© Copyright 2018 - Wingco - Used by permission
Storycodes: MM/ff; Other/f; archaeology; digsite; tomb; discovery; tunnels; illness; burial; caskets; sarcophagus; altar; silkgown; cuffs; collar; encased; emtombed; sealed; death; cons/nc; XX
Emma Cline somehow managed not to scream on finding out her man had escaped. Getting Fatima to swap places before they were buried alive.
“But I don’t understand. Surely you know what’s happening to us. We’re NEVER going to be freed!” she wept, her brain too scrambled to take it in. Fatima waited patiently until Emma stopped sobbing. Not yet able to tell her companion that she was ‘only’ restrained at feet, waist and neck. Her wrists were still free though she’d been instructed how to secure those if the air got stuffy.
It’d taken Rashid only a few minutes to convince his wife to take part and why. Fatima was a broad- minded character and as she knew they’d be released sometime tomorrow went along with it. So now all she had to do was break the news to a very distressed Mrs Cline.
Emma squealed when the hands reached across. “Are you not restrained then?” she gasped. Telling the woman how she was secured. Fatima agreed, Em sensing her smiling and she was puzzled. Finally it emerged that Mrs Feroz was rather turned on by this idea. “I might be older than you my dear but I still have feelings in ‘that’ department, OK?” Now Emma did start to smile but it still didn’t alter the fact they were here for good… weren’t they. Tentatively she asked…
“No dear. We’re not. All we had to do was for Judge Kasim to witness you being buried. I offered to take Mr Tony’s place, because Rashid said he was worth more alive…” Emma gasping at that but Fatima ploughed on. “Well he’s right. Not that Rashie doesn’t love me, we’ve been together almost as long as you’ve been alive, you’re what, late twenties?”
Emma blushing at that as she was actually thirty, next month, if she made it out of here. Fatima now revealed the true nature of the plan… if they survived. “Which I’m sure we will. You made it ten hours in a single casket; there are two of us in a double. There is something happening at this place that kept you alive when you should have perished. Rashid and Tony want to find out what that is, understand?”
“OK, I guess we will. The air seems fine so far. But do you have the veils and all that?” she asked. Fatima replying yes. “I’m even wearing one of the robes. They are nice. Rashie likes it when we’re…” she paused and Emma sensed her fellow captive blushing now!
Hands coming over and stroking Emma’s torso, then the girl squealed as she felt the collar suddenly undo, dropping her head. “Oh wow. Can you free my arms, but I thought these didn’t have release levers anyway, and were permanent.
“Not a chance. The Judge wasn’t briefed on this; Rashie had these loops made at the museum. There are tiny buttons underneath the loops at the back. I’m sorry we couldn’t tell you before. Kasim had to see you really distressed, he saw you at the pillar too. Assuming it was to be for all time. Tony said you’d not be able to hide your feelings if you’d known.”
Emma relaxed for the first time admitting it was true. Still put out that nobody had confided in her about the plan. Fatima sensed this and gently rubbed her torso again, even lifting Emma’s veils, as the wetness was really irritating. “Don’t suppose you’ll do my arms… please?” but she refused. “Besides you seemed to enjoy being restrained, I’m not so sure but I think it’s better if you stay like that.”
Mrs Cline sighed in surrender. Asking Fatima to scratch her nose as it was itching. She complied and that was SO much better. They chatted on and seemingly hours later finally stopped. Emma starting to get tired… sleepy even and she suddenly realised it was a little warmer now. The air…
“Fatima. Can you secure me again,” she asked, startling Mrs Feroz as she was already asleep. The woman was talked through how to do the now dry veils and the collar was clicked closed. Then she did her own, trembling slightly as she reached down afterwards, placed wrists into the loops and flicked.
Then they both jumped minutes later when all the restraints tightened again. “Oh my God…” Emma murmured, hearing Fatima gasp. That shouldn’t have been possible with these according to Rashid but now…
Silence was total now; both women trying to ‘hold’ their breath but gradually Emma realised it was getting cooler and fresher again. Fatima sighed when she heard that. “See love, my Rashie was right. There is definitely something else here that’s helping, yet always waiting to punish if we step too far. This will be your task in the years to come.”
The couple waited now. In and out of sleep and it was Fatima who heard the banging from above.
A nervous Rashid Feroz hammered into the welds covering the casket lid. Tony hardly daring to believe the couple below them was alive after twenty-four hours. Judge Kasim had signed all the paperwork thus absolving the pair if Emma and Fatima didn’t make it. Now they were about to find out. Taking an age to lift the sarcophagus out once the cover had been removed. Seeing no gap at all where the joins should have been. Tony grabbed a hammer and was about to start smashing the thing apart when Feroz stopped him.
“Other side Tony, the hinges have changed sides…see?” He stared and gradually the joins could be seen after all. A sigh of relief and he jammed the crowbar into the tiny gap where the discs had been. Turning each slot and hearing the thunk as the casket unlocked. The fourth was done and they prayed before tugging the halves apart…
“Took your time didn’t you love…” was all Tony heard before grabbing Rashid for a hug. The couple seemingly alive as Fatima’s quiet crying joining her companion in tears of relief. The men released their partners, really having to squeeze the buttons hard to get the bands to unlock. Both women could barely walk as they stepped out. Emma kicking her shoes off straight away, even before lifting her veils away. They turned to their men and everyone embraced. A big huddle of humanity and nobody said a word for ages.
“So that’s it then. We’re really free now of this?” Emma said once they were back in one of the other buildings. Still in her robe, Fatima the same and Tony saw his wife gently stroking her body and it made him grin. The suit made for his own intended burial was upstairs in what would now be their permanent quarters as Rashid had explained what they’d be doing, assuming Emma survived.
“Yes. Judge Kasim has agreed that sentence was carried out in accordance with the law and he didn’t want to know any more about it’s aftermath… though he’s quietly convinced you’d make it. The police have been told the same so your case is closed. Now you really are free folks. But…” and Emma’s eyes rolled. There’s always a but. However in this case it was a good one and Tony took over. Telling his beloved that their job from now on was to completely explore Neen from start to finish. There was no time limit. This was their new home now. Rashid would supply food and stuff from Cairo once a week. Power wasn’t a problem as he showed Mrs Cline the solar systems that had been installed long ago.
