Stargate Horizons


That night as Quentin and Kathleen got ready for bed, it was no surprise that the topic of conversation was Halloween, which led to Quentin mentioning the costumes and what Daniel said about Egyptian men shaving off all their hair.  The moment he told her, he knew he was in trouble.  The smile of glee on her face told him what she was going to say before she said it.

"Now, where's that new razor I just got?" she murmured, glancing about the room as if actually looking for it.

"Kat, I am not shaving my chest.  No way."

"Aw, come on, Quentin.  It's not like the hair won't grow back."  She tugged on a few strands.  "You'll have your mainly fur back in no time."

"I fail to see why I have to shave my chest.  We're not looking for a prize in authenticity, you know."

"Well, no, but if you shave your chest, we can cover you with dark body makeup and give you that lovely bronzed look.  Then you'll really look the part."

Quentin glared at her.  "You're not going to give up on this, are you."

Kathleen made a show of thinking about it.  "Nope."

Her husband made a growling sound.  "Fine!  I'll shave my chest.  But I don't want to hear you complaining about razor stubble every night when it starts to grow back."

Kathleen planted a kiss in the center of his chest.  "No complaints.  I promise."  She grabbed his hand and tugged him toward the bathroom.  "Let's go find that razor."

The next morning, Quentin, sans chest hair, gave the Anubis head its first coat of paint, then headed off to work.

The kids were all excited about Halloween, and the teacher decided to take advantage of it by creating learning activities with a Halloween theme.

At one point, one of the students raised her hand, and Quentin called on her.

"Yes, Jean?"

"I heard that you're going to have a haunted house at your house.  Are you really going to have one?"

"Yes, we are, and it's going to be pretty scary.  You're all invited to come see.  I'll put my address on the chalkboard so that you can write it down.  There will be treats, too, so bring your bags and buckets."

That afternoon, Daniel and Sam again accompanied Quentin home.  They all studied the Anubis head, which was now a nice rich black, thanks to the second coat of paint Kathleen gave it.

"Okay, now we need to figure out how we're going to put the eye holes in the right place," the teacher said.

"We'll have to take some measurements," Kathleen responded.  "I'll go get my cloth measuring tape."

After doing some careful measuring, Quentin cut out the eye holes.  He made them very small to begin with just in case their position was a little off.  It turned out that they were just about perfect, so he enlarged them.  He also made a small slit in the vicinity of his nose so that he could breathe more easily.

They all went into the bathroom, and Quentin put the head on.  He studied his reflection.  It looked great, except for one thing.  His eyes were clearly visible through the openings.

"I suppose I could put some black face paint around my eyes," he said as he took the head off.  "That would help a little."

Kathleen stared at the head, frowning thoughtfully.  "You know, I think I have a better idea.  Stay here."

She left the room.  When she returned, she had the lenses from a pair of dark sunglasses.  She took them and placed them over the eye holes.

"There you go," she said.  "We can glue these on.  As dark and shadowy as the hallway will be, I bet you won't even be able to see them."

Quentin smiled.  "Those will work great."  Then he frowned.  "Wait a minute.  Aren't those from my sunglasses?"

"Yes, but you've been needing a new pair for ages.  These were all scratched up."

Quentin pouted.  "But they were my favorite pair."

Kathleen patted his cheek.  "Aw, poor baby.  I'll buy you some pretty new ones."

Quentin looked down at the two kids. Sam was giggling slightly, and Daniel had a grin on his face.

"Hey!  I'll teach you to giggle at me!" the teacher exclaimed.

Three seconds later, the kids ran squealing out of the bathroom, pursued by Quentin, whose fingers were looking for tummies to tickle.

The lenses of Quentin's beloved sunglasses were glued on the head, and he tried it on again, reluctantly agreeing that it was worth the sacrifice.  It looked fantastic.

Kathleen had picked up the costumes that morning.  She'd already tried hers on, including the wig she'd also gotten, and found that it fit well, but they needed to make sure that Sam's would fit.  Since Daniel and Quentin had tried theirs on at the shop, they didn't need to do so again, but both Kathleen and Sam were dying to see what they looked like, so the teacher and his student agreed to model the costumes.

In the master bedroom, Quentin put the Anubis costume on, including the head.  He grinned as he looked at himself in the full-length mirror.

"Oh, this is going to be good."

The others were in the living room when he came out, Sam doing a cute little pirouette in her costume.  Kathleen was the first to see him and let out a gasp.

"Oh, my!" she exclaimed softly.

The kids turned around and stared at him.

"Oh, wow!" Sam cried.  "That looks so cool!"

"You shaved your chest," Daniel said, smiling hugely.  His teacher almost looked like the real Anubis.

Quentin took the head off.  "Yes.  We're not going to talk about that."

The boy looked down at the man's bare legs.  Quentin followed his gaze.

"Don't even say it!" he ordered.  "I agreed to shave my chest, but I am not, repeat not going to shave my legs!  No way.  Not a chance in he. . . .  Not a chance!"

Kathleen grinned wickedly.  "You know, that razor is still pretty sharp."

Quentin pointed at her.  "You stay away from me, woman."

The teacher hurried up and changed back into his pants and shirt before the others could gang up on him and hold him down while his maniacal wife removed more of his body hair.

"Oh, I got some dark make-up for you," Kathleen said.  "They had some at the costume shop."

Jacob, Laura and Mark came over that evening to help out with the final few things that needed doing.

"So, you think you're ready for this?" the captain asked Quentin as they stood out on the back porch, beers in hand, looking up at the clear, star-filled sky.

"I think so.  I don't envy you, though, lying there all wrapped up from head to toe."  The teacher grinned.  "I hope you don't have bladder issues."

"Yeah.  I'll definitely be taking it easy on the beverages beforehand."  Jacob looked at him.  "I never did tell you how nice it is that you're doing this for Daniel.  I don't know of many teachers who'd go through this much effort to give one of their students a fun holiday."

Quentin turned and looked through the sliding glass doors at the people inside the house.  Daniel and Sam were sitting on the floor, drawing Egyptian figures on some more poster board.  The teacher's eyes focused on the boy.

"Well, I'm not sure that I'd do this for just anyone.  Daniel is a special case."

Jacob smiled.  "Ah, he got to you, too, I see."

Quentin looked at him.  "What?"

"Laura and I absolutely adore him.  It didn't take him long at all to grab our hearts.  There's just something about him that makes you love him."

The teacher's eyes returned to his student.  "Yes, I guess there is."

The next day dawned cold and clear.  It was supposed to remain clear throughout the day and evening, which meant that there would be even more trick-or-treaters out on the streets.

For the third day in a row, Daniel went home with his teacher.  They'd decided that it didn't make any sense for him to go home and then have to be brought over by his foster mother later.  He did his homework in the library, his fingers itching to reach out and take down one of the books.  He resisted the urge and focused on the schoolwork.

The process of preparing the house had already been started.  Laura had come over that morning to help Kathleen, and they got quite a bit accomplished.  Everything had been cleared away from the path that the kids would take, except for the tables upon which the Egyptian figurines sat.  Dark flannel sheets had been strung up to block off part of the living room, and candles were all over the place, ready to be lit.

As soon as Jacob got off work, he and his family headed over to the Greer place.  They all looked around.

"Hey, it's looking good," Jacob said.

"Wait till you see it when the lights are off and the candles lit," Kathleen responded.

Once everything was in place, they all got busy with the fake cobwebs, making the place look like it had been abandoned for years.  Once that was done, they ate an early dinner.  And then came the time for Jacob to don his costume, or, rather, for it to be donned on him.

Stripped down to his T-shirt and boxer shorts, Jacob stood as his wife and Quentin wrapped him from the feet up.  He had black makeup around his eyes and on his eyelids since, unlike Quentin, he couldn't hide his eyes behind sunglass lenses.

It seemed to take forever, but, at last, the final strip of cloth was pinned into place.  The captain walked stiffly to the mirror.

"Oh, good lord," he said, chuckling.  "What did I get myself into?  Come on.  Let's show the others."

Deciding to have a bit of fun, instead of just walking out into the living room, Jacob took up the classic mummy pose and clomped, stiff-legged down the hall, moaning loudly.

Sam let out a sound between a shriek and a laugh when she saw her father.  Mark was grinning from ear to ear.

"Wow, Dad.  You look great!" he said.

"You sure do," Kathleen agreed.

"Really scary!" Sam exclaimed.

Jacob looked at Daniel.  "So, what do you think?"

"I think you're going to scare all of the kids."  The boy grinned.  "This is going to be really fun."

With his wife's help, Quentin put on the dark makeup, slathering it on every inch of skin that would be exposed.  He then put on the skirt and collar.

Kathleen gaped at her husband, amazed at the transformation.  With his large, powerful build now darkly tanned, he really did looked like the mythical god he was portraying.

"Wow," she breathed.  "You look amazing."

Quentin looked at himself in the mirror.  "Thanks.  The makeup does make a difference, doesn't it."

"I'd love to see what you look like with the makeup on your face."

"Sorry, but you'll just have to use your imagination.  My face will be covered by the Anubis head, so I don't need makeup there.  Besides, I know I'm going to sweat under that thing.  Wearing face makeup would make it ten times worse."

Putting the head on, it was Quentin's turn to awe everyone, and awe them he did.  They all stared at him, mouths hanging open.

"Holy cow, Quentin," Jacob said.

Daniel's eyes were shining.  "You look really great, Mister Greer, like the real Anubis."

The teacher removed the head, which he was going to wear as little as possible.  "Thanks."

"Can I wear some of that makeup, too?"

"Sure.  That would be a great idea."  He grinned.  "I think we're going to give them quite a show."

The house was dark, candle flames flickering eerily in the windows.  Torches were planted in the ground on either side of the steps to the porch, casting wavering circles of light.  A sign in the yard said, "King Sekhemkhet calls you to enter his haunted tomb, if you dare."

On the front porch stood a woman dressed like an Egyptian princess.  Her hair was reddish-black, as if the dark tresses had been washed in henna.  Her eyes were adored with black makeup, lips ruby red.

"Come," she called.  "Come into Sekhemkhet's tomb.  But beware, for many who enter never return.  Are you brave enough to face the spirit of the mighty pharaoh and live?  Come!"

A group of four seven and eight-year-olds was the first to venture up the walkway, followed by the father of one of the kids.

The Egyptian princess smiled at them.  "Ah, brave ones.  Are you prepared to enter the tomb?"  Four little heads nodded.  She opened the door.  "Then enter and beware."

The kids and man went inside.  All around them was the sound of creaking things, with faint moans and sighs.  A dark-skinned boy of eight, dressed as a pharaoh, stood just inside the doorway.  Beside him was a girl of the same age, also in Egyptian garb.  They handed the children candy.

"Here.  Take food," the boy said.  "It may sustain you as you venture into the darkness beyond."  He swept his arm to the left.

The four kids looked in that direction.  A long, cobweb-infested hallway met their eyes, dark and creepy, the only light coming from a few candles, which shone upon small Egyptian statues.

A couple of the kids looked nervously at the man with them.

"Will you come with us, Daddy?" one of the seven-year-olds asked.

"No, he must remain," the Egyptian girl said.  "Only children may enter."

"It's okay, Billy," the man said.  "I'll be right here."

Hesitantly, the four kids headed for the hall.  As they entered it, they could see a figure standing at the end, nothing but blackness in the open doorway beyond.  Their eyes grew wide as they got a better look.  The huge figure stood like it was carved in stone.  Dark brown skin gleamed faintly in the distant candlelight.  His head was that of a jackal, as black as coal.  In his right hand was a spear, the end of its haft resting on the floor.

As they continued down the hall, they began hearing a voice murmuring in a strange language.  It was coming from ahead of them.  They paused for a moment, then continued, huddling closer together.

And then the figure at the end of the hall moved, making the kids jump and gasp.  He brandished his spear.

"I am Anubis, lord of the dead," he intoned in a deep voice.  He pointed his spear at the kids.  "I am going to steal your souls and feed your hearts to Ammit!"  He took a single stride toward the kids.

With piercing shrieks, the children fled away down the hall.  They shot through the living room and out the door, right past their stunned guardian.

"Well, that didn't take long," Kathleen murmured.

In the hall, Quentin was chuckling, grinning behind the Anubis head.

"Hey, Quentin?" came a muffled voice.

The teacher peeked his head into the 'sarcophagus room'.  "Yeah, Jacob?"

"Try to be a little less scary, will ya?  I'm not lying in here for nothing, you know."

"Sorry.  I'll let you scare the next batch."

"Thank you."

The next batch came just five minutes later.  These kids were a bit older and didn't show that they were a little scared as they entered the hall of the "tomb".  They jumped even higher, though, when Anubis suddenly came to life.

"I am Anubis, lord of the dead.  Woe to all who enter here.  Only the bravest will survive."  He beckoned them forward.  "Come if you dare.  The king awaits you."

Slowly, the kids moved forward, their eyes never leaving Anubis.  As they drew abreast of one of the doors, it slowly opened, seemingly on its own.

Anubis chuckled darkly.  "The king welcomes you.  Go in, young ones."

The kids looked through the doorway.  The room beyond was dimly lit with candles.  In their light stood a closed box with figures and strange symbols upon it.  The voice speaking in the unknown language was coming from within the room.

Cautiously, the kids stepped inside.  They froze when they heard a low moan come from inside the box.  And then the lid jerked upward an inch, making the kids jump back.  Another moan came, louder and deeper.

Wide-eyed, the kids watched as the lid lifted and fell aside.  A mummy, bandages brown and ragged, slowly sat up and turned to them, moaning, arms reaching for them.

Behind the kids came an evil laugh.

"And now you will die!" said 'Anubis'.

That was the last straw for the kids, who screamed and escaped the room.  Like the ones before them, they were out the door so fast that the man who'd accompanied them barely had time to blink before they were gone.

Inside the spare bedroom, Jacob laughed.  "That was fun."

A grinning Mark came out of his hiding place behind the door.  "That was cool."

"Not bad, Jacob," Quentin said.  "You play a good mummy."

"Thanks."  Jacob turned to his son.  "Let's get this lid back on.  We'll have another batch coming soon."

The captain laid back down in the "sarcophagus", and Mark replaced the lid, then shut the door.  It was he who had opened the door when the children got near.  He was also in charge of the tape recording of Quentin speaking Ancient Egyptian.  Since it wasn't a long recording, it was going to have to be rewound often.  The tape was playing on the Greers' stereo system, which had been moved into the room.  Jacob had brought their stereo system to the house as well.  Through it was playing the long recording of the haunted house sounds.

The third batch of kids, the youngest so far, didn't even make it halfway down the hall.  As soon as Quentin moved, they turned tail and ran screaming away.

"Don't say it, Jacob," the teacher said.  "I wasn't even trying that time."

And so the evening went.  As time wore on, Quentin and Jacob slipped into a bit of a competition, seeing which of them could be scarier.  They took turns terrifying the young visitors.

Laura had the job of providing water to everyone, and, most importantly for Quentin, a cool, wet cloth to wipe over his sweaty face every now and then.  Though Jacob was quite thirsty, he had to take it easy on how much he drank since going to the bathroom would be impossible as long as he was in the mummy suit.  Laura was also the one who passed messages between everybody, like when they had to take a short break so that the kids could use the bathroom.

As usual, later in the evening, the teenagers were the ones out having Halloween fun.  No one really expected to scare them out of the house, but they did manage to startle a good portion of the teens, and they got lots of rave reviews on the spookiness of the place.

"You look awesome in that thing, Mister Greer," praised one neighborhood boy of fifteen.  "And the mummy is terrific."

By the time the "haunted tomb" was closed for the night, everyone was ready to just sit and relax for the rest of the evening.  Jacob was unwrapped, and both Quentin and Daniel lost their phony tans.  The rented costumes were all put away in their garment bags.  They'd be returned tomorrow.

"Well, that was really something else," Jacob said as he plopped onto the couch.

Sam was grinning broadly.  "You should have seen the look on the faces of the kids that ran away.  They were really scared."

"Yeah, well, between Quentin and his 'lord of the dead, gonna feed your heart to Ammit' act and my mummy jack-in-the-box routine, I'd have been rather surprised if we didn't send kids out screaming into the night."

Quentin turned to his student.  "So, Daniel.  Did you have fun?"

The boy grinned back at him.  "Yeah, it was great!  Too bad we couldn't do this every year."

"Well, I don't know about every year, but I'm not going to say that we won't ever do it again."

"Ah, but you might say that when we're neck-deep in cleaning this place up," Kathleen remarked.

Laura looked around.  "You want some help?"

"Not tonight.  We'll go ahead and take down all the sheets that are hanging up, but it's too late to get started on the rest.  Tomorrow will be cleaning day."

"Yes, speaking of the late hour, I need to get you home, Daniel," Quentin said.  "It's way past your bedtime."

Jacob got to his feet.  "We can drop him off on our way home."

Everyone else rose to their feet as well.

"Well, this was certainly a night to remember," Kathleen said.  "And I'm betting that it'll be the talk of the neighborhood for weeks to come."

Not only was it the talk of the neighborhood, it was also the talk of the school.  Several kids from the school had visited the haunted house, including a few from Quentin's class.  The teacher smiled as he listened to the students who did go excitedly talking about it to the ones who didn't.

"That was you who was playing Anubis, wasn't it, Mister Greer?" asked one child.

"Yes, it sure was."

"Who was the mummy?"

"That was Samantha and Mark Carter's dad."

"Are you going to do it next year?" another student asked, one who hadn't been there.

Quentin glanced at Daniel.  "I don't know, Cliff.  We'll just have to wait and see."

At lunch, both Nathan and Kenny told Daniel and Sam that they were sorry they couldn't go to the haunted house.

"I wanted to go," said Nathan, "but my parents didn't want us to walk that far at night, and our car is in the shop being fixed."

"My dad doesn't like Halloween," Kenny revealed in a low, sad voice.  "He says it's stupid."

"Didn't you even get to go trick-or-treating?" Sam asked.

The boy shook his head, looking even sadder.  "I never get to go anymore, not since Mama died."

Daniel gazed at Kenny sympathetically, understanding his pain.  The boy's mother had died over a year ago, but he still grieved over her loss and had talked in private with Daniel about it.  Kenny was the only kid at school other than Sam and Mark who knew that Daniel's parents were dead.  Not even Nathan knew yet, though Daniel figured that he'd probably tell the boy someday.

Daniel was in the midst of doing his homework when Mrs. Underwood came into his room.  She took a seat on the bed.

"Come sit beside me, Daniel.  We need to talk about something."

Worried that he'd done something wrong or that something bad had happened, Daniel did as he was asked.

"Your caseworker called this morning.  There's someone that she'd like you to talk to."


"His name is Doctor Pine.  He's a psychologist.  Do you know what that is?"

Daniel nodded.  "One talked to me in the hospital after Mom and Dad died.  Why do I have to talk to another one?  I didn't like that other psychologist."

"We're just concerned about you, Daniel.  You had those flashbacks, and you still have the nightmares, though you don't seem to be having them as often now.  The doctor just wants to ask you some questions and see if perhaps there's a way we can help you feel better about everything."

Daniel stared at his hands, which were folded in his lap.  He didn't want to talk to another psychologist.  The other one had asked him a bunch of questions and frowned a lot when Daniel didn't answer.  He wrote lots of stuff in his notebook, and Daniel had known that it was all about him.  But it didn't look like he had a choice in the matter, so he'd just have to make the best of it.

"When do I have to see him?" Daniel asked.

"You have an appointment with him next Tuesday."  Diane stroked his hair.  "I'm sure it will be fine, Daniel.  I'll get a babysitter for the other kids so that I can be right there with you."  She got to her feet.  "Dinner will be ready in about half an hour."

After his foster mother left, Daniel remained sitting on the bed, thinking about the upcoming appointment.  The thing he dreaded the most was that a lot of the questions the psychologist asked would be about the death of Daniel's parents and how he felt about it.  That's what the other one asked about.  Daniel didn't want to talk about his mom and dad dying.  He didn't want to talk about how it made him feel, how much he missed them, the nightmares he still had about the coverstone falling.  He hadn't told the kids at school about his parents' death because he didn't want them talking about it and asking a bunch of questions.  He wanted to just keep it all private, deep inside of him.  Talking about it just made it hurt worse.  All he could hope was that it wouldn't be as bad this time.

Everyone was surprised to see a small article in the local newspaper about their "haunted tomb".  As it turned out, one of the parents who'd accompanied his child and her friends was a reporter for the paper.  He'd asked Kathleen, Daniel and Sam a lot of questions while the kids he'd been with went down the hall and got the wits scared out of them, but no one had thought much about it at the time.  The man included in the article that King Sekhemkhet was a real Egyptian king in the Third Dynasty, something he'd learned from Daniel, and talked about their recreation of Anubis, details of which he found out from his daughter.

Apparently, the man had been quite impressed with Daniel's intelligence and knowledge about ancient Egypt.  He stated in the article, "One of the orchestrators of the 'haunted tomb' was an extraordinarily bright boy of eight who gave me a far more interesting lesson on ancient Egypt than anything I ever learned in school.  Too bad he hadn't been one of my teachers.  I might have actually paid attention."

Quentin chuckled when he read that part.  "Well, looks like our little Egyptology professor just got a bit of publicity.  Mark my words, Kat.  Someday, that boy is going to do important things with his life."

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