BigCloset Classic

Maiden's Curse - Part Two
Date: Saturday, October 19 @ 02:34:12
Topic Big Closet TG Stories



Part Two
by Prudence Walker

(continued from Part One >

Angela's internal dialogue with Aglsha took only seconds. Looking back towards Simon, on the pretext of looking around at the other passengers, she managed to take in more of his physical attributes without making it obvious, or at least that was what she was hoping for. Simon was smartly dressed, and looked like a corporate executive until she looked at his hands. They seemed callused, as if used to physical work and not just paper pushing. While she was wondering what he did, she realised she was thinking of him as possible husband material.

'Oh my god! How can this be? I was a man until a few days ago. Surely it would take longer than that to change my attitudes and sexual preferences like this?'

(Um... oh dear... I think that's my fault, Angela,) came Aglsha's thought. (This body is extremely female. It's part of how our race is. That is why it is reacting to the physical presence of this man and the feelings you were getting, but the other is a bleed over effect from my thoughts. I was thinking he could be a suitable partner and that has coloured your thoughts on the subject.)

'Phew! I'm glad I know that. I was starting to wonder. Will this bleed over continue to happen or can you stop it?'

(I could stop it, but it's not advisable, it's part of the meshing effect that our minds are going to need if we're to work together with the orb. Maybe after, if all goes well, we can separate our minds and I can enter Entropheny.)

'Entropheny? I don't like the sound of that. What is that?'

(Dear one, it's like an endless sleep.)

'You mean death, don't you,' cried Angela, fearing the answer.

(Yes, but it will be for the best. You wouldn't want me sitting in your mind sharing your intimate moments.)

'No, I won't let you sacrifice yourself, I need you,' pleaded Angela.

(Let's survive the crisis first, then we'll see.)

Angela looked out of the window as a tear ran down her cheek. She didn't want to be alone in this body, and she valued Aglsha's advice.

"Is anything the matter?" asked Simon curiously, noticing Angela wiping a tear away.

"No, I'm fine, it's just I'm going into Egypt alone and I might never return if things don't turn out favourably," Angela sniffled.

"What a co-incidence, so am I. There's some research I need to do involving the pyramids," Simon answered with raised eyebrows.

"Research?" questioned Angela, thinking he could be worth cultivating further.

"You'd laugh, it has something to do with UFO's," he replied, looking for any sign of derision.

"Interesting, tell me more."

Simon looked at her in surprise, his estimation of her going up at matter of fact way she accepted his statement.

"Well, it seems a certain archaeologist deciphered a previously unknown text that tells of a visit by an alien craft at the time of the pyramid building. I've been sent to investigate the information, to see if there's any truth in it."

"Oh? You look into UFO's then?"

"Among other things. I work for a government agency..." he broke off suddenly, looking around the aircraft, checking for anyone listening. Seeing nobody particularly close and the woman in front sleeping, he relaxed, wondering why he'd divulged that information. He knew the agency wanted no one to hear anything about the report until it could be dismissed as a hoax.

"Oh I know, one of those I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you things," she laughed, seeing his hesitancy.

"Well, I guess that's close," he continued softly, "but for some reason my instinct tells me there something more to you other than your beauty. I can't put my finger on it, but it's as if part of my soul is telling me that our fates are entwined with each others mission," he said enigmatically.

'Aglsha, he knows something, I'm sure of it,' Angela fretted silently.

(I sense a power in him that's similar to your own, but of the opposite polarity. We may need him. I say we confide a little more to ensure he accompanies us.)

Angela smiled at Simon and told him that her mission was to save the world from a hitherto unknown threat emanating from space. Expecting him to scoff and dismiss her story as the ravings of a seriously troubled female, she was pleasantly surprised when his eyes narrowed and he asked from where was this threat coming from.

Getting the information from Aglsha, she said, "from the direction of..." and she rattled off the spatial co-ordinates as given by Aglsha, mentioning that the threat was about 1500 km across.

"How did you...? Never mind..." he paused, looking at her in speculation, and then coming to a decision, said.

"Nobody knows this, but two days ago a cloud of something unknown was picked up by radio telescope heading this way from that exact position. We don't know what it is, but it's moving fast. The text that was deciphered mentioning the UFO also mentioned a warning about a global threat unlike any other, coming from space. You wouldn't happen to know what that is by any chance?"

'Shall I tell him?'

(Yes.)

"It's a cloud of Pleolites"

"Huh?"

Angela sighed, "I know this is going to sound bizarre, but they are a pestilence which will destroy all life on this planet should they enter our biosphere. The only thing standing in their way is myself and an object called the orb which is what I'm looking for."

Looking at Simon to see his reaction, she was surprised to see him blanche.

