The Iron Writer Challenge #163 – 2016 Summer Solstice Open Challenge #1

old phone booth winter

The Iron Writer Challenge #163

2016 Spring Solstice Open, Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors: 

Malissa Greenwood, Vance Rowe, Maureen Larter, Megan Cypress, Steven L. Bergeron

The Elements:

An old phone booth

A golf club (must be specific regarding which club))

A photograph

Told from POV of someone who believes they do not belong in the family they were born in, due to an accident 25 years before they were born.

 

So Long AgoMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

I pulled the car over to the side of the road and rested my head on my hands as they gripped the steering wheel. My heart thumped in my chest and my emotions were still raw. The argument had been brief, but violent. When James had begun to brandish the nine iron, I had turned and run.

I had never felt that I belonged to the family – they were all so clever, and I struggled with just the normal everyday tasks. Now Mum had passed away and my brother wanted her photo that was behind me on the bookcase. I had turned and grabbed it, clasping it to my chest, sobbing with suppressed grief.

“Anyway,” he had shouted, “she was my Mum, not yours! Give me the photo!” His voice had risen another decibel – “GIVE IT TO ME!” Then he had lunged towards me as tears ran down my cheeks.

When he turned and grabbed the golf club from the bag in the corner of the hall I knew I had to get out of there. How could this argument have escalated so quickly? We were adults after all.

After a few minutes, I calmed a little. James’s comment continued to wrench at my heart, but somehow I knew it struck at the truth. What had happened in the past that had led me to be part, yet not part of the family?

My mind was in a whirl of questions, and now that Mum was gone how could I find out the truth?

I wiped my eyes and looked around. Not twenty feet away, an old phone booth sat next to the road, like a message from the afterworld. What if I asked my father? Would he be able to answer me? Would he remember?

I opened the car door and stumbled over to the booth. It was out of order. Now there was no choice, I had to go and see my father.

It was an hour later that I sat opposite him in ‘Golden Grove Nursing Facility’, his eyes staring at me.

I smiled weakly.

“Do you remember me, Dad?”

He looked blankly at me.

“Can you help me?” I asked, frowning with worry. “Am I your daughter?”

It seemed silly to make small talk – I needed to find out – might as well hit him with the only question that was important to me.

He sighed.

“Hello, Helen.” he said.

I shook my head. I wasn’t Helen.

He continued.

“It was a long time ago. I thought you died in that accident.”

He began to weep. “But I found your grand-daughter – really I did. I raised her as my own daughter, even though she wasn’t. She is like you, you know – blonde, tall and – what a temper!” he stopped, bent his head, no longer coherent.

I watched the nurse take him back to his room. Stunned, I walked out to the car.

James had been right.

Out of This World

Malissa Greenwood

I don’t belong here. I’m a freak of nature, as the kids would say. Well that’s what they would say if they knew. But they don’t know; no one does, except for Uncle Jack and Auntie June. And my mother of course, before she died.  

It all started a long time ago, way before I was born. Dad was stranded here after a war. His ship was lost and eventually crashed into Earth’s atmosphere, destroying the ship and leaving him here in New York City, USA. Uncle Jack found him next to an old phone booth, the kind you see in old films. He gave him shelter and well, a new life and also managed to keep his secret all these years. He only eventually told Auntie June because he married her and felt finally, that he could trust someone. Besides, Dad didn’t age for, like, a really long time so… it would have been suspicious. Dad eventually met Mom and shortly after they married I was here and, well… she was gone. It would have been nice to know her. All I have of hers is some clothes my dad kept and a photo album. My favorite photograph is one where she was pregnant with me. She’s looking down at her round stomach like it was a gift.

But that was ages ago. I’m in school now and I’m very aware of how different I am. Not too much physically, with my dark skin and short athletic stature; only my facial features are a bit… off.

But I do have several ‘advanced skills’. I can hold my breath for a really long time, which is fun; makes for excellent times in swimming matches. I’m quite a bit stronger than everyone else my age. In my golf class I nearly bent a 5-iron in half when I was upset about landing a ball in the water. I’m also a quick healer and I will live to be significantly older than the average human being, with very slow signs of aging. I mean that’s what we’re expecting, but since my mother was a human that makes me a hybrid so I suppose it’s a crap-shoot, really.

