Day of the Beast

Boston to Giza, May 26 - June 22, 1926

It began with a great deal of waiting, or at least that's how I remember the beginning of the final leg of our campaign against the Brotherhood of the Beast. We knew the Day of the Beast was set for morning of the summer solstice, June 21st and only being the end of May we thought for certain that time would not be a problem. Had Patricia Carter been with us she would have scoffed at such naiveté, for surely everyone must know that the summer was off season for the Atlantic Cruise lines. Apparently not everyone, at least not us, and so we had to scrounge for passage to Europe -- preferably through to the Mediterranean. It took three days to find a slow freighter bound for Alexandria, via London and Athens. The ship did not leave until June 10th and took a full ten days to arrive in Cairo, which cut our schedule a little too close for comfort, but it was the best arrangement we could find.

We were not idle as we waited. We purchased supplies, scanned maps, perused travelogues, packed and re-packed. All of us except for Franklin, who spent most of this time at home, reading the mythic tomes we had found during our journeys. He hoped that these evil writings contained information that would increase our chance of success and survival on the plateau of Giza.

The Atlantic crossing passed without incident, as did the trip into the blue waters of the Mediterranean. We had half a day to spend in Athens, and so we tried to make the best of it by touring the Acropolis and then the harbor. While walking along the pleasure craft we heard a familiar voice call out our names: it was Patrica Cartier! We hadn't seen Patricia since she left us in Klasenburg for some "fun in the sun", or so the note she had left us said. But here she was, tan, bubbling, and in the company of two muscle-bound Greeks. She had rented (or purchased) a yacht and spent her time cruising around from port to port.

Patricia was now bored and volunteered to accompany us to Cairo and beyond. In fact she offered the use of her boat, which could bring us into Alexandria a full twelve hours before our freighter. We eagerly accepted her offer and returned to the ship to get our luggage and Franklin, who had opted to remain on board rather than tour the city. By early the next morning we had arrived in Egypt and a few hours later found us amidst the hustle and bustle of Cairo.

Cairo was Professor Vaughan's home away from home, and she quickly took over handling the logistics for the remainder of the trip. We obtained additional supplies and equipment for desert travel, and then rented a Land Rover and a limousine, because Patricia felt that the Land Rover lacked the status symbol and level of comfort to which she was accustomed. These travel arrangements suited me just fine: let the rich bitch sink her bottom into the impractical limousine while the rest of us made the trek in a vehicle designed for off-road use. I find some comfort in the fact that there will always be practical off road vehicles like the Land Rover that the Rich will snub, leaving them available and affordable to those of us who need the ability to go off-road.

Evening was approaching by the time we were ready to leave Cairo for Giza, and as we drove out from the city we were started to see a large dirigible coast in from the North. Emblazoned on the vertical stabilizer in tall red letters were the initials NWI.

Dusk had fallen by the time we made it to Giza, and the long shadows cast by the pyramids and other ruins made it difficult to find our way. Fortunately, Professor Vaughan knew her way around as if it were her own backyard, and Franklin knew our destination: the great and ancient Sphinx. Nonetheless, we couldn't just park our cars before the Sphinx and wait for the Brotherhood to arrive, but rather resort to secrecy and find an appropriate hiding place nearby. Franklin thought the barrier spell would work within a range of a quarter mile, and so Professor Vaughan selected the ruins of the Valley Temple as our hiding place. We set up camp, assigned watches for the evening, and began the final wait until sunrise, when Franklin was sure the Brotherhood would attempt to call the Beast. Patricia and her two Greek playboys elected to stay near the cars, which were several hundred yards away, where they had set up some rather posh tents (well, the two Greeks had as Patricia supervised).

Shortly after we had settled in, Professor Vaughan noted the absence of the usual locals from the plateau and warned us that something was wrong. We kept a sharper lookout and discovered armed guards walking about the area around the Sphinx. At first we thought they were members of the Egyptian Army, but the Professor took a long look at them and said that they were not. The Brotherhood had arrived in force.

The night passed slowly, and the guards kept up their patrols, sometimes passing within a few yards of the temple, but never entering. Just before dusk, several cars pulled onto the plateau and stopped before the Sphinx. Four Arabs armed with tommy guns stepped out from the cars and began to scout about the area, signaling to the guards on patrol. Two such guards were once again walking by our hiding place when we heard something that made our hearts stop: Patricia Cartier calling out to us as she walked up from her camp. There was little we could do but keep quiet and hope the guards didn't speak English. It didn't take any understanding of English to hear Patricia's screeching calls, and quickly the two guards raced off towards her. A short moment later we heard a scream and then the sound of approaching footsteps. One of the guards had returned and was now searching the temple in which we hid.

