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by Gori Roriksen Varangian


Hi! Gori here. Do you remember my last blog, when, on my first day clearing the Hoxton Street Monster Supply basement, I found a crate from the British Museum? It contained a glowing scarab, a half-melted tape recorder, and a sheet of paper.

The note told me the tape was:

An audio interview between the mummy of Pharoah Akhenaten Amenhotep IV and human archaeologist, Dr Veronica Hermueller. Following an unexplained fire in the museum vaults, the current location of the renowned Egyptologist and the mummy are unknown.

Of course, I couldn't resist hitting play!

V.eronica) It's a real pleasure, Pharaoh Akhenaten-
A.khenaten) It's Akhenaten.
V.) I'm terribly sorry. Akhenaten?
A.) Better, but still not quite right. Akhenaten.
V.) Akhenaten?
A.) That'll do.
V.) So, Pharaoh, how long have you been in, um, “lockdown”?
A.) Three thousand, three hundred and fifty six years, seven months, and eleven days. Though it feels much longer. Tell me, is it still April?
V.) Ah, no. Not any more.
A.) It'll come round again, mark my words. Like the annual flooding of the Nile and steady growth of the mighty Egyptian empire, some things are inevitable!
V.) Um, well, perhaps you could tell me a little about yourself, Pharaoh?
A.) Surely you already know everything there is to know about me? Do the people not still sing of my deeds?
V.) Actually, no. Most of the records from your time were destroyed. Deliberately.
A.) Was it Tut? I bet it was Tut... That kid was always jealous. And where did it get him?
V.) I believe they're building him a new museum in Cairo.
A.) Huh. He'll like that.
V.) So, tell us a little about you? You were married to Nefertiti, yes?
A.) Ah, my wonderful wife! Queen to my King... A true support during my reign. One day we will be reunited and this time, by the will of Aten, we will rule forever!
V.) Aten?
A.) The temples of other gods crumble and fade, as will that 'new' museum in Cairo. Only Aten, the god of the sun, will last forever. It is through the sun that I have the power to speak to you, the power of light, the power to be reborn! Only the sun is eternal!
V.) I have some breaking scientific news about that, but, another time perhaps. Can you explain how Aten has gifted you all these powers when you've been underground for over three millennia?
A.) Ah! There was a cunningly built light shaft into my burial chamber, and at its entrance, a gemstone scarab... Yes, that's the one! It has stored the energy of the sun for centuries and only I know how to release it. You might want to close your eyes. Here goes!


Well! As if that wasn't exciting enough, the recording continued with an ancient Egyptian curse not heard for - I guess - three thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven years. As the Pharaoh spoke the words, (which I can't repeat here, because alas I don't write hieroglyph) the scarab glowed brighter and brighter. Just as I was getting worried, the device chewed through the rest of the damaged tape and the chanting stopped.

I peeked out from between my fingers, blinking away the after image.

The scarab was dark, now, but each of the empty, catering size organ marmalade jars in the pile it had been sitting on glowed instead! It was like sunlight, but not as harsh. I picked one up, and in its warm light a face loomed sharply out of the shadows.

“Your vondrously zoft light,” a vampire basking in a nearby coffin said, “it makes me feel zo... alive! Is it for zale?”

I knocked on the trapdoor and showed Igor the glowing jar.

“Daylight?” she said. “We already sell that.”

I explained it was more like the memory of daylight - perhaps a newer, better, and possibly safer version of the remedy the shop sells to vampires suffering from lack of daytime.

Igor couldn't see the difference, but when I told her I’d already sold half a dozen to gloomy vampires in the basement, she almost looked impressed, and I started handing up the glowing jars.

I didn't tell Igor I kept just enough of the jars to finally get a proper look at the basement, which stretches further than I'd imagined. Find out what I discover in the next “Intern(ed) in the Basement” blog.

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