I don’t know what it’s like to live anywhere other than Earth, of course, but I just have this feeling that there has got to be more for me out there. I look up at the stars and I can feel it. I can see more than what these humans see. I know there’s more out there, I know we’re not alone (even though Dad says he’s sure his home planet was destroyed). He says “I’ve made a happy life here Siena, so will you.” But surely there are other planets! There has to be. I mean, what are the odds of there only being two!? No… I know there’s more for me and I am going to do whatever I can to get out of here.

“Siena! Dinner’s ready!” Auntie Jackie calls from downstairs and I sigh.

Well. I will find a way. But I suppose I should eat dinner, and … maybe finish high school first.

My Mother

Vance Rowe

I was swinging a driver club from my golf bag in my parents’ bedroom when I accidentally hit their chest of drawers and a hidden compartment opened up. Inside of the compartment was an old newspaper clipping dated about twenty five years before I was born. The clipping was a story accompanied by a photograph of a car that had crashed into an old telephone booth. The clipping had stated that the adults in the car were killed but a five year old girl had survived.

The young girl who had survived was only five years old. I asked my father about it and he heaved a sigh and said, “I knew this day would come sometime.”

He explained that the photograph was of my grandparents. My real grandparents and my mother was the five year old girl. He also went on to explain that she had been raped when she was fifteen as she was bounced around from foster home to foster home, and I was the product of that rape. Since she was still a minor, I had to be given up for adoption and that is the reason I am here now.

“So, you and mom are not my real parents?”

“Well, we raised you and loved you as our own son. You were a blessing to us because your mom…my wife could not have children of her own.”

“So my real mom is still out there somewhere?”

“As far as we know she is, but we have no idea who or where she is. Or if she is still even alive.”

I didn’t know what to say. There are a million thoughts running through my head right now. I looked at the newspaper clipping again and noticed that the anniversary of the car crash is tomorrow. I demanded that my father take me to the scene tomorrow.

The next day we took a drive to the site where the accident happened. There was nothing there now but trees and bushes but I did notice a woman standing there. She looked to be in her sixties now. My father saw her too and looked like he had seen a ghost. He stopped the car and I stepped out. The elderly woman looked at me as I looked at her and then I muttered, “Mom?”

I took the newspaper clipping from my pocket and showed it to her. She wept and ran off crying into the bushes. I yelled for her but never heard anything nor did I find her. I will come back here next year though.

The Flight of the UrabansSteven Bergeron

Steven L. Bergeron

“Commander to Urabius, can anyone hear us? Miss Emily we are going down.”It was the constant dream that kept me up most nights.

Miles between mars and earth positioned our star, shaped like a putter’s wedge. As legends say it was habituated by our people the Urabans. We came from a placed called Urabus. In the cold years before world war one our planet was under attack . A young Scientist Cyrus O’Reagan tried to save our planet from destruction. It was in my before life my family history had.

Looking out the window of Nuts Acyllum were not a living soul would believe us. We remain imprisoned against our will. We are the people who’s family history seemed a little far fetched.

*****

We walked all in a row along the tar mat to our phone booth ship on our quest to save our planet.

“Well commander Emily how shall we do this.” Upon entering my ship I turned to my fellow pilots.

“My fellow Urbans our planet is under attack . As you all follow my lead we shall prevail.”

How was I to now that those final words were to be my final orders as we all gave our life to save what we all believed in.

The battlefield was tremendous bigger than anyone could have imagined. We had our ups and down the firepower illuminated the sky. Then it came to a one final confrontation myself against the ultimate pilot of our allies soon out of no were an unknown pilot made the difference . Our allies finally want their way but not before destroying our putters wedge star.  

The unknown pilot lead what remained of our species to a empty field in a planet known as earth. I myself never made it my ship was blown to smithereens. This was twenty-five years before my existence.

*****

I finally woke up from my deep sleep only to find my dear grandson Andrew sitting next to me. Of all the people in the world here was one person I would not lie to. So my family story was nothing but true to him.

“Grandma you are finally awake. Are you ready to get out of here?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m now in charge of your well being. You do not belong among these people. With my help if you will allow me we shall show everyone your story isn’t as far fetched as everyone thinks.”

With that we are out of here. Andrew was my saviour. All the years being locked up , the new world looks all new to me. In the end everyone knew my true identity.I was the last true Uraban. We now stand here were our ships had landed. In memory of all people from out of this world this land is dedicated to the first person who believed their existence. The O’Reagans research facility is now open . My dear uncle Cyrus would be proud.

LemonadeMegan Cypress

Megan Cypress

Bobby played video games in the living room, while his mother, Valerie, prepared fresh lemonade in the kitchen.

