The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh

Something ancient and evil is awakening under the sands of Egypt


8. Chapter 7

Donna winced and cursed under her breath as the wind picked up, whisking sand into her face. She couldn't see a ruddy thing. She suddenly realized she was cold, as well. Winter in the desert wasn't as warm as one would think. In fact, it was getting downright chilly. Shivering, Donna rubbed her arms and squinted into the night. Should she stay where she was until daylight, or try to guess her way back to the road? Yet, she wasn't sure where the road was, any longer. Everything looked the same in the dark.

Suddenly, Donna jumped. Without warning, had come the crack of several shots. They came from somewhere not far off. But, having lost her sense of direction, she couldn't tell where. Then, there was silence.

The wind died down a little, but it was definitely getting colder. She was beginning to feel alone and helpless. Donna took a deep breath and shook herself. She was so not going to go there. Not yet, anyway. It had to be close to dawn by now.

She was tempted to sit down and wait for sunrise, but then had second thoughts. There were creatures other than human, who crawled and roamed over the desert sands at night. Donna's lids drooped. It was stupid o'clock in the morning and she was getting sleepy. And thirsty. Though how she could be thirsty when it was cold and dark, was anyone's guess. She licked her parched lips and sighed. Still, Donna supposed, this was a different way to see Egypt. Free of the jostling mobs of tourists and aggressive souvenir vendors. Certainly, it was far more more interesting than sitting on a bus for hours, only to be lead around like a child by some monotonous guide through countless ruins.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud click from directly behind her. Having become familiar with the sound of a cocked pistol, Donna sighed and automatically raised her arms. This was getting too repetitive for her taste. She waited for whoever it was to shoot her, or order her about, or do something nasty. Standing in the dark with her hands up, she waited...and waited. But, nothing happened.

"Oy! Look mate, I'm freezing my bum off standing here. So either shoot me, or be a gentleman and lend me your jacket. Yeah?" Donna called out to the dark.

Very promptly a jacket was handed over to her. It was the Doctor's. In a flash, Donna put down her hands, whipped around, and there he was. He had a gun in his hand, but the click she'd heard was actually the Doctor unloading the bullets.

"Gah! I hate these things." he remarked, throwing the disarmed pistol over his shoulder. "Found it lying on the sand back there. Our mad Professor must've dropped it. Pretty careless, if you ask me. I suppose seeing a mummy walking around in the dark must've spooked him." He grinned and opened his arms. "Hullo, Donna! Did you miss me?"

"Doctor!" She shouted gladly, rushing towards him. Just before she reached the Doctor though, Donna stopped. Slipping the jacket over her shoulders, she looked at him askance. "Hang on. Did you just say there's a mummy? A real mummy? Walking around? Did you come all the way out here, just to take the mickey? Cos' if you are, spaceman..."

"No, Donna!" The Doctor hurriedly interrupted her. "Of course it wasn't a real mummy. The dead can't walk. Well, not unless they're being possessed by the Gelth..."

"Possessed by the what? Oh, never mind that. So, if it wasn't a mummy, what was it then?"

"It was a mummy...but it wasn't."

"Doctor, it's been a long night. If all you're gonna' do is stand there, stitching me up, I'm going home."

"I mean, Donna, that it was a robot. Made up to look like a mummy. Speaking of which..."

The Doctor was staring at something over Donna's shoulder. She turned, and boggled. There, walking stiffly out of the pre-dawn light, lurched a gigantic mummy! It was nearly twice as tall as the Doctor, with a wide body. Like an Egyptian mummy, it was wrapped head to toe in gray coloured wrappings. The large head was vaguely human-shaped, but with undefined features.

"Oh my God! You were right, Doctor! It's like, I dunno'...something out of one of those old horror films." Donna exclaimed.

"Meh. It's really just a robot in fancy dress." The Doctor shrugged calmly.

"A robot in fancy dress, coming after us." Donna observed, as the thing walked ponderously up the sand dune, reaching its arms out for them.

"Yeah." The Doctor nodded. "Right then, Donna. Fancy a quick morning jog across the desert?"

"At the speed that thing walks, we could outrun it crawling on our hands and knees." she snorted.

"Erm—it has more than one speed."

"Oh." Donna gasped out as she ran, glancing over her shoulder. She came face-to-face with one of the more bizarre sights she'd seen so far, in her travels with the Doctor. "That's not good, is it?"

As they sprinted off into the dawn, the robot mummy easily matched their speed, its hefty legs hovering a half-meter above the desert floor. It chased after them, kicking up a spray of sand as went. Its legs kick-glided inches above the dunes, taking almost graceful, ballet-style leaps through the air. Even though the Doctor and Donna had a head start, it was obvious the robot would soon catch up with them.

"What are we gonna' do?" she shouted. "We can't keep this up forever."

"The temple is just over that rise over there. I think if we can-Argh!" The Doctor didn't finish his sentence as his body suddenly slipped beyond sight. Donna shouted in alarm, as a whirling vortex of sand formed in floor the desert. A hungry dark hole, which quickly sucked the Doctor's body down into the earth.

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