"The orb," he whispered, more to himself than anyone.

"It was mentioned in the text," he continued. He looked at Angela intently searching her face for... what?

"There was one other thing in the text." He paused dramatically, watching her expression.

'Oh oh,' she thought, 'here it comes.'

"Yes," he continued taking her silence as a cue to continue.

"It said, 'protect she, who has the sun in her palms, for she is the bearer of the light that will keep the world from darkness.' "

(That was a message from my father), Aglsha told her.

'Sounds very dramatic, can we truly do this,' Angela thought back.

(God willing, we will.)

"Are you she?" Simon asked quietly.

She nodded and looked away from those piercing blue eyes

"I am she," she answered simply.

"Look at me...please," pleaded Simon, gently taking her hand as it lay on her lap.

She turned and he looked at her and the tears that welled in her eyes, and his heart melted. The sudden realisation that this woman had captured his heart made his next task all the more difficult to do.

"I have to inform my superiors about this. This is bigger than the both of us can handle. We need support that will give us a fighting chance. He took out his cell phone and started to make the call.

Angela froze in panic. Only the calmness of Aglsha's thoughts prevented her from trying to run, fruitless, as that was, seeing as they were 20,000 feet up in the air over the Atlantic Ocean.

(Calm child,) came Aglsha's thoughts, (he's right, we do need more resources, and the way he's been looking at you, I'd say he was smitten.)

'I'm finding myself attracted to him as well, but I'm feeling confused. In my head something tells me this is wrong, but my body is telling me otherwise.' Angela confessed.

(Honey, don't fret over it. At this moment, we have bigger fish to fry, to quote one of your sayings)

"It's all arranged," came back Simons's voice, interrupting her internal dialogue.

"What's all arranged?" Angela asked, worriedly.

"We'll be met at the airport by a team flown in from Hawaii. Now, a question, do you know where the orb is?" he asked anxiously.

"Well, I can't point it out on a map, but I can tell you the direction. It's sending me a signal that only I can sense," Angela reassured him.

"Then it looks like we need to keep you alive and well at all costs," he sighed.

"You believe me, don't you?" Angela whispered, looking at Simon.

"Of course. I can tell that there is something unusual about you that tells me you are the most important person on the earth at this time. I trust my instincts, they have never let me down yet."

~oOOo~

As soon as they passed though the tedium of going though customs at Cairo airport, they were whisked away in a dark limo to a warehouse that was on the outskirts of the city. Uncertain of what was in store for her, Angela was nervously awaiting meeting her interrogators. Only the presence of Simon holding her hand gave her any comfort.

A door opened from a small office within the building and a short grey-haired man walked towards them. He was older than Simon by a number of years, his face lined with the ravages of time. He stopped, looking first at Simon, then at Angela, his eyes trying to pierce her seemingly outward calm.

"Simon, is this she?"

"Yes sir, this is Angela, the one mentioned in the texts."

"How can you be sure? She looks as if a strong wind would blow her away. Definitely not my idea of the saviour of the world," he scoffed.

"I can look after myself," Angela retorted, shocking herself.

'Why did you make me say that,' Angela communicated to Aglsha.

(We need to convince them now, not a week from now. Let me take the reins for a few minutes while I demonstrate)

'Okay, but don't do anything stupid, I don't think he likes us.'

"Please, if you want to see if I can handle myself then get someone to fight me, Aglsha said, imperiously.

The man smiled and whistled. At the whistle, another man came silently out of the shadows. He was about six foot three and built like a bulldozer. His neck was corded with muscle and he made Angela look like a porcelain doll in comparison. As he came forward, he crouched in front of Angela in what was typically a martial arts stance. Simon looked on in shock and stepped between them, thinking to stop what was obviously a serious mismatch. Aglsha pulled Simons arm and whispered in his ear.

"I can take him on, just don't interfere."

Simon looked at her with speculation in his eyes, but conceded to her wishes and stepped back. As he did so, the man facing her lashed out in what was surely a killer blow. All hell broke out, as Angela seemed to move with blinding speed easily evading the hulk's attack.

To Angela, taking a backseat in her own mind, it was as if time had slowed down. She could see the man start a strike to her head, and then it was as if he started to move in slow motion. Aglsha moved her head out of line of the oncoming blow and started her own counter punch to the throat. It was as if she had all the time in the world. He had only just started to react to her movement by the time she had punched him, pulling the blow a little so it wouldn't do him serious harm.

Simon watched in amazement, as it seemed as if Angela hadn't even moved, and the man facing her had just sunk to his knees, gagging from the almost unseen blow.