The telephone that hung on the wall in the kitchen rang. Valerie answered. “Hello?”

Bobby paused his game so he could listen. The man on the other line spoke loudly enough that Bobby could hear him. “Hey, Val. It’s Tony.”

“Tony? You coming into town for the reunion?”

“I’m in town. I’m calling from the old payphone on Route 9.”

“Well, get over here.” Valerie hung up.

Bobby asked, “Who’s Tony?”

“Just an old friend of mine and your father’s.”

“He’s not my father. He won’t play video games with me.”  

“Now what did I tell you about saying those awful things about your father?”

“Not to.”

“That’s right. Now shut off that game. Tony will be here soon.”

Bobby ignored her and kept playing anyway.

Someone knocked on the front door.

“Come in!” Valerie shouted.

Tony stepped inside. “Oh, hi. What’s your name?”

Bobby noticed that Tony had the same bushy brown hair as he. “Bobby.”

“You got the new Super Mario Brothers? Ahh, man! Let me play.”

“Bobby, I told you to turn off that game!” Valerie shouted. “Now come in here and get some lemonade.”

Bobby turned off the game and walked into the kitchen with Tony.

“So, Bobby, how old are you?” Tony asked.

“Ten.”

Tony counted on his fingers. “Ten? Why, Valerie, you must’ve had him shortly after the last time I visited.”

“Did I?” Valerie set the pitcher of lemonade and four empty glasses on the kitchen table and hollered up the stairs, “Robert, Tony’s here!”

“Tony?” Robert shouted back. “Be right down.”

Robert ran down the stairs, holding a photograph. “Guys, look what I found.”

Valerie snatched the photograph from Robert. “Is that the old Putt-Putt course on Route 9?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Oh, my gosh. How old is this photo?”

“35 years. Same year we graduated from high school. Thought it’d be nice to bring to the reunion.”

Tony scratched his head. “Has it been that long since they shut that place down?”

“Uh-huh,” Robert replied, “but I remember it like it was yesterday ’cause I always won.”

“Did you?”

“Yeah. Remember the windmill on that last hole? Your ball bounced off the wheel of it every time you putted. You never did have the right timing.”

“Oh, yeah. I remember now. Remember that time I accidentally hit you in the crotch with my putter? It was so funny. Your face turned bright red and you grabbed hold of your crotch and said, ‘thanks for taking away my ability to have kids.’”

Bobby, not detecting the sarcastic tone of Tony’s voice, shouted, “I knew it! You’re my father, aren’t you, Tony?”

Tony looked inquisitively at Bobby, while Robert’s jaw dropped to the floor.

Robert shook his head. “Tony, Valerie, how could you?”

Valerie started crying.

Bobby wished he could take back his words but knew it was too late. All he could do now was try to make the best out of a bad situation. “So, Mom, Dads, how about that lemonade?”

Valerie hugged Bobby. “Of course, Bobby. I love you.”

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The Iron Poet #3

ticktockIron Poet #3

Up til now Iron Poet has attempted to be lighthearted. Iron Poet noticed some poets took the serious road anyway. So, in a nod to thems that want to, this weeks Iron Poet is as follows:

Meter / Style: Free verse
Theme / keyword: beast
Stanzas / Lines: no more than 14

The word “beast” itself does not have to be used. Any form of the word, synonyms, concepts, etc. may be used. Speak to beasts of burden, a difficulty, a monster, or the beast within. Whatever beast you’re aware of, use it.

—–

C. S. E. Greenberg

Glowing, golden eyes,
splashes of light against the blackness;
dancing hypnotically as she pads,
stalking through the jungle’s depth.
They pause,
narrowing to slits as the panther readies herself…
then widen:
small moons beaming as the panther pounces!
The rabbit flees,
and the lights blur, bounce, and flicker,
as the panther chases down her prey
and catches it in her jaws.
The lights disappear as she bites down
and the rabbit dies in darkness.

—–

Tina Biscuit

“Mid Yoken”

We feared the beasts; we kindled the fires.
We killed the beasts; we herded them home.
We tamed the beasts, and paired them in yokes.
They ploughed our fields, carried our burden.

Our burden grew; we ploughed on still deeper.
We found a new beast, and carried on stoking.
We tore up the land, looking for more.
We drilled for new blood, to keep our fires burning.

Now, out of control, we still need to grow.
Dante’s inferno rises to meet us.
The planet is screaming.
We don’t hear its cries.

