Hilton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt, December 16th 1928
This trip to Egypt has been long and arduous. Plagued with problems from the start, as we prepared to leave from Portsmouth. I feel that I should include a brief account of this for my new diary. If not for the sake of continuity, but for my memory. I am no spring chicken anymore, and have vowed to my eldest son that this will be my last 'Adventure'! If only he had discovered what I know, and, if he had the imagination. I do not begrudge him his illustrious career in the finance sector. After all it is his wise use of our family fortune that is enabling me to go to Egypt this one last time.
I digress, problems, problems. Alas I have never seen so many problems. First was the weather. Something we had originally planned for, and it has not damaged our plans too much. But the storms! For an entire month a storm of truly terrifying ferocity lashed the shores of South-Western England bringing to a halt, all ocean going traffic. During the storms, however, we had supply problems. The company who was to supply with the equipment that we required to take with us was declared bankrupt! Of all things! My eldest was absolutely furious! And we spent the remainder of October rushing around looking for a new supplier. My younger daughters son became ill with a fever of the brain, Meningitis I believe the doctor called it. Thank god he is alright now. There was a letter waiting at my hotel, here in Cairo, telling me of his full recovery. It is such a relief to know the child has not been harmed by that dreadful disease. And then, as if to top it all, there was the strange incident with the old asian at Portsmouth. It was late at night and we were about to leave. I was on the quayside, waiting for my eldest daughter to accompany me onboard the Chelonia. The title of our quite beautiful sailing vessel. Named after Chelonia mydas, a large green turtle found among most shores of the world. Anyway, I stood there leaning on my cane when this old man sidled up to me. Now I am sixty four, but this man must have been at least eighty five maybe even ninety! His gaite is the main thing that sticks in my memory. It was vaguely crab-like. He must have suffered from arthritis of the hips or the knees, for movement seemed to cause him pain. Sidling up to me he started to gibber about the greater gods, and that I should not carry out my quest. I, of course, rebuffed him albeit gently due to his superior age. The last thing he said to me was unnerving. "Those who defile the tomb of the queen shall be cursed with the true of sight." A curse most definitely, but how did he know of my search for the Tomb of the Egyptian queen Nitocris? My journey had been freely advertised, but my actual objective had not. And what of this 'true of sight'? Is it maybe a curse to see the truth, maybe of the queen? It makes me skeptical of the validity of such a curse. In my previous encounters with curses, they have involved deaths by the hand of some vile creature such as a snake. But sight? And then there is the third thing about the man. His face was that of an aged and wrinkled old man, but he wore a trench coat that boasted a full body. When I say full, I mean well built maybe thirty years of age. Maybe he had some other condition that gave the appearance of over-weight, but I think not. You see as he sidled away into the mist I feel sure that something under his coat moved. Maybe it was a pet that he carried under the coat to protect it from the chill weather after the storm. Not surprising in the cold night air of late october. Then Rebecca turned up and we boarded the Chelonia. A strange and eventful start, led to a wholly uneventful journey down past France and Portugal in the Atlantic ocean. And onto Egypt in the relatively calmer, and certainly warmer, waters of the Mediterranean.
Hilton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt, December 17th 1928
Sadly my daughter Rebecca does not appreciate the wonderful, but sometimes oppresive heat that swims in from the Sahara desert. Its warming my old bones, and my activity has increased ten-fold. We began today by making enquiries into the location of an arab who goes by the name of Abu Ben Reis. So far we have had no success, but I have heard tales of an imprisonment of his. The local government is careful of the movement of antiquities from the country, and Reis has been selling such ancient objects quite freely. Apparently he brought down all manner of curses etc, upon his captors. To which they eventually freed him, simply because of superstitious fear. When he was released, however, he apparently blessed them by the name of Nitocris. (Even writing the word seems to make me shiver!) And that is which that has brought me here. Although I must take care, for I have a predecessor. My colleague and dearest of friends, Bannister Brown-Farley dissapeared in mysterious circumstances after meeting with this infamous arab. And it is distinctly possible that a cult may be involved. To this end I have decided upon the following plan. First I will ingraciate myself with this drunkard who knows of the site of Nitocris' tomb. In this I have the teachings of Bannister to fall back on, as he wrote to me many a letter concerning his journey and the meetings with Reis. After this has been done, I shall take a high profile stance. That is why I have brought my daughter with me. Her 'boyfriend' (To whom I do not wholly approve) is a radio reporter with the BBC in London. And he has already been sending radio transcripts back to London via messenger. Once we are at the tomb, we have gone to great expense to bring with us a radio transmitter. This will be relayed by a more powerful transmitter from Cairo onto London. If I am to dissapear in mysterious circumstances, there will be an awful lot of questions being asked by a lot of my colleagues.