Suddenly a shot rang out, shocking everyone, Angela seemed to flip over backward, one arm flung out in a spasmodic action with a speed that was frightening. As she lay on the ground shouts broke out, calling for a stop to further action. Simon rushed forward, hoping against hope that she was still alive.

The grey haired man was yelling to another for a medic and lambasting the shooter for being trigger-happy.

Angela fortunately, was still in her hyper mode when the shot was fired, and sensed the bullet approaching. With a flip of her body, she shot out a hand in time to intercept the bullet and, with the speeded up reflexes, caught the bullet in her hand. She managed to disperse enough of the bullets kinetic energy so that the bullet slowed enough so that it only bruised her palm of her hand.

Lying on the ground, she saw Simon rush over and she smiled inwardly as she saw his concern over her safety. He reached down and she shocked him by turning over and getting to her feet as he blurted out a question.

"Are you bleeding? Tell me where were you shot?"

"I'm okay, I'm not shot, Simon."

"Huh? But...I thought?"

Angela walked over to the grey haired man and took his hand turning it palm upwards. Dropping the bullet into the stunned mans palm she said,

"I believe this belongs to one of your men, please return it. I don't need it in my diet," she said, nonchalantly.

The man looked at her, and then at the bullet, turning it over with his fingers, then he threw it away towards the man still holding his weapon, saying.

"Enough, she's proved to me at least that she has a power. Hopefully, it's good enough to help us overcome the prophecy."

At her look, he explained that the text was in the form of a prophecy and, with the discovery of the cloud approaching earth; they weren't dismissing it so casually. One, because the text included the stellar co-ordinates of the cloud and two, because of the approximate time frame of its arrival. A fact that had a certain small group that was privy to the information, very nervous.

"Now, whereabouts is this orb that was mentioned in the text?" he continued moving over to a table, that Angela saw, was covered by a detailed map of the region.

"That way," Angela pointed, ignoring the map.

"Huh?" then seeing Angela with her arm out pointing, he sighed and took out a compass and moved behind her, orienting on the direction. "You're sure?" he questioned. Getting her nod, he moved to the map, aligning it with the compass. He then drew a line along it, starting at roughly the position where the warehouse was located. "Okay, we need to get another line from the east of town to get a triangulation." He muttered.

Angela and Simon were shown into a small room where a meal was served for them. Adjoining it was a small bathroom that had a shower which Angela took full advantage of, getting rid of the stickiness from the afternoons heat. The meal consisted of a salad with assorted cuts of grilled steak and a bottle of soft red wine. Angela was grateful that it wasn't anything heavier because of the oppressive heat.

Angela noticed Simon's curious glances at her during the meal. He looked appraisingly at her as if she had changed into something.

"What? Angela asked him.

"Sorry, I can't get over how you did that earlier with such apparent ease."

"We'll I do have a little extra something," she replied cryptically.

After eating, and a quick rundown from the grey haired man (who was introduced to Angela as Gary) on the next day's agenda, they were shown to a couple of rooms, each which had a rough bunk bed in it. Gary apologised for the bed, saying it was only a last minute set up and that conditions from now on would be Spartan at best. Angela didn't rest as well as she might have liked. Not only did the heat linger, but also the call of the orb was so much stronger, giving her some rather strange dreams.

The next morning saw her dressed in what could be described as an Indiana Jones outfit, even to the hat. Gary had got them sometime in the night from sources unknown, pointing out that the clothes Angela had brought with her were hardly suitable for the task ahead. She reluctantly agreed, but packed one of her nicer gowns in the small handhold she was given. She was determined to dress elegantly in the evening no matter where or what the location was like. Having to wear pants again seemed odd and restricting, after the freedom of wearing skirts and dresses.

Gary and two other men had loaded a somewhat battered Land Rover that had seen better days, but which, they were assured, was in good order. They had attached a covered trailer, which contained most of the gear required for a trip into the Egyptian deserts. Getting nervous, that the search for the orb was underway at last, Angela climbed into the front passenger seat while Simon got into the driver's seat. Gary sat in the rear with a communication rig on his head, while the two men mounted a couple of old English Army-Indian motorbikes, looking in similar condition to the Landrover. Then, with a roar, they sped off in front, presumably acting as lookout/escort.

As they moved out towards the east for the other reference line, Gary started questioning Angela.

"I did some searching of the data bases and sent your fingerprints for identification that might be available, but I came up empty handed," he said quietly. "Oh I know your records stand up according to the data bases," he continued, interrupting Angela's half-voiced protestations." The odd thing about them was that there's nothing on paper, no documentation of your birth, schooling, or normal stuff that a woman would accumulate over the years. It's as if you just materialised just a few weeks ago, if that. Care to explain how come a woman like yourself has no documentation other than what you're carrying in your handbag?"

'Should I tell him?'

