The pyramids stood with the stature of a king, the burning sun, perched behind a pyramid radiating its most beautiful life-giving life to the otherwise bleak landscape

Condemned

The pyramids stood with the stature of a king, the burning sun, perched behind a pyramid radiating its most beautiful life-giving life to the otherwise bleak landscape. As I trudged across the sand, the horizon wavered due to the intense heat; each foot's step producing a satisfying sound as my shoe collided with sand, throwing small fragments of dust in all directions. I stood, took a moment to think, with only my bare hand to protect my eyes from the intense light of the sun-staring at the valley of the kings I had only one thought, this was of how graciously these pyramids had withstood 4 millennia of constant savage heat. I felt truly alone, but truly alive as I stood marvelling at the now setting sun...

When I reached the tent, which was marquee shaped and had the same dull colour of the sand, I realised the sheer immensity of these structures, how could a primitive civilisation have built such monstrosities and why? Had they built them for some other reason, it seemed, at the time that the Pyramids, huge follies as they were, had only one purpose: to serve as a fantastic grave for the Omnipotent God-Pharaohs that once ruled this vicinity. I gazed upon the sun, as it set on the horizon, revealing amazing cloud structures in the sky which were not visible before...

Of course, this is what I was in Egypt for, as an archaeologist, I must dig in order to discover more about our ancestral heritage. I entered the tent, there appeared to be an air of excitement among my colleagues, as if they had found a hidden passageway in the tomb we were currently investigating. I overheard Terlome, a native, wearing a white loin cloth, which I gathered was an exact replica of what the ancient natives of this land used to wear, explaining to Julie, my partner how in this area, as legend has it, a beautiful treasure was buried...I found it hard to believe that the ancient people of Egypt would bury their treasures in such a barren area. Archibald, the resident translator, was sitting at a wooden table, which appeared to have years of wear accredited to it. Archibald appeared to be in a frenzy, translating an ancient papyrus script which I later found out, Terlome had presented him, his beige outfit, and hat, shaped like a circular plate, with a outfacing dent in it were covered in sweat, and as he glanced up at me, I could see the perspiration running down his forehead, he looked back down at his work, as if, he had not noticed me. I stood back, for I had not been noticed upon entry, I gazed upon my colleagues in bewilderment, and began to make my way out of the old tent, taking a box if cigarettes from Archibalds desk as I did so, he was evidently so emerged in his work, he did not notice me.

I stepped outside the marquee, into the evening, this particular evening had a 'depth', a 'depth of feeling' emotional in some way. The lights in the sky, radiating their infinite light, the moon, the stars…The moon, a cratered disc in the sky, was this what the Egyptians saw thousands of years ago? I lit a single cigarette, and placed it in my mouth, its warmth; almost affectionate. I removed it from my mouth, and blew out the smoke, I could have sworn that it danced for me as it diffused into the darkness above, and as I watched it I saw the beautiful sunset, red on the horizon.

I returned to the marquee, Julie was lying in her hammock, somehow content, she gazed at the ceiling with wide eyes, as if she was contemplating a beautiful future, Archibald was lying, also in his hammock, though he seemed a little apprehensive, as if he was deterred from something. I stood in between the two hammocks, positioned either side of the marquee, the candle, encased in a beautifully shaped glass bottleneck flickered in the cold, sombre wind of the night…I asked Archibald, what had induced his frantic actions earlier on, he replied, 'We'th discovered what could'th be a new area in the tomb'th, but this'th seems to harbour th'ome th'ort of machinery, maybe a preqisite to the 5,000 year old batteries, which were reth'ently dith'covered.'.

Archibald, although his mind was immense, his personality, really did not exist, his whole life had been completely governed by work.

I felt a queer sensation as I lay in my hammock, I knew this was going to be a major discovery, although, if it was to be…Why was Archibald so apprehensive? My mind ran wild, dancing around thoughts that I would never have dreamed of, had I not heard about this unidentified machine. Surely it could do us no harm, for if an ancient Egyptian came up to me with a spear, I, as a modern human would use our modern technology to shoot him, for in 1940, we are far in advance of those people of many thousands of years ago; my thoughts ended here, when I drifted off into a dream world.

I screamed, as I fell rapidly through the clouds, towards a desert, the desert was growing as I sped towards it…Then I stopped, absolutely, and the sun beamed down upon me the air was thin, and I was finding it hard to breath. While my laboured breathing continued a long stick appeared to be approaching me, from the ground, at a rapidly increasing speed, no this wasn't just a stick-it was a spear, with a beautifully fashioned tip, reflecting the sunlight as it approached…I continued until it reached approximately a 100yrd distance from me. I shouted manic cries for help, and squirmed, but I seemed to be gripped by some invisible force, holding me several hundred yards from the ground. The spear sped right through me, as if I existed on a separate spatial plane…

I awoke, with sweat flowing down my forehead, Julie was peering over me, only now did I notice her infinite beauty, and her long flowing hair, her face perfect in every way. She jumped back 'Oh, whew, I you're awake, I thought you'd never come around, you were screaming at about 4:00 this morning, and me & Archibald have been awake all morning trying to bring you around; are you okay?' she said this in a rushed tone of voice, as if she was anxious to do something. 'Errrrr, yeah I'm fine, although I am not going to take the day off, I want to see this 'machine' as much as you do,' I severely doubted my last point- for Julie seemed so, eager.

