Cursed part II (Fiction)
“Hmmm,” was my response. Obviously, she still thought there was some relationship between me and Miss Allison.
The book Ann gave me was another Christian booklet, a little bigger than the last one, which I still had not read. I said, “Look, you are all here. And I have a vehicle I can get you around in. Plus, I also have at least a couple of days to be your own personal chauffeur! There must be some sights you would like to see? Have you ever been to the Great Pyramid? I have been told they actually let you go inside of it! And the tickets are on me! It will be fun! Please?" The three girls liked the idea. But Ann was not sure. I walked over to their bags and took two of them. “I’m taking you someplace to eat! Come on, let’s go!”
On the way to the restaurant, I teased Ann about being jealous of me with Miss Allison. She told me not to flatter myself. At any rate, she seemed better with the plans I had made for the day. And she said, “This is a trip we girls had planned. Well, actually they planned it first but then invited me just the other day. Don’t take any offense, Bret, but the girls and I are planning on spending most of our time on our own.” I assured her, “I wouldn’t have it any other way!” She laughed, but the ice was broken, and we ended up having a good time that afternoon. The Great Pyramid lived up to its name: “Great!” We all were impressed! There were tunnels and chambers, including the King’s Chamber, with a booby-trapped entrance! Most impressive was the Grand Gallery. It was 150 feet long, 28 feet tall, about 7 feet wide, and all at a 30-degree angle. And this was in the middle of the Great Pyramid.
That evening, Ann wanted to know if I had read the last booklet she gave me. I told her the truth. But I also said I had started to read the Bible. Then she asked, “What was the problem with work that you had?” That afternoon with Ann and her three friends, I had almost forgotten about my anxiety over that idol Anubis. I still did not want to tell her, especially with her friends being with us. She seemed to plan every situation or place we stopped so we would not be alone together.
I changed the subject and said, “I understand you do not want me to get the wrong idea about us.” She had a smirk on her face, wondering where I was going with this. “But when you called me from the States and asked me to come see you in Cairo, why didn’t you ask for Jim to come along also?”
She fumbled for an answer and then said, “Well, it was only out of concern for you!”
“Thanks,” I said, “but I already have a mommy.” Then I added, “But I am glad to hear you didn’t have any ideas about us.” She looked away quickly, but I saw a grin on her face.
They all wanted to make calls home, and the three girls walked to the front desk to ask the clerk how much it cost to call the States, but Ann stayed with me in the lobby. She opened her Bible and asked, “May I share a few verse with you, Bret?”
“Okay” I said. And she read a verse that said, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” When she said the word “cursed,” it got my attention because of the stele. She was going to read another verse but I interrupted and said, “According to what that verse said, everyone would be cursed! Because it said we are to continue in all things and no one has always kept all the Bible’s commandments all the time.”
“Well yes, you're right. We are all sinners and we all need a Savior.”
She went on reading in Galatians Chapter 3, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." She said, "The curse is lifted from anyone who puts their trust in Him because Christ paid our debt he suffered for our misdeeds.”
“Why would He do that?” I asked.
“He loves us,” Ann said. And with that her two friends came back. I walked them to their room, but I was not invited in. I had a room two floors away, where I stayed by myself and thought about Ann, Jesus Christ, the curse, Anubis, and the “sister” of Anubis: Miss Allison. I went over what she had said to me and thought about the three men she had met at the airport. Some things were obvious. Miss Allison definitely had a bad meeting with them. She was concerned I might have known about it. She also took pleasure in telling me I made a fool out of myself at the Cairo Museum. But more than that, she wanted me to feel as though she had something on me, something she might be able to use. Perhaps there was no connection to our campsite, but the map she gave those three men, and her concern about me possibly knowing, could only make me suspicious that there was a connection. And it could not be a good one.
I awoke to the phone ringing in my room. I was so deep in sleep it took me a few seconds to know where I was. On the phone was Ann’s voice telling me to meet downstairs for breakfast so we could plan our day. The girls wanted to go shopping, not my idea of a fun day. I told them I would get back with them after I made a call to our work site. Jim answered my phone call and told me that Miss Allison had called this morning and specifically asked for me. She said she had some things for Dusty that I needed to take back to the campsite. So I would have to leave the girls to their shopping.
I called Miss Allison and she told me where to meet her, at a warehouse that had archaeological equipment. When I arrived, she explained what all the new equipment was for. There were some tubular thin pipes that were to be used for a core sample, which Miss Allison said was “to see what we found.” There was also some video equipment with a fiber-optic cable that she explained we could use inside the pipes and see what was buried there “without taking it out.”
“So, you’ve been told about the curse?” I said. She raised her eyebrows and said nothing. I asked her, “Miss Allison, do you believe in curses?”