(Well it looks like we need to, hon)

"Gary? If I told you the truth you wouldn't believe me, but you hit it on the nail. I didn't exist a week ago," Angela said resignedly.

"So who, and maybe I should ask, what, are you?" Gary replied, leaning forward to hear her better over the engine noise.

Angela looked over at Simon and bit her lip in anxiety as she saw the stony look on his face.

"Well this is the truth, I was given this form from an artefact that was discovered recently. It also gave me the powers that I demonstrated to you last night."

"Ah, the mummy case, I knew we shouldn't have let them take that. Did you remove it from the museum? I heard that it disappeared under odd circumstances."

"Yes, it is safe." Angela conceded, dreading the next question.

"So who were you then, and how and why did you get changed? Are you still human?" Gary's questions seemed to hit her like stabbing wounds as she considered her choices.

(Start with the easy ones hon and play your hand as you see it), Aglsha urged,

"I'm still human, just modified by an alien artefact that was sent here to save us from another world. The reason for my change into this shape was, so that the being that inhabits my mind can utilise her power to ultimately save this world. I...I...was formerly a man," she got out in a rush. Angela looked at Simon and saw his shock at her words, and he slowed the Rover to a stop and turned, looking at her in disbelief.

"You're a man? I mean used to be a man?" he gasped, trying to picture her as a male. I don't believe it you're so feminine! No man can talk, walk, and behave like a woman in such a short time."

'He believes me!' Angela nodded towards Gary. "Remember, I have a ghost in my head showing, and teaching me to be a woman." Angela turned and looked out the window, not trusting her voice, as her emotions at the anticipated loss of Simon's respect, started to overwhelm her mind. Not wanting to see his disgust at finding out that she was formerly a male, Angela opened the door of the Landrover and jumped out.

She ran towards the jumble of rocky outcrops bordering the roadside wanting to disappear into oblivion. Her newly awakened feelings for Simon were the reason for her fleeing before she collapsed in tears. Even Aglsha was silent, not willing to force her to stop as Angela's mind fizzed in a maelstrom of conflicting emotions. As she ran, a shout of "Angela, stop!" from Simon only made her run faster into the hot rugged land.

She stopped finally, not entirely sure where she was, and sagged to the ground in the meagre shadow of a large boulder. Her muffled sobs were the only sound, as she let her pent up feelings run free.

'Aglsha, he must be disgusted that I'm not truly a woman,' she sobbed. 'I wish I was back in my old body with just my old problems,' she continued. 'I feel so mixed up. I have feelings for a male, and having him think I'm unworthy of his affections makes my heart ache! What's happening to me? I was a man not that long ago, I shouldn't be feeling this way! Oh why can't I sort my feelings out?'

(Angela, please hush child. Do you know how proud I am of you? You get your gender changed and sent on a mission that puts the whole worlds safety, on your shoulders. You're dealing with emotions and hormones that are new to you and you are carrying a ghost of a person from another world. Yet you have shouldered the load and everything else with hardly a protest. I'm truly astonished at your ability to withstand these pressures and challenges with no more than this emotional storm,)

Angela felt the ghostly equivalent of a hug, but was still too upset for it to register at that point. Hearing someone scrambling over the rocks from behind, she turned...her face streaked with tears, to see Simon standing there, a concerned look on his face. She turned away, hiding her shame and sobbed, her tears falling and wetting the boulder she was hugging.

"Angela, please come back, we? I need you."

"Go away, leave me to my shame," she said, making a pushing away motion with her hand.

"Angela, listen to me?"

"I said go away!" Angela screamed, interrupting him.

"Alright, I'm leaving," Simon said sadly, moving reluctantly back towards the road.

Angela's sobs renewed, feeling oddly abandoned.

Five minutes later her sobs subsiding into sniffles, a shock went though her body when a hand touched her shoulder. Looking up, she saw Gary standing there, an oddly satisfied expression on his face.

"What. Come to gloat?" She asked, resignedly.

"Now, I'm sure you're human," he replied with a smile. "I was beginning to wonder. Simon is a good man, I wouldn't want to see him involved with someone who's not human anymore."

Angela snorted, "yeah right, like he wants to have anything to do with me now that he know s I'm just a faux female," she sighed.

"You might be surprised. He was shocked at first by your revelations, as was I, but I think it will matter little, in the long run. I saw him when he leapt to your defence and when he thought you were hurt. The man has it bad, trust me, now lets dry your tears and get back to finding this orb object."

He took her hand and lifted her to her feet, then, led the way back to the vehicle where Simon was waiting. As she neared her eyes downcast, she didn't see the look in his eyes, the look of a man lost in her beauty, even with her tear streaked face.