And now I must write down a flicker of a memory of a dream. I must admit to having flashes of these dreams since we left Portsmouth. Last night however... I was standing in an egyptian crypt. And before me was a sealed sarcophagus. There is an egyptian at my side, who says that the sarcophagus has been opened. And all that was found within was a mirror and desert sands. And then I was awoken by my morning wake up call. It may be the stress of the trip so far, but for some strange reason I do not think so. I am keeping it to myself at the moment, at the risk of upsetting Rebecca. Especially as she has been given the power to call off the whole thing.
Hilton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt, December 21st 1928
We have located Abu Ben Reis, or should I say he located us. I was in the foyer of the hotel after returning from a small visit to the museum of ancient antiquities, when there was a ruckus at the main doors. Fortunatly my curiosity got the better of me, and as I approached I heard my name called. After pushing my way to the front, I found myself looking upon an old arab who was attempting to free himself from two porters who were trying to eject his prescence from the building. And a prescence he has! I must admit to not having much of a sense of smell, but Reis! Anyway, it appears that we shall not need to cajole him into taking us to the tomb as he came to offer us a visit. Having sold all the ancient objects contained therein, his new aim is to make money by showing select people the tomb. I don't know why, but something worries me about the situation that I find us in. Reis could indeed have found out about our enquiries about him, but how did he know we were after a visit to the tomb, however empty it may be.
I am not getting much sleep either. I've written about the dreams I've been having already, but they seem to be increasing in intensity. And so realistic, they have become! It may be a result of unfamiliar foods upon my digestive system, and I am trying to only eat unspiced 'English' food. Thank god that is easily obtained at our hotel. Tomorrow we start making the arrangements for travel to the tomb of Nitocris. And when I am finished here I shall be taking a sleeping draught in order that I get enough sleep for the day ahead.
Hilton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt, December 22nd 1928
This will be short, as I must sleep soon. It has been a long, and profitable, day. The ease of which we made the arrangements plagues me. Especially as Reis made most of them, and was involved in the making of the rest. Tomorrow we depart for the tomb, which I have been told lies 100 miles South West of Cairo. It makes me wonder why so far into the desert? Having done copious research into the ancient queen she was a very evil person. But enough now, I shall regale Nitocris's history at a later date.
Sahara Desert, Egypt, December 29th 1928
Our progress is slow, but I am reliably informed by both my daughter and our guide that our goal is near. Travel has been quite constant, if somewhat slow. And I must admit to have found it pleasurable. Although, alas, my posterior end quite disagrees with my anterior. Rebecca is doing extremely well, and she has quite surprised me. For one who only came along to nurse-maid me, she has suddenly gotten into the spirit of things. Reis also seems to have high spirits, and I must admit to feeling relatively good myself. Since I started taking the drugs for sleeping, I have not dreamed. Although Rebecca has told me some mornings that I was screaming during the night, but the strength of the draught that I have been taking has stopped her from waking me. If I am screaming then I can only thank God for taking my memories of these dreams. Anyway, I have time tonight, as we shall be approaching the tomb late tomorrow. And I have neglected my diary for long enough.
