The desert sands whizzed like trillions little cannon balls in the wind and crashed against the fearless wanderers who roamed this forbidden land. Inside of a tent, being battered by the sands, sat a man called Jeffries at a makeshift desk looking over papers, maps, and scrolls. A bottle of rum sat half empty next to him. He had no use for a glass. He picked up dusty bottle with his thick calloused hands, took a long swig and slammed it back down on the desk causing the table to rattle. ‘We must be close,’ said Jeffries under his foul, rum-ridden, breath.
Outside was a commotion. His men where shouting! With an explosion of sand and wind one of Jeffries men burst into his tent. ‘We found it!’ the man cried in exhaustion.
Jeffries started this expedition in late 1912. He was nothing more than a rich American with an ancient map. A map his grandfather had given to him when he was 17, but how his grandfather acquired this map was never told. For 30 years Jeffries pored time and money into this map hoping to one day to solve the mystery behind it. It wasn’t until 1911 that the mystery began to unravel. The ancient hieroglyphics were cracked and the map led Jeffries to the lost tomb of Pharaoh Farouk. Legends told that Farouk was buried in a solid gold tomb, with chests made of solid gold, filled with diamonds and rubies and pearls and other precious stones. It is also said that Farouk’s eyes, after his death, were removed and replaced with giant blue rubies. Nevertheless this tomb was long sought after and Jeffries had the clue, the missing piece to this ancient treasure.
It was 1914, 50 miles outside of Ciro, and his team had discovered a series of catacombs. Catacombs that lead them to the ancient “X” on the map. Jeffries sat there with his hand on the bottle of rum, his brown eyes, blood shot, and his mouth slipping into a grin as he looked at his companion.
‘What have you found?’ Jeffries asked hesitantly.
‘This!’ said the man walking over and putting something on the desk. It was a golden plaque with a faded inscription that when translated read ‘Here Lies Farouk, the great Pharaoh’ and an ingrained image of the long dead Pharaoh. ‘We can be in the tomb in the next few hours.’ Jeffries looked at his watch that he pulled from inside of his coat. The time was nearing 11pm.
‘Call your boys off. Let them have the night off. We start tomorrow,’ said Jeffries.
‘Are you sure about this, sir?’ asked the man.
The man left the tent and went back out into the windy night. Soon the noises of men returning to camp, cleaning up and popping bottles of alcohol open, filled the air. For several hours the rejoicing echoed through the night. The stars in the black sky were all that illuminated the camp when the raging fires had died down to gentle flickers.
Jeffries did not join his men in their celebrations. In fact, he was never seen in the company of his men. He was above them. Better in every sense of the word, and smarter too. They were hired muscle. They did the dirty work and he took the profit. He never kept a crew for very long. Most of his ventures were undertaken with a brand new set of workers. No reason for attachments.
With the ruckus gone, leaving the crackling of nearly extinguished fires left, he poked his head through his tent. Coast was clear. He slipped out and walked through the camp making sure no one was awake.
He picked up a few tools, grabbed an electric torch, and descended into the catacombs. He clicked the light on and pulled out the map.
‘Stop right there,’ came a direct voice from behind. Jeffries turned around and there stood Frank Jones, the director of operations for the dig.
‘Excuse me,’ replied Jeffries sternly.
‘Oh, it’s you. What are you doing?’ he asked.
‘I wanted to have a look.’
‘I’ll go with you.’ said Jones.
‘Don’t worry. I can go alone.’
‘Its dark and twisty down here. Best I come with.’
‘Why are you insisting on coming with me?’
‘Put bluntly, the men aren’t happy that you hold up in your tent, never show your face, and then walk away with the riches leaving them a tiny fraction of what you get.’
‘And do you feel this way?’ Asked Jeffries. Jones paused as his eyes drifted to the ground.
‘I do, Jeffries. If the men knew you were down here they would not be happy. For the sake of everyone, I’m going to go with you.’
The two men started to walk down the long dark tunnel. Jeffries was fiddling with the map, turning it over and over trying to find his place. ‘Here, let me,’ said Jones smiling and taking the map.
‘Thank you,’ returned Jeffries.
‘Guh!’ Jones gulped. Looking down, imbedded deep into this stomach, was a long knife and holding the handle was Jeffries.
‘I’ve searched for this treasure my whole life. Not you or any of these fiends working for me are going to share in it.’ Jeffries pulled the knife out with a fierce jerk. Jones stumbled back, fell against the wall, and slid down. The blood was oozing from the wound, his eyes rolled back, and his head hung down. Jeffries left him there and continued down the tunnel.
