Cate Masters on Shakespir
Adult Coloring Pages
Book 3 of The Goddess Connection
Copyright © 2017 by Cate Masters
Shakespir Edition License Notes
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These adult coloring pages are intended
for anyone who enjoys Egyptian mythology
and legend as I do.
Nothing irritated Sandy Whitaker more than an uncooperative mummy. Especially when said mummy was part of the most important exhibit of her career as museum curator.
She threw the full force of her weight—admittedly, not the most effective leverage—into shoving the heavy table back to its original spot. The position she’d calculated as the optimum angle for visitors to view within the glass-encased display, reserved for the most sensitive and highly prized pieces. She’d carefully arranged every item, but somehow, the damn mummy had moved. For the second freaking time.
“Good thing I hold you in such high regard. Or else”—her scolding lost momentum when she stepped closer to the warrior— “you and I would have a serious problem.” Prophetic words. Or just a statement of fact, since her obsession with him had distracted her from the moment he’d arrived. His robust appearance had puzzled the archaeologists who’d discovered him, but more than that captivated Sandy. The strong line of his jaw. Large, wide-set eyes. The downward slant of his thick brows, a seriousness balanced by the curve of his lips, not to mention other curves. Thanks to his sleeveless, knee-length tunic, she had a glimpse of his chiseled calf muscles, and ripped biceps. Her imagination filled in the rest.
Yep, fantasies about a mummy tipped the scales toward the strange-to-bizarre category, yet she didn’t think of him as the mummified remains of an ancient Egyptian warrior. His presence radiated amazing strength and filled the enclosure.
Maybe that was her problem. Too much hanging around old artifacts, dead people included, and not enough getting out among the living, breathing types. Which reminded her… a whole bunch of the latter sort would show up for the opening. Every detail had to be perfect. She’d decided to place the mummy inside the glass enclosure because of the ability to better control temperature and humidity and its location away from exposure to sunlight—and people. Not even the security guard had a key to this space. So how the hell had the mummy moved?
“You have the best spot in the room, so stop messing around.” One more nudge, then she stood back to examine her work, arms folded across her chest. Nope, not quite right. She wanted people to share her thrill and awe at being able to view at close range an object originating from thousands of years ago.
Though her tiny university-affiliated museum generally went ignored in Philadelphia, this time would be different. A world-class exhibit would propel them into the spotlight. Finally, she might get her dream job of curating in the major leagues. Maybe even—her breath stilled—The Metropolitan Museum.
She stood beside the warrior and wagged her finger. “They won’t be amazed by your awesomeness unless you stay where I put you.”
Since the shipment had arrived, the mummy had been nothing but trouble, and that was beside his tendency to steal her focus, to stop her dead in her tracks to stare at his stunning features.
No matter how many times she glanced at him, her reaction was always the same: wow. Okay, sometimes double wow. Whoever mummified Iker must have worked magic with embalming fluids. Talk about your Pyramid Text spells—someone must have cast a doozy of a spell on him. His skin tone appeared almost healthy, with solid tissue beneath. If she believed in fairy tales, she’d glide across the room to him, lean over him and touch her lips to his to awaken him.
“They sure put a lot of care into the process.” She’d never seen such a remarkable specimen. Better preserved than Egyptian royalty, which made it even more odd. This warrior had held a high rank during Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s reign, but nowhere near that of the ruling class.
At a swoosh from behind, Sandy whirled. “Oh, it’s you.” Not her warmest greeting for an employee, but an involuntary shudder ran through her, and she was pretty certain not from relief. Howie Fisher, her latest—and most disconcerting—intern stood in the entryway. His anti-social behavior gave her the willies. And it wasn’t the first time the strange noise sounded, with Howie appearing soon after.
“Chatting up the warrior again?” Howie approached on soundless footsteps.
For about the thousandth time, she quashed the impulse to ask where he bought his shoes. Maybe she could buy him a pair with hard heels. Or bells. Anything to give her advance warning. Since she’d first met him, standing within twenty feet of Howie caused her spine to tingle as if Tasered, her senses to heighten in alert. Silly, she knew, but she couldn’t prevent the response from happening over and over. Firing him without any actual cause would land her in deeper trouble, so she countered anxiety by trying to be sympathetic to the poor guy. Girls his age probably avoided him even more than Sandy did.
A nervous laugh escaped. “I’d beg if I thought the mummy would actually pay attention.” So what if she talked to the long-dead warrior? Lying there, the mummy might be some guy sleeping off a night on the town, except he didn’t snore. His body appeared entirely made of muscle, no spare bit, all parts of him crafted for endurance and strength. With his strong jaw, his wide-set eyes and mouth made for kissing, if he were alive today, he’d be a Hollywood box office sensation.
