“For a relic dug out of the sand of Egypt, she looks fresh. Other than her severed head, there is not a flaw or mark on her.”
“Oui, the paint is as bright is if she were just made.”
“Jean François, it does not look like paint, but flesh. Her breast can be seen under the garment as if real.” The young man gaped at the beautifully formed plump stone mounds and erect, peach-toned nipples straining against the sculptured linen draped over her voluptuous body.
“Mon dieu, she is stone, Ricard.” Jean François’s admiration locked on her breasts as well. “Yet so beautiful.”
“Let us look at her whole for but a moment.” Ricard took a deep breath, then set the statue’s severed head onto its neck, positioning it until if fit like two pieces of a puzzle.
Ricard stepped back as his gaze devoured the entire woman, though stiff and lifeless. The stone looked like lush, sun-warmed skin. Her oval face was dark and delicate, with full, rosy lips. He admired her long, lithe body, clad in a sheer, white, sleeveless dress, held up only by two delicate linen shoulder straps. He longed to roam his fingers and lips over her high perched breast and the thin waist that flared into curved hips and lithe thighs. Then, down to her pretty legs and her slender feet garbed in white papyrus sandals, of the station she depicted, an Egyptian priestess of the Middle Kingdom. He drank in her beauty, then he noticed the ornament lying in the valley between her breasts, a thick ankh of gold hung from a chain.
His fingers absently tried to grab hold of the necklace, but it was only part of the statue, no matter how real it seemed. “What is this?” He looked at the plaque in the statue’s stone hands, held beneath the ankh. The last hieroglyphic depicted the symbol for life, an ankh, held up to the woman’s nose.
Ricard read it silently, sounding it out, Nce xarp wt pwwne Ab etoot abrem... Toujo Abrem etoot pwwne ab... xarp wt au ai ankh qe, and translated it under his breath. “God Horus, as you turned my flesh to stone...God Horus, save me, make me whole...change my stone to flesh...give me the nose breath of life,
The room vibrated and an unnatural wind swirled within. Ricard’s hair stood on end, but he could not tear his eyes away from the statue. He grabbed the ankh, and this time it gave way, lifting from the statue’s chest. The curiosity that drove him as a scientist, as an Egyptologist, caught hold and as strange as this all seemed, he felt he had come this far, he had to see it through. Laying the ankh against the statue’s small nose, Ricard acted out the last hieroglyphic on the plaque.
He shuddered at the sound of a gush of breath. A flash of light struck inside the room. The shock knocked the breath out of him. The stone statue moved, but she wasn’t stone anymore. Jean François gasped and stepped back. Ricard couldn’t move.
It’s a living, breathing woman.