The skies, they grow darker; the world short of breath.
Now, we are the beast; we are earth’s burden.

—–

Megan Cypress

“The Beauty within the Beast”

He danced with her all night
Not knowing her intentions
For she put on a good show of being a normal lady
See, he was a beauty with a heart of gold
And she was a beast with a heart as grey as coal
She’d been burned so many times before
That she never let anyone in her heart
When she took him home that night, she had every intention of killing him
But something changed inside her when she looked into his blue eyes
She saw the same sadness inside him that she had felt for years
Instead of hurting him, she listened to him talk
The two cried together and remained best of friends
For the beast had finally found her beauty
Shining inside of Him

—–

Laura Roberts

“Bumps in the Night”

I’ll never be your beast of burden
And you’ll never be my sweet little thing
So now that we’re clear
Let’s see what we can do
With just a few simple lines
And a bit of string.

I dare you, she said.
No, I double-dog dare you, I replied,
And with that we were off.

If that sounds like fun, you may be a beastie too.

Join us underground
Where the wild things are
Where we play all night, and sleep all day…
Dare you?

—–

Michael Wayne Cottle

“A Timely Beast”

When I first knew the beast,
He would help me grow in ways only he could.
He healed my all of my wounds steady and sure.
Wounds of an emotional and physical nature,
Until they made pain a distant memory.
He made me as well as I would ever be.
And now the beast turns on me.
Sure, he still helps me with experience,
But now, he tears me down physically.
I can’t keep up with his changes.
He is no longer my friend.
And his arrow will steadily fly,
Long after he has put me in the ground.

—–

Johnna Murphy

“What the hell is wrong with you??”
That question. That tone of voice.
That that stab into my core.
Nothing could penetrate deeper.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”
Nothing!  Your not supposed to see anything!!

Have you seen into my depths?  Glimpsed my worst?
“You just bring out the worst in me.” I reply.

But is that true? Maybe in that moment.
No one is totally good. You see what’s hidden when you cut deep.

Could you see all my terrible?
Leaking from the wound, mixing with the salt in my tears?

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

I don’t know, but you won’t have to see it if you don’t cut me open.

—–

Maureen Larter.

“BEASTS”

The meadow, green and lush,
Bathed in mist.
The air crisp and fresh.
A vista with trees and
Beasts upon the rolling hills
Contentedly munching.
They look up and see me walking,
Feed tubs in hand.
They swarm towards me,
Skidding to a halt.
I place the treat within their reach
and heads once more dip down.
My beasts,
My cows.

—–

D Lee Cox

a room far and wide
colorful light
dreams and diversions
cover the floor
cowered by the roar
of the beast
stomping and tromping about
held back by this or that
wears one too many hats
inhibition lost
careless of the cost
another round
another round
another round

—–

Mamie Pound

“Cullman County July”

black top licks my bicycle tires,
burns my feet

cicadas buzz like five-eyed winding clocks,
timers for kudzu giants
playing red light-green light,
only moving in the dark

in the carport,
there’s a rainbow in the oil puddle
and a deep freeze
with snow
and grape popsicles

just dug potatoes piled in the corner
still wear the red dirt
that gave them life

—–

The Iron Writer Challenge #160 – 2016 Spring Open Challenge #8

The Iron Writer Challenge #160

2016 Spring Open Challenge #8

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Maureen Larter, Zac Moran, Dani J. Caile, Emmy Gatrell

The Elements:

Main character is Ozymandias

“Do you need me?” (must be in the prose)

“What to you is worth killing for, and also worth dying for?| (Must be in the prose)

A mouse

Bravery Knows No BoundsMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

“Do you need me?’ The question squeaked out rather tremulously.

Rasputin laughed. He looked around at the rest of his friends, standing behind him. They grinned and took a step forward menacingly.

“What an earth could you, Squirt, help us with?” Rasputin brought his head down and twitched his nose. His eyes seemed large and evil, but Ozy stood his ground. His meek demeanor had worked. The rats were nearly in the ambush zone.

“I didn’t call for you! ” Rasputin continued. “Just get out of our way!”

Ozy took a deep breath and stood as high as his tiny frame would allow.

“My name is Ozymandias!” he said, his voice getting louder as he dredged up every last bit of courage within him. “My home is under threat by you – I thought you might listen to reason, but I have every right to stand and fight.”

Rasputin flung out a paw and knocked Ozy to the ground.