Examining the warrior, Howie’s beaded eyes turned to slits. “So he moved again.”
Not a question, as if Howie already knew the mummy would. And Howie called the mummy ‘he’, while most associates referred to mummified remains as ‘it’. She made an effort not to react, but pointed instead. “Grab the other end, please? We need to tilt the table back.”
The intern slid to the far corner and lifted the heavy glass case as if it were Tupperware. “The same thing happened again in London, you know.”
“With the statue of the goddess Bastet?” Surprise relaxed her muscles and the case slipped in her grasp, but she caught herself and righted it. “That shifted again too?” Weird.
A rare, and brief, smile from Howie. “Yes. It shifted.”
Weird, too, that he found the word funny. The fact that he found it amusing made it less so for her. “That makes what, three times now?”
“Four,” he corrected. “And another three Bastet statues doing the same in London, Paris, and San Diego. And those are only the ones people have reported.” He stepped back, eyeing the exhibit.
No, not the entire display. Howie focused on the mummy’s face. His expression grew unreadable except for the hard determination evident in his soft jaw line.
Disconcerting? Wrong adjective for the intern. She meant disturbing. Everything about Howie, from his almost colorless eyes, set in an unnaturally pale face, to his willowy stature and movements that reminded her of seaweed in a current.
She tried to keep her tone light. “I’m glad you’re keeping up with news in the archaeological world.” Showing a little more interest than he had when he arrived a few weeks ago. She’d nearly passed him over because of his blasé attitude. With no other applicants, and the most important display of her career ahead, she couldn’t afford not to accept his application.
His cheek flinched, possibly his attempt at a grin. “Hard to miss it on the Internet. Some claim the artifacts turn to face this country. Roughly the northeastern section of America.”
The way Howie phrased it, he might not have grown up in Arizona, as his resume stated. Still part of the continental United States, sweetie. “Conspiracy theorists love to speculate on pretty much anything.”
“You don’t find it an odd coincidence?”
Another grating thing about him, his sibilant lisp. Any word with a soft ‘c’ or an ‘s’ became a hiss in his pronunciation. She waved off him, plus her negative thoughts. “At the next Big Foot sighting or UFO passing, they’ll forget all about it.”
A partial nod, and Howie’s mouth tightened as he stared at the section of the exhibit opposite them. “That mummy dude doesn’t belong here. He doesn’t fit in with the rest of this stuff.”
Stuff? Sandy’s fingers tightened around the pen she held instead of his long, skinny neck. “You’re right. But Iker is another extremely rare find. He was one of the warriors who came into social prominence following Egypt’s civil wars for their role in reunifying Egypt after a long civil conflict. He probably enjoyed great wealth and honor, along with additional perks.”
“Perks.” Howie snorted.
Finally, another hint of interest, but it only proved no one could resist Iker, not even Howie. Imagining these items as new, used by their original owners, thrilled her. She bet the mummy would excite the women visiting the museum. Maybe they’d dream about him like she did. According to history, Iker served the queen in numerous ways.
Sandy could only imagine. If she were queen, she’d certainly put the warrior to good use. Day and night.
She realized Howie waited for an answer, so shook off her daydream and put on a more professional air. “Such as a palatial mansion, maybe extra land.” And probably serving as the queen’s lover. But she wouldn’t go there. “Archaeologists discovered his tomb in Dra Abul Naga, an ancient cemetery on Luxor’s west bank. We’re lucky they included those photos of the dig site.” Though it pained Sandy to see his plain wooden coffin inside a crudely carved burial shaft recessed in bedrock. Someone with his elevated social stature deserved better.
Near Iker’s coffin, they’d found the weapons now on display beside him: five arrows made of reed, three still feathered, and two bows. Three wooden staffs sat nearby, and another plaque explained that the three staffs indicated his high rank.
Howie frowned at the plaque in front of the warrior’s remains. “The Excellent One,” he said, more deadpan than usual.
“You’re not kidding.” Sandy sensed Iker’s presence, more palpable than ever. “I mean, I’ve never seen such an amazing mummification.”
Howie shifted his frown to her. “I still don’t get it. The exhibit’s called ‘Egypt’s History Unearthed’ but it contains these distinctly unrelated items.”
She hated to admit she’d second-guessed the exhibit’s title about a thousand times, but couldn’t come up with anything else. “I decided it best to take the broader view with the title. This show will be the museum’s most high profile show to date. The Egyptian authorities are including Iker and User’s finds only on the scheduled tour of the exhibit for our museum. Americans can see the Bastet artifacts elsewhere, but can only view those two displays here. It’s a huge honor that will raise the level of interest for our show by an incredible amount.”