“Very well. We accept. But I’m hungry, any chance of dinner now?” she asked and they all laughed.
So they started all over again. This time mapping each room on a chart and accurately measuring each. Amazed at how big the site really was as every disc turned led into another room. All on the same level, some with hieroglyphics but most without. They found a few artifacts and Rashid was delighted at their progress on his visits.
Emma soon over her traumatic time and she forgave Tony for what he’d done. “You’d have used the air quicker than Fatima did eh?” poking him in the ribs and earning herself a cuddle. Never asking again to be placed in a casket.
She also began to change as they’d progressed deeper into the dig. Firstly using that lightest of the collars found in the storeroom. By the end of the first month however Emma was wearing ‘a full set’ wrist and ankle cuffs, a belt and that last band around her neck. These had no loops so were assumed to be jewellery and Tony didn’t mind. Seeing and hearing her click each one every morning before they went to work. Only taking them off on exiting the dig. They only worked daytime hours too, even though once underground it was by torches and the solar power lights. Evenings were spent normally in their quarters, playing cards, Tony teaching Em about chess too.
Progress was steady and there was a landmark event three months in when they found a room with several holes to one side. Going DOWN at a 25degree angle with a curve about fifty feet along stopping them seeing where it ended up. Only about the size of a casket but it was where that made them get excited. “Perhaps this place has a lower level honey,” Emma said looking down there.
The only problem was that in each hole, about ten feet from the start was what looked like a nipple hanging from the roof and blocking partway. “Trust you to think of that…” she said acidly but smiling all the same as hers received some loving attention.
What was down there? A stone was thrown down the first and they listened as it clattered round the bend, faintly banging on the surface before a hollow ‘boom’ came echoing up. Another bigger one followed with the same noise and now the couple was really excited. “There’s got to be a chamber down there love. It doesn’t just stop as if it hit a wall.”
Tony fetched a rope and Emma begged to be allowed to go first. “Your fat ass wouldn’t get past the ‘nipple’ as you so lovingly call it!” she remarked and he reluctantly agreed.
Making sure Emma did the knots firmly. In fact it was more like a harness under her arms. If she got stuck all Tony had to do was drag her up.
Soon she was ready and nervously Emma clambered into the hole. Easing herself down and beginning to wriggle. Having to stop and shine the torch down as she approached the obstruction. It really was a squeeze to get past it. Emma examining it closely but a tap on the side and it wobbled alarmingly. “It’s not stone. More like a rubber…” and she tried not to laugh, as did he. Safely passed it and down Emma slid. Stopping every few feet as the abrasions on her skin made it itch. Back to work and Tony watched in amazement as she finally reached the shallow curve and go out of view. Stopping to shine her torch and…
“Bloody hell love, it goes way out of sight… and gets steeper” he heard her say, Emma seeing more of those nipples in a line. She didn’t know how long Tony’s rope was but she carried on until reaching the first. The slope was really getting to her now and also Emma was tired. Knowing she’d have to clamber up as Tony dragging on the rope would make it worse. Idly thinking about that she felt the nipple brush against her ass… and break off!
Emma squealed as a torrent of sand flowed out of the hole, rushing down and covering her legs in seconds. The view beyond vanishing as it kept coming out with no sign of stopping.
Tony Cline froze hearing her make that noise. The rope slackening for a moment and he was terrified she’d fallen or come loose. Sighing moments later as she came back round the corner and his eyes blurred with tears. Emma called up, telling him just to draw the rope slowly. “Don’t tug, and make sure you do not hit that thing!”
Ten tense minutes later they were together and she held on for a long while. Emma still trembled as she dusted herself down. Tony noticing how carefully she’d crept passed the nipple.
“That honey, was bloody close…” she said once able to speak. Tony noticing she’d insisted on coming outside rather than remaining in the dig. Only now did Emma reveal what she’d seen and done down there. “Whatever goes down that hole… stays there.”
Taking him back to the scene after lunch and grabbing some stones on the way. “Right, see if you can hit the nipple with one of these…” she said. Tony grinned. “Well, it’s better than chucking them at your head sweetheart. See if I’ve still got the ability,” and she chuckled wryly. Accepting a kiss and his apology.
Two shots missed and they heard silence once the stones went into the sand she knew was there. On the third however he struck it halfway up and the guy was amazed. It instantly broke off at the roof and more sand came pouring out, filling the space up to the top. “Yep, that’s what happened round the corner. These passages were designed to be used once. I assume the idea was that a casket is slid down and it vanishes…well into the next life. Sounds daft but I’m convinced there’s only a certain amount that Neen wants us to find.”
That night he was very gentle with her. Emma trembling at her close escape and he held tight as she wept. Next day he was surprised when after breakfast she announced that it was time for work. Seeing she was still dressed in the ‘robe’ worn every night since coming back. Actually looking closer today there were two of them, with underwear in place, her ‘jewellery’ now applied over the top. Maybe it was Emma’s way of adding another level of well, ‘devotion’ to this place. He didn’t argue and instead led her over to the dig and they got going.
To test Emma’s theory about the caskets after a lot of effort they got one down to the room with the holes. Using the next in line. Mrs Cline trying not to damage her outfit but no way would Tony suggest she remove it now. Once in place they loaded it with stones to simulate a body then paused. “One, two, three… push!”
Away it went, knocking the nipple clean off and the sand flowed as before. But they could still hear the sound as the casket went beyond their view. The faint thumps as each obstruction was reached and passed before the final ‘boooom’ came up. Now the hole vanishing as the sand reached the roof.
“Two down, only three to go…” she murmured as he came close. Stroking Emma through the material of her dress, telling her he’d always love her. Em smiled and suggested they go off for lunch.
Another three months passed and quite suddenly on trying another disc they were stunned to reveal an exit to the outside world! Emma having to shield her eyes as low evening sunlight flooded the room, soon seeing that it was more like a cave. Stepping close to the edge and peering out. “We’ve come right through the hill. See, there’s the road that leads to Alexandria” Tony said pointing to the faint glow of headlights on the desert floor many miles away.
