“It’s still here?” said Jack.
“It looks empty?” said Annie.
Jack and his seven-year-old sister gazed up at a very tall oak tree. At the top of the tree was a tree house.
Late-morning sunlight lit the woods. It was almost time for lunch.
“Shhh!” said Jack. “What was that noise?”
“I heard a noise?” Jack said. He looked around. “It sounded like someone coughing.”
“I didn’t hear anything?” said Annie. “Come on. Let’s go up.”
She grabbed onto the rope ladder and started climbing.
Jack tiptoed over to a clump of bushes. He pushed aside a small branch.
“Hello?” he said. “Anybody there?”
There was no answer.
“Come on!” Annie called down. “The tree house looks the same as it did yesterday.”
Jack still felt that someone was nearby. Could it be the person who’d put all the books in the tree house?
Jack gazed over the top of the bushes.
Was the mysterious person watching him now?The person whose name began with M?
Maybe M wanted the gold medallion back. The one Jack had found on their dinosaur adventure.
Maybe M wanted the leather bookmark back.The one from the castle book.
There was an M on the medallion. And an M on the bookmark. But what did M stand for?
“Tomorrow I’ll bring everything back?” Jack said loudly.
A breeze swept through the woods. The leaves rattled.
“Come on!” called Annie.
Jack went back to the big oak tree. He grabbed onto the rope ladder and climbed up.
At the top he crawled through a hole in the wooden floor. He tossed down his backpack and pushed his glasses into place.
“Hmmm. Which book is it going to be today?” said Annie.
She was looking at the books scattered around the tree house.
Annie picked up the book about castles.
“Hey? this isn’t wet anymore?” she said.
“Let me see.”
Jack took the book from her. He was amazed.It looked fine. Yesterday it had gotten soaked in acastle moat.
The castle book had taken Jack and Annie back to the time of knights.
Jack silently thanked the mysterious knight who had rescued them.
“Watch out!” warned Annie.
She waved a dinosaur book in Jack’s face.
“Put that away?” said Jack.
The day before yesterday the dinosaur book had taken them to the time of dinosaurs.
Jack silently thanked the Pteranodon who had saved him from a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Annie put the dinosaur book back with the other books. Then she gasped.
“Wow?” she whispered. “Look at this.”
She held up a book about ancient Egypt.
Jack caught his breath. He took the book from her. A green silk bookmark stuck out of it.
Jack turned to the page with the bookmark.There was a picture of a pyramid.
Going toward the pyramid was a long parade.Four huge cows with horns were pulling a sled. On the sled was a long gold box. Many Egyptians were walking behind the sled. At the end of the parade was a sleek black cat.
“let’s go there?” whispered Annie. “Now.”
“Wait?” said Jack.He wanted to study the book a bit more.
“Pyramids? Jack?” said Annie.“You love pyramids.”
It was true. Pyramids were high on his list of favorite things. After knights. But before dinosaurs. Way before dinosaurs.
He didn’t have to worry about being eaten by a pyramid.
“Okay?” he said. “But hold the Pennsylvania book. In case we want to come right back here.”
Annie found the book with the picture of their hometown in it. Frog Creek?
Then Jack pointed to the pyramid picture in the Egypt book. He cleared his throat and said?
“I wish we could go to this place.”
“What was that?” Jack looked out the tree house window.
A black cat was perched on a branch.Right outside the window.The cat was staring at Jack and Annie.
It was the strangest cat Jack had ever seen.He was very sleek and dark.With bright yellow eyes. And a wide gold collar.
“It’s the cat in the Egypt book?” whispered Annie.
Just then the wind started to blow. The leaves began to shake.
“Here we go!” cried Annie.
The wind whistled louder.The leaves shook harder.
Jack closed his eyes as the tree house started to spin.
It spun faster and faster!And faster!
Suddenly everything was still.
Not a sound. Not a whisper.
Jack opened his eyes.