Beyond any of her wildest dreams. She shouldn’t question her amazing fortune, but couldn’t help it. Why did the council grant the exhibit only to her small university museum, one normally bypassed in favor of major venues for showings? The letter from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities gave no explanation, only tersely worded, strict instructions. In one month, Sandy would close her exhibit, at which time Iker and the vizier’s relics were to be shipped immediately back to Egypt.
“This will be the most amazing month. It will be over way too soon.” She stepped closer to Iker. “I don’t know which I’ll miss more—Iker or Bastet’s temple pieces.”
“Not the false tomb door?” Howie asked with a sly smile.
Another shiver passed through her. “No, I’ll have no trouble saying adios to that. It gives me the willies every time I’m near it.” Even more than Howie did.
“An occupational hazard?” His smirk was lopsided, as if he didn’t care enough about even that to give his full effort.
“No, this is the first time I’ve ever had that reaction to an artifact.” She’d worked with items from all over the world, associated with many cultures and beliefs, but never had an artifact impact her so deeply, or so negatively. She loved all things Egyptian, so it made no sense. Iker’s relics, on the other hand, evoked the opposite: a sense of strength, integrity and warmth.
Howie leaned close. “Maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something.”
Something about the slant of his brows made his colorless eyes appear menacing. She stepped back, and bumped an object. Her touch feathered across the corner edge of the warrior’s table, and it nicked her finger. “Ow. How stupid.”
“Yes,” he hissed. “You should be more careful. And keep your distance from the warrior.”
“I will, thanks.” For the warning. It conveyed zero concern for her well-being, and way too much wariness about the mummy. “It’s late. Time to lock up.”
When he didn’t move, she hurried to add, “I’m meeting a friend.” Not until morning, but no need to mention that. “If I don’t hurry, she’ll start calling. You know how friends can be.” Did he? None ever stopped by, and Sandy had never seen him talking on a cell phone.
After an uncomfortable beat, he bowed his head. “Have a pleasant evening.”
What kid spoke so formally? According to his job application, Howie was twenty-two, but a casual observer might place his age closer to thirty, possibly even forty, with that half-dead complexion.
And why did it sound more like a warning when he wished her good night? “You too, Howie. See you on Monday.” Unfortunately.
Hallelujah for the weekend. She’d probably spend both days working at the museum, but at least it would be Howie-free. Her anxiety retreated along with the intern.
Her smile widened as she let her gaze wander over the mummy. “Just you and me, Iker baby. Then I can say whatever I want, and you, my fine warrior, will have no choice but to listen.” Ah, if only she could command such a man. The power might go to her head.
On her way out, before turning off the lights, she glanced back with a sigh.
If only he had a pulse.
A crazy thought entered her head. She turned to face him, squared her shoulders and stood tall. A vision engulfed her, pulling strength from deep within herself, and drawing power to her from unknown sources beyond her. The flow mixed with her lifeblood, an effervescent force that energized her as she collected it, concentrated and condensed it, readying to release again at her will.
Arms straight in front of her, palms up, she raised her hands. Closed her eyes. Focused every part of her body on Iker. Imagined the mummified layers falling away as new life flooded every cell, pumping through his veins. Breath filling his lungs. Strength pulsing in every muscle.
All the energy she’d gathered to herself, she released in words: “Arise, O warrior. I command thee.”
The words echoed through the darkness—her voice, yet not hers—and startled her. Even worse, she half-expected something to happen. Another type of energy emanated in the room. She couldn’t quite pinpoint it, and definitely couldn’t explain it, but something had changed. Shifted. And that wasn’t funny at all.
After a scan of the dark room, a nervous laugh escaped. Everything still where it belonged. Don’t be a weirdo. You’re freaking yourself out over nothing.
“Must be an early case of pre-opening night jitters. Good night, Iker.” She locked the door behind her, and then double-checked it. Yes, all secure. So why did she have the strange feeling the lock would have no effect?
To learn more about Goddess, Spellbound, visit my blog at [+ http://catemasters.blogspot.com/2014/11/goddess-spellbound-goddess-connection-3.html+]
About the Author
Award-winning author Cate Masters loves stories of any genre. Multi-published in contemporary to historical, fantasy/dark fantasy to paranormal, she sometimes mashes genres. Look for her at , Facebook, Goodreads, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
Cate loves to hear from readers. Email her at: cate.masters AT gmail.com.