by N.K.L. Storm
[Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs, administered by Paul and Storm]
[editor’s note: the editor would like to apologize to the author for not publishing this chapter sooner, as the e-mail to which it was attached was originally flagged by the editor’s spam filter and not seen until two weeks after it was sent. The editor would also like to gently advise that using the e-mail address “12yr0hottie [e-mail provider withheld]” will probably not make it past most spam filters, and that the original physical delivery method is probably a better way to go in the future.]
Under moon shadows and over hill and dale and other places did the mummies go, to whence and where Emily did not know. For though she didst still have ears she could not hear. And though she still had eyes, she couldst not see. And lo though she didst yet have a mouth, it had a sock in it.
“Mmph-mmph!” said Emily, who didn’t like having a sock in her mouth.
“Geez, I’m sorry! But it’s for your safety and stuff,” said a hunky voice near her. But Emily couldn’t hear it, because the mummies had plugged up her ears but good with cotton balls or something.
Though Emily’s extra-sensories were totally cut off from the world, she could certainly tell that she was going somewhere. And she wasn’t trying to scream because she was scared–no, no!–it was because she had been ripped away from her Soul-mayte so soon before what she was pretty sure might be their triumphy moment of awesome togetherness.
But unheeded did her mmphs go, and onward was she borne aloft on the wings of mummies. Finally, after about 5 1/2 forevers, she felt herself placed gingery down onto a softy seat.
They uncorked her ears first, but there wasn’t much to hear at the moment–though her heart had never stopped listening to Nightfin’s own corazón, which even then stood atop a crystalline tower, yowling into the barbarian chasm gulf that so speciously subdivided them.
Next went the blindfold, which she was wearing the whole time, but you probably figured that out already, so I didn’t bother to mention it before. Oh, and her hands were tied together, but not too tight, but then they untied them, so we don’t have to worry about that anymore. And no, she didn’t fart the whole time, so just SHUT UP about that, okay? Anyway, her eyes were more successful than her ears, and she saw that she was in a medium-ish room whose proportions conformed most curiously to that of a golden rectangle, whose ratio is approximately 1:1.618, which she of course knew for some reason.
Emily was entirely not alone in the room. All around were a bunch of the raggy, buff mummies, who sort of milled around like they didn’t know what to do or something. But it was the mummy standing in front of her whose stupid head bore the brunch of Emily’s womanly wrath.
“Uh-oh,” said the guy (he’s Tutt!), because he could tell that Emily was going to totally HAUL OFF on him. She wasn’t mmph-ing at the moment, but that made him even scareder. Her burning eyes just burned a hole through his own eyes–and caught his whole lunky soul on fire! Verily she must be his One True Love–the ancient but reborn incantation of Cleopatra herself!
Emily was for sure angry, but then started to get a little bit ooged out by how the big mummy was staring at her. Really, he was looking straight through her, like how a cat will stare just past your head, and you think there’s a spider or something on the wall behind you, but there’s not, and you turn back around, and the cat’s still staring. So you give it a snack.
“Um…I’m gonna take the sock out of your mouth now,” said the guy who was Tutt, though Emily didn’t realize it yet (she will, in just a sec!) “So, uh, can you not scream and stuff? Because…um…it wouldn’t be…er…blasé???”
Emily had totally been planning to scream, but after hearing the big, stupid-looking mummy say “blasé”, she just totally lost it, and laughed the sock right out of her mouth.
“Ho-ho-ho, hee-hee-hee, ha-ha-ha!” laughed Emily, with maximal mirth. Tutt started laughing too, and his head shook so hard that the old rags fell off of his lunky old head.
Suddenly Emily saw that the stupid mummy who’d ripped her from the bosom of together-foreverness was none other than the hunky dude who saved her when she fell off the roof of her house. Also suddenly, her heart was thrown into a washing machine of conflicty emotions, on spin cycle, and all of a sudden love was a battlefield of shadow, only all of the time.
“You’re that dude,” said Emily.
