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During a digging expedition in 1849, the British found that a once prosperous village had disappeared in the North Kingdom. No clues had been found to what had happened to it; why it had vanished. It once was wealthy and flourishing, mentioned in many scrolls - the next it was as if it was never existing. To this date, still nobody knows the full story of what happened in that village on those weeks. But now, with a crumbling series of excavated pillars, the truth may be coming to light.
Egypt, 1462 BC
Even as I staggered and dragged my broken body out of the damaged nightmare which I had been undergoing, I began wondering if my life had been worth it. There had been nothing, the priests had lied to us. No joy, no warm welcome. No eternal glory. Nothing to commend us for the hard, toiling life we had led. No peace, no rest. In short, there was nothing after death apart from endless blackness, gloom and despair. I was never fully religious, but I had always taken care not to offend the gods or use their names in vain. Now, having got a glimpse of the Other Side, it seemed that there was no reward either to be gained from offending the gods or worshipping them. The gods, if they existed at all, just weren't even grateful.
And now I had crawled out of the eternal blackness. I had come to, in suffocating, endless gloom. My worst nightmare. All I remembered before the dark was a sense of panic and a desire - a desire - it was a desire to save my man from his own extinction. But now we were both dead, destroyed and empty corpses, empty vessels that our souls had gone from, and I had thoughts that even our souls would be devoured, due to the deceitful way we had been living - burning with love behind the Potiphar's back.
But all that had changed. Even the Potiphar, it seemed, had welcomed our romance; and then he had sneered and thrown us to the Underworld. But, even as I dragged myself up, one bone cracking at a time, and raised myself up on my broken arms, I knew that something had gone right. At least. Something had changed. Something was grateful for the devotion I had undergone.
I was emaciated, a bloody wreck of a girl, drenched in gore from head to foot, my once beautiful, sleek black hair filthy and matted, gore-and-sweat-stained, and hanging limply over my face. As I dragged myself from the machine, I knew I looked like the walking dead. But I was grateful, because even this half-life was better than none, despite what the priests promised, I never wanted to return to the Underworld.
Something, you see, had happened down there. Something had changed me forever. Given me another chance. Something was grateful.
Ah yes, the priests! They lied to us... they shall feel the wrath of the abused... they shall feel the wrath of a god!
"So, is the new composition finished?" asked High Composer Raphnet as he looked along the whole width of the music hall and looked the composer in the face.
"Yes, sir, it is," the deputy composer, Afkha, explained. "We need just to raise a hymn to Amnet and then we're done."
"Just watch out," Raphnet warned. "Amnet may be appreciated here but He is forbidden by the rest of Egypt. So we have to be careful what we say. People would prefer if we were praising Osiris or His Highness Ra."
"He may be a Black Demon," Afkha assured him, "but He is a Black Demon who will bring us wealth, prosperity, and who will never let our people die, so we have to listen to Him and respect His words."
Raphnet was internally anxious and so he went out to have a think. The moment he was outside, he seemed to hear a quiet sobbing, and a dragging noise. Then the sobbing got louder. He went exploring, and became curious, when, round a corner, he saw what looked like the bloody wreck of a girl. She was flayed, and looked like she hadn't eaten or been cared for for weeks.
Raphnet may have been in government, advisor to the High Artist, but he had a generous side to him, so he couldn't help but go over and comfort the small, sobbing, malnourished, flayed girl.
She turned round and gave him a look so evil that he felt his insides turn to ice.
It was lucky that his corpse was not found for an entire week because it was so mangled it was barely recognizable as human. Clearly, he had been gnawed on after death.
Two priests were walking round the palace. They were talking about getting more neophytes for the coming ritual.
"So, what do you suppose killed him?" asked priest Hamnakah. He was also looking forward to the welcome of prince Hafkhah, from the furthest land of Arabia. Not many foreigners visited the North Kingdom, and so this was to be an opportunity to establish ties with the nation.
Priest Sammafra, his friend, shook his head. Neither of them had any ideas. What could possibly kill a man by eating him? These bites had been examined by doctors, and they concluded it was not hyenas, jackals or any other predators - this was a human series of bites - indicating a possible cannibal.
"You see, friend, if this is a cannibal, then we have to be on the lookout. Somebody would be on a suicide mission to sneak so far into the Palace. The Pharaoh is the last one we worry about, surely, he's well protected. But -"
"-Don't be traitorous, priest!" Hamakah said, "you're saying when the killer does break in here we run off by ourselves, leave the King?"
"Speaking of treason, that is traitorous!" Sammafra said.
"What, calling him King?"
"GUARDS!" Tempers were getting low and this murder had scared a lot of the palace residents. "Off with his head!"
"But - but I "
"OFF WITH HIS HEAD, guards, he's a traitor!"
"Why, what'd he do?"
"He insulted the Pharaoh!"
So, the execution was planned for the next two days. At the day of the execution, people began finding dead cats round the palace, clearly having been gnawed on. But at the actual execution itself, nobody noticed a grim-faced, emaciated girl lying in a cloth outside the palace walls - a hungry-looking girl.
This is getting too much for me. The power, whatever it is, has been consuming me inside, I can barely move. My body is broken. Every step is agony. All I can manage to sustain myself is eating. But my whole inside is broken up, it is a chore to eat itself. That nice priest I ate was good for me, gave me some motivation for a day, but now three weeks have gone by, I am reduced to subsiding on cats and rats. What am I, a god or an animal?
I need to find some more noble nourishment.
I am desperate. As the days go on, I find my broken, dead body begin to die again. It is cracking, and I am weary. At times I feel like eternal sleep - I wish They had never raised me from my bliss. Now the darkness seems welcoming. But I am back amongst the living, and it is miles away now.
As I drag myself through the courtyards, my ribs breaking into smaller pieces against the heavy concrete, my flayed skin sears with pain in the Sun, and I curse Ra, curse the King Osiris, I curse all the gods, even my king Amnet - for giving me this pain.
But then, I realize - I am Amnet.
He bonded with me. I am him. He is me.
He needs sustenance.
This is too much. Soon I will have to surrender to Amnet's will. But for now - let His will be done.
Now, there's another of those tasty humans right in front of me, on which to feed...
The priests gathered for a celebration of their wealth. They prayed, they fasted, they considered their money well spent. They invited their friends and other royals from the Kingdoms.
When festivities were high, priest Hafkah was near the top of the stairs when he clutched his stomach and fell down all nineteen of the stairs, landing in a dusty heap at the bottom. This disturbed the festivities. Everybody looked round.
Dragging herself down the stairs after him, was a flayed, emaciated girl with death in her eyes. She moved as if every step was agony, she moved down to the dead priest and began to feed.
The priests all fled, locking themselves in the cellar, which the girl, crawling and cracking her limbs each time she lunged forwards, broke into and soon all the men were lying in a pool of gore.
The other priests ran into the kitchen and grabbed weapons, but one of them knocked over a torch stand, which blew round the palace, engulfing it in flames. The girl crawled through them like Hell fire.
One last priest jumped out the window and tried to run, but he only made it to the gates of the palace before the girl rose out of the sand before him, an emaciated corpse dripping with the blood of his friends.