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   Chapter 1 Prologue

100 Days By Caitlin Characters: 6740

Updated: 2018-07-06 14:48


Prologue

Day 100.

He looked down at her, and his heart broke once more. 1

He'd lost count of how many times he'd had to witness her death. He'd thought the first time was gut-wrenching, enough to break a man into a million irretrievable pieces, but that was so long ago now that he could hardly remember the pain of watching her die right in front of him. All he could remember now were all the times that followed. The time that she was skewered with a spear. The time that she was turned to stone. The time that she caught the Black Death before he could even reach her. The time that she burst into flames. The time when they got so, so close, and they killed her before he could do anything. And now, when she was brought down by the most simple and disgustingly human killer of them all: a bullet.

All those times were so much worse than the first time, for one single reason: they were his fault. He was responsible for her death, over and over and over again. Not only that, he had to live with that knowledge, with knowing and remembering that every time she died, it was because he failed her.

That was the real curse.

He hears a soft sound from behind him, and when he turns around there's a familiar man standing silently behind him. Like every other time, he's accompanied by his favourite dog, who sits next to him as silently as his master, and is as black as the night shrouding the two figures.

The man arches an eyebrow when he takes in the scene before him. "A soldier this time, are we? That's a little on the nose considering your predicament, don't you think?"

He rocks back on his heels and slowly gets to his feet, very deliberately choosing not to respond. The man, as per usual, finds this incredibly amusing.

"The silent treatment?" The man chuckles, crossing his arms over his chest. The taut muscles in his forearms bulge as he taps his fingers against his bare skin, repeating the same sequence over and over again. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. The torturous drumbeat to accompany the equally excruciating events that he knows is about to follow. "That's cute and all, but you do know that you legitimately can't ignore me, right?"

Still, he doesn't respond, instead choosing to divert his attention to the girl lying motionless on the ground in front of him. His jaw clenches as he tries to look anywhere but at the ragged bullet-hole that so callously ripped her life away.

Again.

The tan-skinned man follows his gaze, and his eyebrows shoot up even higher. "A bullet this time? That's.... Boring. Now I owe Horus a phoenix."

"Boring?" He echoes, finally meeting the other man's gaze. He speaks in a low tone. "You bet on how she would die? Is this amusing to you?"

"It certainly isn't uninteresting." The other man shrugs nonchalantly. "What can I say? My job tends to be more bereft of life, and a little curse of death like this really livens it up."

"'Livens it up'?" Fury starts to boil in his veins, sparking in his gaze. "We have to live out this curse, this unrelenting hell we have been damned to suffer because of you all, and you find it entertaining?"

"Careful. You may be immortal, but your immortality will not protect you from a god's wrath, should you continue to throw around such crass words." The man warns sternly, and the dog next to him starts growling lowly, his hackles

rising. "Your fate was determined by Ma'at; I am just here to see it through. You know the rules. If she dies, you get sent to your sarcophagus for a century and wait for the next cycle."

"This isn't fair." He snaps, and the other man sighs exasperatedly, almost like he's talking to a petulant child that is on the brink of an explosive tantrum.

"We go through this every time. The fact that she was killed by a bullet instead of a roc or a javelin does not alter the situation. If you wish to break your curse you must complete the tasks Ma'at set you." The other man replies calmly, his eyes flashing in the moonlight. "Your bemoanings about the fickle concept you call fairness are falling on deaf ears."

Around them, the still night stirs restlessly, the rhythmic drumming growing louder. A light breeze that had previously been dancing gracefully around them starts to buffer viciously, stirring up the sand underfoot. His heart clenches painfully in his chest.

It's beginning.

He glances down at her, her body already disappearing into the whirling sandstorm that the god standing in front of him has stirred up. He knew what was going to happen next. She was going to disappear into the earth; her life, her existence forever forgotten by all but him. And he was going to disappear into the earth too, but in a completely different and far more torturous sense, until he woke up in one hundred years time, and this would all happen all over again. He would live, just to see her die. Over and over again, without relent. His own personal duat on earth. And he would be forced to endure this for the rest of eternity, unless he managed to break the curse. Unless he managed to stop her from dying and save her.

The other man clears his throat, his expression one of perpetual boredom. He clicks his fingers, momentarily halting the drumming so he can motion at him.

"I grow tired with your tedious fortitude. Stop mourning the girl's death; you have witnessed it before, and you will undoubtedly witness it again." The man bends his finger, motioning him forward. Next to him, the dog stills, his eyes trained on the defeated Egyptian solder standing in front of his master. "You are only delaying the inevitable, and you are wasting my valuable time. I do not have all day to do this, you know." 2

His fingers curl into fists at his sides, and he clenches his jaw to prevent the fiery outburst from tearing through his lips at the god's callous indifference. He glances down at her one last time, his vow reaffirming in his mind.

Next time, I will do it. Next time, I will break the curse. Next time, I will not fail you. I swear, with Hapi and Horus as my witness, next time, I will stop this.

"Are you ready?" The other man asks, and he nods, finally meeting his gaze. A smirk twists up the god's lips, and without any further hesitation he clicks his fingers, tearing them away from the sandstorm and back to a place he was all too familiar with. He eyes the large sarcophagus next to the god with hostility, the familiar etchings on it filling him with unadulterated loathing. The other man extends his arm, pointing almost mockingly at the sarcophagus as wrappings appear in his other hand.

"You know what to do." Anubis smiles, his black eyes glittering mischievously. "Let us begin, my favourite little reincarnation."

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