“I believe in money!” She continued, “Scotty told me you want to be rich as badly as he wants to be famous. Is that so?”
I was thinking about my desire to have wealth and lots of it, but also of my fear of Anubis. It was odd, but just then I thought about the booklet that Ann had shoved in my stomach. It was as though God was trying to get hold of my attention. Then I said, “Yes, I would like to have that, but where are you going with is?”
“Yesterday morning at the airport, you had not just come in off the street when we met, had you?”
“No,” I answered.
She asked, “Tell me, what did you see just before we met?”
“You were talking to those three men in the lounge.” She stiffened when I said that, but she knew what she wanted to find out.
Then she plainly said, “How would you like a share?”
“Sorry to be ignorant, but I want to be sure we are talking about the same thing. What share?”
“You know what I am talking about, all that treasure. It’s stupid to give it all away!”
That was basically what I had said to Scotty two nights before on our way to Luxor. And now that same sentiment came out the mouth of someone I could not stand. Was I like her?
She continued, “Scotty can’t keep his mouth shut! It won’t be long before every treasure hunter in the world will be coming to that campsite of yours. A treasure of that size will never leave there the normal way. And Scotty doesn’t care about it! All he wants is for everyone to know he found it! That and the stele with the curse on it.” Then she said, “Do you believe in curses? Well, I don’t! What about you?”
I only said, “I never did before.” But I knew that the finding of that stele was proof. Proof that Israel had been there, and Moses! And that according to what was written on the stele, it would end up being worse to have that treasure than to not have it. I asked her, “Why were you upset with those three men?”
"They did not give me all the money they had promised me. They know I will not go to the authorities, as I would be implicated myself after having received what I did. I can get the rest after I help them with some things. But they want proof first. I gave them the same type of tubular pipes for a core sample that you have. Only they are not concerned about any curse, so they did not need a fiber-optic cable.”
“You said you needed to help them with something else?” I asked.
“That’s where you come in. Tomorrow night when they are ready, you will have to distract Dusty, Scotty, and Jim. You do not have to do anything! Just keep them occupied. Talk to them so they are all facing the same way, away from the area of the treasure. And the grave robbers will do the rest!” And she added, “Don’t worry. They won’t hurt them, just tie them up. Will you help?”
I was in a position where I had to at least seem to agree. So I pretended I was willing and said, “You were talking about my share?”
“I will give you 15 percent of what they give me.”
I argued over the percentage so it would not seem too easy, and we finally settled on 25 percent. I asked her, “How can we trust them to deliver?”
She said with a smile, “There are people I know who can detain them if they don’t give me the rest.”
My signal to distract them was to be her calling on the satellite phone we had at camp and asking to speak to me. After I would talk to her, I would tell Dusty, Scotty, and Jim some story till the treasure hunters came. When I left, I felt as though I had talked to the idol Anubis and wanted to get out of there. I wanted nothing to do with it or those men who would take the treasure; I was sure they could not be trusted any more than Miss Allison.
Meeting my childhood nightmare.
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Timothy 6:9-10).
I took off to our site in the desert by Mount Gharib, going over in my mind about what I should do. I remembered that Miss Allison said to distract Jim, Scotty, and Dusty, but nothing about the three men who were watching the stele. I wondered how she could not know about them, as she was the contact person for us when we came into the country and should have been for them also. And for a moment I had a crazy idea that somehow they were working with the treasure hunters and Miss Allison, but that did not seem possible either.
When I finally got to the campsite, I went to see if Scotty had returned from collecting information on the curse. He was in his tent, and I asked him who Miss Allison was working for and how long he had known her. He told me he was the one who had introduced her to Mr. Moshe. He said she had a job working with archaeologists, getting them equipment, but she had only started the job about a year ago, and he had not known her before that. He asked, “So you’re interested in her? She is into you, I can tell you. The other day she had several questions about you. What you like, what you don’t like. She even wanted to know if there was anything you were afraid of.”
“There is,” I said. “I’m afraid of her!”
I turned around and walked to Dusty’s tent. I told him I had something he would want to hear. I basically told him everything Miss Allison had said. He seemed speechless. I asked Dusty if there was some way those three men who were watching the stele could have come into Egypt without Miss Allison knowing. “There is,” he said. “They came in by a small boat and swam to shore in wet suits and snorkels, along with a watertight bag for their clothes and the metal briefcase. Once ashore, it was easy to blend into the tourists at El Gouna, where they came ashore and where they rented a vehicle to come out here.”
“Why so secretive?” I asked.
