Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Riddles Of Egypt

Professor Richmond usually didn't allow very many college students to accompany on his archaeologic digs in Egypt. But it was my lucky day because after class, he said he wanted to talk to me about something. He also asked three others in the class to talk to him.
"I would like you all, Ms.Galloway, Mr.Tyson, Mr.Delaney, and Ms.Donovan to come with me on an archaeologic dig in Egypt in exactly three weeks from today. We will be leaving at about 5:00 AM and arriving at around 8:00 PM. If you need some time to think about it, that is fine. Just make a decision and tell me no later than Friday." Professor Richmond proposed.
A burst of exhilarated happiness burst towards me like a gust of wind. My mind was overwhelmed with all of the excitement. I gave Celeste Galloway (my best friend since fifth grade) an enthusiastic glance. She grinned at me and I could help but smile back. We did everything together, even in high school. And when it came to college, we didn't want to be separated. Both of us were passionate about archaeology, so it worked out perfectly.
Once Professor Richmond dismissed us, Celeste and I could not stop talking about going to Egypt. There was no way we would say no to going to Egypt. We already knew we were going to the American University in Cairo, because Professor Richmond always talked about his experiences there. And so, for the next three weeks, we excitedly planned everything. We looked up sites to see, places to go, travel tips, and the weather predictions.
The plane ride was extremely long and exhausting. But when we finally got out of the airport, it felt good to take in the fresh air. Once we all got our luggage, Professor Richmond ushered us over to a bus with a few other people in it. As we boarded the bus, a few people gave us strange looks. Some people whispered things in languages I could not understand. We sat down and set our suitcases in front of us or on the seat beside us. Not long after we left the airport, we crossed the Kasr Al Nile Bridge. Once we were off of the bridge, we took a sharp right. We continued on various roads until the buildings got smaller. I could tell we were in a smaller town now. A few miles past the small town, we entered a good-sized city. We took a left, and the bus stopped by a crowded market. In the hazy twilight, I could see people carrying baskets full of corn on their heads, big sacks of wheat being unloaded from trucks, people crowding around fruit stands, and groups of people watching a man playing an oud. As Celeste and I exited the bus, suitcases in hand, we slowly followed Professor Richmond. I looked at the interesting market as we walked past it.
"How close are we to the college?" Luke Delaney asked impatiently.
"Oh, it's just around the corner up ahead; not very far." Professor Richmond replied.
Once we turned the corner I immediately saw the college. It was a building larger than the others with high, lofty windows. There were many bikes under a large covering and a few cars dotting the undersized parking lot. As we entered the building, Professor Richmond directed us towards a wide flight of wooden stairs. Many of the steps creaked or squeaked when you stepped on them. Celeste and I walked casually up the stairs while Jackson Tyson and Luke Delaney speedily walked up the stairs. Abigail Donovan walked in front of us.
When we were on the second floor, Professor Richmond opened a door on the right side of the hall and directed us into the classroom. It was fairly large classroom and cooler than the hallway. There were at least fifteen students there greeting us with a smile.
"This is Professor Greyson. He will be leading us to the dig site." Professor Richmond said. Once he was introduced, Professor Greyson immediately started talking about what we would be doing at the dig site, what tools we would be using, and standard protocols to follow when digging for artifacts. He had an accent, so it was harder to understand him, but I did.
"Good night everyone! Get some sleep, because we'll be working hard tomorrow." Professor Greyson said.
Professor Richmond then led us up another flight of stairs. The students from Professor Greyson's class followed us up the stairs. Professor Richmond then instructed us to pick a dorm room. There were only two rooms for the five of us. So Jackson and Luke shared a dorm room, Abigail claimed her own, and Celeste and I shared the other. The students who attended to this college departed to their own rooms. As soon as all three of us unpacked, we went to sleep, excited for the next day.
Celeste woke me up the following morning at 6:30 A.M. I hesitantly got out of my bed and got ready for the day. Fortunately, I had already packed my day pack. As I waited for Celeste to get her backpack ready, I read my Egypt travel guide. When we were both ready, we went down to the first floor where everyone else was gathered. Before leaving, we all ate breakfast in the cafeteria. Surprisingly, the food was pretty normal. Cereal, flatbread toast, and some type of fruit juice. Once everyone was done eating, we boarded a bus to the dig site. The trip took only about five minutes. When I stepped off the bus, I excitedly gazed at the dig site. Some people would be working by the pyramid, and some in it. I hoped I was in a group that worked inside the pyramid. Not only would it be shaded from the rays of the hot sun in there, but it would be exciting to be inside a pyramid most the day. I knew I was in a group with Celeste though, because Professor Richmond told us.
"Ok, everyone listen up! I will be assigning you to your groups and work stations." Professor Greyson said.
Celeste and I exchanged anxious glances. We had both anticipated this moment. Intently, we listened as Professor Greyson read off the group members and where they would be working.
