I am giving my entry for the WEP challenge this month a bit early
(Who knows the way my luck is going!):
Excerpt from THE STARS BLEED AT MIDNIGHT
An illustrious company of adventurers are out to find the time-lost city of Amarna in 1895,
little knowing it a trap laid by Samuel McCord's most deadly enemy.
AT NIGHT, MAN IS NOT THE ONLY MONSTER
A sudden hush settled heavy on the sands. I almost felt it weigh down upon my shoulders. A physical silence like a roaring wind enveloped all of us. The Ningyo bodyguards proved to be more than killers.
They were as adept at desert clearing as much as Meilori’s diggers. Particles of shimmering sand rode the Ningyo-made winds, looking nothing so much as mourning ghosts of some lost, accursed antiquity in the twilight.
Abigail Adam’s fingers went to her open mouth. In fact, everyone stood stunned, looking at the desert sand being scoured in front of us to make a level plain large enough to contain some haunted mansion like the House of Usher.
Nikola Tesla stood death-still with some glittering machine in his large hands. He aimed it at the heap of scarlet material that was our tent. It slowly fluttered and fluffed as if it were some strange creature out of nightmare just awakening. Tesla raised the machine, and the enormous tent spread out and up, its fabric wings flaring out with a leathery rustling.
Sammy Clemens’s daughters cried out and stumbled backwards. Howard Carter made a sound much like them and followed their example. Winston Churchill, his fist on the hilt of his sword, stepped towards Lucy. Abigail noticed his movements with a grim smile. She led Lucy back slowly a few steps.
Oscar Wilde and Sammy, long grown used to Tesla’s marvels, just stepped back prudently, their eyes admiring the crimson fabric sweeping out and around. The burnished, sharp stakes jutted abruptly from its bottom like a netherworld raptor preparing to strike.
Meilori flowed beside me, her Sphinx face glowing, “Is not my Wizard a wonder, Samuel?”
“Yes, he certainly is.”
But I was filled with wonder myself over something else entire. Why had Meilori chosen this site to set up our tent? We could have gone on for an hour more.
It was remote in the desert wastes this nameless ruin, crumbling and inarticulate with pillars wind-scoured of inscription, its low walls nearly hidden by the sands of uncounted ages. It must have been like this before the first stones of Memphis were laid, and while the bricks of Babylon were yet unbaked.
There was no legend so old as to give these ruins a name, or to recall that they were ever alive; but these ruins were spoken of in whispers around campfires and muttered about by Bedouins in their tents, praying softly to Allah for protection.
I have always known that I was an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men. But these ruins whispered to me that mankind was a stranger to the times when they were first shaped by hands that were not hands.