And all because he loved them

He ran and ran, Alex’s cry of fear echoing in his ears.

Still he ran. “We’re going to make it. We’re going to make it” the chant ran in his head. He could run all day, his son in his arms. The sunlight was coming but he would beat it, he had to. On and on he ran. “We’re going to make it”.

The pyramid was in front of him, growing larger, and nothing had ever looked so beautiful. Statues flashed past as a blur as he ran towards the steps. “We’re going to make it”.

Just below the steps, he tripped over a rock he hadn’t even seen. He lunged forwards and down, his son flying from his arms. He hit the ground and rolled, coming up to his feet, and scrambled towards his son, lying on the ground. The sunlight seemed to flash past.

“No”. His cry was drowned out by a scream from his son, a terrible, piercing scream. He dropped to his knees, desperately slipping his arms under Alex’s body, but that just drove it home- the stillness, the lack of pulse. His son was dead. He dropped to his knees and buried his face in his son’s hair.

Evelyn saw her husband kneeling, and for a moment a terrible numbness overcame her. She stopped and stared in disbelief, then began to scream. By her side, she could vaguely hear Jonathon say something, but everything was blotted out by the terrible sight before her.

Rick heard his wife’s voice, and looked up, hoping desperately that he or she could make things right. As if disconnected from reality, he saw a flicker of movement from the right. He just watched as Anck-su-namun walked towards his wife. Too late, he saw the knife shining in her hand, and he cried out a warning just as the knife slid into her body. He stared in disbelief, then, somehow, he found himself kneeling by her side, abandoning his dead son for his still living love.

Imohtep knelt briefly by the body of the dead boy, and unclasped the bracelet from his wrist. He sighed “I did warn you, boy”. He felt strangely regretful, at both his death and the woman’s, although why he should…

“Come” his love said imperiously, and he stood, leaving without a backwards glance, the others forgotten.

Rick watched in disbelief as Evelyn sighed, and her life slipped away. He clung to her, trying to understand how all of this could have happened. “I should have done something”. Rick looked up, to meet the Jonathon’s face, stricken with the guilt he also felt, saying the things that he could not even bear to say out loud. Then he stood up. “Stay with them”.

“Where are you going?” Jonathon asked, then realised that it was a stupid question. “I’m going with you too”. Rick shook his head “We can’t just leave them on their own”.

“We can’t do anything for them either” Jonathon replied. He stuck his chin out firmly “I’m coming with you”.

The two men entered the chamber where Anck-su-namun was stood, her back to them, staring down at a river of scarab beetles. Without a word, Rick threw his knife at her back, and she screamed, falling forwards into the creatures. The black book that had been held in her arms fell unheeded, and was soon lost from sight.

There was only Imohtep left now. He was the only one that mattered. They stormed into the chamber, and Rick locked his hand onto Jonathon’s shoulder. “He is mine.” Although Jonathon couldn’t hear over the sound of the large gong being struck, he got the sentiment, and nodded. He wanted to see the death of Imohtep, but some sense of reality was now asserting itself despie his terrible grief, and remembering the Scorpion King, he wandered off to see if he could find out how to kill him.

Rick attacked Imohtep mercilessly, and Imohtep could see the insanity in the man’s eyes. Driven beyond reason by the death of two loved ones, Rick hacked at the other man with no thought for his own safety, and finally drove his sword smoothly through the other’s chest, disregarding Imohtep’s frantic defence. He pulled his sword out with satisfaction, then slashed at the corpse again and again as it fell to the floor. A sound from an opening doorway finally pulled him back a little way from madness, as did the sight of the Scorpion King entering.

In the desert, Ardeth Bay killed the last of Anubis’s warriors, and stood for a moment, resting, while about him the warriors cheered. Prompted half by a feeling, and half by a sound, he broke from them, and ran towards the edge of the men. He stopped and looked out, to see the Army of Anubis re-appear, with seemingly many more warriors than before. As he grimly watched their approach, he prayed, not to his god, but to the one man who might be able to save him – Rick O’Connell.

As Rick stared at the Scorpion King, Jonathon crashed through the doorway. Seeing the hideous monstrosity, he swore loudly. Rick turned to him, and they shared a look of joint fear, then Jonathon remembered “Oh, right. This thing is a spear. You have to use it to kill him”. He threw it to Rick, as the Scorpion King began to run forwards. Rick leapt forwards, and catching it he spun round, flipped out the spear with a skill he didn’t know he had, and calmly and viciously stabbed the creature.

The power flooded through him as the creature died, and he seemed to see a view beyond the walls of the room, a vision of an army of warriors in the desert. He recognised Ardeth Bay, and the grief and anger roared up in him again. “You” he screamed. You could have saved them. You should have helped me. Now she’s dead, and he’s dead, and… you’re going to follow.” “Kill them” he directed the army of Anubis, who were now under his control. Jonathon looked at his brother in law, the man he saw as a friend, and realised that something was terribly wrong.

The battle was over. Ardeth was half carried, half dragged by several warriors of Anubis, over to the leader of the army. He glared up, in anger and defiance. The figure in front of him seemed to smile, and then it lifted its weapon high. The last thing Ardeth Bay saw was the light glinting off the metal.

Rick dropped the spear, which rolled on the floor with a ringing, echoing sound. Jonathon, finally released from a paralysis of indecision, darted over, and scooped it up. Attracted by the movement Rick looked over at him. Barely recognisable, his handsome features were distorted, not by grief, but by power and anger, and a terrible pride. “What have you done?” whispered Jonathon, shocked and frightened out of his superior façade.

“I have the power now” Rick explained, with a terrible calm. Then his grief showed through again. “They are dead, and I can’t bring them back”. “I know” Jonathon said, fighting to stay calm, “But…”

“And so” Rick continued calmly “Everyone else must die as well. If I can’t be happy, then neither can they.” He turned his attention away from the weak man, and towards the army, his army. Jonathon looked at him for a long moment, trying to understand, fighting with his fear, and a secret feeling that Rick was right. But then he remembered Evelyn, his sweet “baby sister”, how she had fought so desperately against the evil she had seen. “Sorry old chap” he murmured, then stepped forwards, and swung the spear up and into Rick.

Rick roared in shock, and slammed his hand into Jonathon, knocking him away. Jonathon flew through the air, then crashed to the floor and rolled a short way. Stopping, he pulled himself back up onto his feet. “Why don’t you understand?” Rick screamed. “They’re gone, and I loved them so much.” He took a menacing step forwards, and Jonathon stumbled back a step, trying to avoid his accusing gaze. As he did, his heel went over the edge of the crack in the floor. His arms wheeled as he tried to regain his balance, then he fell back completely. As he tumbled down past the clutching hands and hideous faces, he saw in his mind the look of betrayal on the face of the man he had often trusted with his life.

Rick yanked the spear out of his chest, and again, dropped it. As he fell to his knees and then exploded into ash, the only sounds to be heard were the ringing echo of the spear, and Rick’s voice as he whispered “Evelyn, my love, I’m sorry.”

There was no one to see as the Army of Anubis dissipated and was drawn back into the pyramid. As the oasis was drawn back to whence it came, Izzy’s dirigible was caught in it, as he hunted desperately for the adventurers, delaying just a moment longer in the hope that they woul appear, and then he too disappeared with the oasis.

In the desert, the bodies of the defeated Med-jai warriors lay on the ground, and the shifting wind slowly blew sand over them. In time, there was nothing left to mark the passing of those who had fought, and lost.

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