Hot bright sunlight nearly blinded him.
2 Oh? Man. Mummies!
Jack and Annie looked out the window.
The tree house was perched on the top of a palm tree.The tree stood with other
palm trees. A patch of green surrounded by a sandy desert.
Jack and Annie looked down.
The black cat was sitting at the base of the tree. His yellow eyes were staring
up at Jack and Annie.
“Hi!” Annie shouted.
“Shhh?” said Jack. “Someone might hear you.”
“In the middle of the desert?” said Annie.
The black cat stood and began walking around the tree. “Come back!” Annie called. She leaned out the window to see where the cat was going.
? wow!” she said. “Look? Jack.” “Oh
Jack leaned forward and looked down.
The cat was running away from the palm trees. Toward a giant pyramid in the desert.
A parade was going toward the pyramid. The same parade as in the Egypt book.
“It’s the picture from the book!” said Jack.
“What are those people doing?” asked Annie.
Jack looked down at the Egypt book. He read the words under the picture?
When a royal person died? a grandfuneral procession took place.Family?
servants? and mourners followed the coffin. The coffin was called a sarcophagus. It was pulled on a sled by four oxen.
“It’s an Egyptian funeral?” said Jack. “The box is called a sar...sar...sar...oh? forget it.”
He looked out the window again.
Oxen? sled? Egyptians? black cat. All were moving in a slow? dreamy way.
“I’d better make some notes about this?” said Jack.
He reached into his backpack and pulled out his notebook. Jack always kept notes.
“Wait?” said Jack. And he wrote?
Coffin called sarcophagus
“We’d better hurry?” said Annie? “if we want to see the mummy.”
She started down the rope ladder.
Jack looked up from his notebook.
“Mummy?” he said.
“There’s probably a mummy in that gold box?” Annie called up. “We’re in ancient Egypt.Remember?”
Jack loved mummies. He put down his pencil.
“Good-bye? Jack!” called Annie.
“Wait!” Jack called.
“Mummies!” Annie shouted.
“Oh? man?” said Jack weakly. “Mummies!” She sure knew how to get to him.
Jack shoved his notebook and the Egypt book into his pack. Then he started down the ladder.
When he got to the ground? he and Annie took off across the sand.
But as they ran a strange thing happened.
The closer they got to the parade? the harder it was to see it.
Then suddenly it was gone. The strange parade had disappeared. Vanished.
But the great stone pyramid was still there.Towering above them.
Panting? Jack looked around.
What had happened?Where were the people?The oxen?The gold box?The cat?
“They’re gone?” said Annie.
“Where did they go?” said Jack.
“Maybe they were ghosts?” said Annie.
“Don’t be silly.There’s no such thing as ghosts?” said Jack. “It must have been a mirage.”
“Mirage. It happens in the desert all the time?” said Jack. “It looks like something’sthere.But it just turns out to be the sunlight reflecting through heat.”
“How could sunlight look like people?a mummy box? and a bunch of cows?” said Annie.
“Ghosts?” she said.
“No way?” said Jack.
“Look!” Annie pointed at the pyramid. Near the base was the sleek black cat.
He was standing alone. He was staring at Jack and Annie.
“He’s no mirage?” said Annie.
The cat started to slink away. He walked along the base of the pyramid and slid around a corner.
“Where’s he going?” said Jack.
“Let’s find out?” said Annie.
They dashed around the corner—just in time to see the cat disappear through a hole in the pyramid.
3 It’s Alive!
“Where did he go?” said Jack.
He and Annie peeked through the hole.
They saw a long hallway. Burning torches lit the walls. Dark shadows loomed.
“Let’s go in?” said Annie.
“Wait?” said Jack.
He pulled out the Egypt book and turned to the section on pyramids.
He read the caption aloud?
Pyramids were sometimes called Houses of the Dead.They were nearly all solid stone? except for the burial chambers deep inside.
