Chapter 6 of Scions of the Sphinx is full of intrigue and action. While exploring the ruins near the Great Sphinx at Giza, Bobby and Jinx spot some unfriendly faces from the past, as well as a possible clue to unraveling the mystery of the postcard that drew them to Egypt. Meanwhile, something is happening to Bobby. He stuck his hand in a hole and now he feels lightheaded and awkward. Has he been poisoned? Catch up on all the chapters so far on Wattpad.com or on my site at RScottBoyer.com/blog.
From atop the wall overlooking the Sphinx, Bobby frowned in anger and disgust. In the distance, Hayward and Simpkins spread out and began searching the grounds near the monument. These two secret agents had not only tracked and captured his grandfather but also abused and tortured Bobby and Jinx on several occasions. Between Hayward’s sadism and Simpkins’s insanity, they were the last duo on earth Bobby wanted hunting for him.
Bobby glanced down at Zaria. “Why didn’t you tell us that Mu’at is with the Core?”
“What are you talking about? I don’t even know what ‘the Core’ is.”
“You mean Chief never told you?” said Jinx, clearly surprised.
“Like I said, I’m freelance. I only get mission-specific information. I guess he didn’t know this ‘Core’ was involved.”
“Well, they are,” said Bobby, glaring down at her as if her lack of knowledge were somehow her fault. “These two are part of a secret organization of metahumans that wants to force human evolution.”
“First they tried using Bobby’s DNA,” said Jinx. “Then they tried using water from the Fountain of—”
“They experimented on you?” The normally swarthy girl turned visibly pallid. “That’s terrible!”
“That’s not the worst of it,” said Bobby. “These two,” he said, gesturing into the distance, “aren’t even human—they’re clones. They’ve died at least twice from what I can tell. Each time, they’re reconstituted with all of their memories, plus an added thirst for revenge.”
Zaria gagged, and Bobby thought perhaps she was going to be sick. “That’s unholy,” she said, speaking rapidly in Egyptian in what Bobby assumed was a prayer.
In the distance, the pair of agents stood perfectly still. Hayward lifted his double chin as if sniffing the air. Simpkins swiveled in the direction of the ancient temple. Bobby ducked low as both men headed their way.
“We’ve gotta get to the cab,” said Jinx.
“That may not be the best idea,” said Bobby. Out across the sandlot, Mu’at and his big bodyguard were heading for the tiny three-wheeled vehicle. “It looks like they’ve made our ride.”
“Not a problem,” said Zaria, brandishing a collection of slender steel picks. “Plenty more where that one came from.” She placed her hands on her hips as both boys shot her incredulous glares. “What? You didn’t really think I drove a cab for a living? Please!”
“Looks like Hayward and Simpkins are coming up through the temple entrance. We should be able to slip by them if we stick to the outside,” said Bobby. He slid his legs out over the wall, preparing to descend. But the porous limestone was slick with erosion. As he lowered himself to the ground, his hand slipped. Tumbling backward, Bobby fell hard onto the ground beside the broken column.
“Ouch,” said Bobby, rolling onto his side and pulling up his arm to avoid contact with the scorching-hot sand.
“Are you hurt?” asked Zaria, kneeling next to him.
Bobby barely heard her. From his new angle on the ground, he had a clear view of the base of the wall below the toppled pillar. Deep in the shadows was a series of scratches. Appearing as random abrasions when viewed upright, they looked much different when viewed from this angle. They looked like…“A flying fish,” murmured Bobby.
“A flying what?” said Jinx.
Bobby rolled onto his back and stuck out his hand. “Quick, give me your flashlight.”
Jinx fished into his pocket and produced the tiny Maglite. Rolling to his side, Bobby clicked it on and illuminated the shadows to reveal a round, fist-sized hole directly below the score marks. Bobby crawled on his belly to the mouth of the hole. Something glistened in the far recesses. Bobby lay flat on his stomach and inserted his hand. His fingertips brushed against something smooth and hard…
“Oww!” said Bobby, yanking his hand out of the hole. “Something stung me!”
Zaria grabbed Bobby under the shoulder and hoisted him to his feet. The tip of his finger bled from a tiny pinprick. “No time for that now, sport,” she said. “Those agents of yours will be here any second.”
