The Ghost of Prince Akhmose
“There is so much more to life and afterlife than what we can see and touch. Past and present are connected in ways that you could ever imagine in your wildest dreams.” ~Erika M Szabo
A powerful curse cast thousands of years ago by the Grand Vizier. Tanakhmet cursed Prince Akhmose to never enter the Field of Reeds, the heavenly paradise. Why did he want him to linger as a restless ghost among the living, forever?
By reading the hieroglyphs, Layla, a young Egyptologist, inadvertently breaks the curse and frees the ghosts of both Prince Akhmose and the Grand Vizier whose thirst for revenge is stronger than ever.
With Layla’s help, can Prince Akhmose finally cross into the afterlife?
Or perhaps, because of the charms of the mortal woman, he doesn’t want to…
A short excerpt
Fate and Destiny
Fate and destiny intertwine
Fulfilling a curse lost in the sands of time
Two lovers destroyed in a jealous rage
Are rejoined in a new day and age
The evil magician returns as well
Assured he'll keep them in his curse's hell
The passing years reveal a way to defend
Proving love conquers all in the end
© Cindy J. Smith
A dear friend wrote this lovely poem
Egypt, 1198 BC
The scorching sun was high in the sky, but Tanakhmet relaxed in the shade fanned by his servants. He watched the builder slaves walking in the hot sun, carrying rocks upon their backs, building the pharaoh’s final resting place.
Tanakhmet was the closest to the pharaoh, who was on his sickbed, and there was no question that he would be the Grand Vizier of the next pharaoh. The pharaoh’s son had been groomed from birth to take his father’s place, but he was too young to rule. The pharaoh’s younger brother, Prince Akhmose, will be his regent until he would come to age. But because Akhmose cared more art and sports than learning how to rule, Tanakhmet made sure that the prince needed him and couldn’t rule without him.
Tanakhmet gazed upon the land that would soon be under his rule. His soon to be wife would elevate his and his future children’s status, being of royal blood. She was a princess of a land he had conquered, and she was sent to appease him and secure the alliance. Although he was the second most powerful man of Egypt, the thorn of resentment burrowed deeper and deeper into his heart every time he was reminded that royal blood didn’t flow in his veins.
When his future wife arrived and Tanakhmet gazed upon her the first time, he didn’t hide his disappointment. The princess was petite and average looking. Breasts barely lifting the light tunic and hips narrow as that of a young boy's, she lacked the beauty he desired. She was nothing but an obligation, a means to an alliance. Tanakhmet assigned her a luxurious living quarters in the palace with a beautiful lotus pond in the courtyard, far away from his quarters, and he provided an adequate number of servants to fit her status. He would see her again on their wedding day.
Glancing at the beautiful young slave kneeling at his feet, his loins immediately stirred with desire. Her skin had a sun-kissed glow and a pleasantly round body, which was soft in just the right places. Her shaved head downcast as she held out a cup of wine. He loved to see the look of defiance in her eyes, wondering what words would tumble from her lips if she was allowed to speak. She would be killed on the spot for her insolence if those words that clearly showed in her eyes ever left her lips. She was but a slave, a possession. She obeyed him, yet her gaze only held hate and disgust.
Why can’t she accept her fate? He often questioned, but deep down, he enjoyed the absolute power he had over her. Even after she bore his child, she remained obedient, but cold and distant toward him.
“I want you in my room tonight. It’s time to give your meowing pup to the wet nurse and return to my bed,” he said, watching the daggers in her eyes that clearly reflected her feelings.
She bowed her head in submission at his sharp gaze, stood up, and quietly retreated. Tanakhmet reserved a forced, kind expression only to royals, but those of lower status knew his true, savage nature. Having been born to a servant out of wedlock and greedily watching the privileged life of the royal family, he swore he would reach a high status one day. When the old Grand Vizier noticed his eagerness to learn, the aging man started teaching him all he knew. Soon, Tanakhmet made himself indispensable to the pharaoh and the entire court by creating healing potions and casting spells. When there was no more he could learn from the Vizier, Tanakhmet added a few deadly herbs to his master’s wine. He didn’t even feel a twinge of guilt or sorrow. In his mind, the Vizier had served his purpose by elevating his status and became disposable.