‘Nothing!’ he stated. “Nothing is worth dying for!” The rats at his back enthusiastically nodded in unison.

“However,” he grinned maliciously. “To take over this part of the sewers I consider worth killing for!”

Ozy scrambled to his feet and backed up a couple of steps. He turned and scampered into the shadows.

Rasputin and his rat brigade advanced another few feet.

Suddenly, from all around them, jumping from the rocks and stone walls, they were besieged by thousands of mice. They crawled and kicked, scratched and bit. The rats cowered as if beaten, until with great reluctance, many of them, trying desperately to rid themselves of the insistent and annoying creatures, ran back into the depths of the underground tunnels from which they had come.

Rasputin yelled and swore.

“Come back and fight, you cowards!”

A small mouse stood before him and roared – his voice no longer a squeak of fear.

“All bullies are cowards!” He said. “But my home is worth defending unto death! Remember this name – Ozymandias – and know that I will vanquish you – so – never. never come back.”

Rasputin didn’t have any choice! Several mice clambered over him, and eventually, by entering through an unblinking eye, Rasputin was brought down!

Bram

Emmy Gatrell

Ozymandias looked over his bustling kingdom as he listened to the shuffled footsteps echoing through the vacant throne room. He could have shouted to his loyal servant and mentor, halted the old man’s agonizing path, but the rhythmic tap swish-swish of his cane and billowing robes gave the Pharaoh a sense of calm and peace he needed.

The room was adorned as a God’s should be. Incense burning in the four corners hid the scent of death in the air. Torches lined the walls highlighting the various artwork depicting his battles, victories, and achievements; but his favorite piece was a carved bust of Queen Nefertiti. She was beauty, intelligence, and grace defined; perfection itself bestowed upon the world and would soon leave it, and him, behind.

The thought of missing her inevitable last breath had Ozymandias turning from the window and hurrying to his servant bringing a smile to his weathered face and a sigh from his lips. He waited for Ozymandias to speak and grew more confused as it looked like for the first time in his life, his master was at a loss for words.

“Do you need me?” Ezekiel prompted meekly.

“More now than ever my old friend.” Ozymandias looked to the right of the throne where Nefertiti lay surrounded by their six children and her loyal servants.

“She will be welcomed by the Gods with open arms. Her tomb is the grandest I have ever seen, befitting the Queen of Egypt…” He hesitated to do what he wanted. No one dared touch a God among them, but he still saw the little boy and his brother that he taught to read, helped mold into men, and loved as his own. He lifted his claw-like arthritic hand, and gently placed it on Ozymandias’s shoulder. “She shall not suffer much longer—”

“What to you is worth dying for?”

“You,” Ezechiel answered without hesitation.

“Worth killing for?”

“I suppose I could whip up a poison.”

A rare smile crossed the Pharaoh’s lips, “No.” Ezekiel shrugged earning another small smile. “I want you to go with Nefertiti to the afterlife. I need to know she’s being cared for by someone I trust.”

“It will be my honor,” Ezekiel eyes filled with tears. “But, no killing or sacrifice. I want you to have Bram.”

Ozymandias raised a painted brow but, “Father,” was shouted from Nefertiti’s chamber before he could object. Instead, he nodded his agreement then ran to his wife’s side.

Ezekiel watched Ozymandias disappear within the room and took out a small hunk of bread he had hidden in his robes and held it in front of another hidden pocket.

There was a little squeak before a tiny gray mouse ran up his chest and then perched on Ezekial’s shoulder eagerly awaiting breakfast. Bram ate happily until a heartbreaking cry filled the chamber and time seemed to stop.

“He’ll need you now,” Ezekiel whispered before offering his prayer to the Gods for his fallen Queen.

Schemes of Gods

Zac Moran

“Son, do not mourn for me. I go to be with the gods, for I am chosen by Ra,” said Ramasses, his breathe growing shallow.

“You have taught me so much. I will miss you,” said Amun, sitting at his father’s bedside.

“I will watch over you,” Ramasses paused to breathe, “from the heavens.”

Ramasses’ eyes closed and his last breathe left him.

Amun exited the death chamber and addressed his people.

“My father, the great and powerful pharaoh, Ramasses II, has ascended to the heavens!”

Ramasses opened his eyes and sat up on his deathbed.

“Your people are quite upset that you’ve left them,” came a voice.

“I would never leave my people behind!” said Ramasses, “Who’s there?”

“Tell me, Pharaoh, what to you is worth killing for, and also worth dying for?” asked the voice.

