The castle stood lonely, enveloped in the blue-grey fog. My fathers’ wide footprints trailed in between the parallel rows of weeping willows lining the entrance like sentinels protecting the victorian palace. I propped the backpack higher on my small back and walked slowly up the muddy entry, following my fathers’ prints. I kept my head down and only brought it up to make sure I wasn’t about to straggle into one of the trees, though once I did dare to stare into the face of the willow. The breeze whispered through the willows sagging locks, moving them out of the way so I could see the willows’ face, the willow stared down at me like I had done something wrong, or that I was about to go somewhere I was not wanted. The knots in the bark of the willow followed me like the eyes of a predator following prey.
“Dad!” I called in front of me, cutting off eye contact with the willow and looking forward. There was a long moment of silence where I picked up my pace and saw the figure of my father walk out of the curtain of fog towards me.
“Yea, Rem?” he asked. Some strands of fog clung to him until they could no longer, like clinging to a lifeline only to find you don’t have the will to live any longer and to just close your eyes and fall to the ground, just like the fog, floating down as autumn leaves do in the rushes of wind and to finally hit the ground and spread everywhere upon impact.
“Why are we here again?” I asked. “The Eye of Ra was supposedly owned by the people who owned this house. The Community thinks it may be here.” my father replied, “If I find this artifact it could mean a huge historical advancement and a promotion for me in The Community”. The Community of Architectural and Historical Findings was the company my dad worked for, it was all he ever talked about…. He wanted me to work there someday, so I went with him on every trip, archeology has been my life since I was born, so I convinced him to give me a ‘ field experience ’ which is how he started taking me on these trips.
“Okay, so where do we look first,” I said, enthusiastically. I straighten up and almost toppling over because of the size of the equipment backpack. My dad quickly reached over my head and grabbed the top of the backpack.
“Hold your horses’ girly-o, we have to set up the equipment first, and we can’t do that if you topple over backward with it on your back.” I smirked, “why don’t you give your old man a try with that stuff?” He asked smiling.
“Nope, I’m big enough I can hold it,” I stated plainly, my dad laughed his hearty laugh and grabbed the bag of my back,
“says the 4 foot 2 inch 11-year-old!” he joked and laughed, and I laughed with him. My dad and I had a connection that my mom and I never shared, archeology. My mom always wanted her daughter to be a model, and become a Miss Universe, like she did back-in-the-day. On the other hand, her daughter would rather decipher some ancient Egyptian tablets with her dad. We set up the equipment in the front garden and walked into the house. It was dark inside save a few rays of sunlight slicing through the walls and the still-open door. I looked around and tilted my head up, despite the houses’ old age the ceiling looked well kept and almost as if it had been tampered with in some spaces.
“Hey Dad, get a load of this, look at the ceiling. It looks oddly whole.” My dad stood next to me and tilted his head up, “ Strange indeed, good observation young padawan.” He said and ruffled my cropped hair. “But it’s probably just that the city tampered with it so that it wouldn’t crash down on them someday.” He noted and continued walking forward. The house must have been a grand old house back in its hay day. It looked like a Barbie Mansion that I had seen on an add, You walked in and the first thing you saw was a balcony with a set of stairs at each end and then a grand archway underneath it leading to the parlor. Except for the fact that the mansion on TV was much more...pink. This one was elegant, you could tell even through the faded peeling mint green wallpaper. My dad called me and I lost my train of thought, I ran over to him and took a look at what he was reading, he told me it said ‘Beware of walking further mortal for Makhluq Praesidium has killed before, and it will again, when there is but a single breath all alone, it will strike, and then no breath shall touch its brethren.’ “What does it mean,” I asked. “It means that the previous owners of this house were very possessive of this Eye and probably made up Makhluq Praesidium to scare away anyone from stealing the Eye.” My dad responded with, it didn’t help much though, this monster sounded clever, clever enough to kill while the prey was all alone, clever enough to tamper with a ceiling for some odd reason.
In the first few hours, we found no Eye of Ra but we did find other historically important items to keep us busy. We found our way back to the equipment eventually. One creepy thing about this house other than the whole ‘Makhluq Praesidium’ business, was that it seemed to be a maze of endless hallways and rooms filled with booby traps, more than once did dad trip on something that wasn’t there, or wasn’t visible, and then oops! To top off his weird trip, a conveniently placed vase or another heavy object would fall, sometime even chandeliers would fall from the ceiling, and dad would just jump out of the way just in time. When we came back to the site, everything was ruined, or at least everything important, the cooler filled with Coke and sandwiches was still whole. My dad looked flustered and worried, he told me to stay by the campsite while he went to check out the rest of the place, and said that it was probably just some unwanted teens. Although while he walked to the castle he kept mumbling about ‘the last group that came here’. Seeing my dad flustered and unsure made me worry, he never was this way this had to be something serious, but if it was, I knew the best thing I could do is stay out of his way. So I just grabbed a coke and sat there and sat there and sat there until I heard a scream, my dad’s scream.