Emma was more disappointed. Maybe this was the end of the place. What would they do now? Rashid would probably say they could work at the museum in secret, but to her Neen-Al-Tudlobry WAS her home. Turning back and accepting a long cuddle from her man. Tony touching her belt and saying that he’d always expect her to wear these from now on. “Not a problem…” she grinned. Peering over the edge to see if there was any sign of another outlet from the supposed lower level. But the cliff was a sheer drop to the river hundreds of feet below, preventing any idea of clambering down to check.
With a heavy heart she turned away and with the sun almost at the horizon suggested it was time they went for dinner. Friday was their normal ‘date’ night after a hard week’s exploring. But tonight was almost a type of commiseration at reaching the end. Rashid would be here tomorrow to resupply them, collect their latest research and any finds and until today this lot had been better than expected. Perhaps Neen had given up all its secrets, though both knew whatever was below those holes in that chamber would not be investigated… unless there was no intention of returning.
So tonight once back in their ‘house’ Emma dressed to thrill in that red lacy number to cheer herself up, and not much else underneath either. A shame she’d not packed the heels that came with it. Excess baggage had been the bane of her life so the usual sneakers were applied and Tony’s hands had been all over her while preparing dinner. Now sitting there much later on he reached over to give her a cuddle, only to find Emma was trembling a little.
“You all right…?” he asked and she turned to look. Her fingers now twitching. “No… sorry love but I’m not. Was fine up until about five minutes ago but…” she never finished the sentence. Leaping to her feet and rushing out, ignoring his calls as she fled into the bathroom next door. Tony paused then made to follow but the sound of his wife vomiting explosively into the toilet bowl stopped him cold.
Emma emerged, ashen faced and shaking. Holding on to the doorframe. “If it’s that paella love you need to do the same…” she said. Tony however felt fine, as an iron constitution was never a problem. “If you’ve seen the crap I used to eat in the army then one Spanish meal ain’t gonna kill me.” She smiled wryly at that and went to wash her mouth out then clean the kitchen up. Coming back an hour later and flopping into the chair, taking his hand and placing it on her leg just below the skirt hem. Insinuating he ought to start thinking about undressing her.
She paused, feeling his skin, sweating slightly and Emma looked at him. “Tony, please go and throw it up. I’ll make you a salt drink that should help. Go on… move,” and thankfully he agreed. Going into the bathroom but a couple of dry heaves got him nowhere. Emma arrived to see his ass waving in the air as he bent over the bowl. “Very romantic. Have this.” She grinned and handed the concoction over.
Cline knocked most of it back and it worked. Spinning round and… “Ugh,” Emma chuckled, wincing in sympathy as she left him to retch. Hearing a couple of thumps minutes later she frowned, then another louder one and the door slammed. “Tony… you all right…” she called. No answer so Emma pushed the wood, only to find her husband collapsed on the floor. “Oh shit,” she swore, trying to lift him up but he weighed a ton and Em struggled. Eventually getting him rolled over onto his belly so he wouldn’t choke. Just as well because another load came pouring out. Really bad and it lasted a while.
An hour later he was in bed, Em having half-dragged him there because he couldn’t manage alone. Only taking his messy shirt off because of the sick. Wrapping his torso in blankets then cradling his forehead. Feeling it very flushed and she was convinced there was something seriously wrong now.
All that night Emma nursed him. Praying for the dawn to come, bringing Rashid and she hoped the guy had a First-Aid kit in the jeep. Finally her heart leapt as it arrived, soon after 8am and she rushed out, pleased to see Fatima was with him for the first time in ages. She called, waving frantically and they hurried across. “Tony’s very ill. Possible food poisoning,” she said, Mrs Feroz holding Em as she tried not to collapse. Still not feeling that good herself though thankful she’d changed into the blue maxi-dress and jacket to receive visitors.
Professor Feroz hurried into their bedroom. Seeing his friend leaning up against the pillows. Eyes barely open but just able to recognise who it was. Weakly waving, then leaning over and another heave into the bowl placed for that reason. Rashid was horrified, seeing how pale he was. Tony’s normally well-tanned skin was almost white now. Coming over and taking Cline’s hand, feeling the sweating, but icy cold fingers trembling. He’d never known anyone be this sick and he didn’t think many doctors had either. “Not good buddy,” he murmured. “I feel shite… No, worse than that…”
Meanwhile Fatima was questioning Emma about their meal. She wasn’t a nurse but five decades on the planet had given her a lot of experience of treating various ailments. The girl was partway through telling Mrs Feroz when Rashid appeared ten minutes later. “I’m sorry Emma… I think you’d better go and see him…” he began. The look on his face telling her it was worse than she’d originally feared.
“…Before it’s too late.”
The chair flew back, smashing into the cupboard as Emma rushed into the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Rashid sat next to his wife and they stared at each other. “I’m sorry dear Fatima. Tony is probably beyond help now… no way will a doctor…” before he broke down as did she.
Emma stared blankly at her man. His eyes looking at her and she guessed as his fingers gripped tighter. “Be brave sweetheart, stay with me. I know you will. Be brave for me…”
The Feroz heard Emma’s wail of agony an hour later. Fatima looking at her man, nodding before they prayed for another soul lost. Mrs Feroz getting to her feet and heading for the bedroom where she could hear the cries of anguish. Opening the door to see Em slumped across the bed, her hands wrapped round Tony’s, her body shaking.
She jumped a mile when Fatima touched her arm. Turning round and Mrs Feroz saw her face. “Why honey, why now…” she wept but there could be no answer to that. She carefully lifted Emma’s hands away. Making sure Tony’s didn’t just flop down as she placed them neatly on that still chest. Reaching for the blanket and between them the women covered him up.
Leading an emotionally destroyed Emma into the kitchen. Rashid got up from his seat and embraced them both, soon everyone crying and it took a while to stop. Fatima, Mrs Practical sitting them down while she made tea for Emma and coffee for themselves.