“Wow. Let’s go there. To the burial chambers?” said Annie. “I bet a mummy’s there.”
Jack took a deep breath.
Then he stepped out of the hot? bright sunlight into the cool? dark pyramid.
The hallway was silent.
Floor? ceiling? walls—everything was stone.
The floor slanted up from where they stood.
“We have to go farther inside?” said Annie.
“Right?” said Jack. “But stay close behind me. Don’t talk. Don’t—”
“Go!Just go!” said Annie. She gave him a little push.
Jack started up the slanting floor of the hallway.
Where was the cat?
The hallway went on and on.
“Wait?” said Jack.“I want to look at the book.”
He opened the Egypt book again. He held it below a torch on the wall. The book showed a picture of the inside of the pyramid.
“The burial chamber is in the middle of the pyramid. See?” Jack said. He pointed to the picture. “It seems to be straight ahead.”
Jack tucked the book under his arm. Then they headed deeper into the pyramid.
Soon the floor became flat. The air felt different. Musty and stale.
Jack opened the book again. “I think we’re almost at the burial chamber.See the picture?The hallway slants up. Then it gets flat. Then you come to the chamber. See? look—”
“Eee-eee!” A strange cry shot through the pyramid.
Jack dropped the Egypt book.
Out of the shadows flew a white figure.
It swooshed toward them!
“It’s alive!” Annie shouted.
4 Back from the Dead
Jack pulled Annie down.
The white figure moved swiftly past them.Then disappeared into the shadows.
“A mummy?” said Annie.“Back from the dead!”
“F-forget it?” stammered Jack.“Mummies aren’t alive.” He picked up the Egypt book.
“What’s this?” said Annie. She lifted something from the floor. “Look. The mummy dropped this thing.”
It was a gold stick. About a foot long. A do head was carved on one end.
“It looks like a scepter?” said Jack.
“What’s that?” asked Annie.
“It’s a thing kings and queens carry?” said Jack. “It means they have power over the people.”
“Come back? mummy!” Annie called. “We found your scepter. Come back!We want to help you!”
“Shush!” said Jack. “Are you nuts?”
“But the mummy—”
“That was no mummy?” said Jack. “It was a person. A real person.”
“What kind of person would be inside a pyramid?” asked Annie.
“I don’t know?” said Jack. “Maybe the book can help us.”
He flipped through the book. At last he found a picture of a person in a pyramid.
Tomb robbers often carried off thetreasure buried with mummies.False passages were sometimes
built to stop the robbers.
Jack closed the book.
“No live mummy?” he said. “Just a tomb robber.”
“Yikes. A tomb robber?” said Annie.
“Yeah? a robber who steals stuff from tombs.”
“But what if the robber comes back?” said Annie. “We’d better leave.”
“Right?” said Jack. “But first I want to write something down.” He put
the Egypt book into his pack. He pulled out his notebook and pencil.
He started writing in his notebook?tomb robber
“Jack—” said Annie.
“Just a second?” said jack. He kept writing?
tomb robber tried to steal
“Jack!Look!” said Annie.
Jack felt a whoosh of cold air. He looked up. A wave of terror went through him.
Another figure was moving slowly toward them.
It wasn’t a tomb robber.
No.It was a lady.A beautiful Egyptian lady.
She wore flowers in her black hair.Her long white dress had many tiny pleats.Her gold jewelry glittered.
“Here? Jack?” Annie whispered. “Give her this.” She handed him the gold scepter.
The lady stopped in front of them.
Jack held out the scepter. His hand was trembling.
He gasped. The scepter passed right through the lady’s hand.
She was made of air.
5 The Ghost-Queen
“A ghost?” Annie whispered.
But Jack could only stare in horror.
The ghost began to speak. She spoke in a hollow? echoing voice.
“I am Hutepi?” she siad. “Queen of the Nile. Is it true that you have come to help me?”
“Yes?” said Annie.
Jack still couldn’t speak.
