The Curse of Agnar Sun

The Curse of Agnar Sun

Part One

By Dwayne MacInnes

It was in the year of 1930 that I was working at the Metropolitan Science Museum under the curator Randal Foor. I was only one of several archaeologists on staff and the most junior at that. Yet, I found that I was able to excel thanks in large part to the mentorship of Randy. I soon found that I was on par with my more senior peers.

Randy -- he refused to let us call him Randal -- was slightly over six feet tall and tipped the scale at three hundred pounds. The curator's massive physique had more to do to his corpulent life than to any physical exertions. Yet despite this, Randy was a busy and energetic man. He was determined to find a sensation to fill his museum's hall. He wanted it to be equal to what Howard Carter had discovered in Egypt in 1922.

This search landed us a treasure of ancient Egyptian origin -- found in all places the Punjab region of India. The telegram from our field operatives informing Randy of their find, unleashed an explosion of laughter and excitement amongst us all.

"This is it!" exclaimed Randy. His face flushed red with his delight from his neatly trimmed black beard to his bald head. He excitedly waved the telegram above his head. "We finally have it. Years of searching and false leads have finally landed us the treasure of the century."

"How soon will it arrive?" I asked.

"A mere three weeks, my boy. I am having it sent by an express train and a fast steamer. In three weeks, we shall finally have the legendary treasure of Agnar Sun -- High Priest of Osiris."

The large curator danced a happy little jig there amongst his laughing staff. We were all beside ourselves with joy and excitement. Randy suddenly stopped in mid-dance and grabbed one of the graduate students from the university who had an internship at the museum.

"Quick, my boy," Randy ordered with a laugh, "to the telegraph office and send off a gram reinstating that under no circumstances shall the treasure be opened until we have it here in the museum."

"Just what exactly is it that we found?" asked my colleague Hornsby a linguistic anthropologist.

Randy laughed and reread the telegram. "It appears to be a small red chest about one foot by one foot bound by blackened iron. There is a red ruby on the top of the lid and a scarab beetle latch on the front of the lid. Nothing more is stated."

* * * * *

I at first believed that the weeks of waiting for the arrival of the red chest would linger on tortuously. However, Randy found ways to occupy our time constructively. Little did we know how much we had to accomplish before the arrival of the treasure of Agnar Sun. The museum staff had to plan and build a completely new exhibit around the high priest. Randy himself was busy building up the public anticipation for the new exhibit in the press.

The day the crate finally arrived; all work in the museum came to a halt. We all gathered in the main hall while the workmen wheeled in the famed treasure. Randy walked up to the deliverymen and began signing the papers. I found myself fortunate enough to be leading the two workmen and their freight to small workroom we had assigned for the chest. As I marched quickly down the hall, I heard the workmen whispering in hushed tones to each other.

"Did you hear about it?" asked the first.

"Hear about what?"

"I was talking to some of the crew from the ship, and they said that there were some strange things going on with this crate."

"Ah, they were just telling you a yarn."

"No, I swear that this is the truth. Couldn't you see how anxious they were to be done with it?"

"Yeah, they were a little squirrelly." The second workman conceded.

"They were saying that on the first day out to sea they could hear something banging around inside the crate."

The second workman almost dropped his load as he heard this.

"That's not all. The knocking continued on for days until it finally subsided to nothing."

A shiver ran down my spine as I heard the men talk in their muted voices. Much to my relief I finally arrived at the small workroom. The two men were very happy to place the crate next to our preparation table. The table sat in front of a small window high in the wall. The window could not be opened, but it did let in plenty of light. There was a single chair placed in front of the table, but the room was otherwise empty. Only a small vent in the far wall allowed for air circulation.

As we departed the room, I made sure to lock the only door into the room before we returned to Randy and the rest of the crew in the main hall.

"Ok, we have much work to do," Randy instructed. "We have only a few days before the public unveiling of the treasure of Agnar Sun the High Priest of Osiris."

Randy thrust two scrolls into my hand on my return. "You must have these translated as soon as possible. Hornsby, you are to stand guard over the chest tonight. You may take it out of the crate and place it on the table, but you must not open the chest itself."

I quickly opened up the scrolls to see what I had to decipher. The first was made of papyrus and had the familiar Egyptian hieroglyphics that any good Egyptologist, like myself, could easily decipher. The second was on parchment in ancient Punjabi. For this, I would have to enlist the help of Dr. Mayes. He was one of my former professors at the university. It was evening before I returned to my small office at the museum to begin work on the Egyptian scroll.

I was excited about this task, so I immediately started work on the scroll. The deciphering quickly consumed me. The hours flew past like birds on the wing, and the sun had long set before I had finished my work. In the end, I had part of the story of the treasure of Agnar Sun. It roughly ran like this:

* * * * *

In the third year of Pharaoh Set II, a strange man walked out of the desert. The man's head was unshorn and he had paintings on his face. He was in the raiment of one of the priests of Osiris. The man called himself Agnar Sun, and he demanded an audience with the pharaoh. His majestic deity reluctantly allowed the stranger into his court.

"I am Agnar Sun and I can make the pharaoh a very powerful ruler," the stranger boasted.

The pharaoh laughed and replied, "I am the most powerful man on earth! What can you do my priest?"

Agnar Sun looked over at a huge stone and raised it just with his gaze. He then lowered it gently back to the ground.

"That is wonderful!" Set II replied.

"Wait I can do more." Agnar Sun looked into the eyes of one of the servant girls and commanded her to dance.

The young girl dropped her serving tray and began to dance as gracefully as one of the dancing girls.

"This is indeed useful. Agnar Sun you are to be my chief advisor, and I pronounce you high priest."