About Nitocris. Ah, where to begin. Her acts of terror are the tales of myth and legend. Probably the most famous one is that of her own version of the 'Last supper', although it did occur nearly two thousand years before the birth of christ. Queen Nitocris of Egypt was born during the 4th dynasty (Around the end of the 26th century B.C I believe. Although I hope to gain a more exact date from the tomb) and was the last queen of Kaphre (Or Chephren). As to the fable, there are two. The first is her 'Last Supper' scenario, in which she invited all the war chiefs of the enemies of Egypt to talk about peace. Having arrived and dined, Nitocris then excused herself from her new-found 'friends' and ordered the room (Which was a specially built tomb on the banks of the Nile) to be sealed. Once her enemies were entombed within the room she opened a set of flood gates from the Nile, which flooded the room drowning everybody. Although rather (dare I say romantic?) a cautionary tale, I can not find any validity in it. Especially as the banks of the Nile are regularly explored, and no such flooded room/tomb has yet been found.
The second tale is somwhat more horrifying. And can be said in a single, chilling, sentence. You see, she was Walled up in her tomb ALIVE! Which makes me suspect Reis's discovery of the tomb he claims to be Nitocris's. He has said nothing about ANY mummified remains being found within the tomb. Although he does claim to have beheld the mirror of Nitocris, which he says was found within the already open Sarcophagus. He has also described an inch of 'Glittering Sands' in which the mirror was half buried. And also of, what sounds to me like, dried mucus. And, unbelievingly, sea-weed! It also strikes me as strange, the reason why Kaphre (who built the second of the three great pyramids at Giza) would even consider building a tomb this far into the desert! It makes no sense. Never mind, we shall see tomorrow.
The Tomb of Nitocris, Egypt, December 30th 1928
Its a shame not to see the new year in with the rest of my family back in England, but that will happen next year. And I am not sorry, for we have already made a great discovery. We arrived at the tomb early this morning, and immeadiatly commenced construction of our camp. The few Bedouins that we had with us have not been told that this is the tomb of the evil queen, but even so they are nervous of its proximity. And that brings into question how Reis actually found the tomb. You see, in order to enter the last resting place of Nitocris we must be lowered nearly 500 hundred feet down a narrow shaft. What could have posessed Reis to descend into this narrow duct? And why the hell did he have over 500 hundred feet of rope with him? Tonight I have contented myself with the close scrutiny of the lid of the shaft. It is roughly 4 feet in diameter, and approximatly a foot thick at the edge to almost 2 feet at the centre. It appears to have been hewn out of a large granite boulder, as it is most definitly a singular mass of stone. Over the top, and barely discernable due to heavy sand erosion, are numerous 4th dynasty heiroglyphs warding off (from what I can tell) evil. The stone is also tremendously cold to the touch, even after being in the Sahara's heat all day! The heiroglyphs are an extroadinary find in themselves, as they depict what appear to be a number of previously unknown Gods. There is a particular God that appears frequently. I say a God, as that is all the grotesque glyph can be. It has an octopoidal head, with the tentacles displayed towards the front of the face. A misshapen humanoid body, and large wings upon its back.
My drawing does not do the real glyph any justice whatsoever, but it is adequate for my diary. It vaguely reminds me of an african God ( ) who has the head of an elephant instead of this ones octopus. It is also in line with the style of the Gods that the polytheist egyptians worshipped. That being of a human body with the head of an animal, and in some cases vice-versa (The Sphinx being the most popular). The depiction of size is new to me as well. Most of the well known Gods were depicted as being only slightly taller than a normal human. This God, however, has an incredible size!
It is late now, and I must retire to my camp bed. Tomorrow shall be a great day for archaeology, even if the tomb has been looted by Reis. Hopefully there are further heiroglyphs, such as those on the tombs seal. If there are then that is a find of spectacular importance itself, as I believe we have found a hitherto unknown God of ancient Egypt. I also suspect that we may have a pyramid or new design of tomb never before seen!