A servant approached holding a piece of papyrus. Tanakhmet’s eyes narrowed as he read the urgent message. The pharaoh was sending him to negotiate a treaty with not a minute delay. He glanced once more at the retreating slave, stood up and strolled out without another word. He hated that he had to obey the order of the pharaoh, but he knew the time will come when he would give the orders, and everyone will obey. Including the pharaoh’s successor.
The morning traffic was crazy, as usual. Layla tapped the steering wheel with anxious fingers and kept looking at the dashboard clock. “I'm going to be late… I'm so going to be late,” she mumbled, mentally pushing the cars in front of her to move faster.
Finally, she turned her small, secondhand Lyme-green car into a parking space, and the sounds of the noisy street cut off as soon as the heavy door to the museum closed behind her. The thud echoed through the large room across the marble floors. Her shoes clicked rapidly as she hurried toward a large storage room that housed her studio as well.
She had barely thrown her bag into a chair when her door slammed open. Jerome, her balding, overweight boss in his early fifties, rushed into the studio, exasperated. “Ms. Lockhart! You’re not going to believe this!” His face was flushed, his eyes bright with excitement. His voice squeaked, “Guess!”
“What’s going on?” Layla asked, as she observed the usually stoic man’s exhilarated fidgeting. He’s going to have a heart attack, she thought observing his red face and shaking hands. She felt concerned.
“We’re getting the well-preserved mummy of Prince Akhmose, the son of Queen Takhat. Dr. Wilson just phoned me last night from Cairo.” The words continued to spill out of his mouth at an unnaturally fast rate as if he were trying to tell her everything at once. He took a deep breath and continued, “He was at the dig site with no phone, until yesterday,” he said. “Finally, his lawyers got the paperwork done a week ago, and because he’s the benefactor of our museum, Prince Akhmose’s sarcophagus will be displayed here. The crates will arrive today.”
Layla’s heartbeat quickened. “This is an invaluable treasure that our small museum could ever hope receiving!” she announced and held her breath. “If I remember correctly, Prince Akhmose, son of Queen Takhat, was the brother of Amenmesse who ruled from 1201 to 1198 BC. He was the fifth pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty. Not much is known about him because he ruled for such a short time, but I remember reading about Prince Akhmose in a scroll. The only mention about him was that Pharaoh Amenmesse mourned his brother who died young.”
Jerome let out a nervous laugh, scratched his balding head and replied in a calmer tone, “Well, if he’d been a pharaoh or a well-known prince, I doubt the Egyptian government would’ve given us the right to transport his mummy out of the country.” He smiled brightly and his face started to return to a normal color, “Regardless, I’m happy that they did.”
“Yes, me too! I’m looking forward to deciphering the hieroglyphs on his sarcophagus and hopefully, we’ll get some scrolls as well.” She glanced at the broken pottery pieces on her table. The possibility of working on something great made her excited.
“Oh, yes! You’re fluent in the 19th dynasty dialect. I knew hiring you would come handy someday,” Jerome cackled, wringing his chubby fingers. “Let’s get busy. Pack away everything you’ve been working on. Our priority is now Prince Akhmose. You’ll catalog everything and start working on decoding while I’ll organize the preparation of the green room. Oh, my! I’ll have everything we have from the 19th dynasty transferred to the green room. It’s going to be a fantastic display.” Jerome turned and rushed out of Layla’s studio.
Layla hummed as she worked to carefully pack away the broken pottery pieces. There was no rush to restore them, and she had to stop a few times to calm her excitement. Finally, there will be something I could really enjoy working on. Her stomach felt like it was tied in knots and could hardly wait for the crates to arrive.