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Cleft Dimension

Return of the Pharoah

By Andrea LawrencePublished 3 years ago 6 min read
Kings' Valley No. 9, Tomb of Memnon, tomb of the pharaohs from the 20th dynasty: Ramses V and Ramses VI | Credit: iStock, Abrill_

The hazmat team arrived. A girl was carried out of the home. The news crews were reporting live. Within the house, I was crawling through the thick smoke. When I stretched out my hands, I found gold coins, jewels, talismans, and rubies. The stench grew as I crawled on my belly. The house above had suddenly collapsed, like a ride at a fair—the lighthearted music playing, and then the screams when the ride pivots, bends, and crashes into the cotton candy.

People pounded their fists on the front door. The incessant ringing from the doorbell buzzed in my ears. I couldn't get near Lucy—she was barking, but it seemed to come from two different sides. I kept crawling in the tunnel; the noises from the outside world became muffled. I crawled for what seemed like forever, hoping to improve my odds, hoping to catch some clean air. But it seemed thick, musty, if not. . . ancient.

The ground had swallowed me. I grabbed onto roots and dirt. My fingernails were clogged with mud.

At some point, I curled on my side and fell asleep. I'm still not sure what happened. If maybe there was an illegal chemical in the house. Why was hazmat here? When will I be allowed to stop dreaming and instead descend into comfort? I must be going mad. It's like I'm caught between two lucid dreams.

As I crawled, the sound of gold coins became synonymous with my steps—I found myself in a room with giant statues, all with animal heads. There were torches on the walls. . . and stone flooring. I assumed I had fallen into an old cellar that no one had taken the time to find. But why would the walls have lit torches?

I felt cold and alone. Each step echoed louder and louder. When I turned a corner, there was a big black box between two giant animal statues. Everything in the room was made of gold—golden crowns, golden harps, golden swords, and golden shields.

As I approached the black box, a spider the size of my leg appeared. It carried something away on its white, puffy back. I looked up and there was a colony of bats, all chirping. There were snakes on the ground, hissing. . . and though my heart was racing, all I wanted to do was to reach out and touch the black box. I thought maybe it would be a pharaoh's body, maybe a mummy, maybe a collection of tomes. I was quite certain I was dreaming, and it must have been a series of dreams.

With the mindset that I was in a dream, I didn't feel so scared. Why should I be afraid of a snake if it's only a dream? I slid my hand across the black box. The eyes in the statues turned red—nice effect, dream mind.

I lifted the lid, and a green mist filled the air. I pulled out my cellphone. I wanted to take a picture. Right before me was a mummy on top of ancient, disintegrating tablets. The statues started shaking. Up above I could see my house, and the hazmat team beating on the front door. My daughter was taken into an emergency vehicle. They kept pounding the door, and the statues kept moving. Red liquid was running up and down the walls; I'm pretty sure it was blood. Air came out of the mummy's lips. The tablets were glowing. This strange dream. What did it mean?

Where am I going to be when I wake up? Everything kept shaking, the quake within. . . and I laid on the stone floor, my heart pounding, a snake biting at my heel. . . I succumbed to slumber. I went down another level. I felt like I had dropped down to the bottom of a well.

And this new dream started with fire. I wore red body paint. I had on an orange tunic and a black half-pleated kilt. A leopard skin was around my shoulders. A necklace of rubies and sapphires hung around my neck. I was sitting on a throne; it was my throne. The sky was black—vantablack. The concubines were weeping, the eunuchs waved palm leaves over them, and soldiers stood in lines with spears in their hands.

I felt anger. I felt an intense power rise up in my chest. I couldn't move a single muscle in my face, as if I was made of stone. My council spoke of blood that was brushed on the sides of front doors. Tonight several people were drawn into the darkest night of their lives. This coming after locusts, the water turning into blood, and a plague of frogs—somehow my people had lost more than their livelihoods.

We didn't know if the food supply had been poisoned or if the hands of God were with a group of foreigners. I held my firstborn son in my arms, and I wept for him as his final breath escaped his tiny body. Everyone was changing into their mourning clothes. We had already struggled with famine, and now Death was parading through Egypt's largest metropolis. The center of the world, a kingdom of magic, everything spellbound. It was plague after plague. 12 deadly fates written into the night sky.

It made me so angry. Why should a group of people who are obedient to Anubis be subject to such torment? We thanked our Gods for everything, including our transition into the afterlife. We felt betrayed by what we worshipped. It was unforgivable.

We let the foreigners cross the Red Sea; we hoped kicking them out would end the suffering. We freed them from their shackles; we let them return to their homeland. We feared they knew poisons, potions, and spells beyond our understanding. What if they did try to overthrow us? Would they cast a spell for a meteor to strike us?

We slowly recovered after those darkest of days. There were many secrets we learned about them, many esoteric things—but centuries later that was all erased. Part of the Alexandria Library, the Great Library, was destroyed in a fire. We suspect a cult wanted to prevent future generations from learning about magic or our knowledge of the one true God.

We had the Ark of the Covenant in our archives, and when a certain pharaoh died, we placed his body on the stones and left him in our most complicated tomb. The only way to enter it was to reincarnate myself. . . and then travel through a series of dimensions to find myself. To literally be swept by earth, through a sinkhole, or a fantastical dream to the tomb.

But what if I told you—the box made a mistake? What if it had summoned the wrong modern person to it, simply because it was tired of waiting? And that the real pharaoh wasn't me, but some country bumpkin? What could this possibly mean then? And why would the Egyptians want one of their pharaohs to appear thousands of years into the future?

Maybe it was a mark of technological achievement. Maybe it was a test of the afterlife.

*** *** *** ***

Outside the giant house, a news reporter was trying to get an interview with, well, anyone. She was frustrated by the lack of comment from police and the hazmat crew. She had a deadline. Getting ignored didn't solve anything.

The reporter decided to take matters into her own hands, partly because she was a new hire, and partly because she didn't care for professional protocols. She went through the backyard when no one was looking. She found a light green mist coming from the part of the house that had fallen into the sinkhole. She lowered to a window, where the mist was thickest.

She used her camera zoom to get a closer look. What she saw surprised her: a man wrapped in bandages was pacing around the basement. A green light kept glowing from a spot in the ground. She thought this had to be a meth lab explosion, and the man must be crazy.

When she sat back to think about it, she looked at her hand, and saw little red drops of blood following the main crease in her palm lines. She stared at this blood: it became opaque, more like pink tears. She didn't know how to report on this story, much less write about it. She didn't want to disappoint her boss by saying it wasn't much of a story, at least a coherent one. She took a few pictures of the bandaged man with her camera, but when she went through the camera to review it. . . there was nothing there. The day was feeling more and more wasted.


About the Creator

Andrea Lawrence

Freelance writer. Undergrad in Digital Film and Mass Media. Master's in English Creative Writing. Spent six years working as a journalist. Owns one dog and two cats.

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