The Mummies Return: Seven Chilling Tales of Egypt's Undead
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by Jean Marie Stine
Category: Horror/Dark Fantasy
Description: The Mummies Return features the thrill-a-minute stories the writers of the original movie, "The Mummy" with Boris Karloff and its many sequels and remakes, used for research. Fans of those films will find the origins of: the scene in which the sacred formula for eternal life is secreted in the base of a statue of Isis; as well as the scenes in which mummies are brought back to life by burning a rare Egyptian herb; where a modern woman, who is the reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian princess, begins to turn into a mummy herself; where mummies can only be truly destroyed by fire; and many others. Your blood will run cold at such exciting tales as "In the Valley of the Sorceress" by Sax Rohmer, "The Mummy's Foot" by Theophile Gautier, "The Nameless Mummy" by Arlton Eadie, "The Mummy of Thompson-Pratt" by C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne, "Monkeys" by E. F. Benson, and two unabridged short novels, "Lot No. 249" by Arthur Conan Doyle and "The Curse of Amen-Ra" by Victor Rousseau. This anthology is a must-read for everyone who has ever loved their mummy. In addition, readers will find a list of mummy movies for recommended viewing, and an introduction by editor Jean Marie Stine, whose other anthologies include New Eves: Science Fiction About the Extraordinary Women of Today and Tomorrow and I Vampire: Spine-tingling Interviews with the Undead.
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PageTurner, 2004
eBookwise Release Date: November 2004
14 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [286 KB]
Reading time: 187-262 min.
IN THE VALLEY OF THE SORCERESS
CONDOR wrote to me three times before the end (said Neville, Assistant-Inspector of Antiquities, staring vaguely from his open window at a squad drilling before the Kasren-Nil Barracks). He dated his letters from the camp at Deir-el-Bahari. Judging from these, success appeared to be almost within his grasp. He shared my theories, of course, respecting Queen Hatasu, and was devoting the whole of his energies to the task of clearing up the great mystery of Ancient Egypt which centers around that queen.
For him, as for me, there was a strange fascination about those defaced walls and roughly obliterated inscriptions. That the queen under whom Egyptian art came to the apogee of perfection should thus have been treated by her successors; that no perfect figure of the wise, famous, and beautiful Hatasu should have been spared to posterity; that her very cartouche should have been ruthlessly removed from every inscription upon which it appeared, presented to Condor's mind a problem only second in interest to the immortal riddle of Gizeh.
You know my own views upon the matter? My monograph, "Hatasu, the Sorceress," embodies my opinion. In short, upon certain evidences, some adduced by Theodore Davis, some by poor Condor, and some resulting from my own inquiries, I have come to the conclusion that the source--real or imaginary--of this queen's power was an intimate acquaintance with what nowadays we term, vaguely, magic. Pursuing her studies beyond the limit which is lawful, she met with a certain end, not uncommon, if the old writings are to be believed, in the case of those who penetrate too far into the realms of the Borderland.
For this reason--the practice of black magic--her statues were dishonored, and her name erased from the monuments. Now, I do not propose to enter into any discussion respecting, the reality of such practices; in my monograph I have merely endeavored to show that, according to contemporary belief, the queen was a sorceress. Condor was seeking to prove the same thing; and when I took up the inquiry, it was in the hope of completing his interrupted work.
He wrote to me early in the winter of 1908, from his camp by the Rock Temple. Davis's tomb, at Biban-el-Muluk, with its long, narrow passage, apparently had little interest for him; he was at work on the high ground behind the temple, at a point one hundred yards or so due west of the upper platform. He had an idea that he should find there the mummies of Hatasu--and another; the latter, a certain Sen-Mut, who appears in the inscriptions of the reign as an architect high in the queen's favor. The archeological points of the letter do not concern us in the least, but there was one odd little paragraph which I had cause to remember afterwards.
"A girl belonging to some Arab tribe," wrote Condor, "came racing to the camp two nights ago to claim my protection. What crime she had committed, and what punishment she feared, were far from clear; but she clung to me, trembling like a leaf, and positively refused to depart. It was a difficult situation, for a camp of fifty native excavators, and one highly respectable European enthusiast, affords no suitable quarters for an Arab girl--and a very personable Arab girl. At any rate, she is still here; I have had a sort of lean-to rigged up in a little valley east of my own tent, but it is very embarrassing."
Nearly a month passed before I heard from Condor again; then came a second letter, with the news that on the verge of a great discovery--as he believed--his entire native staff--the whole fifty--had deserted one night in a body! "Two days' work," he wrote, "would have seen the tomb opened--for I am more than ever certain that my plans are accurate. Then I woke up one morning to find every man Jack of my fellows missing! I went down into the village where a lot of them live, in a towering rage, but not one of the brutes was to be found, and their relations professed entire ignorance respecting their whereabouts. What caused me almost as much anxiety as the check in my work was the fact that Mahara--the Arab girl--had vanished also. I am wondering if the thing has any sinister significance."
Condor finished with the statement that he was making tremendous efforts to secure a new gang. "But," said he, "I shall finish the excavation, if I have to do it with my own hands."
The third and last letter contained even stranger matters than the two preceding it. He had succeeded in borrowing a few men from the British Archaeological camp in the Fayum. Then, just as the work was restarting, the Arab girl, Mahara, turned up again, and entreated him to bring her down the Nile, "at least as far as Dendera. For the vengeance of her tribesmen," stated Condor, "otherwise would result not only in her own death, but in mine! At the moment of writing I am in two minds what to do. If Mahara is to go upon this journey, I do not feel justified in sending her alone, and there is no one here who could perform the duty."
I began to wonder, of course; and I had it in mind to take the train to Luxor merely in order to see this Arab maiden, who seemed to occupy so prominent a place in, Condor's mind. However, Fate would have it otherwise; and the next thing I heard was that Condor had been brought into Cairo, and was at the English hospital.
He had been bitten by a cat--presumably from the neighboring village--and although the doctor at Luxor dealt with the bite at once, traveled down with him, and placed him in the hand of the Pasteur man at the hospital, he died, as you remember, in the night of his arrival, raving mad; the Pasteur treatment failed entirely.
I never saw him before the end, but they told me that his howls were horribly like those of a cat. His eyes changed in some way, too, I understand; and, with his fingers all contracted, he tried to scratch everyone and everything within reach.
They had to strap the poor beggar down, and even then he tore the sheets into ribbons.
Well, as soon as possible, I made the necessary arrangements to finish Condor's inquiry. I had access to his papers and plans, and in the spring of the same year I took up my quarters near Deir-el-Bahari, roped off the approaches to the camp, stuck up the usual notices, and prepared to finish the excavation, which, I gathered, was in a fairly advanced state.
My first surprise came very soon after my arrival, for when, with the plan before me, I started out to find the shaft, I found it, certainly, but only with great difficulty.
It had been filled in again with sand and loose rock right to the very top.