“How do you think we are getting this treasure out of here? They are not going to let us take it out at the airport, so we are taking it out by sea. Those three men are Israeli military and they do special ops.” We spent some time talking the whole situation over. Though we believed Scotty could be trusted, he was letting things slip. We thought it best for the time being to keep it just between us, except to inform the three Israelis who guarded the stele.
I went and found Jim and asked him why he had wanted to know the day before how I was getting along with Miss Allison? He told me she said I was acting strangely at the museum, and she wanted to know if there was some problem she should beware of. Then Dusty came in with one of the Israeli soldiers and told Jim they were going to see if the treasure was really there or not, and to come with them. Another soldier was waiting outside with the equipment I had brought. Off they all went to where they had dug up the stele.
Dusty gave me another list of things for Miss Allison to get, but I was not looking forward to seeing her again. He thought it best to keep up a front with her so she would think it was all going according to her plan. So back to Cairo I went, the whole way dreading meeting again with Miss Allison. When I got within cell phone coverage, I called her and told her I had another list of things from Dusty. She wanted to know how everything was going. “It's fine, nothing to worry about,” I said.
We met at the warehouse where I had picked up the equipment last time. Miss Allison came out front to meet me and said, “A couple of the men from the airport are here to meet you. They don’t know that you saw them there, but only think I brought you in to help. It means more money for us.” I was not at all happy about this, but she said there was no way out of it and it would only take a few minutes. I asked her about the couple of men, if perhaps there were more now than just the original three at the airport. She said, “I think so, but it does not matter. It’s their business. Maybe they need some more help driving out the treasure.”
Miss Allison brought me into a small office inside the warehouse. She introduced me to the man I had seen her talking to at the airport, calling him only “Tom.” She then left to get the items on the list that Dusty had given me. The other man with us was also at the airport, but had remained silent during the conversation.
“So, I understand you would like to help us?” Tom said.
“I could use the money.” I said.
“Yes, it’s all our friend. Do you know what your part is?” he asked.
I went over with him what Miss Allison had said and then asked, “But nothing is going to happen to the three that are out there at the site, right?”
He assured me I had nothing to worry about, and he said, “And I have nothing to worry about with you!” That statement caught me a little off guard. I was sitting right up next to the desk he was sitting at, and he reached down and brought up a rather large bag and said, “Miss Allison told me this was a friend of yours.” With that, he pulled out a two-foot-tall statue of Anubis and stuck it in my face! The chair I was in went over back-ward and I hit the back wall. The other man in the room went over and stood by the door, so I had no exit. Tom walked over to me, holding Anubis in his hand. “I thought Anubis was a friend of yours?”
I tried to talk, but all I got out was “I…” Fear had gripped me as he kept putting Anubis in my face.
“There is not going to be any problem, is there?” I shook my head no. “Good, because if there is, you’re going to be wearing Anubis around your neck!”
The other man opened the door and I stumbled outside, where Miss Allison had collected what was on Dusty’s list and had placed it all in a box. When she saw how shaken I was, she laughed and said, “It’s embarrassing to see you like this, Bret.” She handed me the box and then left me there.
Jesus pulled Ann out of her nightmare.
I was afraid I might get in an accident in the condition I was in. I managed to drive off, but only a few blocks. I pulled off the road and parked under some trees and got my composure back. I was upset with them, especially Miss Allison, who made fun of me, but what could I do? I waited there about twenty minutes, and then I saw Miss Allison and the two men I had just talked to drive by in a car. I decided to follow them, and they led me to their hotel, which was not far from where Ann, her friends, and I were staying.
I waited a few minutes in the hotel parking lot before walking into the lobby from the restaurant entrance. I looked around for them, but they had gone to their rooms. However, I did see the other man who was at the airport originally with Miss Allison, and he was talking to three other men. I went outside, thinking it was not safe for me to loiter around the lobby, and waited in my vehicle. In a few minutes, the three new men, came out and got in their car and drove off. I did manage to write down their license plate number, and I left and went to see Ann.
It was getting late, but I called Ann’s room anyway from the hotel front desk. She answered half-asleep, and said she was tired from shopping. I said, “You said one time you were concerned about me?” I waited for a response, but she said nothing. “Well if you are, then come down. I have a problem!” She came down in a hurry to find out what my problem was, which encouraged me. I said to her, “You look nice!” and she did. We went into the hotel restaurant and sat in a booth, where for the next three hours we talked about everything except Anubis. I must have looked shaken to her, though I was trying to hide it. Ann listened to everything. I also told her about the stele and the curse that was on it. I said the only people the curse would not have an effect on were the ones who had walked on land “that the sun had never shined on.”
She asked, “Where is that?”
“There is no such place,” I said.
She answered and said, “But in the Bible, there were times when the sun stopped shining.”
“No, it’s not talking about that. But someplace where the sun has never shined, it said.”