Angela stopped and looked up, seeking for any sign in his face that what she had revealed, hadn't destroyed their growing relationship. She wasn't prepared for the look in his eyes, a look of respect and something else. She hoped against hope she wasn't mistaken as he handed her a moist hanky to wipe away the tears. Her heart thundered in her chest and she felt a little dizzy as he pulled her to him in a hug. She buried her face in his shoulder letting the tensions go and relaxing as his strong embrace made her feel secure and wanted.

A cough from Gary interrupted them, bringing the both of them back to the harsh reality of a world to save. Simon handed her a bottle of chilled water, which she gratefully accepted in the growing heat of the day. Simon the helped her into the Landrover and soon they were headed towards their objective.

Having got another fix on the orb using Angela's finger to enable a triangulation, Simon and Gary pored over the map coming up with an approximation over the point to search.

Angela meanwhile was studying Simon in a new light, as a potential mate and lover, and having an intense mental conversation with Aglsha.

'I think I'm falling in love with Simon,' Angela thought.

(Well I'm glad. You don't want to live a life without the joys of love) Aglsha thought back.

'But I'm a man inside this body, I shouldn't be having these feelings. Its wrong isn't it?'

(Honey, I told you this body is ultra female. You can't be a male, ever again and that's that. It has needs, as you have already found out. Unless you want to fight this body and risk not being able to utilise the orb to its fullest, then just relax. Let your mind be influenced, it will be better in the long run.)

' I suppose so. I think I would have liked Simon had I been Bob anyway, so having feelings for him as a woman is just another step closer.'

(I'll bet he'll be a great lover.) Aglsha giggled.

Angela's thoughts about Simon making love to her seemed to trigger a flutter in her heart. She felt her nipples harden and a thrill went though her body ending up at her crotch that seemed to set off a reaction as her secretions increased and her panties dampened.

"Okay, it looks as if the orb is near the pyramids," Simon informed her, interrupting her daydream. "Its going to be difficult moving around there unobtrusively, so we thought that Gary could set up camp nearby and we could look around by being tourists. When we pinpoint the orb, we will decide then how to go about retrieving it."

The afternoon was spent driving to the area and setting up a camp and both Angela and Simon were each given an unobtrusive radio communication device with which to keep in contact with Gary. After being shown how to work it, Angela decided to take a walk in the evening air while the others concocted up dinner.

Feeling a light breeze coming off the parched land to the south, Angela breathed deeply and tried to relax before the next day's ordeal. She could feel the pull of the orb and it was as if, it knew she was nearby. She watched the setting sun cast its ever-changing hues over the tips of the pyramids that were just a few miles away, while wondering about the people who built them so very long ago.

Simon came up behind her and stood silently by her side, content to take in the view without breaking the quiet of the moment. As they gazed upward towards the heavens they seemed to move instinctively together until Angela felt Simons hand encircle her waist pulling her close. She was about to turn to him and ask him a question, a question she needed the answer to, when he gasped and pointed.

"Look, what is that?"

Angela looked towards the heavens where a few stars were beginning to shine. As she saw what had shocked Simon, she couldn't suppress a gasp herself. There in the heavens, near the constellation Ursa Major, was a glowing red cloud! It seemed to pulse, changing hues subtly. Even its very shape seemed to alter.

"Is that what we're facing?" he asked her anxiously, "It's so big."

After a quick consultation with Aglsha, Angela nodded, too shocked by the sight herself, to make a reply.

"Crap, oops, sorry for the language Angela, but that scares me," Simon muttered. Then as a thought hit him, Simon swore again under his breath, "The worlds going to know now after seeing that. I hate to think of what the reaction from seeing that is going to be."

Angela could visualise the suicides and religious ferment caused by those predicting the end of the world. She wondered if she could manage the task ahead without interference if word got out about her upcoming role. She was glad of the comforting arm around her as she involuntarily shuddered. Simon glanced down after feeling her tremble, and was struck with her seeming innocence.

"Cold?"

"A little," she lied.

"Come on, then the meals ready. I was coming to tell you before, but I got distracted with the view,"

"Yes the pyramids look great at sunset." She agreed.

"No that wasn't what I was looking at," he said hesitantly.

Realising what he meant, she blushed. She mouthed the words "thank you" silently, and turned back towards the campsite. Walking back, with Simon at her side, she wished this was all over and that they were just a couple on holiday. Even knowing that she was stronger and faster than the man beside her, she still drew comfort from having someone holding her secure as they made their way back into camp.

(It's nice to allow someone else to take over the dominant role and allow yourself to let go, and be able to lean on someone else for a change.) Aglsha said, interrupting her preoccupied frame of mind.

