Chapter 5 : A Kaleidoscope
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She eased herself up gently, sensing that the previous night had been a rough one. Perhaps Rashidi's warnings of the sand storm had been proven correct and broken sleep was a result of it. Spasms of pain shot up her spine as she attempted to rise, causing her to quickly recoil and return to her horizontal position.
Not knowing what the cause of the severe pain was, Rose held out her hands in front of her eye to look for an answer. Her right one was covered in swaths of bandages, layered upon one another so thick it had nearly doubled in size. As for the other, lines of red and blotches of blue covered it so intricately it could almost be mistaken for a piece of art. A sense of unease had begun to build up inside of her, but still not satisfied she continued to search for answers.
With her hair being the next thing in sight, she grabbed hold of a bit of it and nearly let out a scream. Her fiery hair had been given a reason to burn and the ends were singed black. Her copper reduced to coal. What had happened to her? Who had done this? Where were the others? All those thoughts swirled around her mind while she continued to scream out, hoping that would help her solve her answer. All her rationality, gone.
“Ah good, you’re awake then!” a voice cried out. “I told Edward that you would come round soon, and there he was ready to call for a medic. Your friend is still asleep, I’m afraid. It’s top-hole that you’re up and about though. We’d been meaning to move onto our next destination for a while now, but finding you two in the middle of the Sahara desert altered our plans dramatically. If you don’t mind me saying, dear, but what on earth were you doing there? We found you covered in cuts and bruises, ready to die of dehydration. You were quite delirious, muttering away about scorpions and such. Were you bitten by one, dear? That would explain the screaming.”
Rose gazed up to the person bearing down on her and saw a woman around her thirties smiling away. She hadn’t been as lucky as Rose with the sun. The effects of sunburn had caused her face to be lined with wrinkles, and in the bits which weren’t burnt to a crisp, freckles and moles had developed there. Rose noted the blonde hair and knew that she faced an even worse fate than the red heads. Being forced to deal with the woman's matter of fact way managed to instil some calm into Rose.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” Rose started. “Who are you?”
The woman gave out a little gasp before clapping her hand to her mouth. “Oh dear me, how could I have forgotten to say! I’m Charlotte, Charlotte Wright. I’m here with my brother and our friends for an expedition, you see. We were attempting to find Tutankhamun’s tomb, you see, but those chaps, Howard Carter and George Herbert, beat us to it, so we decided to go on our own adventure…” Charlotte carried on wittering away but Rose ignored her. Something had become embedded into her mind, and all thoughts of screaming had only heightened when hearing it. She just needed to think.
If what Charlotte said was correct about them searching for Tutankhamun’s tomb and Carter and Herbert, it was a very worrying sign for Rose. She knew all about his tomb through the stories from Uncle Bill, and she could remember very clearly when it was discovered. That was the most worrying sign about it all. It was discovered in 1922. More than a century ago.
Rose let out a piercing scream when the realisation about what happened to her hit her and could hear Charlotte shrieking in the background. She could feel her body almost spasm in reaction to the harshness of the cries. With her body weary, throat hoarse, she was soon lulled back into a sleep like state and couldn’t help but feel comforted as the black slowly covered her eyes.
“I really don’t know what happened. All I did was mention why we were here and she passed out. Perhaps she’s still dehydrated?” Rose heard Charlotte ask.
“Perhaps you're right, Charlotte. I think calling for a medic after this incident would be the right thing to do.” That must be Edward, Rose thought, if he was going on about medics.
“How?” a deep voice asked, incredulously. “We’re in the middle of the Sahara desert. The nearest thing to us is an old hut which is inhabited. Cairo is the largest town from here but it would pointless to return to it. What do you suggest then, Edward? That we run around in the heat, risking death ourselves for a girl we don’t even know?”
“Anthony, we cannot let her die,” Edward replied. “What if we know her? What if she is a friend of ours or a sister of a friend? You wouldn’t want to be left to die merely because your rescuers did not know who you were.”
Rose heard a grumble and guessed that this Anthony had conceded defeat. “Perhaps I'll be of some help. I learnt some basic first aid during the war,” another voice suggested as it drew nearer to her.