There was only one guard and there was only one Jacky, but the rest of us felt sorry for the guard nonetheless. It had been a long time since Jacky had the opportunity to use excessive force, and his took his frustration out on the poor guard. No other guards showed up, which was fine with us, although Jacky seemed more than a bit disappointed.

It was getting lighter by the moment, and the tension in the air was thick enough to see when the doors on two other of the cars opened and out stepped Hauptman, Lang Fu, and six Arabs dressed in black robes. Several of us kept watch on this group as they approached the Sphinx, while Franklin made preparations for casting the spell Create Barrier of Naach-Tith. Upon close scrutiny through the binoculars, we realized that one of the men in black wasn't an Arab at all, but a European or American -- we were certain this must be Edward Chandler, come forth to call the Beast himself!

The group paused before the Sphinx and began to chant. Franklin then called to us, for we were to provide him with the extra mental energy required to strengthen the Barrier to what we hoped was a suitable level. From where I was standing I could still see the Sphinx, and nearly fainted from horror as its face was replaced by utter darkness. Stars, planets and other nebulae filled the darkness and with a sudden flash the face was back to normal, or so we thought for a moment. Franklin too was chanting softly as sweat poured down his face and he became deathly pale. Soon he stopped chanting and sat quietly, giving no indication if his spell was successful or not. I looked back to the Sphinx and lost all hope.

The thing moved. The damned mammoth chunk of rock fashioned in the likeness of a lion with a man's had shivered and began to rise. The men who cast the spell wasted no time climbing into their cars and driving away. We had failed. The cars quickly accelerated from the Sphinx and then strangely came to an abrupt halt, as if they had driven into a wall. Some of the men leapt from the car and tried to escape on foot, but they too bounced off some invisible wall of force or barrier -- the Barrier of Naach-Tith! We hadn't failed after all, but had unexpectedly captured the evil bastards in with the Beast itself. And the Beast itself was now aware of them. It quickly squashed the cars beneath one foot, and smashed those attempting to flee on foot to a pulp with another. It then turned towards us, roared with an evil unearthly bellow and began to move, but it too was repelled by the barrier. It screamed out defiance and charged the invisible wall, and the ground shook so violently from the impact that we fell to our feet as the ruins began to topple down around us.

We worked our way out of the temple as pillars and walls crashed about and the Beast attempted to escape its prison. Once clear of the temple some of my friends ran towards the car, while the rest of us turned around and watched as the Beast lay down and became motionless: once again the lifeless stone of the Sphinx.

We found Patricia and her Greek boys on our way back to the car -- they had been knocked unconscious and no doubt left for the Beast to finish off. Before we could drive away, however, the Egyptian army arrived on the scene, arrested us and took us back to Cairo. We spent much of the day locked in an office, visited infrequently by Egyptian officials or officers and questioned briefly. We tried to explain the situation, but we knew few people in this world would believe our story and they we were probably in for a good deal of trouble. At least they took away Patricia for medical attention so we wouldn't have to listen to her shout out hollow threats of retribution from her family for the way she was being treated.

Late that afternoon a well-dressed elderly man whom we had not seen before entered and asked us to follow him. We were led into a large office that had on one wall a world map with various colored pins placed in certain cities, and a very senior member of the Egyptian military staff (judging from the number of ribbons and medals that adorned his uniform). The old man asked us what happened at Gisa that morning, and when we told him, he asked if we could give him the barrier spell that we used so successfully. He left the office soon after writing down the spell, and the military man looked at us suspiciously, but we were allowed to leave on our own to find a hotel in which to spend the night.

The next morning the old man paid us a short visit, where he explained that a number of cities had been invaded the previous morning in addition to Giza. Only in these cities the invaders had been massive worm like creatures that devoured entire buildings in a single mouthful. We assumed that these creatures must have been summoned by the Rhon-Paku temples. Alerted by our previous reports to back in the States the US Government had taken action against various temples and notified their allies to do the same, so the damage was limited to a handful of cities. With the barrier spell we provided the besieged cities were soon liberated. We were free to go and in good standing with the Egyptian Government, as well as many other governments around the globe.

That sounds nice, but I'm ready to go straight home and take a long restful vacation.

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