“Well, what do the others say about it?” I told her what Scotty said, that he thought it referred to Israel. Ann agreed and thought we should try and solve it.
“It’s never going to get solved,” I said.
But she responded, “Not if we don’t try.”
“The sun shines everywhere Ann, including Israel.”
“But they were not always in their land. They used to be in Egypt, and then in their wandering in the desert for forty years.”
I had a frown on my face and said, “Ann, the sun shines even more in the desert.”
She stopped talking and just looked at me. She was probably disappointed in me for not trying, and I did appreciate her wanting to help, but what was the point. Then she said, “Bret, I know what it is!” She lit up with a big smile on her face, “It’s the sea, the Red Sea. When Israel crossed it, the sun didn't shine there! And the Bible said they crossed on “dry land!” (Exodus 14:29).
I hesitated for a moment, and said, “How could the sun not have shined there? I mean, it would have had to been wide enough for the entire multitude to cross there. So there would have been room between those two walls of water for the sun to shine on the ground, even if it was only for that one day.”
“But they didn’t cross the sea during the day!” She said. “It was a night crossing!” (Exodus 14:20, 24, 27).
“Are you sure about that?” I responded.
“Yes! The people of Israel are the only ones who ever walked on the land that never saw the sun shine!” I was smiling now and amazed she had figured it out; no one else had, including the archaeologists and the priest. And she added, “Now you do not have to worry about the curse.” I stopped smiling, and she asked, “What wrong?”
“You remember the other curse you told me about when we were in the hotel lobby the other day?” Ann nodded. “Well, I have been thinking about that. Ann, how can you be so sure that Jesus would save me?”
“Because He promised He would!”
To my surprise, she started telling me a story about when she was a young teenager and a recurring nightmare she had. Mind you, I had said nothing to her about my nightmare, and I don’t need to tell you she had my complete attention.
“When I was little, I used to have this dream, a nightmare. I would have it every so often. And there was nothing I could do to stop it.”
I interrupted her, amazed that she had had a problem similar to mine! I said, “You used to have nightmares?”
“Well, up until I was fourteen years old I did. I was going to church but had never asked Christ to save me. I never trusted Him for Heaven. Then one Sunday after church, my mom must have known something was not right. Because everyone else thought I was saved, but she said to me out in front of the church, ‘You’re not saved, are you?’ I cried, but she took me by the hand and brought me to our car. There she explained my need of the Savior. I knew my mom was a Christian, and somehow I felt that was good enough for me also, but her salvation would not save me. You know what she told me, Bret?” I only shrugged my shoulders, and she began to explain what she called "spiritual laws."
“My mom told me we are all sinners. And that though I was young, I still had sins that needed to be forgiven. She said that Jesus had to suffer, even for my sins. My mom asked me if I believed Jesus Christ rose from the dead. I did and told her so. Then she said there was only one thing I needed to do, and that was to call upon Jesus myself. I told her I did pray sometimes for things, but that was not good enough for Mom. She said, ‘We are not praying for things this time. We are going to pray for you, so you can go to heaven.'
“I prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, I ask you to forgive me of my sins, and I thank you for dying for me.’ My mom wanted me to repeat after her at that point, and ask Christ to take me to heaven when I died. And help me live for Him, and I did.” Ann was smiling while she told me this. I was smiling just looking at the joy on her face. But I said, “Tell me about your nightmare.”
“Oh yes, my dream!” she said. “Well, it would be at night. And I was always swimming in the same lake, but it was cold and so dark. I would be afraid! There was always this full moon. And in the middle of the lake, I had an even greater fear come over me. Something would always grab my leg and start to pull me under the water. I would woke up then and was afraid to go back to sleep.” I asked her what happened after that in her dream. She answered, “As I said, I always woke up at the same place, sometimes crying out, afraid to go back to bed thinking I would have the nightmare again!”
“But, Bret,” she said, “that is what I wanted to tell you! Four months after I received Christ, I had the same dream again! And again, it was dark and cold! And again the moon was full. And in the middle of the lake, I got even more scared, just as before. And then that hand, or whatever it was, grabbed my foot, and started to pull me under. But, guess what?”
“What?” I asked. She had all my attention!
“While I was still dreaming in my sleep, I cried out to Jesus to save me! And whatever it was that had my foot, let go! Do you know what happened next? That night in my dream, for the first time, I made it to the other side of the lake! I had never made it there before! I’m not afraid of that nightmare anymore and I never had it again!”
She was beaming with happiness when she told me that, and I said, “I want Jesus!”
Ann looked at me for a moment, as if she was not sure she believed what she heard. “You do?” I nodded and said, “Yes!”
“I have been praying for you to get saved!” She was all excited, and I had to calm her down.