Nothing was said for a while before Emma asked about rules for burials in Egypt. Rashid replying that in theory it should be done on the same day, but as the man was not of their faith he…
“No love, we’re guests in your country. We’ll abide by the rules… I don’t want another fine…” and despite themselves everyone chuckled. Mrs Feroz amazed by Emma’s resilience. Though she knew the real grieving was yet to come, the way it had taken her years to get over the loss of her first husband, one of Rashie’s best friends.
She did want to show the couple what had been found the day before. Leading them through the dig to the cave, passing the room with the holes and it gave Emma an idea. Bringing the pair back once they’d seen the view.
Emma Cline explained what had happened when she’d gone down, saying that rather than burying Tony in the yard by the house she wanted to place him here. “A symbolic journey. We’ve no idea what is down there. It’s far too dangerous to go down the outside. Maybe it’s as if Neen doesn’t want us to know any more…” she said before breaking down in tears.
The Feroz looked at each other, before Fatima nodded. “Very well Emma. We’ll do as you request.” Rashid said and got a hug from both ladies.
Preparation took an hour. The three dragged one of the remaining caskets through the dig and placed it by the hole. Emma then went to Tony and tearfully dressed him into the suit Fatima had made for the supposed burial, now to be used for real. Then the last journey as the trio loaded their fallen friend onto a stretcher and brought him to the room. Rashid placed him into the casket and was about to close the lid when Emma said stop.
He wasn’t wearing his wedding ring. Hurrying back into the light and fetching it. Crying as she placed the golden band onto his cold finger and kissed it one last time. Laying the hand across his chest. The lid was closed up then all three knelt and prayed.
Emma wept as the casket slid away, rumbling down the slope, the sand pouring out from the roof. The others fascinated as it vanished round the corner and both women were in an embrace as the last ‘boom’ came up the passage.
Packing up took ages. Rashid insisting Emma would be their guest from now on. She wanted to stay at Neen but it was Fatima who finally talked her into leaving. A silent return to Cairo followed. Emma holding her friend’s hands all the way back to their apartment. Rooms were prepared for her and Mrs Cline began her new life as a secret widow.
That night Fatima was lying next to her husband. “I’ll give her a month… she’ll want to go back,” she said. Rashid nodding sadly.
She was right as Emma grieved long and hard. Many a day she’d hardly say a word to her hosts. Even having to be coerced into going shopping, just to get her out of the house for a while. Finally one day Mrs Cline came into the kitchen, hoping to see Fatima alone and smiled on finding her there. She lay a drawing on the table. “Would you make this for me please?” she asked. Showing Mrs Feroz the design for a dress and the woman immediately knew the only reason Emma could want that.
“Yes love. I will create this… and I know why as well,” She said and the pair embraced. Telling Emma it’ll take about a week. It really was to be a lovely outfit, made from all the surviving robes that had been in the storeroom; well apart from a couple Mrs Feroz probably had upstairs! Working diligently on her evenings away from her normal job. Emma taking over responsibility for all the cooking and housework so it could be finished. Calling the girl into her bedroom at the completion and Mrs Cline gasped on seeing it for real. Trying it on and being briefed at what she’d need to do.
That night Emma suggested they all go out for dinner rather than being at home. The Feroz knew what this meant, Em confirming this during the drinks after a very nice meal that she insisted on paying for. Using all the money that she’d had on her. Telling Rashid and Fatima the truth.
“It’s been lovely staying with you two and I thank you with all my heart. But I know deep in there that Neen-Al-Tudlobry will always be home for me. Where it began for Tony and myself, long before we got together as man and wife. I… I want to rejoin him… there. To be at his side once more.”
Rashid stared, as he wasn’t expecting that. “What, you go back there… and down…?” Emma nodding. “Yes, there are two holes remaining. We’ll load up a casket with food and water, as much as will fit. That goes down one. I intend to go down the other. We took a gamble last time and made it. Now I feel that it will be my destiny.”
The pair was astonished and Rashid wanted to say no. Looking at Fatima who was staring at Emma. Tears not too far away at the thought she was about to lose another friend. But she took Mrs Cline’s hands and said yes. They were prepared to go along with this. Mr Feroz now agreeing with his wife that it should be tomorrow. The drinks were finished and he drove the ladies home.
Emma Cline awoke next morning… happy. A long soak in the bath followed then once more dressed in ‘that’ suit. Coming into the kitchen to see the others awaiting her at the table. Hugs and gentle kisses exchanged before breakfast was eaten.
It was Emma who drove them there. Anxious not to show nerves and she was pleased on turning into Neen and parking up. Making sure she handed back the keys with a grin. “It’s a long walk home!” and they’d all laughed at that.
Emma and the others dragged the two sarcophagi into position and helped pack the first with water, food and Em’s handbag. Plus another bag that Rashid didn’t know the contents of but having seen it was light assumed it probably contained clothing as no other stuff had been seen.
The casket was launched down the hole. Emma listening intently for the last ‘boom’ that signified that wherever it stopped it’d reached the same place as Tony.
Now the last emotional hugs and kisses between the three followed. Fatima and Rashid helping Emma sit down then guide her back till the girl was lying flat. There were no restraints in here. Just a pillow had been asked for and placed where she needed it. Emma bid them farewell then the lid was placed over the sarcophagus and she braced herself.
Feeling it lift up then… woosshhhh…
The noise was deafening as the stone rubbed against stone. Emma hearing the ‘whump’ as the first nipple was hit, the sarcophagus twisting as it rounded the first corner then she squealed as it gained speed in the descent. More noise as the others were hit and she imagined the sand now flooding the hole behind her. The vibrations shaking her body then suddenly it felt like it was slowing. The end by her feet dropping before the other bit slammed down, to be replaced by silence.
“Well I’m here sweetheart. But where…” Emma whispered and reached up. Praying the lid wasn’t jammed, leaving her to die of starvation in the casket.
