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Out of Egypt

New -- 21 April 2006  

Humanki -- Episode Five

 

At the airport at Aswan, Egypt, a commercial jet lands. Inside the terminal building, ALEX approaches DAWN who is standing, studying a display map of the area.

ALEX

I’ve found us a car and driver who will take us to Elephantine. What did you find out from the Englishman?

DAWN

He’s an archaeologist who’s been working at Elephantine. According to him, there’s some old man on the island, who sounds like our best lead. I even got the directions.

ALEX

In that case, let's do it.

DAWN and ALEX are walking along a narrow street within the residential district of Elephantine, adjacent to a white, stucco, twelve foot high, walled enclosure. The enclave is well designed and maintained, the walls showing not a single brick or crack on its exterior surface and suggesting a residence of some repute. Unlike virtually all of the other buildings in the vicinity, the residence is isolated, with no other walls from adjacent buildings encroaching upon it. ALEX and DAWN circumnavigate the building, and come upon a heavy wooden gate. Next to the gate is a small bell, set some nine feet off the ground, and with a short remnant of a cord attached. The bottom of the truncated cord is about eight feet off the ground. ALEX looks at the bell, as if thinking of jumping, when DAWN pushes against the gate, and the wooden door opens. She then steps inside. ALEX looks surprised, but then shrugs his shoulders and follows DAWN.

Inside, ALEX and DAWN find a small garden patio with fig trees, flowers and a small vineyard. Herbs and other small plants are also growing in tiny plots, carefully separated by stone and mortar walls -- the plots all at different levels, shapes and configurations. Adjacent and just beyond the patio is a columned porch, with the hint of openings in the shaded gloom. After standing by the gate for a few seconds, the two see a large Egyptian woman lean to one side in order to see around an intervening tree. Her expression at seeing the intruders is a combination of surprise and outrage.

DAWN

Hello. Can you help us? We're looking for someone.

The woman says nothing, but moves more clearly into view, keeping her eyes on the twosome. She is a large, muscled woman, and gives no hint of retreating.

ALEX

Bonjour. Pouvez-vous nous a day? Nous cherchons cal cun.

The woman doesn't reply, cocking her head to one side.

HAL

(low and deep)

If you only speak English or bad French, she probably can't help you.

ALEX, DAWN and the woman turn to see HAL, a tall male figure standing at one end of the shaded porch. He is wearing an Egyptian tunic, but is otherwise hidden by the shadows.

DAWN

We're looking for someone...

HAL

And who is that?

DAWN

Ningishzidda. Thoth.

HAL responds with a silent laugh; his head thrown back accompanied by a sharp intake of breath. His stance eases and with a casual gesture, he steps forward to place one hand on the nearest column, stepping further into the light. His face remains in the shadow with the hint of a smile.

HAL

And who asks for such luminaries?

DAWN

I am Dawn Riordan. This is my companion, Alexander Dukas.

HAL does not answer immediately. After a moment, he begins walking along the porch, his head still in the shadows. As he approaches one of the darkened openings, he speaks.

HAL

You’re expected. Follow me.

DAWN leads ALEX into the shadows, following HAL inside. As they come in from the bright sun, they stumble slightly, their eyes squinting as they adjust to the darkness and the lack of lighting other than dull white walls giving off reflections of sunlight. A darkened interior can be seen to include a nine foot high ceiling in an unfurnished foyer-like room. HAL unlocks a set of double doors and opens them. The doors themselves are eight feet high, and open to reveal another darkened room, but one lit with two intricately carved spherical bronze lamps which give off a flickering light through their carved openings, and provide a dimly lit mosaic of light, flickering with a degree of randomness. The decor of the room itself is barely seen, but includes a throne or alter facing the doors, along with wall paintings resembling the interior of an ancient Egyptian tomb. DAWN and ALEX enter the room quietly and slowly, their heads bent slightly in reverance as HAL closes the doors behind them and then moves forward toward the throne/altar. The two follow HAL who gestures for them to stand at one point, while he moves over to a position between the two supplicants and the empty throne/altar (the same positions DAWN, ALEX, and IRIS had taken during the audience with the Mother at Machu Pichu). A voice then begins to speak, sounding like a deeper resonance of HAL, but coming from the direction of the throne. The voice recites in a detached manner, as if reading from a scripture, and only marginally addressing anyone in the room.