Scurrying across the blistering sand, they ran south, along the east edge of the old Sphinx temple. Bobby rubbed his throbbing finger.
On the other side of the wall, Simpkins called out to Hayward, “They’re over here. You go back that way; I’ll go this way.”
Bobby and Zaria burst into a sprint, with Bobby scooping up the slower Jinx in his arms. They ran for only twenty feet before Bobby dropped Jinx back to the ground. Red-faced and dripping with sweat, Bobby extended his good hand and leaned against the wall.
“What’s wrong?” said Jinx, his voice suddenly distant, as if coming from the opposite end of a long tunnel.
“I’m fine,” said Bobby, clutching his hand. “I just can’t carry you right now.”
They ran south, down the east side of the old temple, and ducked around the corner. Swaying on his feet, Bobby poked his head out to glance back the way they’d come. Dressed in a purple pinstripe suit with bell-bottom pants, Simpkins swept through the temple’s east exit and out into the open like a stiff wind that chilled Bobby to the bone. The bright sun glistened off the emaciated agent’s oily black hair even as it made dark pools of his sunken eyes and pockmarked cheeks.
Due west from their crouched position, Hayward broke from the old temple, heading straight for them down the south wall. Hayward’s bulbous cheeks pulled up in a wicked grin as he burst into a trot that sent his fatty rolls bouncing with every step.
Cut off to the north and blocked to the west, Bobby scanned the terrain. To the east was nothing but endless desert. Their only hope lay southward, with the valley temple of Khafre.
“Quick, over there,” said Zaria, pointing to the valley temple. “We can ditch them inside.”
Sprinting over the baking earth, they dashed through the archway into Khafre’s shrine. The long hallways beyond danced before Bobby’s eyes. “I don’t feel so well,” he said, raising a hand to his head. Zaria grabbed his wrist, pulling him along behind her.
They ran to a three-way intersection and stopped. Behind them, Simpkins reached the new temple and headed in after them. Up ahead, Bobby thought he saw Mu’at standing atop the outer wall, his dark silhouette framed against the bright sun as he stared down at them with his penetrating gaze.
“This way,” said Zaria. Bobby’s wrist slipped from her grasp as she took off down a side passage.
No longer guided by Zaria, Bobby stumbled and bumped into a wall. He pushed himself away with both hands. Fiery pain raced from his throbbing finger, through the palm, up his arm.
Blinking back tears, he turned to Jinx to lean on him for support and discovered his little cousin was nowhere to be seen. Bobby managed only a few more steps. His legs felt leaden, tied down by invisible strings. He made it to an intersection and turned left. Simpkins stood in the archway in front of him, less than twenty yards away. Bobby turned around, stumbling back the way he’d come. Hayward stood in the intersection, blocking his retreat.
He was trapped. No escape.
Then, from atop the walls, Zaria appeared. Running along a partition that rose perpendicular to Bobby’s location, she stopped directly above Hayward. Swiveling her head to either side, she put her hands on her hips and laughed at the two Core agents. “Wow, Jinx was right! You really are the two ugliest guys on the planet. Guess I owe him five bucks.” Then she turned and raced off.
Simpkins yelled at Hayward to stop, but it was too late. With an angry roar, the corpulent agent took off in pursuit.
Bobby wasted no time. Returning to the previously blocked intersection, he made a left and then another quick left, only vaguely aware that he was likely going in circles. Mu’at appeared in front of him, fuzzy and transparent. Bobby turned around and discovered the one-eyed man behind him as well. I must be hallucinating. He’s not real.
Bobby heard shouts and the sounds of a commotion off in the distance but couldn’t see who was involved or what was happening. Maybe that’s not real either. He tried to pick up his pace and stumbled again, scraping his knee as he fell hard against the stone. His breath came in shallow, throaty rasps. His vision grew dark, narrowing into a tiny pool of vision only a few feet in front of his face.
On all fours, Bobby crawled a few more feet to a shallow niche carved into the base of the wall, where he toppled over, rolling on his back into a hole. The world spun around him. It was all Bobby could do to close his eyes to shut it out. Even then, he saw Mu’at standing in front of him, the man’s good eye twinkling with the madness of a rabid jackal. With a hyena’s laugh, Mu’at lifted his eye patch to reveal his covered orb. True darkness swarmed in, and Bobby knew nothing else.