at one
of Re's festivals.

Squatting,
he leaned against the wall and waited for the feeling to pass. These moments of
unease had started several floods ago. At first he had thought they were
harbingers of his own passage to The Fields of Reeds, like ibises flying before
the great flood, but they had proven to be merely another annoyance, another
burden added to the weight of his long life.

Breathing
slowly and deeply, he waited for the world to stop spinning around him. Then he
stood, charcoal-smudged cloth in hand, and tried to remember what he had been
doing.  It had seemed important, but now it was gone.

Shaking
his head in frustration, he turned to walk toward light.

 

Disappearance at Saqqara

 

T
im Hope abandoned his fight against the
sand. 

It
coated his sandals and feet; it had worked its way into his backpack. It was in
his hair and in the webs between his fingers.  Sitting with his back
propped against the remains of a wall that once had formed the southern border
of King Djoser’s funerary complex, Tim was surrounded by Egypt's desert sand.

He put
his pencil down and rubbed his hands together, trying to brush away the gritty
sand.

A
series of shadows crossed over him as a khaki-dressed guide led a ragged line
of tourists past him. Their legs moved awkwardly as they took exaggerated high
steps to keep sand from trickling into their shoes.

Tim
watched them pass and then turned his attention back to the notebook propped
against his knees. He added finishing lines to a pencil sketch of his bare
feet, crossed at the ankles, sandals dangling loose.  In the background of
his drawing, desert dunes stretched off to a cloudless western horizon. 
Off to the east, behind his feet, the rough, pitted blocks of the Step Pyramid
rose, angling off the edge of his paper. 

In the
top left corner of the drawing he wrote, “Addy, There’s sand between my toes,
under my fingernails and in my hair.  I hate it.  I hate the way it
finds its way into every piece of clothing.  I hate how dirty it is. 
I hate how gritty it feels.”

He
reread the words he had written to his fiancée.  He thought about erasing
the angry words and replacing them with something more upbeat, but it was hot,
he was tired and he missed her terribly.  The sand was annoying, but he
knew that his anger was really aimed at Addy’s absence.

“That’s
Djoser’s Step Pyramid off to my right.  It’s less impressive than it
should be because there’s nothing here to compare it to.  I know it’s
huge, but not compared to the sky and the endless desert.  And all this .
. .”
he paused, searching
for the right adjective, then gave up and wrote simply
“sand.”

He
closed the journal and held it off his lap so he could stretch one leg and then
the other.  The tourists had gathered around the base of the
pyramid.  The interior of the ancient tomb was no longer open to the
public, so they listened to a description of passageways, chambers and shafts
that lay beneath King Djoser’s burial monument.  When he finished his
memorized recitation, the guide directed them around to the north side of the
pyramid to see a statue of the long-dead king.

As the
tourists shuffled away, three of them hesitated, then turned and walked quickly
in Tim’s direction.  The shortest of them, an Arab wearing a
blue-and-white-striped galabia, led the way.  The other two appeared to be
an American couple. 

She
wore blue jeans and a white T-shirt with a picture of Sylvester the Cat. 
Instead of the leather sandals most natives wore, she wore hiking shoes. 
Thin, with red hair beneath a straw hat, she had a complexion that the Egyptian
sun, even now, at the end of winter, could burn through in an hour.  Tim
hoped she was wearing a heavy sun block.

The
man wore sunglasses and a Boston Red Sox baseball cap, a loud Hawaiian shirt
with large flowers, khaki shorts and black and red high-top sneakers. 
Tall and powerfully built, he walked with the loose, graceful gait of an
athlete. 

As
they passed by him, Tim saw that the woman was frowning.  Her eyes darted
from the guide to her friend and then to the uneven sand.  She seemed
worried and upset, as if she didn’t want to be here. Something about her – her
size, her demeanor or perhaps just her frown made Tim worry about her.

The
man was smiling around a large wad of gum, which he chewed energetically. 
He paused every few steps to scan the tomb site.  During one pause, he
raised his sunglasses and, looking straight at Tim, winked and then, with long
easy strides, he caught up with the guide and the woman.

They
seemed an unlikely couple.