The Tomb of Nitocris, Egypt, December 31st (New Years Eve) 1928 3A.M
A nightmare as I have never before experienced, and yet it was so real! My hands are shaking as I write this, as can probably be seen from my script. It was... Terrifying beyond belief. And I must write this down:
I awoke from my slumber, and left my tent while it was still dark. I remember the sand glittering like diamond dust under the moonlight. I walked to the top of the dune behind the camp, and looked out onto the Sahara. So realistic! As I stood there, I watched in fascination, a figure quietly crab walking out of the darkness. I recognised him instantly as the old man I met on the Quayside at Portsmouth. "Beware!" He was crying. And I must admit to thinking why the rest of the camp was not woken by the noise this old one was making. Then he approached me, and told me the following in his raspy, tattered voice. "Beware, the defilers of the tomb temple, shall be blessed by the great lord with the gift of true sight! Ia! Ia! Katooloo! Katooloo futaan!" And then the madman attempted to accost me! Having my cane with me, I immeadiatly struck at the man with all my might. And then a dream turned into a nightmare as he unravelled! I tried to turn away from him, but found that I could not. And I was forced to watch this pale, old, egyptian collapse onto the floor, screaming. You see, he was made from worms of different thicknesses. And when I hit him with my cane, its as if I broke their cohesion. And they couldn't stick together anymore! I tried to move but couldn't. I tried to retch, but even that had been taken away from me. Then the crawling mass of writhing worms started to crawl up my legs in an attempt to engulf me! The cold, clammy slitherings against my skin as they crawled over my clothes, and inside them! And then I found that I could scream. And screaming I awoke. I awoke on top of the dune behind the camp, facing into the starlit desert. And all around me, in the sands, were strange markings. As if, as if a thousand worms of different thicknesses had writhed about my feet! I suppose it is my own fault, as I forgot to take my sleeping draught this evening. The dream is probably a result of all the excitement over arriving at the tomb, and the close examination of the tombs seal. I have made a new draught, and it sits on the corner of my portable desk as I write this. I know that all dreams have a basis in the occurances during the day, but where did that strange language come from that the old thing spoke? Where did I hear that? I know that I have probably spelt the words incorrectly, but a phonetic spelling is the closest I can get to the gutteral inhuman words that it spoke.
Anyway I shall sleep now, and I have left orders not to be awoken until at least 10 this morning. Maybe this time I shall not awaken everybody in the camp with my nocturnal ramblings, even if they are not intended. One last thing though. Most of the camp awoke and enquired about my welfare, but not Rebecca. She is usually a devout daughter, and yet for some strange reason her abscence was consipicuous to me. Well, maybe she was in a deep sleep. It has, after all, been a very long day.
The Tomb of Nitocris, Egypt, December 31st (New Years Eve) 1928
We have discovered the eighth wonder of the world! The tomb of Nitocris is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Sadly it also harbours statues of such grotesqueness, that I find it difficult to describe them. Reis was the first to descend into the darkness of the tomb, after he said that a guide should always go first. I followed next. Try to imagine being steadily lowered, 500 feet into the bowels of the Earth. You probably can't, but I must say that it was terrifying. Except the last 15 feet. Where I saw the most wonderous thing. Crystal! A pale luminescent, oily, green crystal. And the shaft, a rough limestone up until now, suddenly became this fantastic material. And not only that, but it was incredibly smooth! The Constructors of this tomb must have spent nearly a year polishing it, for as I passed through this section of the shaft I reached out and touch the walls. There were no imperfections in that glassine surface, no bumps, cracks or anything else to mar its perfection. Except one thing, it felt clammy cold to the touch. And as I brought my fingers away from it, I brought with me a cool mucus type substance. I can only assume that it is water mixed with some sort of dissolvable mineral. And that the small amount of water in it gave it the mucous-like texture. That, however, is not the most amazing thing. You see, the tomb of Nitocris appears to be a geode of collosal size. And I must admit to letting loose a tear as my gaze befell her final resting place. The entire inside of the tomb is of that strange, green, crystal. My geological skills are not upto scratch, but I think that the mineral may be that of Malachite or maybe Moss Agate. It maybe even something previously unknown, as the crystalline structures that engulf the ceiling and walls are typically Quartz-like. And not those structures that are typical of the two minerals I have just named. Unfortunatly, that horrible mucilage covers almost everything but the floor. And that is the next thing I must describe to you. The floor is of cut Amethyst. And where from I wonder, for if I knew I would surely be rich beyond my wildest dreams. For the strange green crystal of the walls carries on as one would expect. And the amethyst has been cut to the crystals protruding from the floor. It almost looks as if the amethyst was melted down, poured over the floor of the geode and then allowed to cool. And the joins in the chunks of amethyst are practically non-existant, they match so exactly. And the walls. Every inch that is flat and large enough has been carved with intricate detail. There are common heiroglyphs, and glyphs like I have never before seen! And then there are the statues. To be quite frank, my exuberance over the rest of the tomb was quashed when I viewed these evil things. And indeed the tomb seems to be more of a temple to these obscene deities, than the mausoleum of a long dead egyptian queen. And maybe it was. And that could be the reason why the terrible queen was buried here, alive. For if I were Kaphre, and I were to find out that my wife was worshipping these creatures, then I to would have buried her with those she knelt before.
