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Authors: Carl Ashmore

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Time Hunters and the Spear of Fate, The

BOOK: Time Hunters and the Spear of Fate, The
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The Time
Hunters

and the

Spear of
Fate

 

 

 

By

Carl
Ashmore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Lisa and Alice

 

For Kath, Caitlin and Eleanor

 

For Steve and Victoria

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

I would like to thank
the following people for their unwavering support for the TH Books:

 

Mum, Athina,
Keith, Barbara, Alex Massey, Aud, Rob, Liz, Isla, Pete, Izzie, Tom, Jane,
Mache, Gabe, Sean, Jen, Gingerlily, Vanessa, Kay, John Lindenberger, Tej, Amy,
evertheoptimist, Scott, Phil Jones, Willie Wit, Hales, JJ Readalot, Cheryl-Ann,
Shiloh, Austin, Wyatt, Dakota, Fogle, Libby, Marty, Stephen, Hannah, Abby,
Petrona, Grayson, Johnna, Keegan, Kolson, Kim England, Alina, Eric, John, Dawn
Hills, Claire Thacker, Sue P, Emma Sly, Joo, Lynn, Tracey, Heidi, Max, JJulieJ,
Mel Green, Emily and Max, Sarah and Ellie Mai, Dave Burgess, Kathryn, Mark,
Ashleigh, Kerry, Mick, Marie Goldstraw, Jarod, Annie and Bump, Mikey P, Ross,
Caralyn Beattie, Dylan Kirkhart, Dustin Wright, Jo Tucker, Sally Parsons,
Lynda, Davey, Jasmyn, Tom Hollinshead, Richie and Seth.

 

 

 

 

In memory of Bernard Ashmore

CHAPTERS

 

 

Chapter 1:  Tut's Toy

Chapter 2:  Megaloceros
Giganteus

Chapter 3:  Peas in a Pod

Chapter 4:  Hologramaphone
Alone

Chapter 5: 
Betty the Deville you know

Chapter 6:  Help

Chapter 7:  This Time it's
Personal

Chapter 8:  The Lost Scroll

Chapter 9:  At last Atlantis

Chapter 10:  Tibet or not
Tibet

Chapter 11:  Snow fun at all

Chapter 12:  Orff's Gift

Chapter 13:  The Abominable
Dead

Chapter 14:  Orichalcum

Chapter 15:  Where there's
a Will...

Chapter 16:  Doctor Death

Chapter 17: 
The Chamber of the Ancients

Chapter 18:  Bullseye

Chapter 19:  Utterly
Butterby

Chapter 20:  The Omega Defect

Chapter 21:  Spitting Fire

 

Chapter 22:  The Great River

Chapter 23:  The City of
the Dead

Chapter 24:  All Fired Up

Chapter 25:  Mamma Mia

Chapter 26:  The Snake in
the Grass

Chapter 27:  The Chambers End

Chapter 28:  The Sanctuary

Chapter 29:  Flight and Fight

Chapter 30:  Just Deserts

Chapter 31:  Becky's Memorial

Chapter 32:  Katanga

Epilogue:  The Time Hunter

 

 

Chapter 1

Tut’s Toy

 

 

Egypt. The
Valley of the Kings. November 26
th
1922.  2.00pm.

 

Howard Carter’s hand
wouldn’t stop trembling. He mopped a thick line of sweat from his brow and
stepped back to admire the sealed door illuminated orange from the torchlight
behind him. The outline of the Royal Necropolis seal, the jackal and nine
captives, was faint but unmistakable. Lightly, he brushed away a layer of dust,
to reveal the pictogram behind. Carter recognised it immediately. In that
instant, an older man’s voice met his ears.

‘This is it,
Howard,’ Lord Carnarvon exhaled. ‘Look at the seal impressions, the cartouche.
It’s him. I know it.’  

Carter examined
the doorframe. ‘It doesn’t mean this is his tomb, sir,’ he replied, keeping his
voice as steady as he could. ‘Remember when Davis found the cache of Akhenaten.
It was similar to this.’

