The Pharaoh and the Curator: A Paranormal Erotic Tale
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"It's really just a giant penis, isn't it?"
Michelle Beaumont laughed, looked up from her sketch, and brushed a few hanks of wavy blonde hair from her eyes to see the object in question. A second laugh escaped before she managed to respond to her irreverent colleague. "Okay, Seth, yeah, it does look a bit ... phallic. Of course, what do I know? It's been a while since I've seen one."
"I've offered to help you out with that, my dear," he replied, his tone as dry as the desert they stood in.
Exasperated, she rolled her eyes. "Riiiight. If I ever decide to take you up on that, I'll make sure to let you know in advance so you can take your Viagra." She gave him a playful grin as she stood, stretching muscles stiff from sitting for too long, and grimaced as sweat trickled down her back and between her breasts. A glance at her latest drawing filled her with deep satisfaction though, and made every miserable, itchy moment worth it. I've finally figured the sucker out.
"A little chemical enhancement is nothing to scoff at," he answered, his pitch singsongy. "Your loss, dearie."
Seth's lighthearted flirting held no serious intent. Her professional equal, though several decades older, he was both her friend and mentor in their shared curator duties at Boston's History of Man Museum. He was also one of the few unmarried men in her circle of acquaintances who preferred romantic partners his own age. Just one of many reasons she adored him ... and confided in him about her own sad and lacking love life.
"Me? Scoff? Never." She stepped out from the cover of her makeshift canvas shade and lifted an arm to shield her eyes from the brilliant Sahara sun. Arid desert winds whipped at her drenched skin, offering a small relief from the consuming heat.
As she squinted against the brightness, she studied the stone monstrosity. Giant penis, indeed. A full-scale replica of one of the few obelisks still standing in modern Egypt from ancient times, it weighed more than a hundred tons, was over sixty feet long, and tapered into a pyramid tip at its top. The pillar lacked the ornate hieroglyphic carvings of the original, but such details weren't noticeable at this distance. The fact it lay on its side was noticeable as hell ... and also their reason for being here.
A giant penis suffering from an enormous case of erectile dysfunction. She snorted aloud at the thought, but shook her head when Seth sent a questioning look. Instead of offering an explanation, she turned to the business at hand and what she'd been waiting to share with him. "I know what we're doing wrong," she said, suppressed excitement vibrating in her voice.
"Do tell," he replied. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes at him for a second time. Only he could pack so much mocking disbelief into two words.
"It's the counterweights. We need to readjust their position." She shoved her sketch into his hands, and watched with satisfaction as his look of doubt morphed into surprise and then full-throttled enthusiasm.
"Fuck me, Michelle. You're right."
A deep belly laugh bubbled up, caused by both his words and the sense of relief coursing through her. The team had been at this project for more than two weeks. Their goal: to raise a to-scale stone obelisk using only what would have been available to the ancient Egyptians. Turned out to be a bitch of a task, and after a dozen failed attempts, the conspiracy theorists' claims of alien intervention had been looking more and more feasible.
"Already told you, I don't need your pity lay, old man. And I hope I'm right. Studying from a distance helped." An hour earlier she'd stormed away, frustrated and seeking some perspective. By the time Seth came to find her, she had the answer.
The two stood about a hundred yards from the rest of the group, eight dozen men and a handful of women dwarfed by the monolithic pillar they struggled to lift. Their tools? Hand braided ropes, huge wooden sleds and rollers, and a whole lot of sweaty determination. Maybe now she could help their hard work pay off.
Together they trudged across the sand, heading back to the hub of operations to share her discovery. The team consisted of a variety of scientists and specialist from several fields of study. She and Seth were the only museum curators, reluctant participants here at the insistence of their boss. He'd gotten them on a plane by promising a blank check for their Nile River Valley exhibit when they returned.
Michelle sighed as grit lodged between her ankle and sock. Damn. I miss high heels, marble floors, and air conditioning. Next to her, Seth gave an answering groan.
She laughed. "We're pretty pathetic, huh? We run a museum that has one of the largest Egyptian exhibits in the world, but we're miserable when we're actually here."
