The gentleman stood in the sands, a clay pipe stuck in his mustached, gaunt face. His three-piece suit was entirely wrong for the heat of the Egyptian sun, but his only concession to this reality had been to undo his shirt cuffs and loosen his cravat.
“The treasure has been secured?” he asked. “And the mummy?”
“There were…” The soldier hesitated, a hitch in his accented voice. His face was covered with scars and one eye was made of glass, gleaming in the sunlight. “Complications.”
“Deaths?” the gentleman asked.
The soldier nodded. “Two locals. And one of ours.”
“A shame.” The gentleman let out a tobacco-laced breath. “But we have what we came for.”
“This thing…” The soldier shook his head. “We should leave it to the sands. It is not for us.”
The gentleman laughed. “And how will the sands appreciate it? No, we take it back. For the Empire. So that all the world will see.”
That night, in his bunk on the boat, the soldier dreamt of worms wriggling in an endless night, swallowing the stars, their wails like the wind in the desert.
He woke to the sound of laughter, echoing in the dark.
Word Count: 198