"Jackson, Luke and Gail will be outside at site 1. Lina , Jamal, Esme and Kori will be behind the pyramid at site 2." He read more groups off, but I still didn't hear my name. Then finally he read the last group's names.
"And you three girls over there will be working in the pyramid." Professor Greyson declared.
Professor Richmond then ushered us into the pyramid. We walked down a short hallway and turned right. There was already all the tools we needed laid out on a mat on the floor.
"Here is a map of the pyramid." Professor Richmond said as he handed me a rolled up poster board type paper."Don't go past the caution tape if you come across any."he added.
"Why?" I ask curiously.
"Professor Grayson said that there were some students that were injured when they went into those areas. And..." he lowered his voice "five years ago a student was lost and never found after they wandered in here at night."
"Oh. We'll be careful then." I said
That was all I could think to say. What he said didn't scare me, it made me incredibly curious. He then told us when lunch was and left.
We started by carefully dusting away at a wall down the hall a few meters. The hieroglyphs we translated were carefully translated by me and recorded by Celeste. Abigail dusted the wall carefully and made sure we had written down the hieroglyphs before moving on to the next.
Abigail looked at her watch as she said "It's time for lunch."
"You go, we'll see you in a second. Celeste has to finish writing down this part" I said, pointing to some hieroglyphs on the wall.
"Ok. See you there." Abigail added as she walked away.
"We need to come here at night and figure out what is going on here!" I said to Celeste.
"Yeah. But we need to be careful not to let Abigail know anything." she replies.
At lunch, we sit at a secluded table as we inconspicuously planned our night trip to the pyramid. We would leave at 11:00 that night. We would walk to the site, and explore the pyramid. Celeste estimated the walk to the pyramid to be less than three miles. I pulled out the map professor Richmond gave us and showed Celeste where we would go tonight.
"I wonder who the student was that got lost in the pyramid." I said to Celeste inquisitively.
"What are you doing with this map girls? Planning a midnight adventure to the pyramid? Don't want you getting.....lost." Professor Greyson said, his voice trailing off at the last few words.
"Of course not, we are just discussing where we found repetition in the hieroglyphs today." I piped in.
"We'll carry on then." the Professor said, then walked away.
As soon as he was out of earshot, Celeste asked, "Why did you lie to him?"
"I didn't! Our adventure is scheduled for 11:00, not midnight" I replied with a grin.
At 11:00 that night, we headed out. As quietly as we could, we creeped down the stairs and out of the building. We started out our walk to the pyramid in silence, but I couldn't contain my excitement. So Celeste and I talked about exactly what we would do and ideas on how the student could have just gotten lost in such a simple mapped out pyramid. Pretty soon, we had arrived at the pyramid. We both turned our headlamps on as we walked into the pyramid.
As we navigated through the halls, we found the hallway leading to our planned location had caution tape blocking the way. I carefully lifted the tape and walked under it, Celeste following. Celeste picked a wall and we started recording the hieroglyphs.
"They all say just about the same." Celeste said. "Beware of the grey panther. He will come in the middle of darkness. Your weapons will not hurt him. Are you making any sense out of this?" Celeste asked.
"I think the middle of darkness means midnight, but I can't make sense of the other phrases." I replied.
We were deciphering more hieroglyphs when we heard a large rumbling noise. Celeste was startled and stood up immediately. I shone my light down the hallway and saw a large walkway sized opening in the wall that was clearly not on the map. We walked in, anxious to see what awaited us. All we saw was a small bit of one wall covered with hieroglyphs, and another wall with what looked like an ancient sliding block puzzle. I looked at my watch, 12:01. It had opened just one minute ago. And the hieroglyphs out in the hall said that a grey panther would come at midnight. I told this to Celeste as she wrote down the hieroglyphs and drew the puzzle in her notebook.
"What does it say?" Celeste asked.
"In the morning it comes- heaven sent a hurricane. Not a trace of the sun, but I don't run from the rain." I replied, as confused as she was.
I then understood what it meant. It was the key to the puzzle. I excitedly showed Celeste. Then I walked over to the puzzle.
"In the morning it comes is referring to this block depicting Ra, the sun god." I said as I pulled the block into the slightly indented space. "Heaven sent a hurricane means the block with Set, the storm god on it goes down into the box." I said as I pulled the block down until it was right above the sun block. I then pushed the sun block in and put the storm block in it's place.
"Now there's not a trace of the sun. What does it mean about not running from the rain?" Celeste asked.
Then we both heard a noise like something had dropped in the wall.
"What's the opposite of running?" I asked myself out loud.
"Grabbing something?" Celeste guesses.
"You're a genius!" I exclaim. "We grab the storm block!"
So I pulled out the block and examined it. It was hollow, so I reached inside it. I pulled out a stone cube with hieroglyphs written all over it.
"Let's go. We can decipher the hieroglyphs on this tomorrow. We need to go back soon or we might cause suspicion." I said.
As we walked out of the pyramid, we heard a noise that must have been the door to the room closing. It was 1:00, so the door must only be open when whatever the grey panther was was out....................................
Now you finish it. Write your own ending in the comments. I'm excited to see what you come up with...

1 comment:

  1. Hello Elise, how is the knitting coming along?