As he walked he brushed his hand along the walls feeling small holes and support beams. He soon approached the end. He could see the hole where the plaque was taken and brought to him. He felt the wall as if looking for something. He looked at the map and mumbled to himself. On the map was the image of six suns, showing the movements of the sun through out the day. The very same picture was on the wall. Each sun had a different image in its centre. He knew what it was. It was a code to unlocking a door. Jeffries knew he had to unlock it. He spent some time looking intensely at the images. He reached out his hand and pushed on one of the suns. It sunk in effortlessly. He pushed another, and another until he had one left. He grinned, his blood shot eyes widened menacingly. He pushed the final sun and the wall made a cracking noise. Dust began to sprinkle down and the ground moved.
The wall, which really was a door, suddenly parted in the middle and was pulled into the walls of the tunnel. When the door had completely been assimilated into the tunnel walls Jeffries stepped inside. He pulled out a lantern and lit it, knowing it cast more light than his little torch.
He looked around and he found himself in a glorious tomb. Everything was gleaming against the lantern light. Solid gold walls and floor. Imbedded in the walls were white diamonds, red rubies and other precious stones. Large golden chests lined the walls, and in the centre was a sarcophagus. It stood 5 feet off the ground and was drenched in gold and gems. Jeffries ran his hands all over it. ‘It’s mine!’ he said. He needed to touch it. He needed to feel it was real.
‘Do you know the full legend of this pharaoh?’ came a voice from behind. It was Jones. His face was pale. His clothes stained crimson. He leaned on an axe as he panted trying to catch his breath.
‘You would have been wise to go fetch the others than come after me.’
‘Do you want to know the full legend?’ he asked again.
‘If it’ll shut you up, carry on,” said Jeffries who continued to feel the tomb.
‘Farouk was wealthy. But do you know how he got his wealth? He ravaged the lands. He stole from his people. He got his taste of treasure and wealth. An unquenchable hunger. He had enough for a life time up a life time. He was rumoured to ravage the graves of other Pharaohs all in order to gain more and more. His death, Jeffries, was at the hand of his wife. He gave her a gem on a gold chain. But when she found out he had taken it from a recent widower she was disgusted at his greed. She called him in to her chamber and she began to message him. When his eyes were closed she pulled out a dagger and plunged it into his heart.’
‘That’s a really good story, but its here-say now,’ said Jeffries.
‘Do you know why I wanted to join you on this? Why I approached you?’ said Jones.
‘Why?’ asked Jeffries.
‘The only reason you have that map is because your granddad killed mine for it. It’s taken my several tries to work with you and get in on one of your expeditions, and now I’m gonna kill you.’
‘Your problem is with my grandfather, not me. If you gotta problem, take it up with him!’ said Jeffries.
‘You’re no better than he was, Jeffries. You cut your way to the top, tearing down good man after good man and it stops now,’ and Jones pulling out a gun.
‘Jones, what are you doing? We can come to an agreement I’m sure.’
‘Like the agreement of you shoving a knife into my stomach?’ And with that a shot was fired and the lantern shattered. Jeffries stood there with his torch in hand.
‘Jones! Stop this madness!’ he cried.
Then, with a sliver blaze, the axe Jones was holding crashed into the support beam. The tunnel shook, rocks slid out of their ancient holding places, Jeffries panicked. He raced for the door but was pushed back by Jones. ‘You want the treasure, its yours. You can live and die with it, but using it to destroy others will simply not do!’ cried Jones.
‘Jones, you fool. Stop this. We gotta get out of here!’ said Jeffries as he raced to get out of the tomb again. But with another crack the doors that had sealed this old tomb came slamming together again. Jones could hear the wicked sounds of Jeffries screaming and pleading to get out. Jones turned and swung the axe again at another beam and more chucks of rock and dirt began to fall. With all speed and great pain he push his way to the exit.
Jeffries stood there trapped inside the tomb. He looked around the room with his torch. ‘They surely made a second exit,’ he said to himself. Looking around the room he found a small door. He shoved his body through, holding the torch in his mouth. He crawled for a few moments until he came to a fork in the space. He had to choose. He went left and after several minutes of shuffling along there was a cracking sound and the ground beneath him collapsed and his body fell crashing into a pit filled with thick pointy beams and scorpions that ravaged his body while his life drained.
Jones managed to get out and call for help. His wounds were not fatal in the end and he quickly recovered. All work on the site was postponed until he re-cooperated. He gave the report that he saw Jeffries enter the catacombs and followed and that there was a sudden cave-in and he claimed to be pieced by his own dagger. Attempts were made to rescue Jeffries, but the cave in was so immense that getting back to the tomb was like starting the dig all over.
The treasure was soon recovered and after each man was equally and handsomely rewarded for their work on the dig, Jones donated the rest to various museums around the globe. They did begin a search for Jeffries but when his body was found it had been torn to pieces and was crawling with the scorpions. Knowing how deadly it was to retrieve the body it was decided to leave it to it’s ill-deserved fate