And I said, “But I want to get saved now! Right now!”
She showed me a Bible promise. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). She asked me, “Do you believe that? If you ask Jesus Christ to save you, do you believe He will do what was said in this verse?” I nodded my head yes. “Then, according to this verse, if you ask Jesus from your heart to save you, what will happen?”
“I will be saved,” I said. “And I believe He can do it!”
“Yes, and that means all your sins will be forgiven and He will give you His gift of eternal life!”
I told her I did not know what to say to the Lord. But she led me in a prayer like her mom had done for her. And I asked Christ to come into my heart and be my Savior. At that moment, I took my faith and placed it in Jesus Christ for Heaven. I had no special feeling, but I was glad I had done it! It was good to trust someone other than myself. And I did not trust just anyone. I was trusting God’s Son! I asked Ann if she thought Jesus could help me with another problem, and that was Anubis! This was the first time I had mentioned that part of my problem to her. And I began to explain how I had told her pastor, and he had prayed for me. And it did help, but the problem was still there.
Ann said, “You trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for Heaven just now! Surely you can trust Him with your enemies and an idol!”
“Yes, I believe He can be trusted for that also,” I said with joy.
“Just avoid contact with them, because it is something that the devil has used in your life. But, if it can’t be avoided, tell the Lord He must help you, and leave your request with Him.” Then she added, “I am going to fast for you. Till this gets resolved, I won’t even drink water or chew gum.” We both laughed when she said “chew gum." I could tell she was sincere about fasting which meant alot to me that someone would fast for me. There was a momentary pause, and we found ourselves both looking at each other. Then she rose rather quickly, and I got up, and she said, “Just do one thing for me?”
“Anything!” I said.
“When this is over, call me and tell me. And, if you are somewhere where there is no phone coverage, then as soon as possible, let me know, okay?” I told her if I had to walk all the way back, she would be the first to know! She was smiling and she was happy. “Good-bye, Bret. The Lord is with you now.” Then off she went to her room.
Everyone gets introduced
I woke late the next morning. I had been exhausted from all that had happened. And my fear had drained me of my energy. But before I rushed out the door, I reflected on what I had done the night before - calling on Christ to save me and to be with me. I stopped for a few minutes and prayed by the side of my bed. I received such a wonderful peace, and I told the Lord I always wanted to have this feeling. I got up and grabbed my things, when I saw a Bible that the Gideons had left on the table. I put my things down and reached for the Bible. I opened it up and I was looking at Proverbs 3:6. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” I had to get out to the work site and inform Dusty of what had happened. But I prayed again before I rushed out. “Lord guide and direct.” I remembered what Ann said, that she would be praying and fasting for me, and I was encouraged and left.
I had to pass a number of checkpoints that are between the Nile and the Red Sea coast. And it came to my mind that it might slow down the treasure hunters if I could leave word with the guards about the grave robbers and stop them. Still, I thought it best to check with Dusty first. When I made it to our campsite, I shared this with him along with the other things that had happened. I gave Dusty the license plate number of the car with the three men I saw leave from the hotel where Miss Allison was staying. And I told him what Miss Allison had said about there possibly being drivers to remove the treasure. Dusty decided it would not hurt to inform the police to be on the lookout for them, and possibly stop them before they came out to us. He later called in an anonymous tip.
“Oh, and there is one more thing,” I said. “Last night my girlfriend solved the riddle of that stele!”
“Your girlfriend is in Cairo?” Dusty asked.
“Well, she doesn’t know she is my girlfriend yet.”
“What?” Dusty said, “Hey, you’re not to be talking about this to anyone!”
“But Dusty, she solved it!” I explained to him what Ann had said. And then he had a big smile on his face and said, “I am going to call them in Israel!”
Jim came to Dusty’s tent and said, almost shouting, “Have you heard the news? It’s gold and jewelry! And there is lots of it!”
I had wanted to tell Jim about what I had found out from Miss Allison and her plans for the gold. But Dusty gave me a look as if to say, “No, not now.”
Dusty made a call to Israel while Scotty set up the video equipment and showed some of their findings. It was impressive! He told me they had dug in four different spots, and the treasure was in an area even larger than they had thought. They wanted me to look at all the different video shots of the finds they had made.
Dusty sent Jim to get the items that I had brought from Miss Allison. While he was gone, Dusty told me he did not want me telling Jim or Scotty about these grave robbers. He thought it was enough to just have the soldiers informed. And because we expected the treasure hunters to come that night, it would not be a problem. He said, “Mr. Moshe is going to be here tonight, and the treasure will be extracted with plenty of help. If the treasure hunters show up, they will find more than us and the three Israel soldiers.”