I should attempt to at least describe the layout. It is an enourmous, rounded, cave. Approximatly 66 feet long, and approximatly 45 feet wide. The true height of the geode must be nearly 90 feet, but the amethyst floor shortens that to around 70 feet. The shaft openening is at the near end of the geode, and at the far end is a statue to that terrifying creature depicted on the tombs seal. It is made from the same mineralistic material as the geode itself, and squats at the other end of the tomb. It is all of 50 feet in height, and strangely enough seems to have been made of a single hewn piece of rock. So how it came to be in here I don't know. Maybe the mineral from which it was carved was once a natural formation at that end of the geode. The statues down the left and right walls (with the shaft entrance behind us) are of more typical construction. That of cut and polished sandstones. But even some of these are horrific to behold. Typical egyptian Gods exist alongside abortions of the imagination. And I have forbidden Rebecca to go into the tomb, much to her chagrin. I must admit to feeling that there is more, to this 'tomb' than meets the eye. If a geode of that magnitude exists, then surely there are others. And whats more, how did the egyptians of ancient egypt find such a thing. If, in fact, they did! Some of the heiroglyphs on the crystalline walls, I have been able to identify as coming from before the predynastic period. Which makes some of the heiroglyphs more than 4000 years old! I really don't care that Reis has sold the priceless artifacts that were left in the tomb. As the tomb itself is a dicovery beyond imagination!
There is yet another reason for not allowing Rebecca to descend into that abyss of crystal. For when Reis and myself were down there, a freak gust of wind blew out our lamps. And then a new aspect of the tomb was revealed. It glows with a foul green light which emanates from the crystals lining the tomb. I believe the glow to be of a radioactive source as madam Curie of the Sorbonne in Paris has displayed with the substance called radium. I have also seen the results of an over-exposure to such a source, and do not want Rebecca to be disfigured by subjecting her to such a discharge. I, on the other hand, am nearing the end of my life so it does not matter so much. Tommorow I shall take some of our photographic equipment down, in order to verify the prescence of such rays, as they show up on photographic film like X-rays.
Tonight, however, we welcome in the new-year and we have opened the barrel of spirits that we brought with us for this occasion. Our Bedouin companions are already half-drunk, but they have finally relaxed for a few hours. And for once, the ever pervading tension that hangs over the camp, has disappeared with the ending of 1928 and the start of a prosperous and happy 1929.
The Tomb of Nitocris, Egypt, January 1st (New Years Day) 1929 9A.M
As curiosity killed the cat, curiosity has now become the cause of my eventual destruction. I must start this last entry with an apology for the shaking of my hand, for I have seen the death of worlds. Rebecca is, gone! Oh God, what have we discovered? We leave immeadiatly for Cairo once this is complete. And Reis, may he rot in the hell that spawned him, is dead by my hand. Oh, I am incoherent, and not making much sense. I should start from the beginning of this torment.