I didn’t even make time to put down my coke, I just screwed on the lid while I ran and shoved it into a pocket of my cargo pants. The scream came again I followed the sound and probably tripped a million booby traps, but I was running too fast for it to have any effect on me. It was coming from the bathroom, wait no, the bedroom, no the kitchen, the parlor, the family room. It was everywhere and nowhere at the same time I hopelessly ran around a corner and there was a strangely marked door that had an eerie, grotesque smell protruding from it. I thought maybe this was it and I was right. I opened the door and there was my dad!... Being attacked by a medium-sized monster, made of gold my dad was on the floor drenched in his own blood, neither of them realized I was here they were to caught up in the fight to hear me come in. I made a careful step towards my dad, but stepped in something mushy and… wet. I looked down slowly afraid that the inference I made about the strange smell was about to be proven right, I realized what the first scream my dad made was about, the floor was coated with dead bodies that you could barley consider whole, and I had just stepped in one. I vomited and screamed at the same time. My dad may have been drenched in more than his own blood. Both stopped their wresting match and looked at me, then comically they looked back at each other and continued to fight this time with new intentions. I looked up on to a mantle hung above a fireplace and there in a glass container was their first reason to fight. There sat a thick glittering gold ring with a ruby in the center and under it sat a placard stating that this was the Eye of Ra. But before I could make a careful move towards it my dad lost the thing and it lunged towards me. My little 11-year-old body strength was barely enough to keep the thing from choking me to death. I stumbled backward and fell to the body floorboards, and felt something pop underneath me. I looked to the side and saw that I had fallen on the chest of a man, on the left side, right above his used-to-be-whole heart, the little blood that was still in it popped all over me. I barfed in my mouth. But because I was on my back the barf just stayed in my throat and I almost choked, I managed to get the little monster on the floor with me over him. My barf toppled out all over his face. And he was disgusted he had to roll out and wipe his face in a corner. The barf filled in an impressment on the forehead of the creature, I didn’t have to read what it said to know who the monster was Makhluq Praesidium. The warning wasn’t so fake after all. I reached into my pocket. I laughed, the only thing I had was my leftover coke, well at least I wouldn’t be thirsty when I died. Then an idea struck me if I could splash the monster with the coke that would mean enough time to get my dad and get out of this haunted house. I thought I’d give it a go, at least I could die trying. I opened the bottle and yelled the monster’s name so that I could get it square in the eyes. “HEY Makhluq Praesidium, GET A LOAD OF THIS!” I screamed with the taste of vomit in my mouth. The creature looked quizzically at me, and I did it. And you’ll never guess what happened next, it went rigid and turned into a solid piece of gold. I picked it up to make sure it wasn't playing tricks on me. I didn't have time to savor my uncanny defeat I just put the monster under my arm and grabbed my dad who grabbed the Eye and bolted out of the room, out of the house, out to the garden, where dad and I turned to face the collapsing house, It’s as if as long as the creature was alive the house couldn’t collapse, but now it was finally free to slouch a little. My dad and I hugged and cried and hugged some more. But after our thoughts calmed down and we realized it was all over.
After a few weeks of waiting for some test results, a letter arrived from The Community. Dad read it to himself first, we had all been so excited for this letter, this is the letter that would tell us if my dad and I had guessed correctly about what we thought about the connection between the Eye of Ra and Makhluq Praesidium. He and I had guessed that they were made of the same gold that the Eye was made of. We thought that's why the placard said 'so no breath may touch its' brethren'. When we got the letter my dads' face was happy at first but then it fell and looked slightly sickly. "What is it, dad?" I asked, usually his face would always be happy when getting a report card. "Well, the good news is that we were correct in assuming that the Eye and the monster were brothers." he said, "what's the bad news then?" "Well they sent people into the rubble to search further for historical items, instead they found some bodies and did a full autopsy. They found that all but five bodies were teenagers, that probably got dared to go in the old house and never came out. 2 of the 5 bodies that weren’t teenagers were the people that came before us, we didn’t even need the autopsy to know that, some of their clothes were intact and bore The Community's symbol.” My dad responded solemnly, “what about the other 3 out of the five?” “The autopsy proved them to be the Holms. The original owners of the house. Our guess is that when they got the Eye of Ra, annnnd a little ‘extra present’. So when they went to see their new present they found Makhluq Praesidium, the lady seemed to have died from the shock of seeing the creature, she didn’t even need to been torn to pieces.” My dad’s face started to turn green, and he looked sick, I could feel the same effects coming over me. I had stepped in the body of a teenager, or a fellow archaeologist, or a thousand-year-old body? “But,” my dad said trying to change the mood. “They also say that I’m up for a promotion and a raise!” “That’s great dad!” I said still thinking about the room with the body floorboards. “We have another house to look into on Saturday kiddo, so why don’t we restore some of our gear?” Dad said, still trying to change the subject. “Sure dad lets do that” I responded.
Author Notes: Is it good? Comments Constructive Criticism Compliments, please! Also, the name of the monster is a combo of Arabic and Latin. Makhluq meaning Creature in Arabic (the language spoken in Egypt) and Praesidium meaning Protector in Latin!