I walked to the place where the stele had been found. While I was there, I heard my name called out. It was Jim, who said I had a call from Miss Allison. Jim still did not know of her plans, and he handed me the satellite phone. I said, “Hello.”
It was Miss Allison and she said, “It’s on!”
“Okay, I will be ready when you call me,” I replied.
Miss Allison said, “I’m calling you now! We have moved things up, and we are here now!”
“You are?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said, adding, “I’m looking at you right now!”
I started to look around, and she said, “Don’t look around! Are you dumb? It will only draw attention to you and us. Now get them all into one tent!” But then she said, “Wait! Bret, who are those other two men?” She had seen the guards who were watching the stele.
I said, “They were brought in to watch the stele.”
“How long they been here?” she asked.
“I never talked to them,” I said.
“Perhaps I need to talk to you! Send Jim off and walk over to the back of the tractors.” I gave Jim the satellite phone, wanting to say something to him, but they were watching me. He immediately took the phone and went back to the tent. I stalled, trying to think of what to do as Jim walked off. I heard my name being called, and it was Tom, the treasure hunter. He had the bag in his hand that had held Anubis, and he was reaching into it.
I put my hand out in the direction of the bag and said, “Okay, I got the point yesterday.”
He put the bag down, and I walked behind the tractor with him. There was Miss Allison with the other two men who were at the airport.
One said to me, “You’re not double-crossing us, are you?”
“I had nothing to do with them being here!” I said. Miss Allison was studying my face again, as she liked to do when I responded to some question. At this point, I was frustrated and a little tired of the whole thing. Somehow they did not look so brave hiding out behind the tractors.
Miss Allison asked, “Do they have guns?”
“I don’t know,” I said, and at that moment I saw that the three men with her did have guns.
One of the men pulled out his gun and pointed it at me. But Miss Allison said it would be better with “our friend, Anubis.”
I raised my voice at them saying, “I don’t need your friend Anubis! And I don’t know if they have guns! I never saw them with any.”
They were not sure what to do at this point. But they were committed, and I knew they would not give up. I said, “You have something bigger than guns to worry about. There is the curse of Moses!”
“Are you believing that?” Miss Allison asked.
I said, “They have been sitting here for three days, not sure what to do. And they even had a Jewish priest out here trying to figure out a way around it. By the way, it’s real! At least the gold and treasure is.”
“Yes, we know!” Miss Allison said. “Scotty called me last night. I told you he could not keep a secret.”
The other two men who came with Tom looked concerned about the curse. And Tom said, “No curse of the pharaohs ever stopped their graves from being robbed. Now Bret, get over there and call them all into one tent! We will do the rest.”
I left immediately, not wanting to stay any longer than absolutely necessary. But what was I to do? Pray - that was the only thing that came to my mind. “Lord, you have to help me! I do not know what to do!”
I thought that as long as I tried to do what God wanted, He would be with me. The thought came to my mind that Miss Allison had only mentioned seeing the two guards, and perhaps she did not know of the third one. I walked to the camp and motioned the two Israeli soldiers over to me. I did not want them to call their other guard. I said, “I got a phone call and I need to share it with you.” They followed me over to the tent where Jim had gone. Once there, I sent Jim to where Dusty and Scotty were, to get them. But I did not tell him what was going on. I did not want him to possibly give something away to the treasure hunters who would be watching.
When Jim left, I told the two soldiers that the treasure hunters had come early and with guns, and they were watching us. I asked if they had any weapons. They said they did, but they were in their tent. I saw the satellite phone. “Is your phone working in your tent?” They said yes. “Then call your partner and have him ready!”
They wanted to know how many there were and what direction they would come from. Just then, Jim, Scotty, and Dusty walked in the tent door, and one of the soldiers crawled out under the back of the tent, while the other called the third soldier on the satellite phone.
“What’s going on?” Dusty asked.
I quickly explained to Dusty, with Jim and Scotty standing there listening in amazement. Dusty wanted to know if Miss Allison was with them and I said, “Yes.” Then I looked over to Scotty's shocked expression. “Do you have any weapons here?” I asked. Scotty then stuck his fist in the air. I said, “Scotty, they have guns!” I had to tell them not to look out the door, as the robbers would be watching it.
The Israeli who had been talking on the satellite phone put it down and said, “My partner is getting ready.”
“Listen,” I said, “they are expecting you to all be facing me, as I am supposed to distract you, so if you play along, I might still be able to have their confidence so as to take advantage of them.” They turned with their backs to the tent door, and just then Tom and one of his friends came in with their guns pulled out.
“Well done, Bret,” Tom said.