“Thank you, David. At least some of us are cooperative,” Charlotte grumbled.
Rose felt a hand approach her and press against her neck and forehead. “She’s burning hot, and her pulse is high. Though I don’t have an extensive medical knowledge, I think that shows that she will be in need of care soon.”
The others began murmuring with one another, too quietly and quickly for Rose to understand. Another voice soon appeared and announced, “The other one’s waking up,” and there was a scurry of feet running from the room.
She tried to figure out how many voices she heard and which voice belonged to each person but everything had formed a kaleidoscope. The past, the present, the future. Which one was which now? She couldn't even draw Scorpius' face clearly from her mind, and she thought that would be the one thing which continued to burn strongly.
A pulsating force of heat aroused her again from her thoughts, and Rose guessed that the hand was still lying near her. She fluttered her eyes open and saw a man with a stubble bearing down over her.
“I’m ever so sorry about this!” the man cried out when seeing Rose was awake. He blustered around, knocking a pair of glasses off the table beside Rose. “I’m ever so sorry. I’m David, by the way, and I believe you’ve already met my sister Charlotte.”
Rose gave the man a small smile, as he bent down and picked the pair of glasses up. “It’s no problem, and yes I have. She was very nice.”
She chanced one look at him even though her neck appeared to be paralysed through the pain and saw a nervous looking man, with the image being reinforced with him wearing the glasses. His hair stuck out at odd angles, and perspiration lined his neck. Rose couldn't help but pity him a little, he seemed so anxious it was bordering on endearing.
Her entire body felt weakened from those two short sentences and the glance at David. The small amount of energy she possessed before the revelation of a certain date had long since disappeared. She tried not to think about it, but she couldn’t help but notice that it loomed in the forefront of her mind. 1922. The image was burned into her iris's, allowing her no escape from her fate.
“What was your name again?” David asked.
“Rose Weasley.” She immediately regretted saying it. Though it sounded like they were Muggles with them knowing Carter and Herbert, she still wanted to heed to caution, and heeding to caution did not involve revealing your full name to a complete stranger. They could be magical people simply interested in muggle history for all she knew.
David thought for a moment before replying. “No I’ve never heard of the Weasleys. Though us lot are all from Northumberland, that sort of area. What about your friend?”
“He’s Lorcan Scamander.”
It was only then that Rose realised she hadn't even thought once about him. So much of a friend she was. She didn't even check if he was well or close to death.
David gave a look of confusion. “That is an odd name. Where did you say you came from again?” Rose couldn’t help but chuckle internally. He must be a Muggle if he thought Lorcan was odd. Though it wasn’t exactly common there were a few Lorcans cropping up now and then. Or it could be a modern thing, she thought.
“We’re both from London. We were here on research project but got lost on the way to our destination,” Rose murmured. The details about how she ended up here were still fuzzy in her mind, so she couldn't even really call it lying. There was the heat and the sand whirling around them. Then Lorcan saying he had found shelter and beckoning Rose along. After that point, it was all blank. She was running round a labyrinth which had no centre.
“London is a charming place, enjoyable for short stays but the hustle and bustle gets to me too much if I stay there long enough. I live in the country me, the nearest thing to me is a small abbey…”
Rose gave a nod in return and rolled her head against the pillow. No pain was triggered from the movement so that was one good thing to think about. The memories of what happened after going in search of the shelter still swirled around in her mind forming an incomplete picture. It was as if the pieces of the puzzle were blotting out her vision, always lurking away in the back of her mind, ready to distract. It seemed to be saying that unless she solved this nothing else could be.
“Ah, David, you should have told us she was awake instead of monopolising her like that.” A man strode in with his grin on his face and immediately walked up to Rose. “I’m Edward Percival, the one who was attempting to call a medic for you, like Charlotte said. All I learnt in the trenches about first aid was applying a bandage to a bleeding wound. It was probably best I defied my father’s wishes of becoming a doctor because even then the wounds tended to bleed profusely.”