'Look i'th you don'th underth'andth then you might as well lea'th,' Archibald was trying to communicate with Terlome, who was either very apprehensive of the constant river of saliva flowing from Archibalds mouth, or was just plain apprehensive, in the flame lit tunnel that we now stood in, with only the trustworthy torch flame to guide us. The walls of this cavern were covered in vast arrangements of hieroglyphs telling us of the past of the ancient pharaoh that apparently is living on the ultimate afterlife that the ancient Egyptians believed in…. Eventually, Julie knocked some sense into Terlome, and we continued down the seeming the endless labyrinth of tunnels and passageways, leading deep into this fantastic tombstone. Eventually we reached the newly discovered area; I lit my paraffin lamp and strategically placed it on the floor, so that we could observe what lay infront of us. This was different to the rest of the tomb, sleek, like the bottle necked candle in the marquee, metallic-surely this was not the doing of the Egyptians, for how could they culture such alloys in such a harsh environment? What was this? I walked around the object, with the lights flickering and reflecting the light, however, one section of the object was not reflecting the weak light of the lamp, it was refracting it, as if it was a glass lens. I took a cautious step forward and peered into the glass, and for just one moment I took a look into it, and for one moment, I saw infinity, this is impossible to describe for all that a description would be is worthless onematerpia. I felt instinct take over my body, like a separate personality, I slowly moved my hand towards the object, actually, my instincts moved my hand towards the object, slowly…Julie was shouting, I could hear her, but somehow, I did not register just what she was shouting she jumped towards me, bur this was too, late, I had touched the object…

In an instant, I was in a room, of roughly the same dimensions as what I had been crouched in before, but an amazing white governed the walls… My mouth moved, but I produced no sound, the object appeared not to have changed but all its surrounds had changed. My eyes became accustomed to the brilliant white, and I could see a window, in one corner of the room, and what appeared to be humans, with extremely pale skin gazing upon me their eyes, circular, with a diameter of approximately 1 inch. I screamed, but I did not produce any sound whatsoever, I turned to find another human-like creature crouching behind the object, seemingly now-a machine, making adjustments to what appeared to be a control panel connected to the machine. 'Well, that just about does it, the audio matrix should be online….' Said the man at the control panel… he was also one of the humanoid creatures, which I later named 'Goggloids' due to their queerly shaped eyes, he wore only a pair of what seemed like tightly fitting shorts, yet had no bodily hair, for a fundamental feature of the Goggloids was that they were bald, I had failed to notice this originally due to my immense fright.

I began to talk to the creature, greeting it with, what I though as the universal greeting sign and held my hand out in from of me. I spoke to the creature in what I thought clear English, he replied with the universal sign of greeting and said, 'You are in the year 8,000, please try to understand, everything you have come to know is dead, or destroyed, nothing of the 20th century survives in the present-YOU are dead, don't argue, YOU, or your organic body is dead-' 'BUT HOW?' '-Don't interrupt, you are a holographic projection of your former personality, in this museum in the kingdom of Dexontopia.' He said authoritatively. He clearly saw my bewilderment…'Errr, what time are you from?' His plain tone told me that he was not at all disturbed by my arrival-How could several thousand years have passed in an instant? 'I SAID, what time are you from?!' I was startled at his apparent temper and answered '1940' I paused, '-AD, that is.'. His eyes suddenly widened, 'Aha, now I will explain this in a more primitive fashion so you can understand…' said the wide-eyed figure. 'I'm not primitive!' I raised my hand to strike him with a physical blow, but as my hand reached the point of contact, it disappeared into his body-'Look, you are in effect a 3D living television picture, you cannot touch feel or smell, all you have is your personality and past memories, as well as the ability to speak.' He said once again, with the utmost authority.

This still didn't explain why I was here, now….'Your personality was recorded by this marvellous contraption when you touched it, when we unearthed it, we let out your personality, in the form of this hologram, effectively, your mind is actually inside that machine,' the creature indicated to the sleek metallic object in the centre of the room. 'So my 'organic' body still lived on, yet I have no memory of what happened,' I said confused to an unfathomable level. 'Yes, absolutely correct, you have been resurrected for our research into your primitive race.' The creature gazed into my eyes'-in your terms, you are a 'lab rat'.'.

At this point my mind was in emotional turmoil, for I was nothing more than a simulation of my former self, I had no future, no past, and no present, for all purposes I was DEAD, d-e-a-d.

My mind screamed, this was worse than death, I would live forever in the confines of the machine, never an individual, always an outcast, I would never go to heaven, my original body had already done that, I was just a machine … no heaven, no rights, no pleasure, no pain, no past, no future, no way home…I cried, and the man left the room, I was stuck in the confines of a cage, nothing to occupy me, being watched by an unfriendly race. I curled up in a ball on the floor, shouting in madness, 'WHY ME?'. I kicked the machine, my foot flew through it. HOW,WHY, WHERE, WHEN? All questions I was going to ask, but the room, that I now realised was not lit by a single object but appeared to emit light itself, had now no way of entry or exit, just a window, where many people were gathered, watching me…I was doomed forever to be a zoo animal, just to display here in a room, wearing 20th century clothing, never to see daylight.

James Womack, 13. November 1999

"This took me approximately 5 hours to plan and write, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of that time, after typing I realise there are a few grammatical mistakes. This was originally intended for school work, but after completing it I realised just what an excellent short story it was. With inspiration from ASIMOV and his short stories, as well as Arthur C. Clarke I was able to write a short story of, what I see, excellent quality,"