VOICE

“Saith Osiris Ani, triumphant: O grant to me thy two hands that I may pass the time in the Island of flame. I have made an end of my wickedness, I have annihilated the faults which belong to me, I myself am pure, I am mighty. May I rise up, may it be granted to me that I may come and that I may overthrow my enemies upon the earth.”

HAL

Are you thus prepared to go forth?

DAWN and ALEX

Yes.

VOICE

(increasing in intensity with each "What then is it?")

“The road which is travelled, which produces the food of the gods behind the shrine. What then is it? The drops of blood it is which come forth from the phallus of Ra. What then is it? This is the water of heaven. What then is it? I fly as a hawk, I cackle as a goose. What then is it? The giver of foods, the annihilator of sins, Osiris guideth along the road to eternity. What then is it?”

(louder and more insistent)

What then is it?

ALEX

Manna.

DAWN

The mono-atomic elements.

VOICE

“I shall come daily into the house of the Double Lion-God, I shall come forth from it into the house of Isis, I shall see the holy things hidden, I shall pass through the holy rites, I shall see what is there. I rise up, I gain the power over and I repulse the evil which is against me.”

(pausing, and then increasing in power)

“I have made the way to those who live in their caverns guarding the house of Osiris. I challenge those who hath carried off the divine food which had brought the power of Tmu. I bind up, I gather together your powers, I order the powers of the ways of those who guard the horizon of heaven.

(as if giving a benediction)

I have prepared their doors for Osiris, I have opened the ways of the guardians of heaven, of the guardians of the earth. I have lifted up thy face, O lord of eternity!”

As DAWN and ALEX continue to stand transfixed, HAL moves quietly to stand between them and the throne/altar. He seems to quietly address it, and then turns back to them to lead them out of the room, opening and closing the double doors behind them. As DAWN and ALEX squint at the sun's bright reflection from the outer opening, HAL gestures to them, leading them along the porch and down its length.

HAL leads them to a small outdoor area, where three chairs are situated around a small table, on which three containers rest. On three sides of the space are vine-covered walls, flowers growing in every cranny, and multi-colored stones used for paving and decoration. HAL gestures to the table inviting his guests to sit down.

HAL

Drink. Refresh yourself. It is necessary.

Both sit, and without hesitating to wonder what the liquid is, drink virtually the entire contents. As HAL takes the remaining seat, he takes some of the liquid himself. DAWN, refreshed, begins studying HAL, a tall, clean-shaven figure with a dark, ancient face. A family resemblance to ANNA, NINKI, and KURT is apparent, as well as a light blue shading of HAL’s skin. His eyes follow every movement, but appear disinterested, the head never moving.

DAWN

Are you Thoth?

HAL

I go by many names. Right now, I prefer "Hal". I took the name from a Hollywood movie about a computer and a journey to Jupiter.

ALEX

Didn't that Hal go mad?

HAL

Yes. I believe he did. But not irretrievably so.

(pausing to smile mischievously)

Now. If you like, we can pretend you have questions, and that I have the answers.

ALEX

As a matter of fact...

HAL looks at ALEX, smiling encouragingly.

 

Scene shifts to KURT’S War Room, where he is in his customary chair, with several computer display screens arrayed before him. On one is NATHAN (KURT’s older brother, and a man whose appearance is both ancient and evil). KURT is clearly displeased, while NATHAN’s tone is simply cold and deadly.

KURT

Their itinerary is now apparent. First Machu Picchu, and now, undoubtedly, Elephantine. I am leaving for Egypt within the hour.

NATHAN

(crusty and threatening)

And if you fail to find them there?

KURT

There next destination is clear. Should they seek asylum there...

NATHAN

The trap is already laid?

KURT

And primed. But even if they do not go there, it's clear their final destination must be the English Island and our enemy's camp.

NATHAN

I would not like to see them reach the English Isles. There is too much to lose if they do.

KURT

I am well aware of the stakes if they reach that point.

NATHAN

If you fail in your attempt to trap them beforehand, or to prevent them ultimately from reaching his island, be very certain you extinguish them before they leave that place.