Addy
and I probably seemed like an odd couple,
Tim thought.

Addy
was tall and slender with blonde hair, usually pulled back in a tight pony
tail.  Her eyes were bright and questioning.  Tim was short and dark
skinned with curly black hair.  He had a sleepy look that made people
think he was too relaxed, perhaps even a little slow.  We probably look
like strangers, he thought, thrown together by chance.

The
guide led the Americans past Tim to a small mud-brick guardhouse that stood
over the entrance to the Tomb of Kanakht.  Tim knew that, like the Step
Pyramid, the tomb was closed to the public; he had tried to talk his way past
the guard just an hour ago.

As
they got closer to the tomb, the guide called out a greeting in Arabic. 
He and the tourists waited by the gate.  The guard, who had been resting
in the shade behind the building, walked slowly around the corner, wiping sand
from his hands on his uniform pants.

The
guard and the guide spoke quietly.  American dollars changed hands. 
The guard opened the iron gate, and the guide and the couple disappeared inside
the dark doorway.

As
soon as they were out of sight, the guard shut the gate and returned to the
shady side of the building.

Tim
had heard that you could gain entrance to a “closed” tomb with the right
bribe.  His problem was that he didn’t know how large the bribe had to be
to work.  Addy just would have confronted the guard and demanded to know
how much money he wanted.  Tim thought that such a direct approach
wouldn’t work here in Egypt where train schedules were viewed as gentle
suggestions and prices were hints written in chalk.

When
he had talked with the guard earlier Tim hadn’t raised the subject of a
bribe.  He thought there had to be an etiquette about it, but it wasn’t
covered in any of the guidebooks he’d read.  At least now he knew that
American dollars, not Egyptian pounds, were the correct currency.

Tim
opened his journal and pulled out a sketch he had made of the layout of Saqqara
complex.

The
small pyramid of Unis, not much more than a crumbling mound of limestone
blocks, lay behind him and off to his left, just beyond the southern
wall.  He had passed it on his way in to the courtyard of the Step
Pyramid.  To the north was the Serdab, a small chamber in which the only
known statue of Djoser had been found. 

That’s
where the rest of the tourists probably are,
he thought.

They
would be taking turns peering through a small spy-hole in the enclosure to look
at the statue.  The real statue was in Cairo; the face that stared back at
the tourists was a reproduction.

He had
seen the Serdab earlier that day when he was making his sketch of the
grounds.  Now he was waiting until the tourist buses departed so he could
spend uninterrupted time sketching the long-dead king.  He had dismissed
the cab that had brought him the fourteen miles from Cairo to Saqqara.  If
he couldn’t catch a ride with a late-arriving tourist, he would walk the short
distance into Memphis and find a ride there.

Tim
got to his feet and stretched.  Opening his backpack, he put his notebook
map away, took a drink from one of the water bottles in his pack and then swung
the pack onto his shoulder.  Just then the guard reappeared from behind
the building and shouted through the iron gate at the entrance of Kanakht’s
tomb.

Pulling
the gate open, the guard leaned into the doorway as if listening to
someone.  He jerked back as the guide rushed out of the tomb.

Outside
the doorway, the guide stopped and looked around.  His eyes swept the
area, resting for a moment on Tim.  Turning back to the guard, he waved
his arms as he talked.  He pointed at the open doorway and moved closer to
the guard, talking and shaking his head in disbelief at the guard’s shrugs of
denial.

When
he shook an accusing finger too close to the guard’s face, the guard pushed him
away.

Surprised,
the guide staggered backward, swinging his arms to keep his balance.  He
caught himself and then leaned forward to rush angrily back at the guard, but
stopped when he saw that the guard had drawn a billy club from his belt and was
waiting with it cocked in his hand.

Drawing
himself up to the little height that he had, the guide extended his arms toward
the guard, his hands unclenched, apologizing.  The guard shook his head
and waved the billy club, shooing him away.

He
walked off, glaring back over his shoulder at the guard.  After a few
steps he stopped and, changing direction, approached Tim, who was still
standing by the wall.

“Excuse
me, ’cusez-moi.  English, Francais?” he said

“English,”
Tim said.  Although he knew some Arabic, he thought the guide’s English
would probably be better.