‘Similar but
different,’ Lord Carnarvon said eagerly. ‘On the other side of this door lies
the forgotten one. I’m certain of it.’ His eyes shone with child-like glee.
‘You’ve found him, Howard. You’ve found him.’

Deep down,
Carter believed his benefactor to be right, but he wasn’t about to voice it out
loud. He’d suffered too many disappointments to feel anything less than
cautious. ‘We shall see, sir. We shall see.’

‘Damn it, man -
call me George, will you?’ Lord Carnarvon insisted. ‘You’re on the precipice of
the greatest discovery of the century. I think we can drop the formalities.
What say you, Evelyn?’

A young
dark-haired woman with pearl-white skin clasped the older man’s hand. ‘Daddy, I
really don’t think Mr Carter cares how we address each other at this particular
moment. Isn’t that correct, Mr Carter?’

Carter’s heart
was pounding so loudly he didn’t hear a word. ‘I beg your pardon, Lady
Herbert?’

Lady Herbert
smiled kindly. ‘It doesn’t matter.’

‘Go on then,
man,’ Lord Carnarvon urged. ‘What are you waiting for?’

Carter swallowed
hard. His gaze fell nervously on the hammer in his right hand, before settling
on the chisel in his left. The same chisel his grandmother had given him on his
seventeenth birthday. He angled the chisel’s nib on the door’s left hand corner
and raised the hammer.
BUMPH
– a chunk of plaster fell away.

Inhaling a
lungful of warm, stale air, he struck the chisel again. With a puff of dust, it
broke through to the other side; he heard the soft
crackle
of plaster
speckle the floor beyond.

His pulse racing
wildly now, Carter pulled the chisel free to expose a small circular hole.
Slowly, meticulously, he chipped away its edges, until the hole was the size of
a dinner plate. Then he turned to the tall, moustached man on his left,
‘Arthur, could you pass me a candle, please?’

‘Certainly, old
chap.’ Arthur Callender drew a candle from his shoulder bag, lit it and passed
it over.

Dabbing his brow
again, Carter inserted the candle into the blackness and watched the flame
flicker left and right. ‘No foul gases,’ he said in a relieved voice.

‘Thank God,’
Lord Carnarvon said. ‘Then come on, man. Don’t keep us in suspense… take a
look.’

‘And the best of
luck, Mr Carter,’ Lady Herbert said sincerely. ‘You deserve it.’

Carter glanced
back at her. ‘Thank you, ma’am.’ A nervous smile split his face. ‘Here goes
nothing…’ He leaned forward and his head disappeared from sight.

It took a while
for Carter’s eyes to adjust to the soft glow of candlelight, but when they did he
saw a mass of objects surface from the gloom: golden objects - glistening,
gleaming, as clean and flawless as the day they had been placed there.

In that moment,
Carter knew he had fulfilled his lifelong dream. As a boy, he had visited
William Amherst’s ‘
Egyptian Room’
at Didlington Hall, and since then had
been obsessed with Ancient Egypt. And now he had made the most important
discovery in the history of Egyptology.
Tears misted his eyes.

He had found the
Boy King.

He had found
Tutankhamen.

‘Can you see anything?’ Lord
Carnarvon asked impatiently.

Carter took a long time to reply.
‘Yes,’ he said in barely a whisper. ‘Wonderful things …’

‘Let me see …’ Lord Carnarvon
shuffled to Carter’s side. ‘Mr. Callender, would you be so kind as to get an
electric torch?’

‘Certainly, sir,’ Callender said,
turning away and exiting the passageway.

‘Howard, would you widen the breach
so an old man can share in your glory?’

‘Of course.’

For ten minutes, Carter chiselled
neatly at the hole, until it was as wide as a dustbin lid.  At the same
time, Callender returned with an electric torch, which he promptly handed to
Lord Carnarvon.

‘I feel like a boy again,’ Lord
Carnarvon said, his voice aquiver.

‘And you look like one, Daddy,’ Lady
Herbert said. ‘I’ve never seen you happier.’

‘Aside from your birth, child, I
doubt I have been.’