“Um…yes,” said Tutt, who was starting to doubt the wisdoms of berefting Emily from the vampyric environs. “Tutt.”
Then they just stared at each other for a long time, and even though Tutt’s eyes weren’t deeply blue (or even blue at all, probably) they were okay. I guess. But he was for sure cute, and strong, so that was pretty good. And he did care enough to kidnap her. But why?
“Well?” said Emily, who was starting to get annoyed with being stared at.
“Er…” said Tutt, who was ah struck by the visages of Emily (even though she still mostly thought she was ugly and stupid and UGLY.) The beefcake mummy decided it was time to see if she really was his One True Love, and he motioned for his co-mums to leave the room. Which they did.
“Weeeeelllllll?????” said Emily, again, in a repeated way. But she was sort of glad that they were alone, and kind of wanted Tutt to give her a horsie-back ride or something.
“So I’m going to ask you some questions, okay?” said Tutt, who looked very nervous for a strong dude.
“What if I don’t want to answer?” said Emily, with extra sass. Tutt looked at her with these puppy dog eyes, and Emily almost went “awwww!”, but she didn’t, because she liked cats better.
“You don’t have to, Cleo–I mean Emily Smithingtonson,” said Tutt. “You can leave right now if you wish. In fact, you can do anything you want–and I would do anything for you. Do you want some popcorn?”
“No, thank you.”
“Because I will make you popcorn–but not if you don’t want it. Or you can play me your favorite rap song on your Zune. Or you could tell me about your cat. Or you can wear my sports-playing-guy jacket and show it to all of your friends, who are probably stupid and don’t appreciate you. But I’ll hang out with them, with you, and make them like you, and then you can ditch them. If you want.”
Emily was starting to feel nervous for some reason. Why was Tutt being so nice to her? And what about Nightfin? Shouldn’t she just walk right out of that place, for him? She was so confused!
“Okay, I’ll answer your dumb questions,” she said, because it would keep her mind from thinking about other stuff or something. Tutt looked very happy indeed, and a little nervous too, and he began his inquisitionings.
“What kind of triangle has one 90° angle?”
“A right triangle, DUH!”
“What’s a trapezoid?”
“A quadrilateral that has one pair of opposite sides that are parallel!”
“And how do you calculate the volume of a pyramid?”
“You multiply the area of the base by the height by 1/3!”
“And what is the Pythagorean Corollary?”
“Tricked question!” said Emily, triumphy. “It’s the Pythagorean THEOREM–which states that in any right triangle, the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs (the two sides that meet at a right angle). Or, written as an equation: a² + b² = c² .”
Tutt looked like he’d just been hit upside the head with a baseball stick, because Emily had just blown his mummy mind. From just outside the room there were audio gasps, for it seems she’d surprised all of the other raggy ones. But Tutt steadied himself and got ready to ask another question, and Emily had a feeling that this one would be for all of the nachos.
“Where are you buried?”
Emily looked at Tutt like he was a big dum-dum. She wasn’t dead! Or was she? No, of course not. Was it another tricked question? No…it looked like Tutt was really looking for a real answer–and he was starting to look disappointed. Oh, no! Maybe she WAS just an idiot ungainly! She’d better say something…
“The Taj Mahal!”
Now a collected gasp rose up that made the last one seem like a much smaller gasp. Tutt stared at her now with an extra-hard gazement, of awe, and some mummy heads were peeking into the room to stare at Emily’s stupid head, whose hair looked like crap, as usual. It made her nervous.
“I’d like some popcorn,” said Emily. Tutt waved away the eaveslooking mummies, and then he ran from the room. And though Emily didn’t really know what all was going on with the questions and stuff, she was certain of one thing.
Tutt was making her popcorn.
A shadowy shadow fell across the portal of Emily’s homestead. And though Emily was busy hangin’ with mummies, there were other people inside. Most notably, Emily’s mom. And really at the moment she wasn’t inside, or outside, but was to wit standing in the doorway.
“Charlie Bannister!” she said to the caster of the shadow, who was in verity Nightfin Daggarhart.