It moved! Emma shocked as daylight poured in and she let go for a moment. The lid closing again and this time she shut both eyes before trying again. Pushing hard and the front was eased away and Emma sat up. Slowly opening her eyes through both hands until they stabilised and Mrs Cline saw…
The room was huge. Nearly a hundred feet across by the look of it as Emma climbed out of her casket. Seeing the magnificent hieroglyphics all around the walls. Sunlight coming from a huge square hole near the roof forty or fifty feet above her.
She sighed, wishing Tony to have seen this. His casket rested a few feet to the left of hers, the one with her food and supplies between them. But looking up the hole she’d come down wasn’t necessary as the sand had come with the caskets and was piled up nearby. Only the first hole was clear and peering up Emma knew it was still blocked near the top. So any thought of escape was over.
Smiling now Emma paced around the room. Her heels clicking so loudly on the stone floor as she approached the far end and what appeared to be an altar? The huge structure easily a casket length across in every direction. A hole underneath running the width of the thing. It was what was on top that caught Emma’s eyes.
Thick loops of metal like the one she’d worn every day, until today of course. Giving those to Fatima for sentimental reasons. Asking Mrs Feroz to treasure them. However these were shaped in…
The girl looked all around the collar. Seeing no signs of release lever; buttons or any way of freeing the loop once it was shut. Whatever was placed in these, was staying in them so Emma decided this was one set she’d not be playing with!
Climbing up on top Emma looked down. Seeing how they were laid out. The legs together there, waist here with the collar above that. The wrist cuffs either side of her head but not too far apart. Once secure the figure would face feet first towards the ‘window’
Emma lay down alongside the bands, holding herself in the same position as if they were locked around her body. It was all right, if ever she…
The girl sat up, trying not to think about that. Instead going to her casket and grabbing a drink. Once that was down she wandered around, seeing a doorway leading into another smaller chamber. Glad she’d packed a torch Emma grabbed it and headed into the room. To find it stuffed full of what would only be described as treasure. Statues, golden caskets in rows and it made the girl gasp, then cry at the fact only she would ever see them. It was SO unfair… but maybe the right thing too?
Surely Rashid would have wanted them preserved at the museum. To rival the Tutankhamun exhibition seen years before. But there might have been infighting, jealousy between scientists and archaeologists, so maybe it was right for these to remain hidden. Emma didn’t even touch any. Just whispering a prayer for Tony before walking back to the other chamber. The light just as strong though she knew it’d fade eventually as night fell.
Looking at the hieroglyphics on one wall Emma was startled to see the shape of an aeroplane! A bit basic but yes, wings, engines there, rather like the one that had brought them here seemingly years ago now. Moving along a few inches and Mrs Cline paused. Realising after the next couple of scenes…
That this was THEIR story!
A camp, with tents, figures standing about. More scenes picturing inside the dig and as Emma walked along she saw herself in stone. The casket there, with her standing in it. Bands floating around and she shuddered. There was Tony! Standing above a bed with a shape on it. “That’s when he did me…” she smiled wryly as the tale continued.
Clouds above the camp, figures on the floor and Emma remembered the guards, who thankfully lived despite the attack. No sign of fat Abdul mind but she gasped on seeing a crude image of the helicopter. Tony carrying her to safety and now Emma was intrigued to see what was next.
There was her on crutches after the operation. Men helping her walk again. Emma thinking of that Army swine Simon. The physical fitness coach who’d yelled and screamed at her to ‘get cracking’ yet ultimately he’d got the girl walking again, for which she was so thankful. He’d certainly been on their Christmas card list since then.
The scene of their wedding made Emma sob. Not wanting to go further but knew she must. Another plane, then the story continued over the next few paces. Their capture, the trial, her time in jail, even that dreadful moment at the pillar before the reprieve, all depicted so accurately it hurt. Soon she only had a few feet left before arriving back at the ‘altar’ as she now thought of it.
Tony and her exploring the site again, then more tears were shed as she stared at herself slumped over his body. The despatch of the casket down the hole, with her above, alongside two figures that could only be Rashid and Fatima. It even showed the route it’d had taken, the twists and turns like a map.
The last scenes made Emma gasp aloud. Tony’s casket being slid into the hole underneath by her. Then she looked at the final few images.
“Oh my goodness…It cannot be…”
These last hieroglyphics were so sharp it was if they’d only just appeared. To check Emma walked to the other side, then saw the slightly weathered ones in two rows. Going along she went back in time. Seeing herself and Tony as children, this was their whole life span now in stone and it was a marvel. Schooldays, then Cline in the Army, herself at college before the rows merged and she was back to the bit where the first aeroplane had been. This whole room was dedicated to them.
But all the time she was thinking about the last few scenes. Emma looked at them again, the images telling the girl what to do next.
“I’ll do it all. It’s my destiny…” she murmured.
Going to Tony’s casket and it took Emma hours of effort to drag it across the floor. Eventually after ages it was slid under the altar and she remembered the wheel shaped stones in the treasure room. Fetching one and rolling it into the groove. Tearfully bidding Tony goodbye but relieved that he was at peace and not in pain. Then she turned away and headed for the sarcophagus where Fatima had placed her ‘special’ dress when she’d earlier helped pack the thing with all her supplies. A large silk sheet had appeared from nowhere, with small weights at each corner and she hadn’t remembered seeing that being packed, or veils and the headpiece. Emma frowned but a look at the hieroglyphics, yes. It was all in the final two scenes.
She spent the next hour practising what needed to be done. Going back to the scenes to check. Finally ready Emma got to work. The girl lifted the dress out and held it against her skin. The material stroking so sensually she half expected to be permanently aroused once inside it.
Those few minutes trying it for size yesterday had proved it might be the case. Now she had to find out. Stripping off the last of her Western clothes Emma said a fond farewell to her bridal suit. Worn at the beginning of married life with Tony, it had seen her right to his end and she tenderly folded it all up and tucked the garment into the sarcophagus.
Make-up took ages as she was determined to get her face perfect. Thankful that Fatima had allowed her to keep her mirror. Applying the headpiece but leaving the veils for later. Finally Emma was satisfied and the repacked cosmetics bag too went into the casket and it was closed.