“A
mistake,” he said, indicating the guard with a slight tilt of his head.

Tim
waited.

“You
saw us into the tomb, yes?”

Tim
nodded. “Yes.”

“Where
did they go?”

“I’m
sorry?”

“The
man, the woman.  The tall man, the woman with the hair red.  You saw
them.  Where they went?  Which way?”

“I
didn’t see them come out.”

The
guide looked ready to lose his temper, but he forced a smile.  “You didn’t
see?  No?  You are playing funny with the policeman?”  He nodded
again at the guard.

Tim
shook his head.  He hadn’t been watching the tomb, but he was sure he
would have seen the couple leave. 

“No,”
he said.  “No joke, no funny.  I’m sorry, I didn’t see them come
up.  I think they are still in there.”

“No,
no, not there.” The guide dismissed the idea.  “You are a mistake. 
They came up.”

Tim
almost smiled at the guide’s English, but he saw that beneath his bluster the
man was worried; he hated to see tourists and their American dollars disappear.

He
held up his hand.  “Honest.  I did not see them come up.  And
anyhow, where would they have gone?  The bus is still here.” He pointed to
the parking lot.  He saw that a taxi cab was sitting beside the bus. 
He hadn’t noticed it before, but his back had been to the lot.

“Yes,
where,” the guide said.  Then he suddenly whirled in a circle, as if
expecting the couple to be sneaking up behind him.  “Always the
funny.  Here …  not here.”

“Maybe
they are in the taxi?”

The
guide shook his head.  “My taxi.” He pulled keys from the pocket of his
robe and dangled them in front of Tim.  The guide bounced from one foot to
the other, thinking.  Then he said, “You tell them Hamzah gone without
them.  They walk to Mena House.  Very funny.  Yes.”

The
guide walked to his cab, his head turning to look around the complex, expecting
the Americans to suddenly reappear.  Tim looked over at the Tomb of
Kanakht. The guard was watching him.

Tim
shifted the weight of the backpack, looked back up at the guard, who continued
to watch him. Then he remembered the worried look on the woman’s face and a
sense of unease stole over him. Something happened down there, he thought to
himself. Something happened and the guide and guard are trying to cover it up.
Their shoving match was just a distraction staged for me.

He
stood there for a moment wrestling with his conscience and then he heard Addy’s
voice telling him what to do. Reluctantly, he approached the guard.

“I
didn’t see them come up either,” Tim said as he approached the guard.

“No
English.”

Earlier
he and the guard had talked in English for fifteen minutes.  Tim wondered
if he laughed now and made a joke of the guard’s stiff response, perhaps the
guard would relax and laugh with him.  But the man’s face was pinched and
angry.

“Right,”
Tim said under his breath as he tried to compose his thoughts in Arabic.

“No
English,” the guard repeated.

Tim
switched to Arabic:  “I didn’t see them go.”

“Closed
to public,” the guard answered in English.

Tim
stayed with Arabic. “The man and woman didn’t come out.  Are they there?”
he pointed to the tomb entrance.  “Should we see?”

“No
one there.  Closed to public.”

Tim
shook his head.  “They went in.  Not come out.” He felt like he was
negotiating the price of a counterfeit tomb relic.

“No
one there.  Closed to public.” The guard’s hand played with the billy
club.  He blinked and his right leg started to bounce.

“We
should see.”

The
guard shook his head.  “No one there.”

“Can
we see?”

“No
one there.  Closed to public.”

Off to
his right, Tim heard voices as the group of tourists, finished staring at
Djoser’s statue, emerged from behind the Step Pyramid and began walking toward
him headed for the Pyramid of Unis.  He watched them high-step carefully
through the sand.  Then he looked down at the sand by the entrance to the
Tomb of Kanakht.  It was filled with footprints leading into the tomb.

BOOK: Imhotep
2.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Calle de Magia by Orson Scott Card
The Sorcerer Heir (Heir Chronicles) by Cinda Williams Chima
CRO-MAGNON by Robert Stimson
The Children of Men by P. D. James
The Spirit Dragon by Tianna Xander
The Knight Behind the Pillar by John Pateman-Gee