KURT

I will know if they get that far. And I guarantee you they will get no further.

NATHAN’s voice takes on a much more menacing tone.

NATHAN

And I will hold you to that guarantee.

The scene shifts to a tramp steamer (the Kylik), still tied to a wharf. DAWN and ALEX are leaning against the amidships railing, looking out on to a section of the Port of Alexandria, Egypt. Their stance is casual, as they breathe in the sea air.

DAWN

You do good work. I hadn’t thought about taking a ship in order to get out of Egypt.

ALEX

Thanks. But when you don't want a lot of questions asked, you go to those of like mind. Steamship captains are notorious conspirators. Besides, if Hal was right, our passports have been compromised and are probably useless.

DAWN

(turning to face ALEX directly)

You still haven't told me where we're going.

ALEX

Gil once told me of a place to go if I really needed a place to hide. After what we’ve learned on Elephantine, it seems we're going to need just such a place to lay low.

DAWN

And now we're on a Greek freighter bound for... Athens?

ALEX

(sheepishly)

Not exactly. We going to be dropped off at an island on the way.

ALEX looks away, swallowing slightly.

 

Later, with the Kylik at sea for a long time, the night’s darkness complete, DAWN and ALEX are on the otherwise deserted fantail of the ship. The churning waters from the screws are the only indications of the calm sea below. Both are dressed sparingly in shorts and shortsleeve tops. Each has a bag or packback wrapped in plastic and strapped to their body.

DAWN

(in a low, but intense voice)

This is ridiculous. When you said we'd be dropped off at Crete, you didn't say we'd have to swim ashore! Or to do it under cover of darkness without telling anyone!

ALEX is struggling to manhandle a large, deflated life raft up onto a small flat section of the ship’s superstructure, overlooking the churning waters immediately below.

ALEX

We won't have to swim, if we can get this life raft inflated and over the side!

DAWN begins to help, and they manage to lift the raft and position it for inflation.

ALEX

Besides, if the Captain knew our plans, we'd be traceable. Doing it this way, he'll figure members of his crew did us in and then threw us over the side.

DAWN

Which is why we messed up our stateroom?

ALEX

Exactly. He'll think we were victims of foul play. At the same time he won’t be able to tell the authorities about us since he’d be in trouble himself. Particularly, since he was carrying people without a passport.

DAWN

It's just that I'm not a strong swimmer.

ALEX

Then you can jump with the life raft. Grab hold of that line.

With the life raft in position, ALEX pulls the cord to inflate it. The raft begins inflating, but in the process gets out of control and goes over the fantail, the cord slipping out of DAWN's hand.

ALEX

Shit!

DAWN, seeing her life raft go into the drink, doesn't hesitate, and quickly scampers over the rear safety line and jumps into the water, grabbing for the life raft.

By the time DAWN resurfaces, the life raft has completed the process of inflating and is now floating gently on the water. DAWN strikes out for it with a vengeance, swimming in primarily a dog paddle, and keeping her head well above water. She manages to grab one of the ropes circling the raft and slings her other arm over the side of the raft. Hanging onto the side, she rests and catches her breath. ALEX, with strong swimming strokes, reaches her shortly thereafter.

ALEX

You okay?

DAWN

(panting)

Yes. I'm fine.

ALEX smiles and scrambles into the life raft. Just as quickly, he reaches back and begins helping DAWN into the raft. Once in, they fall back into the raft in a tumble and share a relieved laugh. Still in something of a tangle, DAWN leans over and kisses ALEX on the cheek.

DAWN

Thanks for pulling me in.

ALEX leans forward for a more profound kiss. DAWN responds enthusiastically. After a passionate moment, they come up for air. ALEX is beaming and staring intently at DAWN. She smiles in return and then sits up to look around. The aft running light of the Kylik and its silouette on the water can be seen in one direction, and then 90 degrees to the left, a string of lights on the horizon. ALEX stands up to get a better view. .

ALEX

Thar she blows! The lights of Iraklion!

DAWN

Crete? Wonderful!

(suddenly subdued)

Anybody bring an oar?

DAWN and ALEX look around at the bare bones nature of the life raft.

FADE OUT

 

Episode Four -- And the Lady  

Forward to:

Episode Six-- Kali Lumenes

               

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