“For a thousand years?” said the ghost-queen? “I have waited for help.”
Jack’s heart was pounding so hard he thought he might faint.
“Someone must find my Book of the Dead?” she said. “I need it to go on to the Next Life.”
“Why do you need the Book of the Dead?” asked Annie. She didn’t sound scared at all.
“It will tell me the magic spells I need to get through the Underworld?” said the ghost-queen.
“The Underworld?” said Annie.
“Before I journey on to the Next Life? I must pass through the horrors of
“What kinds of horrors?” Annie asked.
“Poisonous snakes?” said the ghost-queen.“Lakes of fire. Monsters. Demons.”
“Oh.” Annie stepped closer to Jack.
“My brother hid the Book of the Dead.So tomb robbers would not steal it?” said the ghost-queen. “Then he carved this secret message on the wall? telling me
how to find it.”
She pointed to the wall.
Jack was still in shock. he couldn’t move.
“Where?” asked Annie. “Here?” She squinted at the wall. “What do these tiny pictures mean?”
The ghost-queen smiled sadly. “Alas? my brother forgot my strange problem.I cannot see clearly that which is close to my eyes. I have not been able to read his message for a thousand years.”
“Oh? that’s not a strange problem?” said Annie. “Jack can’t see anything either. That’s why he wears glasses.”
The ghost-queen stared in wonder at Jack.
“Jack? lend her your glasses?” said Annie.
Jack took his glasses off his nose.He held them out to the ghost-queen.
She backed away from him. “I fear I cannot wear your glasses? Jack?” she
said. “I am made of air.”
“Oh. I forgot?” said Annie.
“But perhaps you will describe the hieroglyphs on these walls?” said the ghost-queen.
“Hi-row-who?” said Annie.
“Hieroglyphs!” said Jack? finally finding his voice. “It’s the ancient Egyptian way of writing. like writing with pictures.”
The ghost-queen smiled at him. “Thank you? Jack?” she said.
Jack smiled back at her. He put his glasses on.Then he stepped toward the wall and took a good long look.
“Oh? man?” he whispered.
6 The Writing on the Wall
Jack and Annie squinted at the pyramid wall.
A series of tiny pictures were carved into the stone.
“There are four pictures here?” Jack told the ghost-queen.
“Describe them to me? Jack. One at a time? please?” she said.
Jack studied the first picture.
“Okay?” he said. “The first one is like this.” He made a zigzag in the
air with his finger.
“Like stairs?” asked the ghost-queen.
“Yes? stairs!” said Jack. “Just like stairs.”
Jack studied the second picture.
“The second one has a long box on the bottom?” he said. He drew it in the air.
The ghost-queen looked puzzled.
“With three things on top. Like this?” said Annie. She drew squiggly lines
in the air.
The ghost-queen still seemed puzzled.
“Like a hat?” said Jack.
“Hat?” said the ghost-queen.
“No. More like a boat?” said Annie.
“Boat?” said the ghost-queen. She got excited. “Boat?”
Jack took another look at the wall.
“Yes. It could be a boat?” he said.
The ghost-queen looked very happy. She smiled.
“Yes. Of course?” she said.
Jack and Annie studied the next picture.
“The third one is like a thing that holds flowers?” said Annie.
“Or a thing that holds water?” said Jack.
“Like a jug?” asked the ghost-queen.
“Exactly?” said Jack.
“Yes. A jug?” said Annie.
Jack and Annie studied the last picture.
“And the last one looks like a pole that droops?” said Annie.
“Like a curved stick?” said Jack. “But one side is shorter than the other.”
The ghost-queen looked puzzled.
“Wait?” said Jack. “I’ll draw it in my notebook. Big!So you can see it.”
Jack put down the scepter and got out his pencil. He drew the hieroglyph.
“A folded cloth?” said the ghost-queen.
“Well? not really?” said Jack. He studied his drawing.