Everyone had turned around, facing the treasure hunters whose guns were pointing at them. I took a quick look at Jim as if to say, “Be ready!” Tom told the other man to start tying them up one at a time, while I watched. He did not seem to trust me to tie them up. That’s when Miss Allison walked in and started strutting around the room.
“Gentlemen,” she said, “you will only be tied up until the Israelis get here. Let’s see, Scotty, didn’t you say that would be some time after dark?”
Scotty blurted out, “I never would have thought you to be a grave robber!”
She said, “Yes, that’s your problem. You never have thought!” That’s when Tom noticed one of the soldiers was missing, and he told Miss Allison.
“Yes, where is the other one? Bret, you told them?”
Tom looked at me and said, “Where is he?” He started toward me with his gun pointed at me.
But Miss Allison said, “Wait, I will get it out of him.” She grabbed the bag with Anubis in it and walked up to me and said, “You know what is going to happen now.”
God is great!
Miss Allison was shaking the bag that held Anubis. “So, where is he?” she said emphatically, but I wouldn’t answer.
“Fine,” she said and pulled out Anubis. Tom and the other man were smiling, but no one else in the room understood what they were doing or that I had a phobic fear of that idol. She stuck it in my face and said, “Where is he?!”
I looked over to Scotty and said, “She’s not only a grave robber, but she thinks she can scare people with idols. Isn’t that crazy?”
She pulled back the idol to check if perhaps she had the wrong one, but it was Anubis. She looked to Tom, but he did not know what to say. She looked back at me, and I started laughing and said, “You’re too big to play with idols and dolls.” Her countenance fell, not knowing what to make of it, and I said, “It’s embarrassing to see you like this, Miss Allison!”
That’s when one of the soldier’s voices from outside said, “We got your friend out here, so you want to come out, or should we use him for target practice?”
Fear washed over the other two treasure hunters and Miss Allison. The other treasure hunter had just finished tying up the soldier who was with us but had not yet tied up Jim, and he took his gun and came around to the front toward Tom. But as he passed Scotty, Scotty lifted his foot and tripped him. There was no time to waste in a situation like that. Tom turned in the direction of his friend who had fallen on the ground, and started to take a step towards him while I kicked his foot out from under him before he put it down. It was a simple move that I had learned it in the navy. If you time it right, the person will end up with his back toward you and will also let go of whatever is in his hand, since he will try and brace himself as he falls backward.
Tom’s gun went flying as he spun around. Jim grabbed it and pointed it at the other man who was just getting up, and took his gun away. I grabbed the ceramic Anubis out of Miss Allison’s hand and broke it over Jim’s chair. While we were making the ruckus, one of the Israeli soldiers came in under the back of the tent and said, “It’s not fair! You guys got to have all the fun before I got here.” He also had his gun pointed at Tom. He then called in his buddy, who came in with the other treasure hunter.
When Scotty was untied, he charged right up to Miss Allison. She was afraid of him and backed up into a corner of the tent. “So I don’t think?” he said. Dusty pulled him off her and told him to tie them all up, which Scotty and Jim did.
Miss Allison said, “It would be better for you if you let us go now, because we are not alone!”
Dusty asked, “Are you talking about your three friends that were to drive the treasure out of here? Well, they got picked up by the police already.”
Tom and Miss Allison were definitely surprised and took a quick look at each other as if to say, “How could they have known about them?”
Scotty picked up on it and said, “Yes, that’s your problem. You never have thought!”
“You will never get away with getting that treasure out of here,” Miss Allison said, almost screaming.
Dusty asked Scotty if there wasn’t something he could do to shut her up. Scotty smiled and went and found the masking tape to put over her mouth. Dusty called Mr. Moshe to alert him to what had happened, but all was still a go for that night. And when he got off the phone he told me that Mr. Moshe and the others who had worked on the translation of the stele believed Ann had solved the riddle!
Jim asked Dusty how they were going to get the treasure out, but he only replied, “You’ll see.” One of the soldiers thought it might save time if we started to clear away the remaining sand with the tractors, but Dusty said, “There is still a curse on it!”
It was about an hour and a half after sunset when the first helicopters came. There were three of them, and they had followed a homing beacon that was built into the metal suitcase the soldiers had brought. The helicopters had not come straight from the Gulf of Suez but had taken a roundabout path to Mount Gharib, avoiding certain areas they felt would make them too visible. These helicopters were small, only carrying four people each. They brought Mr. Moshe and two priests in full religious dress, and the rest of their passengers were soldiers, all dressed in black. One of the helicopters took three of the soldiers, and they were placed in different locations as lookouts, all with voice communications. The rest went to work immediately clearing away the sand with the tractors.