Gary had a lantern set up on a stand, overlooking a small table set for two. At Angela's questioning look, he shrugged and said,

"I've eaten enough while I was cooking. Anyway, I thought you two might want a private moment together."

Angela nodded her thanks and was seated by Simon as Gary placed a remarkably delicious smelling meal in front of her.

"This is great," she remarked, on tasting the food.

"It's potluck stew," he laughed. "Whatever you're lucky to have goes into the pot."

Simon quickly pointed out the cloud that was plainly visible now that darkness had fallen. Gary cursed, saying that due to the lanterns light he'd not noticed anything as his eyes were blinded to anything outside of the camp. He rushed off, saying he had to inform "Them" before they found out he'd missed spotting it first.

Angela continued to eat, her attention fixed on her plate, seemingly oblivious to Simon's presence. Her mind was in turmoil, thoughts of her and Simon in a sexual relationship. Could she? Should she? Was anything left of 'Bob'? Did she care even if there wasn't? And tomorrow, what about the orb? Was she going to be able to use it to defeat the cloud? It was almost too much. A tear started making it's way down her face. As she started to wipe it away a face loomed near, Simon's. He lifted her face with his hand, and gently kissed the tear away, then lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her.

Angela's heart pounded. Her body reacted instinctively. Her mouth opened letting his tongue probe hers like a frightened animal wondering if it was going to be refused entry. Simon, seeing she hadn't refused him, continued the lip lock and brought his hand to her head running his fingers gently though her hair.

Angela was feeling things unlike anything she'd had as man kissing a girl. For one thing, it seemed as if her whole body was awash in pleasure. Not only were her crotch and breasts sending strange pleasurable sensations to her mind, her whole body felt like an erogenous zone.

'Is this normal for females?' she queried Aglsha,

(Well... not exactly normal by human standards, but definitely normal by ours. We have a slightly enhanced nervous system that gives us more pleasure than the females of your world,) Aglsha admitted.

'It's strange, and different, but wonderful. I never knew it could feel like this, and we're not even having sex yet. How much better will it be then?' Angela thought.

(Wait and see hon), was the cryptic answer.

Simon pulled back, ending the kiss. Looking a little embarrassed that maybe he'd gone too fast, too soon. He didn't seem to care that Angela was once a man. The passion in the kiss told her that. Angela was glad that he'd let slip part of himself and had shown her that her past was a non-issue. Feeling much better, Angela smiled at Simon and asked him just to hold her for a while.

They sat, hearing a muted conversation coming from the tent as Gary contacted his superiors and informed them of their upcoming plans. Angela enjoyed having Simon sitting beside her, as she put her head on his chest while they held hands. A grunt from the tent signalled the end of Gary's transmission, and he came out and walked over to them.

"Having fun are we? I think you both need to get to bed--separately," he added, grinning at their expressions. " You're going to need all the rest you can get. Tomorrows going to be a busy day," he finished.

Simon gave Angela a goodnight kiss, as she entered the other tent that had been set up for her. Later, lying on her camp bed she thought about where her life was going and whether Simon would be a part of it after... the crisis, or would he go back to his job leaving her to go on alone. As the desert air cooled, she snuggled deeper into the sleeping bag, eventually drifting off into a sleep filled with images of orbs and of Simon.

~oOOo~

She woke to the smell and sounds of bacon cooking. Getting dressed in a long skirt with a light blouse, she got out a pair of mid calf leather boots with a low heel. Trying to look touristy, without making it obvious, she was dressed to do a bit of scrambling around. She brushed her hair to get the tangles out. A scratching on the tent flap revealed Simon crouching there, with a bowl of hot water.

"Hope it's hot enough for you to wash in. Oh, breakfast will be ready in ten minutes." he added, taking in her attire with appreciation.

"Thank you, I'll not be long," Angela said, as she ducked back inside. Washing quickly, she put on her moisturisers and the barest essentials in makeup, deciding not to put on any lipstick until after breakfast. Sighing, she gathered her skirts as she exited the tent, wishing there was a way to enjoy a bath or shower, and made her way to the table where a very cowboyish looking Simon was serving the food.

"Howdy pardner," Angela giggled. "What's with the getup? Doing a Clint Eastwood impression?" she said, checking out the cowboy boots and jeans. "I like the Stetson. Wish I had one," she sighed.

"It's my impression of a tourist, and the boots are like yours, for scrambling over whatever we end up scrambling over. Here, get this down you, I need to get something." he added, with a gleam in his eye.

Angela started eating, wondering what Simon was up to as he went into his tent. She ate quickly, washing the food down with a mug of coffee and as she finished, Simon backed out of the tent hiding something with his body. Curious, she watched him conceal something under his shirt before her turned towards her.

"Hey! No peeking, close your eyes," he complained.

