فصل 11

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فصل 11

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

‘We’ve Come Prepared’

Farrow had heard about Dr Strengel. He knew that Strengel was a rich man and owned a large collection of Egyptian antiquities.

Strengel pointed down at the body of De Fries.

‘What’s been happening here?’ he asked.

‘Keesing and De Fries blew open a passage into the Queen’s tomb,’ replied Farrow.

‘Yes, we heard the explosion. It helped us to get here more quickly. Where’s Keesing?’

‘He’s still in the tomb,’ said Farrow. ‘He’s probably dead.’

‘I found your book very helpful,’ Dr Strengel told Farrow. ‘I’m not a fool like Keesing. We’ve come prepared. No germs can get through these suits. Now we can take the mummy and treasure away before Inspector Salahadin arrives.’

Suddenly another voice interrupted them. It was Keesing. He had come out of the tomb while they had been talking. Now he was behind a rock. He was pointing a revolver at Strengel.

‘You’re not going to take the mummy or the treasure out of this tomb, Strengel,’ said Keesing. ‘I’m going to stop you.’

‘Don’t be a fool, Keesing,’ said Strengel. ‘You’ve been inside that tomb. The germs are in your body. You’ll soon be dead like your friend, De Fries.’

‘It was De Fries who was the fool,’ replied Keesing, ‘I didn’t touch the mummy. It was De Fries who opened the case. I didn’t touch it.’

‘You’ve been in the tomb - that’s enough,’ said Strengel. ‘You need help. I’ve got medicines in my lorry and I’m a doctor. Come down and I’ll help you.’

There was a loud bang. A bullet from Keesing’s revolver hit a rock near Strengel.

‘That suit won’t protect you if it’s got a hole in it,’ shouted Keesing, with a laugh.

Suddenly there was another shot from behind Keesing. The revolver dropped from Keesing’s hand. Keesing fell slowly from behind the rock. He rolled down the gully towards them. The driver of Strengel’s lorry had crept up the rocks behind Keesing. The driver was not wearing a suit.

‘Keep away from here!’ Strengel shouted to the driver. ‘Go and get your suit on. It’s dangerous here.’

Farrow remembered that he was in danger too. He moved away from the bodies lying on the rocks. Strengel looked down at Keesing. Keesing was not dead, but his face was turning black. He was in great pain.

‘Shoot me - shoot me,’ he said to Strengel. ‘You were right. The germs are in my body. Shoot me now. Let me die quickly.’

‘You knew that you were dying. And you wanted me to die in the same way,’ was Strengel’s cruel reply. He walked away, leaving Keesing turning and twisting in great pain.

Strengel turned to the two men who were with him, ‘We can go into the tomb now and get the mummy. But we must he quick.’

‘What about the radio message?’ said Farrow, turning to Dr Strengel.

‘What radio message?’

‘They’re holding my wife prisoner in Cairo,’ Farrow explained. ‘If Greer doesn’t get a call from Keesing before seven o’clock, he’ll kill my wife. And it’s nearly seven o’clock now.’

‘I haven’t got time for that,’ replied Strengel cruelly. He walked back to his lorry to get the equipment ready. They had powerful lights, spades, ropes, and steel bars. Strengel and his three men climbed up the gully. They were all wearing their protective suits.

Farrow stood thinking for a few moments. Then he walked down towards the lorry. He would try to use the radio to speak to Greer. He had never used a radio before, but he had watched Keesing using it.

In the Range Rover, Salahadin had also heard the explosion.

‘That’s them,’ he said. ‘They’re near.’

‘The explosion was on the other side of that mountain,’ said the driver. ‘It won’t be easy to get there.’

‘Which mountain?’ asked Musa.

The driver pointed up to a mountain top to the east.

‘That’s the mountain shaped like a sitting man,’ he said. ‘We’ll have to get round to the other side of that mountain.’

‘Let’s get there as quickly as we can then,’ said Salahadin. ‘The sun’s setting now and it will soon be dark.’

‘It’ll be dangerous if we drive too quickly,’ said the driver.

‘Drive as quickly as you can,’ Salahadin repeated. ‘If they take that mummy out of the tomb, it could be much more dangerous for everyone.’

The driver drove the Range Rover round rocks and up over hills of sand. The passengers were thrown from one side to the other. Half an hour later, they reached the entrance to the valley. The driver stopped.

‘We must be very near now,’ he said to Salahadin. ‘I’ve been in this valley before. There’s a gully on the west side. It’s below that great rock on top. The tomb must be in the gully.’

‘Good,’ said Salahadin. ‘We can walk from here.’

They all got out of the Range Rover. The driver pointed to some tyre marks in the sand.

‘We’ll follow these tracks,’ said Salahadin quietly.

They walked slowly down the valley. Salahadin and Musa went in front, with their revolvers ready. The three policemen and the driver followed them. They found the two lorries standing in the valley.

‘Listen,’ whispered Salahadin.

They stood and listened. A noise came from the back of one of the lorries.

‘It’s someone tuning a radio,’ said the driver. ‘I used to work as a radio operator. I’d know that noise anywhere.’

Salahadin walked up to the back of the lorry and looked inside. Someone was sitting in front of a radio with his back towards Salahadin.

‘Put your hands up and turn round,’ Salahadin said quietly.

Farrow was startled and jumped up and turned round. Salahadin was ready to shoot if the man had a gun. But he recognized Farrow immediately. He had seen his photograph on the visa application form in London.

‘You’re Farrow - Dr John Farrow,’ said Salahadin. ‘What’s going on here? Where are the others?’

‘Who are you?’ asked Farrow.

‘I’m Salahadin El Nur - a police officer.’

‘Thank goodness you’ve come at last,’ said Farrow.

Farrow quickly told Salahadin about the deaths of De Fries and Keesing, and about Strengel and his men.

‘Where’s Strengel now?’ Salahadin asked.

Farrow started to explain about the danger in the tomb. Salahadin stopped him.

‘I’ve read your book and I know all about that. Tell me about Strengel and his men.’

‘They’re in the tomb,’ replied Farrow. ‘But they’re wearing protective suits, and they’re protected from the germs. They’re taking the mummy out -‘

‘They’re not leaving here,’ said Salahadin. ‘The Queen of Death must stay in her tomb forever.’

‘But how are you going to stop them?’

‘I’ve got men with me,’ was Salahadin’s reply.

Farrow then told Salahadin about the radio call to Greer.

‘I’ll send the driver in to you,’ replied Salahadin. ‘He knows about radios.’

Salahadin hurried back to the others and told them what was happening. He pointed to the enormous rock that had fallen over the entrance to the tomb.

‘They’ve found a way into the tomb above that rock,’ he said. ‘They’re going to carry the mummy down the gully. They’re wearing protective suits and they won’t be able to move easily. That’s where we’ll be able to stop them.’

Salahadin then reminded them of the dangers of going too near the mummy.

‘Don’t go near the mummy,’ he said. ‘Remember - if you touch the mummy, you will die a horrible death.’

Salahadin turned to the driver.

‘Go back to the lorry and help Farrow send a radio message,’ he said. ‘But do it cleverly. If the person in Cairo gets suspicious, he may kill Christine Farrow.’

Salahadin sent two of the policemen up one side of the gully. The third policeman climbed up the other side.

The policemen quietly took up their places and hid behind rocks. Musa climbed above the entrance to the tomb and stood in the shadow of a rock. The moon shone on Salahadin who was standing alone in the gully.

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