The Curse of Agnar Sun
By Dwayne MacInnes
That night I found myself standing guard with a fellow archaeologist Winston. Neither one of us was fond of the idea of being locked alone in the workroom with the small red chest. Winston worried about what could get in. I worried about what was already in.
"You know," Winston began looking up at the ceiling, "there's an air duct up there. I bet you that is how the assassin got to Hornsby."
"Possibly." was all I could murmur, never taking my eyes off the red chest.
The lone light bulb swung slightly from the long wire that hung from the ceiling. The swaying shadows that played off the walls only added to the eeriness of the small workroom. I constantly scolded myself mentally for my academic curiosity that sent me to Randy in order to volunteer for guard duty. Randy insisted that two would stand guard tonight in case the thieves returned to the scene of the crime. The company was small consolation.
The sun had set hours before and still nothing stirred in the room except Winston and me. Winston would half heartily try to joke about our situation, but he could not lift the heavy tension. My companion started to pace back and forth. Every two minutes he would look up at the clock on the wall above the locked door.
It was slightly after one in the morning when I thought I heard a distinctive click. Winston also heard the noise and spun around to look at me. I was behind the table looking at Winston over the red box. His jaw hung open and it took a second or two before he found his voice.
"Did you hear that?" he asked in a quivering whisper.
I slowly nodded my head. I could not tell who was more frightened Winston or me. Then I saw Winston's eyes slowly drop toward the box. He took a step back and the expression of fear took total possession of his face. I followed his wide eyes down toward the box.
At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. Was the box opening on its own? Surely, it was impossible. Yet the lid continued to lift on its own.
As the lid swung completely back, a silky black object began to rise. Winston began to open his mouth to scream. However, it never escaped his mouth it only gurgled in the back of his throat. I took a step backwards and hit the wall. The low thump was enough to make the silky object turn slowly towards me.
I could make out the profile of a face as the head of Agnar Sun spun in my direction. The disembodied head had hair that was long and black. The long leathery tan face contained blue, Pictish-style tattoos on each cheek. The slate grey eyes looked into mine and his mouth moved in the soundless speech of ancient Egypt.
I could feel Agnar Sun slowly mesmerizing me. I had only a moment in which to act. My right hand instinctively reached into my satchel and pulled out the .38. Without further thought, I began to fire at the head. The bullets bounced off some invisible barrier that Agnar Sun must have conjured up.
Fortunately, the summoning of the barrier also released my mind from Agnar Sun's mesmerism. I ran past the table as fast as I could and in the process knocked the red box onto the floor. Poor Winston still stood there staring straight towards the cursed head never moving. I fired my last two shots into the lock and swung the door open as I ran out of the room.
I looked back to see the head of Agnar Sun sink its teeth into Winston. My unfortunate colleague did not even utter a scream as the ghoul continued to gouge out his flesh in bite size chunks. How far I ran I do not remember. My memory is blank from the time I left the workroom to the time I awoke in my office with Randy shaking me.
I was incoherent until Randy was able to push some brandy past my lips. The alcohol warmed my chest and brought my senses back to me.
"Montgomery, what happened?" Randy implored excitedly.
"The head..." was all I could get out.
"Head? Is that what was in the box. Well, those assassins not only killed Winston they also made away with their prize this time."
I shook my head and grabbed the translations off my desk. I pushed them into Randy's hand as I took the brandy bottle from his and sat down onto my cot. I took a long hard pull from the bottle.
I sat there on my cot watching Randy closely. As he began to read Dr. Mayes's letter, I watched him shake his head. Randy lowered the letter when he finished and looked over at me.
"Is this true?"
I could only nod yes.
"Come we have work to do." Randy said as he grabbed my arm.
We went back to the wrecked workroom. Winston lay slumped against the wall where I left him. Blood covered his body and the surrounding wall and floor. The small red chest lay in a far dark corner on its back. However, the head of Agnar Sun was nowhere in sight.
"The head can't be far from the box." Randy stated.
I looked at Randy in askance.
"The ruby is a recharger. Agnar Sun draws his energy from Ra or the sun. It appears that the chest has been in the dark all morning so I can only surmise that Agnar Sun is low on energy and will not want to stray too far from the box."
My Egyptian mythology was starting to come back to me. Of course, what Randy said made sense.
"We need to find that head before we contact the police."
I nodded in agreement.
"But, where could he be hiding?"
I looked up at the air duct.
A thought hit me and brought me completely back to my senses.
"Stay here I have an idea and I know where -- and how we can get him." I said excitedly as I ran out of the museum.
I always fed a stray tomcat outside my apartment. The animal was big fellow easily twenty pounds and from the time I have spent playing with him I knew him to be quite frisky. I knew that this cat would be our ally in apprehending Agnar Sun. An ancient Egyptian would never attack a cat.
I was only gone fifteen minutes before I returned with the white and grey tomcat. With the help of Randy, I was able to climb onto the table and had inserted the cat into the air duct. Within minutes, we could hear a banging around in the metal duct. It was soon after that that Agnar Sun's head rolled out of the duct followed by the playful tomcat.
It thudded onto the table and then rolled onto the floor. I quickly grabbed it by the back of the head. I could feel the ebbing power as it tried to pull free. The long night had nearly drained the evil power of Agnar Sun.
Randy stood there with a grim look as he held the cat who was purring in his arms. "I believe our feline friend here deserves a permanent position here. Now I believe we need to call the police."
The next day Randy had set up an exhibit where the red box was contained in a glass case far away from any natural light. Further, he housed Agnar Sun's head in another glass case near the front of the museum. Visitors to the museum reported that they saw Agnar Sun winking and moving his mouth. In fact, some claimed they could feel a slight mesmerizing effect if they looked deeply into his eyes. However, we would never place Agnar Sun in the box nor would we let the ruby recharger come into direct contact with sunlight. To do so would be to invite a terrible calamity.
Jim finished reading from the journal and looked at the curator.
"Look here, Jim I've been over this with you before. Randal Foor was well known for his theatrics. You could say he had a touch of P.T. Barnum in him. He was always adding in the occult angle during those times to sensationalize his exhibits even more. That was how you made your museum a success seventy-five years ago.
"However, today we deal with science and facts. We will show the exhibit as it was meant to be. The head in the box and the box radiating the ruby's light in the natural sunlight as it must have done in some temple in ancient Egypt."
"Mr. Roberts even you have to admit that Montgomery's journal is independent from Foor's own journal that contains a similar story."
"Jim, I'll make this blunt. You'll either drop it or you can find work somewhere else."
Jim hunched his shoulders in defeat. He looked up at the workers moving around the exhibit. Tomorrow with the rise of the morning sun, the museum will open to large and expectant public.
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