Emma sighed, seeing the light starting to dim and knew she had less than two hours. Stepping into the dress and drawing it up around her. Feeling herself shuddering as the layers of silk stroked everywhere and she hadn’t even done it up yet!
The single use poppers ran up the back, all six of them and Fatima had previously checked Emma was able to reach each one, and what order to do them. The neck first then the one by her ass as one mistake would see the outfit ruined. Mrs Cline placed each hand on the little fastening and gently squeezed.
Coming down, hands onto her butt then finding the lowest…
Smiling now Emma Cline did the other four thus sealing herself into the dress and she was thrilled. Nipples, arms, her legs, all being rubbed as she paced about, watching as the fabric swayed with her movements. Whispering a silent prayer of thanks to Fatima… and Rashid. The Brits had earned six wonderful months thanks to him and he’d gained so much knowledge from their efforts. A shame he was forever to remain unaware that the greatest treasures at Neen-Al-Tudlobry lay under his feet.
‘Maybe that was the way it was meant to be’ Emma thought aloud as she stepped back into those shoes. Reaching down and kissing the tomb before she took a breath. Mrs Cline laid the material for her veils inside the neck loop as they’d need to be wrapped around her head and covering every inch of it before the collar was done. She’d even practised it earlier, attaching them to the headpiece while lying down and knew it would work. Same for that weighted sheet that would cover her forever.
So now she knelt before the tomb in prayer, her husband underneath… ‘As in life and now death I was always on top’ and that made Emma smile.
She looked around to make sure nothing was out of place. No, it was fine and so the final ascent. A slow pacing up the staircase at the bottom and carefully stepped over the folded back sheet. Turning around Emma sat down just below the belt and arranged her dress to be tidy. Moving up a few inches into the position for the waistband. Closing both legs slightly then Mrs Cline lowered each one into a loop. Her eyes starting to water at the realisation of what she was…
Emma was stunned. She hadn’t touched it… had she? But her left leg was now secured, the golden loop closed, faintly gripping her ankle. A light tugging and her heart leapt at the fact she was committed. Moving a hand those few inches to the right Emma smiled and flicked the other one across…
Now she was happy and lay back, making sure she didn’t accidentally knock the wrist cuffs closed. Her neck resting in the collar, feeling the silk rubbing even more of her skin. Then she remembered the sheet so had to sit up again. Reaching down and bringing that up as far as the waist. The top weights dragging slightly but it didn’t matter. Back down again and a smiling Emma closed the belt halves tight over her waist.
Shuddering now the sheet was brought to her chest before Emma began to veil her head. Wrapping the material over her face and tucking the excess under her chin. Another whispered prayer and she moved the collar across. Holding it just above the catch as a last adjustment to the silky layers then…
The opaqueness of the material in the sunlight meant Emma was effectively blinded now. The sheet being brought over the top made it even… better as she tossed the little weights out over the edge. Feeling the covering draw right across her body as she’d intended. A look up and with the thickness of that she really was sightless. The wonderful hieroglyphics hidden from her view for all time.
Now every inch of Emma was covered. Demure as a ‘modern’ Egyptian burial might be. Now all that was left were her wrists. Mrs Cline running hands over the loops, a last gentle stroking of her nipples then she sighed and placed them into the cuffs. Closing her eyes and… praying for them to…
She hadn’t touched either one yet now her arms were secured and she knew Neen had captured her for good now. The job was done and she breathed a sigh of relief, tugging at the cuffs and finding herself almost immobile. Now nothing would disturb Emma again and the girl smiled under her veils. Looking into the dim light as it faded away. Thinking aloud about where and what she was.
‘Neen-Al-Tudlobry… Eternally bound’.
Emma whispered the words for ages. Hoping for the restraints to tighten a little as they’d always done. Jumping as her wrist cuffs began to slide away from that slightly painful bent angle. Easing her arms straight out and Emma’s smile got broader as they stopped and that was fine. Wiggling her fingers as the silk sheet caressed the tips.
A chorus of clicks as the loops acceded to her wishes. The collar getting warmer and Mrs Cline knew that her name was now appearing on the front. Her fingers again twitching before to her surprise the material began to mould itself around each one, almost like gloves and soon they too were stilled. The rest of the sheet doing the same over her body and Emma shuddered as the grip grew stronger until she could hardly move, even her head was only able to rock by an inch or so but she could still breathe. It wasn’t painful, more relaxing actually and slowly Mrs Cline dozed off.
Waking next morning, the faint white light shining through the layers. A startled Emma realising that not only could she move her limbs as the sheet was loose again. But the restraints themselves…
The collar sides sticking up, allowing the veils to billow slightly from her breathing. Cautiously Emma drew her arms to her body, wincing as the muscles moved for the first time in ages. Feeling the belt halved resting on her waist. A lift of one leg, they were loose as well. Now she had to decide. Should she get up and enjoy the day or not? The answer a yes as her bladder joined the girl in being awake.
A yawning Emma carefully emerged from under the sheet. More wincing as she got to her feet and folded the material up. Leaving it by the leg restraints. The girl amazed that she’d been released.
“Maybe it’s just overnight,” she murmured. Knelt in prayer at the altar. Touching the stone that Tony’s casket was behind. That got her crying for a while as she dusted herself off. A drink followed then Emma had to decide where to wee. Couldn’t do that in here, so she went into the treasure room. Seeing a space that was lower than the floor. Tipping the bottle away once she’d used it.
Quite what she’d do for the ‘other’ was to be worked out. Thankfully she’d eaten very little of the food provided. Maybe use the old test casket. That was emptied then dragged with some difficulty into the treasure room as she dare not damage her dress. Running fingers over her body and Emma smiled, it really was lovely and she had a strut and swish around.
Spending the day looking next door at the statues and stuff. Not touching but peering closely. Wishing to have packed a notepad and pencil to write her thoughts… then remembering there was one… in her handbag. Retrieving them from the casket and getting to work, so it was a surprise to Emma when she realised it was getting darker again. A look in the casket for her watch… 1745, the time had flown by today so only an hour or so left. The girl still amazed that the one meal of biscuits and dry cereal she’d had at noon was enough. Drink however was needed and she knocked another one back.