"We're not pathetic, darling, we're pragmatists. And your damn math minor is the reason we're in this godforsaken heat."
"That math minor is gonna be what gets us out of here," she replied, saucy grin in place as she tightened her grip on the rolled sketch.
"That's right," she answered, projecting confidence while trampling down tendrils of doubt. I'm about eighty-five percent sure this is going to work.
Six backbreaking hours later, Michelle tugged on thick, hand-woven ropes alongside Seth and the rest of the team. Despite work gloves, blisters had long ago formed and popped on her soft palms. Sweat poured down her face, stinging her eyes and chapping her lips. Her shoulder and thigh muscles burned, and she didn't want to think about how they'd feel tomorrow. But all discomfort dissolved the moment they got the obelisk to an eighty degree angle. Almost there. They needed to loosen the ropes suspending the immense pillar and allow it to slide down into the turning groove of the stone base, already in place.
With trepidation, she whispered a prayer, perhaps to the long ago gods who once protected this place, and then erupted into a cheer when the stone pieces slid together with ease. "Yes! Yes!" She lent her voice to the chorus, a hundred voices shouting their success. Hard work behind them, now they just had to tug the pillar the remaining ten degrees so it stood at a ninety degree angle.
Al ... most ... there. After a final collective heave, the obelisk fully touched down onto the base. For a second and an eternity the pillar wobbled. God, I might actually throw up if that thing falls. But her worry proved groundless as the stone settled and the movement ceased.
They'd raised an obelisk. Just like the ancients before them.
Sweaty hands patted her shoulders. Congratulatory words filled the air, some in languages she didn't understand, along with the heavy scent of overworked bodies and dust. But everything faded to a background static as she became mesmerized by the stone pillar, now highlighted in the vivid red orange light of the setting sun.
It pulled at her, called to her. A feeling, something long forgotten but familiar, settled in her belly.
A sense of coming home ...
Movement at the edge of her peripheral vision caused her to drag her gaze from the obelisk. She squinted, not trusting her tired, sun-blinded eyes. What the hell?
A man stood alone, across from her on the other side of the pillar. His unblinking gaze held hers. Even at this distance, she knew he had dark, dark eyes. Eyes so dark his pupils disappeared and looking into them was like staring at eternity. I've seen those endless pools every night in my dreams all of my life.
"Wait, what the fuck?" She spoke aloud and shook her head in an attempt to clear the trancelike state. When she looked again, the man remained, still staring at her. Only now she had enough faculties about her to notice his bare skin. Lots and lots of exposed, coppery skin. Smooth, toned muscles gleamed in the remaining light. White material, cotton perhaps, draped his groin, and a leopard skin ... a fucking leopard skin ... fell over one broad shoulder.
No response. She tried again. "Seeeeth!"
"Is there a beautiful, almost-naked man wearing an animal skin standing over there?"
"You've finally cracked, dear. You repress your sexuality long enough, and these things happen."
He hadn't even looked. Pissed, she reached up and squished his chin between her fingers and directed his gaze where she wanted it.
"Oh. My." Seth managed, breathy.
"Shit. He's really there." That familiar feeling fluttered in her stomach again.
From somewhere behind, a man's deep voice bellowed, "Out of the way! It's gonna fall!"
Frantic, Michelle turned to the obelisk. It wobbled, violent and unsteady, as if the earth beneath it shook ... and it was going to fall, right onto her dark eyed man.
Then she was running, the sand sucking at her feet, slowing her progress and filling her with agonizing frustration. She had to get to him in time. She had to.
Her hands stretched out in front of her, still encased in beat-up leather work gloves, she slammed into him, pushing at his chest, using every ounce of her strength. They toppled into the dirt just as a hundred tons of stone crashed onto the ground next to them, mere feet away.
She took a gasping breath, then another. Small tremors shook her body. A pair of strong arms reached up from beneath and pulled her down into a comforting embrace. She didn't fight it; instead, fit her head to the nook between his shoulder and neck. Thank God, thank God, thank God.
She didn't realize she spoke the mantra aloud until he responded, "Yes, I am the god Ra." His full lips stretched into a sensual smirk, revealing white, even teeth. "And I thank you."