“Hel-loooo, Mrs. Smithingtonson!” said Char-fin.
“What are you doing here? Where’s Emily?” asked Emily’s mom, who looked confused and maybe a little worried, but probably not, because in all likelihood she probably wished that Emily had NEVER BEEN BORN. Though she did buy Emily a Zune, so she probably cared some. Sort of a little, I guess.
Nightfin was in full-on Charlie mode, and he pretended that he was all dorky-sexy heartbroken and stuff, and dreamy sad-sexy tears began to sexy-fill up his awesome blue eyes.
“She…she ditched me for this other dude!” bawled Nightfin, who was totally playing on Emily’s mom’s emoticons. She gave Char-fin a big hug–but it was a mom-hug, and not sexy AT ALL, so it’s not like she was some kind of cougar–which would be so totally GROSS.
“Oh, no, Charlie!” said mom, who probably liked Charlie more than she liked her own daughter. “What happened?”
“So we were at the bowling alley, having a wow-awesome time, when this group of jocks came up to us,” began Nightfin. Then he blew his nose on his dorky clothes (though if boogers could be sexy, these were them.)
“It’s okay, Charlie,” said Emily’s mom, handing him a tissue. “Go on.”
“So this one extra-muscley jock was their leader or something, and he was all like ‘I’m awesome and strong, and I can do anything I want and no parents could ever stop me!’ And I was like ‘Go way, you’re mean, and I bet you don’t study at all!’, but the jocular kids just pushed me aside! Boo-hoo-hoo!”
“Ohhh, Charlie!” said mom, who was such an IDIOT.
“I tried to stop him, Mrs. S., but there were too many of them, and one of them might have had a knife, maybe. And though Emily went with those athletes, I don’t think she really wanted to go!” said Char-fin, who put on a face like he was super-worried. “And I’m not sure, but I thought I heard the big dude say ‘And sure as my name is Billy Tutt, I’m taking you to our Sports People Club, and…and…'”
“What, Charlie, What?”
“It’s too terrible, Mrs. S!” said Char-fin, pausing for the drama of it all. “Okay…he said he was going to put his tongue in Emily’s mouth!”
“Nooooooo!” shouted mom, and she was completely flipping out! Nightfin almost laughed at her, and at how well his dialectical plan was working, but he managed to keep all his pudding in one place. Emily’s mom disappeared for a moment, and then came back with a phone in her hand, and there was fire in her eyes.
“I’m calling the police!”
Emily could hardly believe the claptrap that Tutt had just fed her along with the popcorn.
“So you think you killed your dad after he turned you into a mummy, in Ancient Egypt. And that I’m the reincanted version of your One True Love, who was Queen Cleopatra?”
“No,” said Tutt, shoveling another meaty handful of popped corn into his handsome mouth. “I KNOW that your my One True Love, and are too totally Cleopatra.” Then he got quiet and sad. “And yes, I did commit dadicide.”
Emily wanted to believe him, but it was just so weirdly. But was it? I mean, just like she knew stuff about vampyres, she also knew about mummy things–like geometry. And how else would she have known about the Taj Mahal? And she’d had plenty of dreams about old stuff. Which made her wonder…
“Were there unicorns in Ancient Egypt?” she asked. It was Tutt’s turn again to look like a dumb doofus.
“Um…no,” he said. “But we had camels! And those kind of kick butt, right?”
“Never mind,” said Emily. There were always unicorns in her dreams, not stinky old camels. But there were other things, too. “What about cats?”
Tutt got very excited, and he started jumping up and down. “Oh, yeah! Egypt’s got cats! Ohhh, yeah! Worshiped ’em! Love ’em!” And then he got very sadly. “In fact, my best friend in the whole world was a cat, and he demised.”
“Oh, no!” said Emily, and so moved was she that she comforted the dum-dum with a hug. He was very muscley, which was very different from Nightfin.
“Yes,” said Tutt. “Smudgisis was a faithful companion…”
“Did you say Smudges?!” shouted Emily.
