Completely surrounded, I had little time or opportunity to plan my escape. So I had to think like my brother did, look at everything in the room then distinguish every possible outcome to every action I could make. I asked the surrounding tribes folk not to injure me but to bind only my hands together. This was crucial that they did what I asked. I widened the gap between my hands so that my hands could slip easily out if I wanted. So they proceeded hastily and their footing was cautious, almost too cautious. I walked with my head bowed down and my feet treading softly onto the cold moss-covered floor. I knew I must not fail in this, so as soon as they opened the door to be into the sweltering desert I ran. I ran like never before. Unfortunately for me, the rope was just too tight I could not free myself. From then on things just declined at an alarming rate. They were hot on my heels so I fell to the ground, surrendered and hoped for the best.
I woke up after fainting in the sun’s strength from the pursuit in which it was me against a small army. I was in a bamboo cage in an oasis which I did not recognise. There was only one tribesman on watch to see if I was attempting to escape. There was no way for me to escape so I just had to wait. So how did I get into all of this mess you wonder? Well…
I was out looking for the old shrine of king Kufu, the previous pharaoh of the Egyptian society, son of Sneferu in the fourth dynasty. I had researched his life and found he had not been buried beside his own treasures, this was intriguing, but placed them within a shrine that was hidden away in the depths now beneath the river Nile. I studied this area while I was teaching at a university in the south of Kentucky. I had moved to America from London, where I got a Masters degree in Ancient history. So I had free time in which to spend upon my discovery of this ‘shrine’. I purchased tickets to Cairo airport; from there I would take a small jeep to the uppermost area of the Nile then carry on from there. But while boarding my small twin turbine plane, I noticed that the side had been scratched by some sort of metal as there was no other material of which could cause a scratch of those proportions. I assumed it was caused through the fuelling of the plane and a compete accident. So I boarded happily and slept the whole flight after an exhausting day.
Upon my awakening, I noticed every single person had left and nobody was there to tell me where I was. I peered through the double-glazed window and saw no runway or other planes. I was not at the airport. I had only one word to describe this; bewildering. Nobody was around there was no jeep to pick me up or an alternative form of transport. I was stuck. Carefully, I took it step by step out of the plane then searched for any sort of life. In the distance I saw a figure, I thought perhaps that this was the man who would pick me up and take me to the shrine. But as I looked away for a short glimpse I saw the fuel tank had been cut open. I now realised that the scratch was to weaken the tank so that somebody could easily break into it and drain it to prevent any escape attempted by me. I was gob-smacked. No word could describe how confused and scared I was. Was somebody out to kill me? Was somebody there to plan all this? Would I die in the desert unnoticed and forgotten? My brother would have figured all this out and done something but my simple mind is not competent enough to realise all these small details. Then I fainted…again, this time from both shock and heat from the blaze of the deadly sun.
As my eyes slowly opened, I felt a cool shadow peering over me. It was a possible tribesman out looking for food. He gave me water and fed me some bread. This was to just make me feel something was not right, yet I would not complain. He told me his name was Mustafa. He saved my life so I trusted him, nearly as much as my own family. Little did I know that this would be the biggest mistake I would make in my insignificant life. He escorted me to an old village that was dusty, like a shanty town. He told me his past and fed me well. I owed my life to him. I told him of my expedition and all that I had researched. He enquired how I knew of this “shrine”. I responded that using old scriptures found from the past and certain tablets helped decipher this. He mentioned that his village had one of their three rare statues stolen days earlier by a neighbouring tribe. This second tribe also held the information of the shrine and that one of their spies got evidence to believe that their statue was held in that very shrine. I got directions and went to the tribe for help and the rescue mission as well. I took Mustafa with me.
As we entered their tribe territory, they interrogated us to see if we were thieves come to rob them but our quick thinking and smooth talking kept us safe. This tribe folk helped us and gave us the intimate details that could help us locate the ‘shrine’ without them personally leading both of us there. We left, thanking them for their hospitality, and set off towards the unforgiving Nile. Suspecting danger, we took small cautious steps as we neared the Nile. Our information that we had received from the rival tribe, made us believe they had created a sort of mine shaft leading down deep into the depth of the shrine. We approached the mine shaft; we were told it was down for maintenance. A chubby fat faced man with a glimpse of hatred in his eye not to mention the revolting and infected piercings all over his body, denied us entry that we simply needed. We mentioned that entry was needed, so that we could place gifts and offerings but he did not bite. Like a heavy-weight boxer, Mustafa sucker punched him dead centre in the stomach grounding him. I never knew such a nice guy could possibly be capable of that! We gained entry like a pair of police officers on a drugs raid.
Forced entry was last on my mind but now I knew that Mustafa would protect me. From then on I saw nobody else all the way into the room of the treasure. Mustafa saw his tribe’s statue and claimed it. I still had no idea that I was a pawn in Mustafa’s game. It was at this moment men stormed in surrounding me. Beside me Mustafa laughed and moved into the circle. Mustafa shook his head.
Deliberately he had betrayed me. Wherever I looked I saw panting, disgusted faces. Everybody within the shanty room was out to kill me. I called it the circle of death. My so-called friend had not helped me at all, but led me to this situation. (I knew that I must not panic) His name was Mustafa. We both agreed that if a treasure was found we would share the money and gratitude. I had so much trust in him and that the slightest inkling of him betraying me would not have possibly crossed my mind. If only I had known. (If only I had an extra man) If only I had seen through him. If only I had the courage to go it alone. If only.
Mustafa then explained that on my travels through America, my brother had undergone some secret police work. He tracked down a criminal gang in Cairo and shot dead their leader. So their only chance of revenge was to capture me until he turned himself in. This was when it hit me, the book on my desk was placed there. This had all the details of the shrine in it. There was also a mole inside the university, one that could place the book and persuade me to go. But that doesn’t matter anymore. This is now, that was days ago. As I felt a great depression fall over me they dragged me away and put a bag over my head.
I awoke. From inside my cage I saw Mustafa walk past and explain that he helped me to gain my trust so he could manipulate everything I had done so I would suspect nothing. I had played right into his hands. The only time I could escape was when they all went for dinner. They were sitting around and talking before eating. At this point nobody is on guard but they still could see me. That attempt got me twenty lashes and it still is sore. I dare not try again.
I am a prisoner held by the criminals themselves. I write this on a stone engraving all of this, hoping that once I die somebody will understand how I felt and tell this story to others around the world.
To this day I have had no outside communication for ten years. They feed me minimal amounts and I cannot commit suicide as they have taken all of the sharp stones and give me flat ones to write on. My plan is to someday manipulate them and be free.
All I say to this is that to trust no-one. Everybody has a bad side and even if they do save your life, they will pull you down. I will keep writing on these stones and one-day be free, dead or alive. All I hope is that my brother stays out of harms way and keeps a low profile. My twisted mind keeps telling me my brother is to blame but I try to argue against it. I just wish I could say goodbye to my only family member left alive, my brother Nigel.