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Night of Wonder

When the Veil is Thinnest

By M.R. CameoPublished 7 months ago 7 min read

The vigorous breeze reassured the that the fragile boats that had been crafted would be carried west to fulfill their intention. Alateeyeh were strewn around the river each offering their own variations of traditional spirited tunes. Everyone was in a costume of some form or another, whether a handcrafted mask, zealous face paint, or unrecognizable fashions. Many were carrying a pumpkin that has been delicately carved into its ominous appearance, each unique vessel holding a light of protection. While most were generally excited about tonight, everyone also aware of the dangers of the night. Not all of spirits returning would be there for a night of friendly reunion and feast.

Ramla rushed to the far patch of the Nile where melons, cucumbers, and pumpkins grew profusely. Quickly gathering what she would need for the feast that night she stuffed the items into her bag made of leather hide and started her journey back to the Malkata of Kubaba. She passed many carrying melons, geese, and dates, to various destinations. While most seemed on a mission to enjoy a feast with a loved with who had passed on, there were many others who left offerings strown about for those wondering souls who would be out tonight. Those who had no loved ones left in this realm, or who maybe never did; some left the treats out of kindness, others did it out of fear.

The small kitchen located at the end of the palace was hectic that night. The dough basin, sieves, and mortar and pestles all lay heavily used. The room was wrapped with twigs and straw, allowing smoke to escape but with the clay ovens constantly going there was no relief from the heat. Ramla stepped out to enjoy a bit of the breeze festooning the exterior halls. The smells of garlic, honey, thyme, and coriander perfumed the corridors.

That night, the pharaohs ate eagerly and abundantly as they did every night. Once the wine was served, the ramblings of a conversation relating to the night commenced. This night could never be celebrated without the name of Osiris coming up. Osiris was the one who had thought the people of grape growing and winemaking, and for that there were very few who weren’t grateful, there however were a slew of other reasons why the god was disliked. In some cases, exclusively because the people had favored the kinder and easygoing ways of Anubis, yet few could deny the recompenses of the firmness and orderliness Osirus had brought. The room broke into argument, half defending and praising the ruler of the underworld, the other smiting him. Ramla half listened, hopeful the conversation would soon conclude so she could tidy the chambers and provide an offering to her father before the opportunity of the special night vanished.

Eventually the chambers looked as if a soul had never been present that night and Ramla returned to the kitchen with a bowl containing watercress, turnips, and figs. Most of the other food that had been present had been thrown away, in the heat of Egypt, items such as meat, only lasted as long as what you could eat in one night and the rest ended up rubbish. Of course, there were always methods of curing the meat to prolong its life, but the opulent preferred to have it fresh, regardless of the significances.

Ramla set down her bowl of leftovers and fetched a lone pumpkin from her bag. She took a bifacial knife and skillfully carved a baleful face into the gourd before inserting a candle that brought the creation to life. She slipped on her paper mache mask that she had painted to embody a menacing spirit and smiled as the energy of the night seemed to course through her. Once outside the ambience of the night hit like a brick wall, the sky had turned pitch black, stars covering nearly every inch of the sky. The temperature had dropped significantly, and it seemed nearly everyone had made their way outside, sitting with their sparkling gourds. Many had already feasted with their lost loved ones and were now reminiscing or exchanging tales of Osiris.

Heading down a sandy trail with very little light, she clutched the gourd to her chest while carefully making her way down. She was grateful that tonight was a full moon, or she was nearly certain she would not have been able to find her way. She placed the gourd down and retrieved the bowl of offerings, calling out to her father. She waited patiently, but just as the two years before she received no response. Sitting on a stray rock, she allowed her tears to escape. Tears she had kept inside ever since her father had left this realm. She wondered what she may doing wrong, everyone else seemed to reunite with their family on this night. Ramla had no other friends or family to turn to, her life turning dismal the day her father had died from a tragic accident while constructing a tomb.

A particularly ghastly breeze struck her path momentarily causing the light in the gourd to flicker. In that same instant she heard footsteps encroaching. She spun around holding her breath but heard no more. She stared at the eerily jovial gourds face, grateful that the light was still hanging on.


She fought with her imagination, there was no one here.


The voice seemed to be penetrating within her mind, as if telepathically.

“Is someone here?” She urged.

“It is I.” A commanding voice suddenly boomed behind her.

Ramla stumbled, losing her footing, and falling onto the ground.

“Do not be frightened. I intend no harm on this night.”

Ramla hesitantly looked up. Before her was a figure holding a crook and flail constructed of dazzling blue and gold metals. His skin was the color of malachite and seemed to glow against the darkness of the night. His eyes glimmered a flurry of red and gold, the depth beyond them was longer than the Nile. Upon his head we wore the Atef crown.

“Osiris…” She got to her knees and bowed her head.

“You have not forgotten of me?”

“Of course not.” Ramla shook her head, her mouth agape. “Whoever could?”

Osiris let out a rumbling laugh, vibrations zipping onto the Earth as if the aftershocks of an Earthquake.

“Humans will. Humans forget so much. Not in your lifetime, maybe not even in the next century. But they will forget. One day. They always do.” He stared down at Ramla, his gaze foreboding and inspiring all at once.

“I don’t understand… How could they-”

“What if I told you that in three thousand years, all these traditions, all of your gods who have forged paths for you, including myself, would be just a mere legend. Forgotten by the sands of time. On this day of the dead, people no longer honor the meaning or the purpose of the day. But have instead distorted it into a day of overconsumption of candies and alcohol, of witticisms and disrespect. That perhaps some traditions do survive, handfuls of people still mindlessly accepting them, but they do not understand why.” Osiris began to shout, his voice echoing throughout the darkened desert. “They do not know what this day really means, how it came about, the power it truly harnesses, what can be done on this night!” He fell silent, a bouquet of emotion overtaking his features.

“Osiris…” Ramla began cautiously. “If such an era were to come about, it would certainly be atrocious and heartbreaking. I am simply in disbelief that such a despondency could emerge, yet I would never dare doubt you.”

He nodded his head, as if this was the answer he had been hoping for. “I have an undertaking for you, if you will have it.”

Ramla nodded, finding her way to her feet. “Yes Osiris, what will you have me do?”

“I shall grant you immortal life, and the power to pass between realms on this most hallowed night forevermore.”

Ramla began to think about she could visit her father, as well as revel in life eternally. It all seemed too good to be true.

“What would I need to do?”

“Be a keeper of this night for all of time. Tell the stories of how this night came about, the true meaning. Share the traditions and relevance behind them. Do not ever let the wonder burn out. Do you accept this responsibility?”

“Yes. I would be honored.”

So Ramla lived throughout the millenniums, obligated and full of pride with the assignment she had been appointed to. She shares the stories, lives by the traditions, and inspires others to do the same. Ramla is a keeper of the most hallowed of all nights and she will always ensure that the wonders of this night survive, so long as this realm continues to be in existence.

Short Story

About the Creator

M.R. Cameo

M.R. Cameo generally writes horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and nonfiction, yet enjoys dabbling in different genres. She is currently doing freelance work for various publications.

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