“I guess if you translated his name from Ancient Egyptian, through hieroglyphs and stuff, it would be Smudges, yes,” said Tutt.
“My cat’s name is totally Smudges!”
Now Emily’s head went all swimmy, like when your friends talk you into going on that spinning ride at the carnival, and your cookies end up all over EVERYONE. Which is only fair, because they made you do it, and it’s their own fault if they’re mad, because stupid Ethan happened to be walking by when we all came out of the ride, and one friend who really likes him (and I DONT KNOW WHY) had big chunks of corn dog in her hair, and Ethan laughed at her and it pretty much blew any chance for them to hook up, and I DON’T CARE and I’m NOT SORRY. AT. ALL.
It was like that. But without the whole corn dog part.
Tutt looked deep into Emily’s eyes, and her heart–that throbbing organ which dispelled so much oxygen throughout her ecosystem–started beating like that awesome song that goes “DUM-da-DUM, da-da DUM-da-DUM!, da-da!”
“Oh, you’re so beautiful, with an edge and a charm,” said Tutt, gazing at her proximity. “My life has been a whirlwind since I found you. I’ve been running round in circles in my mind.”
Emily’s internal conflict, which had begun as a pumpkin seed, now bloomed into a mighty oak, and she wished she could just chop herself down with a rusty, velveteen chainsaw, and she turned around.
“I’m getting a little bit terrified…and I see that look in your eyes,” she said, not daring to look at the kinetic man.
“Please…turn around,” said Tutt, who really had no clue. Emily didn’t like being put on the spot, and was starting to feel petulant indeed.
“I’m getting a little bit angry, and I know I’ve got to get out and cry!” she said, striking a very dramatic pose, because that’s how she felt, so it wasn’t like she’d planned it at all.
“Turn around!” shouted Tutt again, because he couldn’t think of anything else to say. “It’s enough for this restless warrior just to be with you!”
Mummies starting running into the room, ripping off their rags and stowing them in lockers that were along the walls (and had been the whole time.) Emily recognized some of them from her school’s various athletic teams, which was entirely surprising. Emily could hear a hubbub outside, with sirens and stuff, and Tutt looked mighty worried.
“We don’t have much time!” he said, spinning her around to face him, instead of asking like before. Emily was worried that her heart would leap out of her mouth and hit Tutt in the forehead, but it didn’t. He was a big beefy statuette, and she was entirely in his arms!
Police guys started rushing in with guns drawn, pushing mummies (who just looked like regular kids now) into lockers and handcuffing them. Emily could tell that Tutt wanted to kiss her, but she somehow knew that it would be, for him, a bloom of doom. So she shook her head “no”, for him. And though Tutt looked hurt, he braved himself as a big police dude handcuffed him and ripped their bosoms apart.
“I must ask…” shouted he, as they took him.
“What?! What must you ask?!” shouted she, to him, despite them.
“Us!” shouted Tutt. “The vampyres are jerks–will you be our Queen?!”
But before she could even formalize an answer, Tutt got bonked on the head with a stick or something, so there wasn’t much point in wasting breath on it. That’s when Emily saw her mom run into the room.
“You!” shouted Emily. “Why?!”
“Him!” shouted mom, pointing at Tutt as he was being dragged out.
“No!” shouted Emily, shouting. “You don’t understand! You never understand, and I don’t understand!”
“You’re totally grounded–FOREVER AND EVER!!!!” shouted stupid mom, grabbing Emily by the wrist and dragging her out of the Sports People Club.
And GAWD did Emily cry! And every tear was a wish-dream that was now nothing more than deadness–DEAD like the unicorns, DEAD like Tutt’s cat, DEAD like so many goldfish found upon dread morns floating, DEAD like EVERYTHING dies, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!
But there was yet one flaky, wafting glimmer of undead yet to be extent. For as Emily’s mom carted her off in their stupid, dorky car, she espied in the gathered crowd the thing that had first emerged her woman-self.
End of Part 8