Book cover of “ANKH“ by Virgi

ANKH

  • Genre: Young Adult
  • Status: Completed
  • Language: English
  • Author: Virgi
"What is written in the sand is carried away by the wind, but what is carved in a stone lasts forever." Elizabeth Twoys lives a lonely life; her parents died many years ago, and she only has her best friend, Carmen. A call from an old acquaintance will bring her back to Egypt, her family's home and her own. Mysteries and secrets surround her e... 

Chapter 1

The wind had blown for many years, shifting the sands as time advanced, erasing all traces of death and the past, taking with it the remnants of a tragedy that only people knew through books. The sun burned fiercely in the sky, illuminating the evening in the city of London.

Light filtered through the windows of the University of Cambridge. The sound of water splashing could be heard whenever someone took a swim. Elizabeth Twoys had learned to swim even before she learned to walk; she couldn't remember a moment in her life when she hadn't done it, and that day she needed it more than ever.

The previous night, dreams had kept her from resting, which wasn't exactly something new, but there were times when they became more intense, and that night was one of them. The image of the figure that appeared in her dreams came to her mind, paralyzing her completely. It was an inverted cross with a handle at the top, exactly the shape of a key.

"What are you? What do you mean?" Curiosity was eating her up; that key seemed to have a connection with her, they seemed to be linked.

A sound snapped her out of her thoughts; it was the whistle of a lifeguard signaling that her time was up. She swam towards the stairs, aware that the pool would soon close. She climbed up the stairs and headed to where her towel was, leaving a trail of water droplets behind her.

"That was awesome, just 50 seconds! It's your best time, Liz," Elizabeth turned around, only to be met with the freckled and cheerful face of Carmen Villarreal, her best friend.

"Really? I thought I was running late," she replied with amusement.

Carmen huffed, making one of her red curls move from her forehead, something that had always amused Elizabeth. She had always wanted to have curly hair like her friend; but while Carmen's hair was a mass of well-defined curls, hers was simply straight.

Someone who didn't know them would think there were no two more different people. While Carmen had fiery red hair, Liz's was as black as the night. Her friend's skin was covered in freckles and was very fair; hers was tanned. Carmen was petite and delicate, with a fun and captivating personality. Liz's personality was a bit... challenging. Let's just say she had lost several friends because of her character.

But the most striking difference was the color of their eyes. Carmen's eyes were green like spring leaves, shining with excitement. Liz's were gray like silver, cold and stormy, although she didn't like them, many people found them attractive and exotic.

"Hey... Earth to Liz," Carmen's snap of her fingers in front of her face brought her back to reality.

"Sorry, I guess I got lost in my thoughts," she said with a smile.

"If you don't tell me, I won't know," Carmen replied ironically. "You're acting really strange today. Is something wrong?" The tone of concern in her friend's voice made her feel guilty. She didn't like worrying others.

"I'm fine, I just haven't been sleeping well for the past few nights," she looked at her friend, hoping she would understand what her words meant, after all, she was the only one who knew about her dreams.

"The desert again?" she asked immediately.

Liz smiled; that's why she was her best friend. They didn't have to express their feelings out loud; a glance or a word was enough for them to understand each other. She nodded, but didn't provide any more details; it wasn't the right place for it. Carmen understood her friend's silence and didn't ask any further questions about it. They chatted about trivial matters as they headed to the locker rooms.

"Wait for me here, I'll change, and we can go," Liz said when they reached the girls' locker room door.

"Of course," Carmen nodded and put on her headphones as she sat on a bench.

Elizabeth entered to change into her swimsuit. She found her locker to get the clothes she had stored there. She took off her swimsuit and put it in her backpack, then put on underwear and grabbed a black hoodie, sliding it over her arms while humming the lyrics to "Bohemian Rhapsody."

She put on the green shorts she had brought and combed her long dark hair with a brush. She was finishing humming the song when she realized that she had forgotten her favorite sneakers, so she had to put on her shoes without them.

"Great," she thought with annoyance.

Upon leaving, she was greeted with a comical sight. Carmen was dancing and jumping around the hallway. From the silly grin on her face, Elizabeth knew she was on the phone with Ricardo, her new boyfriend, or as she called him, "The current heartthrob."

"Are we going?" Elizabeth said, approaching her friend from behind. She couldn't help but burst into laughter as Carmen jumped in surprise when she didn't feel her coming.

"You scared me!" Carmen turned around, shooting her a glare. "I was distracted and didn't realize you had already come out," she said angrily.

"You were definitely distracted; you almost called the plumbers because you made a hole in the floor." "That's not true!" she exclaimed, blushing.

"Yeah, sure it's not," she responded as they walked through the doors of the university.

The journey to the apartment they shared passed quickly amid laughter and jokes. The building was part of the faculty they attended, in simpler terms, it was a student residence.

The girls said goodbye in the common room they shared with two other girls, and each headed to her room. Liz closed the door behind her; her body hurt a lot, and she just wanted to lie down on her bed and sleep for at least 12 hours.

Elizabeth's room was dimly lit, with only a small light coming from the moonlight streaming through the window. She moved cautiously, feeling the walls with her hands to find the light switch. However, it didn't help much. She had only taken a few steps when she hit her knee against her nightstand. "Damn it." She found the switch and turned on the light, carefully lifting the nightstand and putting it back in its place.

The room assigned to Elizabeth at the university was neither too large nor too small. She believed it was the perfect size; the space was occupied by her bed, her wardrobe, and a small table with a lamp on it. The walls were painted white, covered with most of the drawings she had made since she lived there.

She was about to lie down on her bed to rest when she noticed something she had missed earlier. On the floor beside her bed was a golden box with a beautiful copper lock and a symbol shaped like an "N" carved into it. Bile rose in her throat, burning it. It had been a long time since she had last seen that object. "Her parents' chest." Inside it, she had precious memories of her mother and father.

María and Fabián Twoys died on March 20, 2007, in an accident during an archaeological expedition they were on; Liz was only 7 years old. It was a very painful event, and it took years for her to recover from it. When she finally did, she wanted to leave behind everything that reminded her of them, but for some strange reason,

 she couldn't get rid of that box.

Her parents were archaeologists and loved their work more than anything else (Liz believed they loved it even more than her), and it seemed the universe had a very dark sense of humor because as ironic as it sounded, and as much as she had tried to avoid it, she continued in their footsteps.

A smile formed on her lips. Maybe she was more like her parents than she wanted to admit.

Tears filled her eyes. After her parents' death, her guardianship fell into the hands of her godmother, as she had no other family. Her parents were only children, so she had no cousins or uncles, and her grandparents had died many years before.

Her godmother, Cristina, had worked hard to give her all the love she could, and even though she was immensely grateful, it was never the same. She had always been a good student, very diligent, never getting into trouble, and the only thing they could accuse her of was having her nose buried in a book all the time. So, it didn't surprise her when she received a scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge.

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