As Angela complied, smiling at the thought of a surprise, she heard him approach and then she felt a weight descend on her head. Opening her eyes, she looked up to see the brim of a hat, a Stetson by the feel of it. Taking it off she saw it was white with a plain black band. She thanked him and placed it back on her head. Simon adjusted the rake a little, grinning inanely at her.

"What?" she asked, thinking something must be wrong with her appearance.

"Who's a cowgirl now," he laughed. "We make a fine pair now."

Angela smiled, and stood, as Gary came over and handed them the miniaturised radio communicators and telling them to have them on at all times. Gary had the two escort men break camp and soon they were on the road again.

The plan was for Angela and Simon to join one of the many tours of the pyramids to locate the orbs location then come back later when everyone had gone. The first part went according to plan. As they neared the pyramids, they could see that there were local tours that included the sphinx. As buses filled with tourists arrived, people started milling around and getting onto different tour coaches. Angela and Simon easily blended in and were soon on a coach heading for the nearby sphinx. There seemed an undercurrent of fear among the guides and they were muttering under their breath and looking up at the sky.

(They know about the scourge,) Aglsha informed her. (Somehow, they know what the cloud is. I wonder if the secret isn't exactly a secret,) Aglsha speculated.

'What about the orb? Do they know about that?' Angela worriedly asked.

(No, but they were saying something about an angel)

Angela could feel the pull of the orb getting stronger as they neared the site of the huge stone structure. She whispered to Simon that the orb was here. He nodded as they disembarked and they hung back in the rear of the group as the guides started their spiel. Angela walked to one side sensing the presence of the orb close at hand. The disc around her neck grew warm as the emissions of the orb affected it.

"Is that where it is?" asked Simon, touching the solid stone surface.

"Uh-huh," Angela answered, bringing her own hand nearer to the stone. The ring on her finger with the gem on it started glowing, as she passed her hand over the surface of the stone. By watching the way the gem waxed and waned in brightness, as it was moved over the unseen orb, she knew the exact position of where it lay, trapped within the rock.

(Look deeper hon seek the orb. Close your eyes and concentrate, then reach forth and pull it free.)

'From solid stone? You got to be kidding,'

(Trust me, close your eyes, think of the orb, only the orb.)

Angela sighed, and did as instructed. Closing her eyes, she could feel the orb calling her. Concentrating on the orb, it seemed that she could see it nestled in the rock about a foot in from the surface. It was as if the rock had turned transparent, as she reached forth, her eyes still closed, thinking only of the orb.

Simon watched in shock as Angela reached forth and, as her fingers touched the rock, they seemed to penetrate as if there was nothing there. One of the guides, who had come to round up the two stragglers, exclaimed and started to rush toward Angela as her arm slowly disappeared into the rock seamlessly. Simon grabbed the guy's arm, shushing him knowing that, however it was that Angela could do what she was doing, she needed no distractions at that moment. The guide stopped struggling and stared at the impossible sight of a woman who had her slender arm almost elbow deep in the stone.

Angela felt her fingers touch the orb it was if her mind was split in two. She knew that, on one hand her arm was deep into solid stone (she had felt the slight resistance as if pushing though Jell-O) and was even now touching the orb. In another corner of her mind, she was thinking how it wasn't possible for her to be doing this. Fortunately, that part didn't affect the part of her mind that was already doing the impossible. The orb sent a tingle though her hand and in her mind, she could sense it start to glow as her touch triggered it. As she grasped it she could feel it warm as slowly she withdrew her arm from the sphinx.

By this time Simon and the guide was joined by the rest of the tour group as they came to see what was so interesting at that part of the statue. Their assorted gasps and cries at the sight of Angela pulling her arm out of solid stone were soon silenced as nobody could take their attention from the slowly moving arm. Some of them were busily taking photos and several had a video-cam running. As the wrist became visible, they could see the stone take on a different hue as the orb's light showed though. The light brightened as it was exposed, until it showed itself as bright blue ball of scintillating brilliance.

Angela staggered, as the weight of the orb, now unsupported by the stone became apparent, plus the intense concentrated effort had drained some of her strength. Simon held her tight, supporting her, as she finally opened her eyes. Looking down at the orb, she was surprised at its beauty. It looked semi-transparent and although its light made it hard to look on for very long, she thought she could make out pinpoints of light inside it, moving in a random manner.

A shout from one of the guides soon had their attention. The other tourists had either backed away in terror or were shouting questions at her. The guide tried to take the orb from her hands, babbling something about the gods. As he touched it, it dimmed and went black and the orb sent a thin blue spark that stung the man's fingers. He backed off, his voice changing into terror mixed with respect and he bowed to Angela and then ran off, back to the coach.

