Welcome to the first Fractured Fragment Friday of 2019!
Sometimes when we’re looking forward to the new year, we also look back to the past. The excerpt for this week finds a young man who looks into his family’s past and finds something he wasn’t expecting. Here’s the blurb for “Inheritance”:
When Amun discovers that his family is connected to power, wealth and infamy, he enlists a friend to help him get his share. But does he really want the ancient inheritance that’s coming to him? Read “Inheritance.”
And here’s the excerpt:
“It’s a pyramid!” said Shaq.
“Great Granddad’s,” said Amun as he scoped out a way down the hill, “He was building it when mom still lived there.”
“Nice,” said Shaq, looking at the gardens through the goggles that fed visuals to his implant, “Oh, beware the reach of the Twikiverse! Someone’s tweeted this view; I found a ninety-two-percent match. Guess the Bahurs didn’t manage a complete photo wipe.”
“Come on,” said Amun.
They reached the base of the hill and stepped onto a winding stone path that connected the garden to the house. Amun stood looking up at the building, while Shaq walked to the cemetery wall and tried to pull the gate open; it wouldn’t budge.
“Locked,” he said, then stepped over to a brass touch plate in the wall beside the gate. It was engraved with the Eye of Horus. Shaq tried running his hands over it and pressing it. “No use. The wall’s pretty smooth; it’s going to be a trick to climb over.”
While Shaq moved to his right looking for an easier spot, Amun walked to the gate and examined the touch plate. He traced the eye pattern with his finger and heard metal clang as the gate swung out.
“Hey! How’d you do that?”
“Guess I have the magic touch.”
“Maybe it’s DNA coded?”
“If so, then even a black sheep is allowed to visit his ancestors. Come on.”
Amun walked in, with Shaq right behind him. The path was open to the air, but surrounded with man-high flowering plants. They’d only taken a couple of steps when they heard the gate close behind them.
“Hope we don’t have to climb out,” said Shaq.
They came to the first of the smaller crypts, just off the right side of their path. Amun glanced at it and continued forward, but Shaq stepped off the path toward it to get a closer look. Suddenly, a misty blue figure of a robed woman appeared before him, and he froze. A female voice seemed to come from the rocks behind the woman as her mouth moved.
“I have not uttered lies. I have made no one weep. I have…”
“Cool,” Shaq said, as he sent his browser on another search, “ninety-seven percent that’s Raziya Bahur. She’d be your cousin, once-removed.”
Amun pulled Shaq’s arm so that he stepped back on the path, and the figure and voice vanished.
“She’s not important to us,” Amun said.
“What was that she was saying?”
“Those were confessions of purity; my grandma said the Bahurs were really into that old maat stuff.”
“Oh,” Shaq said, then went off in one of his stares. “Twiki says there are forty-two of those. Egyptians used to write them on their tombs, to use the power of the words to rewrite their past.”
“Yes, to make themselves seem more pure than they were in real life. Again, not important. Stay with me.”
Amun continued along the path, with Shaq following close behind. They passed additional smaller crypts; a couple of these were close enough to the path that their passing activated more holograms. The moonlit garden echoed with the whispers of the 42 Confessions of Purity.
At last, they arrived at the central pyramid. They stood at the bottom of the stone steps and looked up.
“He sure thought a lot of himself, even for a Bahur,” said Shaq. “This is bigger than our apartment building.”
“Well, he was the Bahur,” Amun said, “Grandma said Great Grandad liked to lord it over the rest of the family that he was where all their power came from. Figures he’d go all pharaoh on his tomb, too.”
As they started up the stairs, they heard a deep male voice begin the now familiar recitation from above them.
“I have committed no sin. I have not committed robbery with violence. I have not stolen. I have not slain men and women.”
As they reached the top, they could see the bluish figure in the archway at the top of the stairs. It was a bald, bespectacled image of an elderly, bare-chested man in an Egyptian kilt. Even though it was a hologram, it seemed more substantial than the others.
“Khaldun Bahur, in ancient Egyptian shendyt,” Shaq read as the tag appeared on his lens screen.
“Yep, that’s Great Granddad.”
The figure turned slightly in Amun’s direction, pausing briefly in its recitation before continuing.
“I have not stolen grain. I have not purloined…”
“Did you see the way it looked at you?” asked Shaq. “That was creepy weird.”
“Probably just some Kinection setup, with voice and motion sensing to make it seem more alive.”
Amun stepped forward to examine another Eye of Horus touch plate beside the door. He tried running his hand along it, but nothing happened. He stepped back over to Shaq, who was staring at Khaldun.
“I have not uttered lies. I have not carried away food. I have not…”
“Let’s have the bag,” Amun said.
Shaq handed it to him. Amun set it on the ground, crouched over it and pulled out the black tin. He removed the glass vial, and stood, looking at it in the moonlight.
“I have made none to weep.”
“Oh, that’s a laugh!” said Amun. “You made Monica Williams leave your son. You broke her heart. I could see the tears on her returned letters.”
Khaldun had stopped speaking at Amun’s outburst, and now it took a step toward him. Both boys jumped back, and almost out of their skins.
“Monica Williams chose to leave,” it said, “she was not worthy, and deprived her offspring of the knowledge and wisdom that was their heritage.”
“What the hell?” Amun said.
“I have not uttered curses,” Khaldun said, waggling a finger in the air toward Amun, “I have not blasphemed. I am not a man of violence. I…”
“That’s pretty good,” Shaq said, staring at Khaldun, “I bet it can carry on a real conversation.”
“Don’t care,” Amun said as he opened the vile and poured a little of the gold liquid into his palm.
“You going to tell me what that stuff is yet?”
“My granddad,” Amun said, now rubbing his hands together. “Grandma had some of his hair as a keepsake; it was supposed to be buried with her, but my parents forgot. Anyway, I took it…”
“And cultured it with that DNA kit Miss Reynolds had using in lab last month?” Shaq guessed. “Rad!”
“I figured only certain people would be allowed in here, and I wasn’t going to be one of them. Great Granddad’s heir, though…”
“I have not pried into matters,” Khaldun kept rambling, “I have not…”
“Oh, shut up, already,” Amun said.
He pressed his hand on the Eye of Horus. Khaldun turned toward Amun and smiled.
“It has been a long time, Okpara ,” it said, “your inheritance awaits you.”
Is Amun about to get what he deserves? And will be something to be happy about it? You’ll have to read “Inheritance” to find out – just saying… This speculative fiction short story is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
It’s also included in the collection More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND:
Which is itself included in the mega-collection The First Three ‘Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND’
This is the release day for Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire story, “Cats Out of the Bag”:
Champion of the Empire Herc Tom longs for more interesting times. His wish is fulfilled with the return of the Lost Baastards, a couple of prison breaks, the kidnapping of a Prince, the reappearance of an assassin, an alien invasion, and fifteen different kinds of treachery. Maybe life wasn’t all that boring after all.
“Cats Out of the Bag” is a speculative fiction novelette, and is the sixth of the “Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire” stories, following “Purr Mission”, “Nipped in the Butt”, “Cat and Mouse”, “Baastards’ Revenge”, and “Imperial Purrogative.”
“Cats Out of the Bag” is available now for the weekend reduced promotional price at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
William Mangieri’s writing – including his previous release – a collection called Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri