DISCLAIMER: I don’t own the character of Ardeth Bay. I only borrow him for a while. All other characters are those I made up and own. Please do not use them without my permission.
Written By: Jville
Samir Bay was an elderly man to some; to others he was in his prime. To Samir, it didn’t matter any longer; he felt as if life had passed him by the last few months. His health was not good, having had a mild stroke and a heart attack. This lead to him having bypass surgery, a few months ago. He was only 68, but he felt much older. He just wanted Allah to take him ‘home’ to be with his family who had passed before him. His wife, a son, a sister and his parents were all gone from him.
His middle son, Kahim and his wife, Alandra, had moved back from the states to be with him. His grandchildren never visited enough for him to be happy. His life in this world was something he no longer wanted to participate in. With the news filled with hate and war, he prayed every night for Allah to take him away, but every morning he would awaken to a new day.
On this particular day, he was out taking one of his daily walks with Alandra. She made sure he did, every day, like the doctors prescribed for his heart. When they returned to their house, they observed a strange car parked in front of it.
"Seems we have company, father," Alandra said. "Were you expecting someone?"
"I never expect anyone. I honestly hope they do not stay long. I am not in the mood to socialize," Samir said, looking the car over. "It’s a rental."
"Maybe it is one of your grandchildren home for a visit."
"Why would they visit this old man. Probably here to see Kahim about something," he said, entering the house with her.
Alandra recognized her son’s voice immediately and smiled, but then she heard another voice…familiar too, but it couldn’t be who she thought it was. "Zultan has come with a guest. Shall we go see who it is?"
"Oh, all right, then I will go take my nap," Samir said, taking her by the hand when she reached it out to him.
When Samir walked in the room, he had to grab onto Alandra’s arm to steady himself. Sitting with his son and grandson was…his parents! "Mother, Father? Has Allah finally taken me?"
"No, my son, we are as alive as you are," Ardeth said, going over to his son to hug him.
"How can this be true? Mother died years ago and you died only weeks afterward of a broken heart," Samir said, sitting next to Layla.
"It is a wonderful set of events and a miracle that has brought us to you, Samir. Darling, do you remember the puzzle box you used to play with?" Layla asked him.
"The puzzle box! Of course, you used to tell us of the big storm and how you were sent back in time and the box brought you back. You used it to come here?"
"Not exactly, as you can see I am carrying a child. I was worried about something that was happening to me. I was so weak; I thought something must be wrong," Layla said.
"Is this baby Amira?" Samir asked.
"No, my son, it is you that I am carrying," Layla said, smiling.
"This is so bizarre, but wonderful at the same time," Samir said, hugging his mother. "So tell me more. Why did you use the box and where did you go exactly?"
Before Layla could continue Sue, Zultan’s fiancé came into the room carrying Amira. "Grandfather, this is the woman I told you about. The woman I am going to marry soon, Sue Woods. The little girl she has is your sister, Amira."
Samir shook his head and started to cry. Layla held him and Ardeth knelt down next to them. "What is wrong, son?"
"Amira is no longer with us; she was taken by Allah two years ago. There was a bombing in Cairo and she was caught in the blast along with many others," Samir explained sobbing.
"Oh no! I was so hoping…" Layla said, starting to cry too. Sue handed her Amira, hoping it would calm her. "My poor baby girl."
"Grandmother, Aunt Amira grew up to be a wonderful teacher. She worked in a school for the deaf. She helped others too, by involving herself in many charities. She led a very fulfilling life," Kahim said.
"Do you have photographs of her?" Ardeth asked. "I would like to see her as a woman."
"Yes, we do have an album I will go find it," Alandra said.
"Shukran," Ardeth said, before she got up to leave.
Layla finished telling Samir the story as to why they used the box and how they decided to come see him before going back in time. Samir had not been this happy in a long time he was feeling incredibly blessed to be seeing his parents once again.
"Samir, Zultan told us of your health. I hope you will listen to your doctors to live a long and healthy life. You have many good years left in you, son. Do not waste them on worrying about your age." Ardeth held his son’s hand as he spoke to him. You are a Bay most of all you are a Medjai Warrior. Warriors do not just give up and die. We fight to the death!"
"You are right, father, I have given up. I have to admit seeing both of you again has made me feel much better," Samir said, smiling. "I believe this is why Allah ignored my prayers to die."
"Why did you want to die?" Layla asked.
"I was missing you, father, and Amira. I wanted to be with you once again."
"Then Allah did answer your prayers. We are here with you," Layla said, leaning over to kiss his cheek.
"You are right, Mother. I did answer them."
"I was wondering if it would be possible to meet with the other warriors," Ardeth said.
"Great Grandfather, we discussed this. We shouldn’t involve too many people in your secret of time travel. Someone could steal the box and you would never return to your time period," Zultan spoke up.
"Yes, you are right. We do have to get back. Our family there will be worried if we do not return soon," Ardeth said agreeing with him.
"I wish I could return with you," Samir said.
"Father, I would miss you terribly is you left us," Kahim said. "I’m sure Zultan would miss you during his wedding if you left too."
"Yes, I would, Grandfather. I was hoping you would be here for the ceremony. Sue and I want to be married here in my homeland with all of my family around us," Zultan said, holding hands with Sue.
"When is this wedding taking place?" Ardeth asked.
"In two months, I wish we could move it, so you could be here too, but my sister can’t get time off to travel here before then," Sue explained. "I’m so sorry."
"Please do not be sorry. I am sure it will be a beautiful ceremony. In two months, we will have a new addition to take care of and will have our hands full with him and Amira," Layla said giggling.
Alandra came back in with the photo albums and they all gathered around to look at them. While they did, Kahim slipped out of the room. Zultan was the only one to notice, so he excused himself and followed his father.
"Father, where are you going?"
"I’m going to make a few calls. I think they deserve to see the rest of the family. I hope they can get here before they have to leave," Kahim said.
"They are staying a few days, Father. Great Grandmother needs to rest more before the journey back to their home. She said time travel is strenuous," Zultan said, smiling.
"Excellent, I will make sure everyone gets here as soon as they can," Kahim said, picking up the phone.
"I still have use of the private plane. I can have it sent to London for the twins," he suggested.
"That would be wonderful. I’ll let them know."
Zultan left his father to make his calls and went back in with the others. Little Amira was walking around looking at the different things in the house for something to play with. He picked her up and took her the room where she had been napping to get the teddy bear Sarah had given her.
"You left Teddy all alone. You should play together to make up to him," Zultan said, smiling at her. She took hold of the bear; hugged it and gave it a kiss. He sat with her and watched her play with the bear, speaking to it in pieces of Arabic and English almost creating her own language.
Ardeth, Samir, and Layla had no idea of the surprise they would have the next day. After spending most of the night talking and looking at pictures, they all went to bed exhausted, but happy. Samir and Ardeth had awakened early in the morning. Samir had arranged for two horses to be out front, so he and his father could go for an early morning ride together. This was something they did after he was old enough to be on a horse alone.
"It seems strange calling you father and you are younger than I am," Samir said while they rode along the streets. It was too early for many people to be on the streets, so they were able to ride side by side around the block. The few people that were out walking looked on in amazement seeing Ardeth in his Medjai robes, wondering who this person could be.
"It maybe strange, but it does not change the fact I am your father. You are extremely lucky, my son. You have all your wonderful memories of our time together, when I only know they will be forth coming to me. That is the peculiar part of this journey your mother and I have taken."
"We had many joyous times together, Father. We even stood in battle against desert pirates trying to steal treasures of the dead. You and I stood strong, side by side, never giving up the fight. They put up a brave fight, but the sight of our warriors killing their men sent them running with no treasure in their hands," Samir said, proudly.
"How old where you when this happened?" Ardeth wondered.
"I was twelve years old," Samir said, smiling.
"Only twelve and your mother let you go to battle with me?" Ardeth was curious how this came to be.
"We were out riding on morning when the warriors came to tell you about the pirates. I refused to go back to camp."
"Did I punish you after the battle?"
"No, sir, but you did tell me if I was to be a Medjai warrior I had to learn to obey my chief," Samir said, chuckling. "I learned quickly, Father. That is why you gave the honor of Medjai Chief to me when you gave it up."
"I wonder knowing this happened if it will change anything," Ardeth said while they turned back toward the house.
"Why would you want to change anything? You know we lived to this point in time, and have lived…somewhat happy, prosperous lives. I do not think I would want you to change anything, knowing the memories I have. It would not lead me to this conversation with you," Samir said thinking.
"I guess you are right. I see you have more guests at the house," Ardeth said when they approached.
"So it seems. Father, did anyone tell you we built this house for Mother," Samir said, offhandedly.
"Truly? Just you and I?"
"We did have help, but we laid many stone for it ourselves," Samir answered with pride. They dismounted and went inside to see who was there. He was speechless to see all of his other children there.
Layla was holding Amira when they came in while talking to Damali and Tameka their, twins. "Ardeth, come meet our family." Layla introduced him to the twins and their other son Mahir, name for his great grandfather.
"This is so…" Ardeth tried to speak, but he was too overwhelmed to know what to say. He only went to each of them and hugged them for a moment. Seeing the pictures the night before was so enlightening about his children, but now to hold them in his arms was a true miracle…as Layla had often said the night before.
After they visited a while, Ardeth felt the need to visit another place while in Cairo. "I would like to see where Amira was laid to rest."
"Father, are you sure you want to go there?" Damali asked. "It is…well…you will also see yours and Mother’s as well."
"It is the right thing to do. Even though Amira is here with us as a baby, I need to say goodbye to…" Ardeth walked away followed by Layla.
"Darling, are you okay?" she asked, putting her arms around his waist.
"Yes, my love, Do you understand why I want to do this?"
"Yes, I do, but I do not think I should go. I think it would upset me to see our resting place as well as sweet Amira’s."
"I understand. I will lay flowers there from you. I’m sure she would understand," Ardeth said, leaning down to kiss her on the lips. "I love you so much."
"I love you too." Layla smiled, then kissed him again when Samir walked over to them.
"Mahir and I will take you now Father if you still wish to go."
"Yes, but I want to get some flowers to take with me. Do you know where we could get them?" he asked.
"Yes, there is a flower shop on the way," Samir said while Mahir joined them.
"The twins are going to fix something to eat while we are gone. They said it was to be a surprise and to take our time," Mahir said.
"Those two in the kitchen can only mean one thing," Samir said, smiling.
"What would that be?" Ardeth wondered seeing his two sons laughing now.
"You see father, each time they try cooking together it always seems to end up in a battle of who is the best cook. I’m afraid over the years you have had to eat two of every dish they ever made," Mahir explained.
"Yes, they start out each making a part of the meal and end up making it a cooking contest," Samir added.
"How did I ever choose between the two?" Ardeth asked.
"You always claimed they tasted the same. However, when I tasted them Damali’s cooking was always the best one," Samir stated.
"Did you ever tell her that?" Mahir wondered.
"Never, Tameka would have skinned me alive for saying so." Samir laughed. "My first lesson, Father ever taught me as a Medjai Warrior; never to argue with a woman for it only turn into a battle I would never win."
"I learned that lesson soon after I met your mother and have not forgotten it," Ardeth said, smiling.
Mahir and Samir drove Ardeth to the cemetery, where there was a mausoleum built for the Bay family. When they parked near by, Ardeth started to have second thoughts about going there. He couldn’t bear the thought of seeing Layla resting place, even though he could go back to see her alive and well, it shook his soul to think of seeing her there.
"Are you ready to go over there, Father," Mahir asked Ardeth, opening the car door.
"I don’t want to go in. I will pay my respects from outside," he said quietly.
"As you wish, Father," Samir said, taking his father by the arm.
"Was there a lot of people at our services?" Ardeth wondered.
"Yes, a great deal of people came to pay homage to you and to Mother. When you moved to Cairo, you were well known for helping others. If you saw anyone begging for food on the streets you invited them home for a warm meal and clean clothes," Mahir said while they stood in front of the mausoleum.
"The people of Cairo built this with their own hands to honor you and Mother," Samir said when Ardeth walked up to door and placed the flowers there. He then knelt down to say a prayer. His sons joined him speaking in their Arabic. After the prayer, he sat back on his feet and looked up above the door seeing a stone falcon sitting above the door.
"Horus," he said in a whisper.
"Yes, he watches over the family," Mahir said, placing his hand on his father’s shoulder.
"It was so thoughtful of you to include him here. I was extremely upset when he was killed, long ago."
"You used to tell us stories about him at night before sleeping," Mahir said.
"The hieroglyphics, whose idea were they?" Ardeth asked, standing to trace his hand over them.
"It was Richard O’Connell’s idea," Samir answered.
"Rick is still alive?" Ardeth asked.
"No, Father he passed before you and mother in a plane crash. Evie and their children lived near by until her death a couple of years ago. She lived to be 100," Mahir explained.
"We were speaking of their youngest son, Richard Ardeth O’Connell. Evie named him after both you and Rick," Samir explained. "You had gone on an expedition together and were gone for several months…with no word of what happen. Mother and Evie thought you both to be dead. It was two months after Richard was born that the two of you showed up at our camp. Rick had a broken leg and you had been bitten by a snake and weak, but somehow you both made it home."
"Hmm, remember when I asked you about changing something that was to happen? I wonder if I should not accept Rick’s offer to go on that expedition," Ardeth chuckled.
"Well, Father the expedition was your idea," Samir said.
"Really, why did I want to go?"
"It was after Grandfather Mahir had passed on. You were depressed and wanted to get away from the camp for a few days, as the story goes. I was young when it happened, so I’m not sure of the exact details," Samir said.
"Maybe I should not know all the details. I would not want to change history," Ardeth said while they walked back to the car.
"Father, when are you and Mother going back to your time?" Mahir asked.
"Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after, I truly wish we could stay, but it is impossible."
"Yes, if you didn’t go back things would not be as they are now," Samir said.
"I, for one, would not like to lose my childhood memories. I cherish them greatly," Mahir said.
"I think we will go back in two days. I do not think we will change history too much by staying that long," Ardeth said.
"Good, I’m not ready for you and Mother to leave yet any way," Samir said when they got in the car. "Shall we go see what the twins have fixed for us?"
"Yes. I am most interested in tasting my daughters’ cooking," Ardeth said, smiling. When they started to drive away, Ardeth looked back to the mausoleum. He did a double take for he could have sworn the stone statue of Horus moved on the door ledge. He chuckled to himself and shook his head knowing it had to be his imagination.
Later that night when Layla and Ardeth were getting ready for bed, Layla’s curiosity finally provoked her to ask Ardeth about their resting place. "Was it odd to see our place of rest, darling?" she asked.
"I could not go in. I stayed outside. I did not want to see you there," he said, touching her face. "I laid the flowers at the door and said a prayer.
"Tell me about it. Is it befitting a Medjai Chief and his family?" she asked curiously.
"The mausoleum is a work of art; they even have a statue of Horus to watch over it…us. It was a great gesture for our children to remember him. They said it was from all the stories I told them about him."
"You do love to tell stories to Amira. I’m sure you share your adventures with all of our children," she said while they sat together on the bed. "Ardeth, you were exceptionally diplomatic tonight with the twins. Saying you couldn’t choose between them, made them both happy."
"I must confess, I was told what to say by our sons. It seems they have done this all the time. I would never choose between them."
"It is their way of showing how much they love and respect your wisdom. I think if you had chosen…the one who "lost" would feel rejected by you."
"Yes, I do not see why they would ever think I could love one more than the other. I will love each of my children as much as the other," he said, holding Layla while she leaned her head on his shoulder. "Are you tired, my love?"
"Yes, all of this excitement has drained my energy from me. However, I would not have missed a minute of it," she said, taking hold of his hand.
"We do have to leave soon. We cannot stay; we have to go back to our time and you will give birth to our first son there."
"I understand…I will be saddened, but I know we have a lot of years to look forward to with each of our children."
"Yes, many, many years," he said, then he kissed her deeply. "Now, you should get into bed and I will hold you."
"That is an offer I shall never turn down."
When the time came for them to leave it was difficult for their children to say goodbye to them. It was as if they would be losing them all over again. It was Samir who seemed to ease the sadness for all of them.
"We must remember that we were given a true miracle these past few days. We will all meet again when our journeys end. When Allah takes us, we will once again share all our memories of our life here on earth and share an eternity together. We are not saying goodbye for good; we are saying goodbye until we meet again."
"Well said, my son! I am proud of all of you seeing the Medjai spirit running deeply in your souls. I know that some of your children do not believe in the old ways, but I hope someday they will realize they will forever be Medjai…they cannot change their heritage," Ardeth said hugging each of his children.
"Grandfather, the box is ready. I have placed the sand in it for your return home," Zultan said, handing them the open box.
"Amira, are you ready to go see Grandfather Mahir?" Layla asked when Ardeth picked up his little girl. She nodded yes to her mother hugging Ardeth tight around the neck.
"Zultan, will you thank Frank again for his use of the plane to get here?" Ardeth asked.
"Yes, Grandfather I will tell him," Zultan said, hugging him, then Layla.
"Miss Woods, I hope you have a wonderful life with our great grandson," Layla said. "Take good care of him for us." Layla smiled and winked at her.
"I will. It was very nice meeting your family," Sue said holding Zultan’s hand.
"It was nice meeting you also. Now, darling, we must be going," Layla said, wiping a tear from her eye.
"Yes." They went to a room off the foyer and dumped the sand on the floor. Soon they were gone with a bright flash of light, leaving behind the future.
When Ardeth and Layla came to, they found that they were in their own tent. Amira was asleep in her crib with her teddy bear snuggled up next to her. Ardeth smiled at the sight of her, he jumped slightly when Layla gasped suddenly placing her hand on her protruding tummy.
"Are you all right?"
"It seems Samir is waking up too. He just moved a little too quickly for me," Layla said, rubbing her tummy.
Ardeth placed his hand over hers leaning down over her. "Do not be so eager my son, we will meet soon enough."
"Hello, may I come in," Zia asked.
"Yes mother, please come in," Ardeth said.
"I heard voices as I was walking by. Are you both feeling well?"
"Yes, we are both fine, mother," he answered while Zia looked in on Amira.
"We saw flashes of lightning late last night. We had a few warriors check it out and they brought you back here. All of you were in the darkness of your mind. I checked on you a few times during the night," Zia said kneeling down next to Layla.
"Thank you, mother. Is everyone in the camp doing well? How many warriors did we lose in the raid?" Ardeth wondered.
"We lost two young warriors. One during the raid…one after. He developed an infection I could not heal."
"Who were the two warriors?" Layla asked.
"Jalen and Amil. Amil was the one who passed from his wound," Zia said with sadness in her voice. She hated it when she couldn’t save a patient with her healing knowledge.
"I will go to their families and pay my respects to them later today," Ardeth said, getting up seeing Amira finally awakening.
"I will leave you alone now. I will bring you some breakfast, so you do not have to worry with it, Layla," Zia said, hugging her.
"Thank you, Mother. I do have a pill to take," she said rummaging in the bag they brought back with them. "These are from the future. They are iron tablets which help me from being so tired," she explained showing them to Zia.
"How wonderful, and they are working well?" Zia asked examining them.
"Yes, I am feeling much better with them. Elaina told me they are used in this era, but I had no idea of them existing."
"Neither did I. I think I will travel to Cairo and see if someone there can teach me about these new ways of healing. Maybe then, I will not lose another warrior as I did Amil."
"Mother, you did your best. It is all any of us can do," Ardeth said, kissing her on the cheek.
"I do believe I said that to you a few times," Zia said smiling. "I better get you food so you do not starve."
Ardeth chuckled when his mother left the tent. "Do you think we should share our experience with her and Father?"
"Would you be angry if I asked you not to tell them? I think we should keep our memories to ourselves. We know you share the stories with the children, but they thought of them just as bedtime stories. It could influence how they live or change something if they knew they were true before they are adults."
"Yes, Samir and Mahir said something similar to me. We can tell them of our trip to see Frank and Elaina, but we will keep our trip to Cairo our little secret," Ardeth said with Amira hugging him.
"Do you think she will remember anything about our visit?" Layla wondered.
"If she did she never told any of her brothers and sisters or they would have told us," Ardeth said, watching Amira get down to walk around the tent.
She went over to her crib and got out the teddy bear hugging it to her chest. She then walked over to Ardeth and looked him directly in the eyes. "Go grandpa."
"Oh yes, you did promise here a visit with Mahir," Layla said, giggling.
"We will go right after breakfast, my sweet princess."
"She has spoken more clearly since our trip to the future. Maybe Sarah helped her while we were there."
"I’m sure she did. They played a lot together while we were there." Ardeth said watching his daughter. "Layla, do you think she remembered Sarah and how she used sign language? They said she worked at a school for the deaf…maybe she did carry a few memories of her own back."
"It is very possible." Layla said, seeing Amira using her hands while she talked to her teddy bear. "Very possible in deed."