© Nancy Fraser 2016
A cool breeze brushed across her skin, pulling her back toward wakefulness. She smoothed her hand across her forearm and felt tiny goose bumps beneath her fingertips. She turned her head from side to side and opened her eyes. The sight greeting her sent her heart rate into overdrive.
“Who are you?” the woman asked.
Teri pressed her eyes shut tight in an effort to dispel the vision, to wake up from what was obviously a dream. When she opened her eyes again, she could make out the faint image of a woman standing at the foot of her bed.
She should have been frightened, paralyzed with fear in fact. But wasn’t. Instead, she found herself struck by the woman’s classic beauty. Her jet-black hair hung in a straight frame around her face, falling just short of her waist. Her huge dark eyes were rimmed with black eyeliner. The flowing robe she wore was a plush cloth of deepest purple, trimmed in gold thread. The expensive garment hugged her ample curves.
“I’m Teri, Teri Hunter.”
“From where do you hail, Teri Hunter?”
“Excuse me?” The woman’s speech seemed stilted, as if she struggled with the English language. Rather than answer her question, Teri asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Anukahaten, guardian of the queen-Pharaoh’s tomb.”
“You’re the guardian of Hatshepsut’s tomb?” Teri asked. The urge to pinch herself awake was overwhelming, but not as tempting as the thought of asking a few more questions before she did.
“Yes. It is so. Many years ago, I failed my queen and now I struggle to make things right.”
“I know about the stone,” she admitted, “and the curse. Can you tell us where to find the statue?”
“I only know it is here, close to Cairo, but I know not where.”
“Can you at least tell me what it looks like, so we’ll know when we’ve found it?”
“It is barely as tall as the length of a man’s hand,” Anukahaten began, “no bigger than a . . .”
Anukahaten’s vision began to fade, her voice trailing off, interrupted by an insistent tapping, an intrusion Teri wanted desperately to ignore.
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