Arriving back at the tomb Emma again knelt in prayer. Hoping for more of the same tomorrow. She still had five bottles of water left and most of her food. Least the wet-wipes were useful as she cleaned up below having finally succumbed to a 'No 2' Re-doing her face again before a look up at the roof. The light dimming but now a golden hue as the sun was setting so Emma decided it was ‘bed’ time.
Back onto the altar tugging the sheet over her legs having secured them, waist followed and soon Emma was totally covered up. The last clicks as her wristcuffs locked themselves had the girl smiling as she whispered another prayer of thanks. A second followed as her arms slid to be alongside her body before the sheet contracted again… ‘Tucking me in for the night…how sweet.’
Refreshed and ready to go next morning, again the light dim through the covering awaking her. Emma relieved when she heard the various locks clicking and soon a yawning silk-clad lovely was kneeling by the altar. Emma hadn’t been religious since her early teens but the way Neen-Al-Tudlobry was watching over her she felt that showing devotion would help.
This day was the same and Emma enjoyed herself. Finishing her recording of the statues, doing some sketches in her notebook. But by late afternoon she was already looking forward to settling down on the altar again. This time she left the loops slightly ajar to see what might happen as she covered herself as before. Feeling each move and tighten with a chorus of clicks telling Emma that she was safely bound for the night as the sheet too complied. ‘Thank you’ she whispered before nodding off.
Two days later however the girl was starting to dread the coming evening. This would be the night she’d run out of food and water, despite trying to ration her intake beforehand. Emma trembled at the thought, praying for Neen to provide an answer. Walking into the treasure room, torch in hand she had a wee then went to the far end, passing an empty space where shelves were cut… then she saw it.
A disc in the wall.
Emma’s heart jumped but as she’d not been down this far it’d probably been there all the time. She paused then touched the circular thing and twisted…
Of course she’d heard that sound before. Every room upstairs had contained these, so where did this one lead. Surely there wasn’t another level below? A long think then she shrugged and pushed hard. Nearly falling though as the door gave way remarkably easily. Emma shone her torch along the passageway and gasped… seeing a tiny sliver of daylight a long way off. But it was what was in the way that might cause problems.
Hanging every twenty feet or so were the sand loaded nipples that all the holes upstairs had possessed. Some of these were almost half the height of the corridor, itself about five feet high. As Emma herself was 5’7” it required her having to either bend or crouch. So this was going to be a long journey… if she had the courage.
Emma stepped back inside. Going to the casket to recover the sneakers worn when coming down. She’d been using the heels since then to stop her outfit dragging so Em grabbed the belt from her bridal suit then hitched up the hems and tried to secure them above her knees. Of course silk is very slippery and it took ages for the girl to succeed. Finally into her shoes, grabbing the last bottle of water and Emma set off. Nervously squeezing past the first couple of nipples, the third was the biggest yet and Em almost had to crawl to get by. The dress flopping down and she quietly groaned then had to try and lash it up again.
Before half-way Emma was ready to turn back. Not only was the dress trying to kill her by slipping out and tripping her, but the breeze from ahead was causing no end of problems. Her hair hadn’t been cut for weeks now, she’d forgotten to ask Fatima to trim it before ‘leaving’ and it constantly was whipping around her face. The nipples weren’t helping either. One had partly split and a small heap of sand lay across the corridor, so she had to slither butt first, her face just missing the thing. Shining her torch at it she saw another trickle come out as the wind gusted again.
The end was getting closer now so Emma pressed on, the wind easing off as the tunnel widened and she could finally stand up. Just as the dress slipped out again and she cursed this time. Grabbing the belt and applying it, letting the hem rub against her legs, making Emma shudder as the material flapped about and stroked the skin.
Finally Emma nervously got to…another door. This one partly ajar, providing the sliver of light she’d been inching towards. Peering through the gap she saw that this was inside a similar cave to the last one. No sound or signs of life so the girl shoved hard and it opened a little more. Stepping through and into the cavern. Wincing as the full effect of daylight struck her. It was also fearsomely hot; she’d got acclimatised in the big room, now she was worried about sweating inside the layers of her dress.
The view was superb, if you liked vistas and Emma, at this point didn’t. The river below, still at least two hundred feet straight down, no sign of a convenient waterfall. Nor any chance of a path being here either. Emma sat on a rock and started sobbing, interrupted by…
She jumped, turning in shock… to see the door had slammed shut behind her. In fact Emma could hardly remember where it had been!
“Noooouugghh!” Emma wailed, realising she was trapped, now in a tiny cave, with barely half a bottle of water and bugger all else. Rushing to the back and banging frantically where she roughly thought it had been. Nothing happened and Emma collapsed to the ground in tears. Taking ages to recover and soon she was kneeling in prayer.
“I swear on my heart that I promise never to try and escape again… I was just looking for water,” she began. Begging Neen to re-admit her to the complex. But nothing happened and Emma’s heart sank. Turning away and going to the edge. Peering over wondering whether to throw herself into the chasm. “Least it’ll be quick” she murmured, finishing the water bottle. But that might mean she’d be found. Though clad like this and with no ID it’d be unlikely she would be identified. That might be all right but Emma felt that this would betray Tony. She’d be abandoning him in there alone…
Even the sunlight appeared to be fading. Emma taking a chance and holding onto a rock and leaning right out, seeing a big clump of cloud coming up from the south, where the normal weather had come from when they’d been ‘here before.’ Straight out of the hotter desert and if it mixed with the cooler air it meant there would be a storm. So it proved and soon Emma heard the first rumbles of thunder. She’d hated storms since getting caught in one with her father years before, normally hiding deep in the dig when the odd one had come over when they’d been here.
Now she was trapped in the narrow cave as the wind got up. Whipping her dress around, layers of the skirt flapping all over the place. The outer one at one point covering Emma’s face and she squealed. Trying to control it without damaging the fabric was nigh on impossible and she crouched in the corner and sobbed. Eventually the storm began to pass, the wind calmed and Emma tidied up her frock before returning to her assault on the wall.