Gold will still shine even after a few thousands of years of being buried, and as they started to clear away the sand, it was not long before glints of gold were visible, followed by expressions of “Unbelievable!” and “Look at those!” That is when Mr. Moshe made another call, and within half an hour two large helicopters showed up with a few more soldiers. As soon as they set down, the soldiers started loading one helicopter using the tractors, scooping up both the treasure and the surrounding sand, not taking the time to separate it, just dumping it into the helicopter. The soldiers inside began to push it into the back. It took less than an hour to fill it up, and off it went as they started to fill the other helicopter.
Mr. Moshe looked worried that they would not have the time to get it all and called in two more helicopters. And so by rotating these four helicopters all night long, they loaded them and off to sea they went, to a ship waiting offshore and returning to fill up again.
When they came toward the end of the treasure, Mr. Moshe told us he needed to talk to us all. “People, you have done a fantastic job! The treasure is even more than our wildest guesses. There are going to be huge bonuses for you all, and you will not be disappointed! Dusty knows what I need to tell you now and thought it best to wait until now to share it with you.”
Mr. Moshe paused and said, “We are not going to tell anyone we were ever here! It would simply be a problem, as our relations with Egypt are very delicate, in short, we will never acknowledge there was any treasure. And if we don’t acknowledge it, no one is ever going to believe some treasure hunters who might say that it was here. By sunrise, this site will look like it did before you first came here.”
Scotty interrupted him. “No one will ever know what we found?”
“Afraid not, Scotty,” said Mr. Moshe.
Scotty shook his head and said, “What about the stele? Can I have it?”
“No, Scotty! We are taking it, too. There will be no sign around saying the treasure was once here.” Mr. Moshe continued, “There is one more thing. It won’t be long before the authorities will be out here. We suggest you leave with us!”
There were some sighs, with Scotty saying, “No way!”
Mr. Moshe said, “We can’t make you go. But it may not be good for you if you remain here. At the least there will be some suspicion, and before long rumors will start to circulate. But if you come with us, we will set you down in Israel. And from there we will get you a flight to wherever you like.”
Jim asked Dusty what he was going to do with those tied up, and he said he would leave them some water and they could walk out. At that time I saw one of the soldiers stripping spark plug wires and distributor caps from the vehicles. It was less than an hour before daybreak. Jim asked me what I was going to do. We both decided it would be better if we left with the helicopters. The Israelis took down the last of the tents and loaded them on to a helicopter. We were told to get ready, as we would be leaving in five minutes.
I walked to where Miss Allison and her friends were tied up. To my surprise, Scotty was already there lecturing them on one of his theories! I was amazed he was doing that at a time like this. The treasure hunters were sitting on the ground still tied up, and their mouths taped, looking at one another as if saying, “Is he nuts?” It was a funny sight. Scotty’s theory was about the other two large pyramids on the Giza Plateau. He was telling them not to believe that only the Great Pyramid had chambers in side of it. “No, sir,” he said, “they all got rooms in them. They just have not found them yet.” He was curling the ends of his handlebar mustache with his hand, only stopping momentarily when he made a gesture.
I interrupted and said, “Well, Scotty! You got your captive audience.” Scotty just looked at me and turned around and walked away. I caught up to him and said, “You’re not going to get any recognition.”
“You’re not going to get any treasure.” He responded.
“Why not come with us?” I asked.
“No!” he said. “I have been here in Egypt for years now. I got connections and I will take back the equipment that was taken out in my name. They are leaving me one vehicle to get out in.” We were still walking but he stopped abruptly and said, “I guess what I am the most upset about is, I was hoping for once to finally say to those archeologists, who think they know it all, ‘Look! I was right!’ But they won’t believe me, and they will never respect me.”
“Show them respect, Scotty, and they will give it to you.” We shook hands, and I left him there.
When we climbed into a helicopter, I looked back and saw Scotty driving off and one of the soldiers untying the treasure hunters. I waved good-bye to Miss Allison, as she stood there with her hands clenched on her hips. One of the treasure hunters was yelling at her, probably saying it was all her fault.
The helicopter had lifted off the ground and we began our journey to the ship out in the Gulf. I remembered I was to call Ann as soon as it was over. I reached for the satellite phone, and in a few seconds I heard her voice. I said I was all right, but I would not be able to see her right away, as I was being taken to Israel. Ann asked about how I handled my phobia, and I said, “God is great!” And that it had gone better than I could have hoped.
She rejoiced with me and asked if I received any treasure. “That depends,” I said.
“If I can see you again.”
Front page newspaper headlines
“ISRAEL PAYS OFF HER DEBTS”
“UNEXPECTED CASH FLOW FOR ISRAEL”
Last page of Section C
“Large numbers of ancient Egyptian antiquities are being sold on the open market, with no explanation of who found them or where they were obtained.”
by G. M. Matheny