He held out his hand to her, and she raised her own gently and shook it. All these faces, facts, questions were too much for her. She could barely comprehend what had happened to her, but for her to have to nod with mention of World War One and the trenches. She scrapped at her memory, trying to jog back the few visits to the Imperial Museum with her mum, but nothing seemed to surface. All she knew about it was that it was a bloody battle. Given how limited her Muggle history of this era was, she certainly wasn't going to be undercover for much longer.
“Yes, that was probably wise,” Rose replied. “I’m Rose Weasley.”
“Yes your friend told me already, he’s a wonderful chap that boy. Smiling away despite being in a comatose state for three days. Perhaps we’ve been too generous when giving him opium for pain relief. I have heard it can trigger delirious like states.”
Charlotte bustled in again and let out a squeal when she saw Rose was awake. “Oh, how wonderful that you’re awake. We can tidy you up right away! I do believe I have an old dress of mine hidden away somewhere which would fit you. You are slim girl, so it may be a bit baggy but it should do! Out you go, you two.”
Edward and David gave her a little smile before hurrying out of the room. “Now let’s see. We need to clear away the blood around your face, and perhaps get rid of the burnt bits of your hair. You will look like a darling once I’m done with you!”
Charlotte grabbed a flannel from the side of Rose’s bed and squeezed it into a bowl of water. Rose was quickly soothed with the light dabs of wet cotton against her face, and that lulled her into a hypnotic state, allowing her to forget about the horrors which had occurred. The current one was an even greater one. She had to wear a dress.
Rose lent on Charlotte’s arm as she was led out of the room she had been sleeping in and into the communal area. She spied Lorcan sitting in a chair, his face seizing up every now and then as if it was still feeling the consequences of what happened to them.
“There you go.” Charlotte helped Rose into the chair beside him. “You’ve met David and Edward, and there are two more of us. Anthony Cameron and George Russell, who I am sure you will like very much. I have to go and help the others with preparing the supper, but if you need anything we’re only a call away.”
Charlotte hurried out of the room and through the flap door which led to the outside world. Rose caught a flash of beige and brown, and the images of the sand swirling around her were enforced even more now. At least the blood had gone. It had been horrible with it being entangled in her hair, matting it to form a carpet like material. It had even dyed her skin a pale crimson colour in some parts.
“What the hell happened to us, Rose?” Lorcan asked and Rose quickly turned to look at him. For the person who was always had a cool temper and a logical mind, he really had fallen from that state. Rose could see that his eyes had begun to sparkle and the tears slowly ran down his face. Tinges of guilt mixed with her pain. She led him into this, he needn't be here. This was just for some stupid idea that she could prove herself to be something.
“I don’t know, I really don’t know. I wish I had an answer for you, but all I can remember is you saying that you had found a building which we could perhaps stay in and then it all went blank.”
“Well, if we can find out where we are, we might be able to make our way back to the others. They would have waited for us. The sandstorm doesn’t even seem to be here, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Perhaps it’s even gone where they are.”
Rose wanted to laugh at Lorcan’s naivety. Ignorance really was bliss in this case. “Lorcan, have they told you why they're here?”
“No, will it help us find the others at all?”
“No, it won’t. Finding them is futile in a case like this.”
“What are you on about, Rose? You were never one to have a defeatist attitude. I thought you wanted to show your family you were just as good as them, so why give up now?”
“You don’t understand. They said they were searching for Tutankhamun’s tomb but the others beat them to it so they have to look for something else now.”
Lorcan grumbled. “Yes, but how does it make it futile? It might help us if we know what they’re looking for.”
“Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered in 1922. That happened over a hundred years ago. Don’t you understand, Lorcan? Something must have happened to us to go back in time. This isn’t like when my mum did it by going back a few hours and getting back to her life easily. We will probably be stuck here forever. No escape. No chance to get back. This is it.” Her voice had grown so loud throughout the revelation it was now bordering on shouting, causing her to miss Lorcan's reaction.
The only thing she heard was the sharp thud of his head hitting the floor.
Author's Note: I'm so sorry, I promised you a quick update and it took over a month! I was travelling around Europe and had no way of getting any more chapters up! I really hope you like this one though, I'm sorry about the load of OCs introduced. I hope the next few chapters will lessen the shock towards them. Do you have any predictions about any characters so far, or why they are there? I would love to know! Thanks for reading!♥
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