Over the years, Set II expanded his boundaries. His enemies fled at the mere rumor of his advance. Egypt could have covered the entire world if not for the unfortunate and untimely death of Set II in a chariot accident. Agnar Sun was to join his pharaoh in the journey to the underworld.

The other priests and advisors being full of jealousy and fear of Agnar Sun decided that they would take the high priest while he slept and prepare him for the journey to the next world with the dead Pharaoh. However, Set II left a very young son to rule. It was apparent that Pharaoh's enemies would soon attack the kingdom. The young pharaoh needed a weapon. Thus, the advisors decided that Agnar Sun could still serve both the new and old pharaoh. Agnar Sun's heart would remain with Set II to accompany the Pharaoh on his journey, and his...

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The Curse of Agnar Sun

Part Two

By Dwayne MacInnes

Unfortunately the scroll ended here, and the rest of the papyrus had been destroyed long ago. I pushed myself up from the desk and began to rub my eyes. It was past midnight and weariness had quickly descended upon me. I kept a small cot in the back of the office for long nights like this. However, I finally resolved to walk to my apartment a few blocks away where I could get a good night's sleep. I had some important news to give to Randy in the morning and I wanted to be in top form.

* * * * *

The next morning I met Randy at the museum's door as he was unlocking it. Everyone else would arrive in the next few minutes. We were both very excited to continue our work. I hinted at my discoveries to Randy as we went to relieve Hornsby in the workroom.

As Randy began to unlock the door, I noticed that there was something slightly wrong. I could not quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was the complete quiet, but Hornsby could easily be asleep. Alternatively, it could be the strange smell of death, but that too was familiar in the workroom for we have removed the wrappings of numerous mummies. We have worked on human remains in there many times in the past in that room. Yet I felt that something was not right.

The door swung noiselessly inward and revealed a ghastly scene. The sunlight poured through the small window and beamed down upon the small red wooden chest bound in black iron bands. The red ruby refracted the sunlight into the room tinting it in a crimson light. The scarab clasp remained sealed; nothing seemed to be wrong except poor Hornsby who lay in the corner of the room ripped to shreds as if a pack of ravenous wolves had descended upon him. Whatever it was splattered much of Hornsby's blood upon the wall behind him. The remaining blood had pooled and coagulated underneath his rigid body. There was an expression of abject terror frozen upon his face. His eyes were wide and staring forward and his mouth open as if stuck in a rigid scream.

"Dear God!" I gasped covering my mouth with my hand.

"How could this happen?" Randy thought aloud. "The window is too small for admittance, and the door can only be locked on the outside and I have the only key."

* * * * *

By the time the police arrived, Randy had regained his composure. He was fuming over the senseless assassination of a promising anthropologist. Surely, someone had somehow broken into the workroom with the intent of stealing the treasure of Agnar Sun. Hornsby must have put up a good fight, and the assailant or assailants left without their intended prize. At least, this is the story Randy told the press who arrived shortly after the police.

It was noon as I was walking back to my office when the phone outside it on the hallway wall began ringing. I picked up the receiver to hear Dr. Mayes voice.

"Hello, Montgomery. I've been trying to call you all morning." Mayes cheerful voice boomed.

"Yes," I responded a bit sullen.

"You sound a little out of it," the professor said in a more subdued tone.

"We've had some rather ghastly business here."

"Sorry, to hear that. I just wanted to call to tell you that I have finished the translation. I had a student slip it under your door a few hours ago. I wanted to make sure you had received it. I don't mean to pry..."

"I'm sorry, Dr. Mayes. I must go." I quickly responded as I hung up the phone. The excitement over the prospect of the translation washed the sordid scene from my mind. I would quickly forget the scene that had previously lay before me.

I was now anxious to begin work on the translations again. I quickly opened my door to find the envelope upon the floor. I picked it up and seated myself behind my desk. My fingers rapidly ripped open the envelope and the letter inside consumed my total being. The Punjabi translation ran as follows:

* * * * *

When Alexander entered Egypt (the year would be 332 B.C. in our calendar) he heard rumor of a great weapon used by the ancient Pharaohs to help them in their conquests. He had his soldiers search for the great weapon while he occupied himself with the founding of the city of Alexandria. By good fortune, one of the soldiers had discovered the weapon and presented it to the general.

The Pharaoh's had called this weapon the Curse of Agnar Sun. Alexander put the weapon to great use. Mesopotamia, Persia and northern India all fell in short order. Alexander's power grew and so did his wealth. Armies would flee before the Macedonian's approach just on the rumor of the dreaded weapon.

By his sheer willpower and the security of knowing that Agnar Sun was on their side did his army march through the desert. The army eventually reached Susa when Alexander returned from India. It was a year later that some say he died of fever. However, a few closest to the general say it was from the cursed weapon itself. Nonetheless, Alexander's generals decided that they would have nothing to do with the dreaded weapon. They determined to dispose of the cursed weapon in a far away and secret location.

A courier took an item to the Punjab region. The item was a red wooden box bound in black iron and topped with a ruby recharger. Further, this item had a latch in the shape of a scarab beetle. It is here that he hid the evil head of High Priest of Osiris, the Curse of Agnar Sun. For this is a most deadly weapon. Legend has it that even now the soul of Agnar Sun inhabits the decapitated head. If you find this weapon, please read and take heed of this warning and have nothing to do with it.

* * * * *

My hands were shaking as I lowered the letter. This could not be true. Before I presented my findings to Randy, I had to make sure myself. I opened my desk drawer inside was a .38 revolver. I pulled it out and opened the cylinder. It was fully loaded. I pushed the revolver into my satchel and started looking for Randy. Surely, he will want to post another guard tonight. Tomorrow would be the official public opening.

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The Curse of Agnar Sun

Part Three

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.

The End.

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