“Just LET ME IN!” she shrieked. Banging her hands into the solid rock. Pushing desperately against it and she was about to give up when… it moved. Just a fraction and Emma stopped. Seeing where now and the girl wept, moving a fraction to the right away from where she thought it had been. A close look and now Emma could see the line. Another hard shove and it slowly swung, inwards this time and the girl squealed. Rushing inside then turning around. Now smiling grimly as she pushed it closed again until the light vanished.
Em didn’t even bother to sort her dress out, just held the front one-handed. Rushing back to the room. Pushing each nipple with her torch arm as she’d hurried past. Listening to the ‘whump’ as it gave way and sand beginning to flow. The last one was only a few feet inside from the inner door and Emma smacked it as hard as she could then hurried through as the flood poured down and she drew breath. Watching as it reached the stone, pushing against it and the girl actually smiled as it slowly closed. A last thump and Emma wept with thanks that she was now safe. Taking a moment to brush her hair and refit the headpiece.
Coming back into the main chamber Emma sighed, seeing the altar awaiting her. Freezing on seeing that the loops were all closed. Surely she hadn’t shut them before going along the passage? Was this Neen’s way of punishing her more? Were two questions she asked herself as the girl grabbed the last few biscuits and devoured them. Managing to get a few drips of water out of the bottles, barely enough for a mouthful and Mrs Cline shuddered now.
“Out of water, out of food, now out of my bloody bed,” she growled, looking up at the roof. Surprised that at 1530 it seemed to be getting darker again. A long rumble of thunder provided the answer as she cowered in the doorway to the treasure room. By the time lightning was directly flashing outside the bigger chamber she was crouched in the far corner, head wrapped in her veils to shut it out.
Like the first storm it was over quickly, Emma returning to bright sunlight but she was alarmed at the amount of dust swirling around. Seeing another cloud of stuff falling from one corner, thankfully away from the altar. Now she knew why the floor had this layered about an inch or so thick. ‘Suppose an inch in three thousand years isn’t that bad…” and for a while Emma grinned. Trying to keep cheerful despite the predicament she alone had placed herself in. The altar did have a covering so Em used her hands to sweep it clean. Having to spend a few minutes getting all the stuff off her dress too.
Tugging at the loops and there was no give. Emma starting to cry, knowing she needed to be in them within the hour. “I’m sorry,” she wept, stroking the collar. But it just wouldn’t undo. Praying, pleading, anything just didn’t work and she was really worried. Trying to get ready after using the casket, and the last of the wet-wipes to clean her hands and face. Fixing her make-up til somehow it hid the fact she’d been crying for the last hour. Nearly 1800 now and almost dark…
Stuffing the veils into the collar loop so when it did reopen she’d be ready. The girl trying to think what else she could do. The place was tidy; her casket was closed up though the heels were lying on top…
Heels. Emma looking down to see she was still in her sneakers and she sighed, smiling now as they were kicked off, the others replacing them as she tossed the problems into the casket. Almost as it clumped shut she heard the clicking begin, looking round and her heart leapt with relief.
“Was that all,” she grinned tiredly. Shaking the dust off the sheet then climbing on. Gratefully reaching for the ankle cuffs. “Thank you honey, that’s better,” she whispered, locking her legs before lying back. Patting the belt as it too was secured. Though Emma did think it was a little bigger than before as she’d needed to breathe in a bit, same as the ankle cuffs. Sure they hadn’t grown, but she felt around, yes they had. The band had been about an inch and a half before. This was a lot bigger but thankfully no tighter though it’d probably do that later.
“If it’s that much of a problem, it might be best if you didn’t free me tomorrow, OK?” she murmured. Veiling her head by guesswork then tossing the sheet over the top. Lastly was the collar and Emma smiled hearing that latest click, least this wasn’t any larger as she laid her wrists into the cuffs, noting that these were the same as the ankles, bigger as they gripped hold. The restraints all tightening with the second round of clicks and Emma finally relaxed once the sheet had contracted.
Lying there, whispering ‘totally bound’ to herself again, jumping as the restraints began making an odd sound. Almost a ‘twang,’ as if a spring or something inside had snapped. Each one did it and the girl began to wonder if they would open again, or was it… She smiled and tried to wriggle, the sheet firmly gripping everywhere, even between her splayed out fingers this time.
‘Guess we’ll find out soon enough’ she thought, starting to doze.
Not knowing that minutes later the outer layer of the silk began to be covered as more of the dust and powder started falling from the roof like confetti, so by the time Emma awoke next morning it had formed a crust nearly an inch thick. Somehow the air flowing through her veils stopped her nose being blocked up.
The girl below, trying to wiggle more than her toes but failing, puzzled too as these last days it’d been light. Today it was still pitch dark so maybe she’d awoken early. Gradually however Emma could feel warmth so it MUST be daytime. The loops clamped over her body just as tight. But she humped away despite knowing they were locked. Totally helpless as the covering hardened even more by the heat. Emma didn’t need a wee however, that was strange, nor was she thirsty and it took her back to the night spent in the casket.
After a teary session Emma sighed, realising this was Neen punishing her for those actions yesterday, or possibly what she’d said after the loops had unlocked. Soon assuming that she might never move again. So sad after the last few days, but then again, she had no water or food anymore.
“Perhaps it’s for the best, but please look after me,” Emma muttered and soon the altar looked like any other tomb that she’d seen over the last few years.
‘I wonder what future archaeologists will think of us then…’ she wondered. Drifting away again. More dust dropped down and this time, with Emma asleep and only gently breathing it managed to block the last two holes…
Emma Cline was reunited with her husband before the new dawn broke.
Arriving at the Pearly Gates to see Tony awaiting her. Still in his suit that Fatima had made. Rushing into his arms for the first of many kisses. Cline admiring the lovely dress she was wearing. A smile at the fact Emma still had her golden collar on.
Walking hand in hand to be interviewed by St Peter. He looked the pair up and down. Commenting that it was nice for them to be so smartly turned out. He did stare at Emma, the girl fingering her neckwear.
“I see your halo has already slipped young lady. Guess you ought to tell me all about it eh?”
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