Lord Carnarvon gripped Carter’s arm,
steadying himself, before directing the torch ahead. He sent a beam of misty
light into the opening.

At once, the two men gave
simultaneous gasps of astonishment.

The antechamber
was overflowing with artefacts – gilded chests, ornamental plates, silver
vases, a golden throne, disassembled chariots – all of them piled shambolically
from floor to ceiling. Two
life
sized ebony-black statues of Tutankhamen faced each other on the North wall, as
if guarding the way ahead.

Carter and Lord Carnarvon stood
there for an age, silent, motionless, as the sheer enormity of the moment swept
over them. Then Carter lowered his gaze. It was then something caught his eye -
something he would never have expected in a million years. His head reeled.
 ‘Shine the light down there, please, sir.’

Lord Carnarvon noted the confusion
in his voice. ‘What is it, Howard?’

Carter pointed downwards. ‘The light
… there, please.’

Lord Carnarvon complied. To his
surprise, the torchlight illuminated a wide assortment of children’s toys. ‘But
they’re just toys, Howard. Tut was barely out of childhood when he died, it
makes sense they’d be buried with him.’

Carter didn’t respond. Instead, he
extended his arm, gesturing for Lord Carnarvon to move back. ‘Stand with Lady
Herbert, please, sir.’

Lord Carnarvon looked confused.
‘What do you –?’

‘Move back!’ Carter bellowed, his
voice rebounding off the walls.

Shocked by Carter’s tone, Lord
Carnarvon stepped into the arms of his equally bewildered daughter.

Carter flung the chisel aside, and
raised the hammer high. There wasn’t a trace of precision this time as -
BAMMM
- he slammed the hammer into the door. The walls shook; heavy clumps of plaster
pounded the ground.

Callender had never seen his friend
act in such a way. ‘What are you doing, Howard?’ he yelled.

Carter ignored him. Teeth gritted,
he struck the door again, harder this time. The hole widened further; his legs
were engulfed in a cloud of dust and plaster.

‘Howard, what the hell is going on?’
Callender asked. ‘You’re acting like a lunatic.’

‘Quiet, Arthur,’ Carter replied
forcefully. Then, slowly, he leaned into the hole, his top half disappearing from
view. He appeared to be scrambling for something on the floor. A moment later,
he stood upright, utter confusion on his face.

‘Howard,’ Lord Carnarvon barked.
‘What has come over you?’

Wordlessly, Carter turned towards
them. Cradled in his hands was an object, an ornately carved wooden object,
painted in the most vibrant of reds.

Lord Carnarvon couldn’t believe his
eyes. ‘My Lord!’

‘I - I don’t understand,’ Lady
Evelyn gasped.

Callender had turned as white as a sheet.
‘I - it can’t be,’ he gasped. ‘It’s just not possible.’

Silence surrounded them.

Finally, Carter spoke, ‘What should
we do?’

‘Put it back, man,’ Lord Carnarvon
said at once. ‘We need time to think about this. Let us secure the tomb for the
day, put it under armed guard, allow no one to enter, and we shall discuss the
implications of all of this over dinner.’

‘But we’re having dinner with
Charles Butterby tonight, Daddy,’ Lady Herbert said. ‘He’s made the trip from
England.’

‘I don’t even know this Butterby
chap,’ Lord Carnarvon sighed irritably, ‘but very well. We have dinner with
Butterby and then the four of us meet up at my accommodations afterwards.
Either way, we tell no one about any of this until we’ve had time to discuss
it.’

‘You’re right, sir.’ Carter said.
‘And I apologise for raising my voice.’

‘Not at all, Howard,’ Lord Carnarvon
said kindly. ‘I’m certain I would have been somewhat quick-tempered if I’d have
been the first to spot it.’

Carter nodded. Returning the object
to the antechamber, he delicately placed it beside the model of a funery ship,
and allowed his gaze to fall on it one last time. His head reeled as he
pondered the all-important question.

What was a toy double-decker bus
doing in the tomb of the most famous Pharaoh of them all? A tomb sealed from
the outside world for over three thousand years.

BOOK: Time Hunters and the Spear of Fate, The
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