Simon offered her small velvet bag that had been brought for the specific reason for concealing the orb.

(No, leave it out; I have a feeling about it.)

'Okay.' Angela shook her head at Simon, instead she held it up over her head and the orb pulsed sending out a flash that could be seen for miles. Angela felt as if her mind had caught a brief flash of the thoughts from all of those people surrounding her, as if the orb had touched them and signalled their presence to her.

Walking back to the coach, she saw that Gary and the Landrover were there, as well as the two escorts. Simon had radioed them to come and pick them up. Gary was fuming.

"Damnit, girl, I thought I said to leave it till after dark," he muttered, looking anxiously at the people that had gathered around her.

Quickly, before anyone could object, they climbed aboard and Gary drove off, the Land Rover protesting at the unaccustomed acceleration. They drove towards the pyramids getting there well before anyone came to interfere. Angela, under the guidance of Aglsha walked up to the base of Giza the great pyramid, unerringly going to a precise point near where the tunnel entrance entered the base. Moving her hand under her inner guide's instructions, she pressed on a small indentation on what seemed to be a huge stone block.

A fine sifting of sand fell down and a slow grinding sound indicated that it was moving inward, revealing a small access passage. Simon handed her a small torch and they scrambled in before anyone noticed their activities. The passage opened up so that they could stand, but it was very narrow and claustrophobic. They proceeded in single file for about 50 meters. The air was dry, and, although undisturbed for ages, it still seemed fresh. Finally, the passage ended at a small vault, the walls adorned with script that neither Angela nor Simon could understand. It didn't seem to be the usual Egyptian hieroglyphics, but an unknown script. A shock went though Angela's body as Aglsha screamed in her mind and Angela felt her senses fading as she lapsed into unconsciousness.

"Angela! Are you alright?" it was Simon's voice, seemingly coming from far away.

Angela could feel that she was lying on the floor, her head cradled on Simon's lap. As her head cleared, she struggled to sit up. Simon helped her stand, saying she had just collapsed.

"I'm okay, it's Aglsha. She screamed out and things went black," Angela reassured him.

'Aglsha, are you okay? What happened to you? Please talk to me.'

(I'm so sorry. It was such a shock, seeing that my father has left a message for me.)

'This writing is in your language?" Angela asked, looking around at the walls.

(Yes... let me read them and you can translate for Simon)

For five minutes, Angela looked at the walls, while Simon stood watching her patiently, as Aglsha slowly translated the message.

Then without a word, she turned, and started along the passage to the exit, pulling Simon along behind her. Unfortunately, their exit was seen by a few local residents who had gathered near the new opening, having noticed the break in the lines of the base made by the recessed block.

They backed away at first in surprise, but then they started sounding angry as if suspecting them of robbing some unknown treasure from within the new portal. The orb, which had since been placed in the velvet bag, and was now hanging off Angela's shoulder by a thin cord, caught the men's attention. One of the men grabbed it, tearing it off her shoulder and started walking off with it while the others tried to search their bodies for anything else.

While Simon struggled to prevent both he and Angela from such handling, Angela grew rigid as she listened to her mentor. Ignoring the fumblings of the men surrounding her, she threw her arms out directly over her head. Then, focusing her will, she started a theatrical chant that made the men pause and look at each other as her eyes rolled back in head giving her a strange look.

The man that had walked away with the bag suddenly stopped, as the bag seemed to pull against him. As he opened it, looking for whatever it was that seemed to have a life of it own, he cried out, as the orb floated out, its pulsing brilliance drawing every eye to it. The orb moved slowly towards Angela, picking up speed until it stopped, directly over her head. Slowly her brought her hands together clasping the orb. A brilliant flash greeted the contact, making it clear to anyone that she was indeed, the controller of the orb and not a thief as first assumed.

The locals, stunned at this display of power that was something truly unique, fell to their knees bowing so deep that their heads touched the ground. The man who had taken the orb came forward a face filled with fear as he handed her the bag making apologetic gestures. Angela smiled at him to show that she wasn't going to seek any retribution for their actions. Having set his fears aside, he turned to the others speaking in Arabic and they slowly stood up, looking like children caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Angela walked past them regally, still holding the orb in front of her, while Simon followed in her wake. The men parted and dipped their heads in respect as she walked back to the Landrover where another group of tourists where standing.

The flashes of cameras from the tourists were a pale imitation of the brilliance of the orb. As she neared, they parted, giving her plenty of room to enter the Land Rover. Simon could see one of the tourists running away, a video camera in his hand.

"Come on, lets move out. The excrement is about to impact the rotating atmospheric oscillator in short order, unless I miss my guess," he called.

(continued in Part Three)
TG Magic Sci-Fi Story-With-Images
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