The Bedouins had drunk they're way into the new year with a fervour I could not possibly match. I must say that it was a quite incredible sight to watch, as they progressed through the barrel of spirits (Whiskey I think) that we had brought. I did not partake of the brew, and I must thank a kind God that saved me that. Around two in the morning, the last of our cavalcade collapsed in a murmuring heap. Richard too was asleep, keeping up quite admirably until around one. As I watched the last one drop slowly into unconciousness, I turned around and looked down upon the entrance to the tomb. Or should I say place of worship? And that was when I noticed a strange thing. I kicked myself for not seeing it before, but the dune was going around the entrance! And another strange thing, how did the entrance not fill with sand? Myself, Reis, and a number of men had tracked up and down the dune and yet no sand breached the lip of the entrance. And then, as I was looking at the entrance, I heard a strange wailing. And faint utterances of that strange language that I heard in my nightmare. It was then that I noticed the faintest of green glows coming from the shaft. Hastily, I approached the opening and observed the glow getting stronger. Peering over the edge, the glow was very bright, almost as daylight. And there was a smell! All the putrescence that mankind could muster could not match the evil smell wafting up from below. Gagging, I pulled a fresh handkerchief from my breast pocket and tied it across my mouth. I then got into the small basket we had rigged over the entrance, and started to let myself down.
Fortunatly I had most of our equipment transferred to the tomb in order to take the photographic evidence that I required. The plates being left above, in the event of a radio-active source affecting them. So there were many boxes piled by the entrance which hid my descent into that pit of hell. And what did I see? My...Daughter. Naked. Nitocris's sarcophagus had been closed, and Rebecca was prone upon the cold stone. I went to run to her until I noticed Reis! He was standing to one side of...her, with a sacrificial knife in his bony hand. And he was shouting and screaming a language the likes I should never have to hear again! I, I cannot repeat what he said. I can't even think of how to reproduce the evil sounds that issued from his mouth let alone pronounce them! Evil, EVIL! And then he turned to the statue of that grotesque God that squatted over the sarcophagus, and uttered the last of his foul solilique. "Katooloo!" He cried, and then he backed away keeping his eyes to the ground. I was watching Reis when I noticed a movement from the area of the sarcophagus. Immeadiatly I looked towards Rebecca. She was holding up her arms as if requesting to be held. And then the statue moved! Slowly it moved forward, as if it were stiff from misuse. It reached out and picked Rebecca up in its arms, holding her torso in its dripping right hand and her legs in its left. And suddenly the spell over her was broken, and she started to scream. Then the, the statue. It. Tore her in half like a rag doll, and proceeded to lick inside her opened body as if it were removing a whelk from its shell. Screaming I ran from behind my cover of boxes, to which Reis attacked me with his knife. But I had the strength of a madman, and I wrenched the knife from his hands and stabbed him in the heart. And all the while this thing, carried on eating the insides of Rebecca totally ignoring me until I dealt the death blow. And then it looked up, and I saw into its eyes. It was a puppet, it was being worked from afar. And I had destroyed its caller. Frantic, I ran back to the basket and started to haul myself back into the night. It was encumbered by its great size in the tomb, and I managed to escape with my life if not my sanity and my daughter.
Richard went down there when I told him earlier this morning. I begged him not to go, but he called me a demented madman. We heard screams, and then a horrible blubering roar which made the Bedouins run and be sick. And now we must leave, the leader of the bedouins has beckoned that we leave now as we can hear tremendous crashings coming from below. We have released something of terrifying power and now I must destroy it. We brought dynamite with us in case blasting of stone blocks was required. And now I am going to use it to seal the tomb of the devil himself. I entrust this diary to my family. I love you all, but I must save Rebecca's and Richard souls from the evil that has taken them.
That is the curse of Nitocris' tomb. The old man had it wrong. It's not a curse of true sight. It is a curse of seeing the truth, of seeing true reality and not the piece-meal and frail reality that is cobbled together from our senses. Take nothing for-granted, as we lie to ourselves from the moment we wake up to the moment we sleep.