“But that is the hieroglyph for a folded cloth?” said the ghost-queen.
“Well? okay?” said Jack.
He looked at the fourth hieroglyph again. He still couldn’t see the folded
cloth. Unless it was like a towel hanging over a bathroom rod.
“So that’s all of them?” said Annie. She pointed at each picture. “Stairs. Boat. Jug. Folded cloth.”
Jack wrote the words in his notebook.
“So what does the message mean?” he asked the ghost-queen.
“Come?” she said.She held out her hand.“Come to my burial chambers.”
And she floated away.
7 The Scroll
Jack put the scepter and his notebook and pencil into his pack.
He and Annie followed the ghost-queen. Deeper into the pyramid. Until they
came to some stairs.
“The STAIRS!” said Jack and Annie.
The ghost-queen floated up the stairs.
Jack and Annie followed.
The ghost-queen floated right through a wooden door.
Jack and Annie pushed on the door. It opened slowly.
They stepped into a cold? drafty room.
The ghost-queen was nowhere in sight.
Dim torchlight lit the huge room. It had a very high ceiling. On one side
was a pile of tables? chairs? and musical instruments.
On the other side of the room was a small wooden boat.
“The BOAT!” said Jack.
“What’s it doing inside Queen Hutepi’s pyramid?” asked Annie.
“Maybe it’s supposed to carry her to the Next Life?” said Jack.
He and Annie went over to the boat. They looked inside it. The boat was filled with many things.Gold plates. Painted cups. Jeweled goblets. Woven
baskets. Jewelry with blue stones. Small wooden statues.
“Look!” said Jack.
He reached into the boat and lifted out a clay jug.
“The JUG!” said Annie.
Jack looked inside the jug.
“Something’s in here?” he said.
“What is it?” asked Annie.
Jack felt down inside the jug.
“It feels like a big napkin?” he said.
“The FOLDED CLOTH!” said Annie.
Jack reached into the jug and pulled out the folded cloth. It was wrapped
around an ancient-looking scroll.
Jack slowly unrolled the scroll.
It was covered with wonderful hieroglyphs.
“The Book of the Dead!” whispered Annie.“We found it. We found her book.”
“Oh? man.” Jack traced his finger over the scroll. It felt like very old paper.
“Queen Hutepi!” called Annie. “We have it!We found your Book of the Dead!”
Then another door on the other side of the chamber creaked open.
“In there?” said Annie.“Maybe she’s in there.”
Jack’s heart was pounding. Cold air was coming through the open doorway.
“Come on?” said Annie.
“No?” said Annie. “She’s waited a thousand years for her book. Don’t make her wait anymore.”
Jack put the ancient scroll into his backpack.Then he and Annie slowly started to cross the drafty room.
They came to the open door. Annie went through first.
“Hurry? Jack!” she said.
Jack stepped into the other room.
It was nearly bare. Except for a long gold box. The box was open. The cover was on the floor.
“Queen Hutepi?” called Annie.
“We found it?” said Annie. “Your Book of the Dead.”
There was still no sign of the ghost-queen.
The gold box glowed.
Jack could barely breathe.“Let’s leave the scroll on the floor.And go?” he said.
“No.I think we should leave it in there?” said Annie. She pointed to the gold box.
“No?” said Jack.
“Don’t be afraid?” said Annie.“Come on.”
Annie took Jack by the arm.They walked together. Across the room. To the glowing gold box.
They stopped in front of the box.And they peered inside.
8 The Mummy
A real mummy.
Bandages were still wrapped around the bald skull. But most of the bandages had come off the face.
It was Hutepi. Queen of the Nile.
Her broken teeth were showing.Her little wrinkled ears.Her squashed nose.Her withered flesh. Her hollow eye sockets.
Plus the rotting bandages on her body were coming off. You could see bones.
“Oh? gross!” cried Annie. “Let’s go!”
“No?” said Jack. “It’s interesting.”