Copyright © 2016 by Cyci Cade. All rights reserved.
I´m ready to leave my tent, but there she is, blocking my way. What is she doing here? Why doesn´t she leave me alone?
“What´s wrong, Adele?” she asks in a tone of accusation instead of tenderness.
I´m suffering. Does she not understand it? Does she not know that it is very hard to lose the person you most love and abandon all your friends and things to live in a place full of… dust, sand, and old things? She is insensitive.
I throw my hands up. “I´m here. This is wrong. I´m not supposed to be here. I´m supposed to be in my apartment with my father, not here with you.”
Louise presses her lips together studying me as if I´m one of her mummies. She´s looking for the right words, I assume. Maybe she´s considering sending me back because this was a bad decision. No, it´d be too good to be true.
“I understand, Adele. I really do.” She moves toward me; as I step backward, she stops. “I´m so sorry about your father, about all that has happened. I wish things were different.” She sighs. “But, I´m happy you´re here. In a couple of days, you´ll be accustomed to the camp, and, we don´t stay only here. When we finish this excavation, we´ll go to Luxor. It´s a great city. You´ll like it.” She forces a smile.
I hold up a hand. “Look, I don´t have any intention to live in a cemetery, Luxor, or Egypt. I want to come back to London. Okay? If I get Internet connection, I´ll find a lawyer, my father has money; I think it´s possible to arrange a tutor for me.”
She scowls at me, “It isn´t so simple, Adele! Do you think I´ll agree with this? I won´t let you live in another continent with a stranger. Do you know a tutor may waste all the money your father left to you?” She crosses her arms in front of her chest.
I cross my arms in front of my chest too. “You didn´t have any problem to abandon me in another continent and move to Egypt.”
Her mouth drops open. “I didn´t abandon you. Your father and I were getting divorced. I wanted to bring you with me, but he protested. He said that this place was too dangerous for a kid. The judge agreed with him.”
Now, my mouth drops open. “Divorce? What?”
She approaches me. “Adele, I don´t know what your father had told you during those years. I didn´t abandon you. Many times I tried to bring you here during the holidays, but you were always busy, always involved in archery competitions.”
I lower my head. It´s true. I rarely spend a weekend or holiday in London. I´m always traveling, my father used to keep me very busy. I gulp. “Why didn´t you go visit me?”
“I did, many times. But, as I said, you were never in London.” She wipes a tear away. “I uses Internet—social media—to accompany your life.” She sobs. “You don´t have any idea how much I suffered when I had to move to Egypt.”
I shake my head, my lips shaking. “Why?” My tone rises. “Why did you move to Egypt? Why didn´t you stay in London or any city nearby?”
“I didn´t have much choice. I needed to work; your father wouldn´t pay an apartment for me, his situation wasn´t good at that time.” She steps toward me.
I step aside and walk to the opposite side. “Even so, I don´t want to stay here, okay? I´ll appreciate if you arrange my return to London in a few days. I have a competition next weekend and… there´s school, my friends, everything in London.”
She shakes her head. “I´m sorry, Adele. It won´t happen. You´ll stay here with me while we are excavating, then we´ll live in Luxor or Cairo. I´ve arranged everything.” She makes a pause. “You´ll have Internet connection in a few days, and you´ll take online distance education classes.”
Shaking my head, I step out of the tent. I can´t believe that it´s happening to me. I have no father, no house, no friends, no competition… nothing. It´s worse than I imagined.
I hear her calling me but I run away. I run toward the ruins of The Valley of the Kings. I believe I won´t be disturbed there because everybody in that place is dead. However, I´m wrong.
Hearing footsteps, I spin on my heels and say, “Look, Louise…”
I open and close my mouth without making any sound. There is a moment of silence while I study a man who is approaching me. He isn´t one of my mother´s assistants. At least, I didn´t see him before. He is the strangest figure I´ve ever seen during my short existence. Due to the dim light, I can´t see him very well, but he is wearing a very short mini-skirt—just it.
“Where are my shabtis?” His voice echoes in the night like thunder.
I turn to the sides to check if there´s someone else. No, he addressed me. “What?” My voice fails.
“Where are my shabtis?” he insists.
“What are shabtis?” I ask.
He stops next to me, not so close. I can´t see his eyes, but I sense them over me, analyzing me.
Assuming that shabtis may be a word for coat, I undress mine and step toward him because… Well, he´s wearing only a mini-skirt and it´s cold. I didn´t know Egyptian men wore skirts. I press my lips together so as not to laugh because it´s very funny. I have never seen men wearing skirts, except for the Scotsmen. However, he disapproves of my gesture when I approach him and cover his vast chest with my coat.
He steps back and says in a rude tone, almost screaming, “Stop, servant! I don´t want to be dressed! I want my shabtis!
It infuriates me. I´m trying to help him and he is rude to me? “I´m not your servant, okay? And I don´t know anything about shabtis.”
I spin on my heels and rush back to my tent before he has time to say something else. Servant! He may be kidding me! It may be a bad joke. I´m certain the world will be in its place after a good night of sleep. I´m tired, this is it. I need to sleep. I´m certain that I´ll wake up in another place, another situation, a better world.