“I would fight and die for the protection of Egypt and it’s people. Who are you?”

“Very good. Then I need you to steal something from the goddess Isis. She slipped a toxin into my drink and has offered the antidote in return for my true name. This would give her great power over me, but the poison will not harm me.”

A painting of Ra on the far wall moved to look at Ramasses. His eyes widened and he bowed.

“Great and powerful Ra, pardon me for not recognizing you.”

“All is forgiven. Now rise, Ramasses. Gods do not bow to one another. Will you do this task for me?”

“Why do you need me though?” asked Ramasses

“I do not wish Isis to know that her scheme failed and she has defenses around her quarters to alert her to the presence of other gods. But you are a new god and she won’t have prepared for you yet.”

Ra stepped out of the wall painting and shared his knowledge of Isis’ complex with Ramasses; telling him how to get in, steal the antidote, and leave undetected. Ramasses left his tomb and traveled to Isis’ palace. With no wall surrounding the grounds, Ramasses could see numerous guardians roaming the area, including a sphinx.

Ramasses stepped into the outskirts of the grounds and a large shadow loomed up behind him.     He turned around to see a one-hundred foot tall Isis standing over him. She laughed and the ground shook under Ramasses’ feet.

“You thought to come like a mouse in the night to fatten yourself upon my grains of wheat? Did you think it so easy to steal from me?” bellowed Isis.

“I am the god Ramasses and you will give me what I came here for!” he yelled up at Isis.

“Ooo, you’re the new one. I was wondering when you’d join us,” said Isis as she shrunk down to Ramasses’ size.

“I was sent by Ra to-”

“Yes, yes, the antidote. Here,” interrupted Isis as she handed over a small vial. She then proceeded to walk around Ramasses, looking him up and down.

“Take it back to Ra now. I’ll have use of you later.”

“I will not be used as a tool!” said Ramasses.

“Oh, you’ve just begun to learn the schemes of gods.”

King of KingsDani-J-Caile

Dani J Caile

Deep in the temple of Abu Simbel, the spirit of a long-gone Pharoah hovered over the rock floor of the vestibule, meditating.

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings…!”

He wasn’t alone. The spirit of a mummified mouse rested against a pillar.

“Yes, yes, king of kings. Whatever. How many times will you say that tonight?”

“I will say it as many times as I like because I am… king of kings! Look on my…!” he boomed through the corridors.

“Do you need me? Can I go?”

Through forces unknown to him, he was cursed for eternity with this rodent by the ignorance of his peers.

“Now I come to think of it, I guess not. When you’re alive, you don’t know the things you know when you’re dead, like gods are a figment of the imagination and fear, a conditioning construct of society to control and manipulate, a non-existent entity that…”

“You do go on, don’t you,” said the mouse, now scurrying about, twitching its nose.

“And especially animal gods. Why they thought a mouse was a god, I have no idea.”

“Why not? We are majestic creatures!” It stood on its hind legs, head held high.

“You’re a pest. Go away.”

“I would if I could but I can’t. Your people put me here, therefore I am forever linked to you.”

“My name is Ozymandias, king of…!”

“Why do you do this every night? No one’s listening.”

“What else is there to do?” he said, scratching his ear.

“Find a way out?”

“You do realise why my spirit, and yours, is stuck on this rock, don’t you?”

“Yes. The men you killed hold us here.”

“For my sins, yes.”

“You shouldn’t have killed them, then.”

“What else does a Pharoah do?” he asked.

“Needs must, huh?” The mouse went back to twitching.

“Exactly.”

“So you had to kill all those people?”

“Yes. For the life I received, the life of a king, a living god, it was all worth it.”

“Even though your spirit will now be stuck in here forever?”

“Okay, okay, with a little hindsight, I may have been a touch more merciful.”

“You could’ve joined your queens in eternity,” said the mouse, pointing to the paintings surrounded by hieroglyphs.

“Yes… Oh, Nefetari, dear Nefetari, she was one hell of a gal. Worth dying for.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really. A question to you, ‘mouse’. What to you is worth killing for, and also worth dying for?”

“Ooo, a deep one, I’ll have to think… erm… a lump of cheese.”

“Oh, please.” A ‘meow’ echoed through the temple. “Finally!”

“What was that?”

“Meet, Bastet, goddess of warfare.”

“What? A cat? Where has that been for the past thousand years?”

“She had nine lives. Guess it took her this long to die in the mummification process.”

The spirit of a cat entered the vestibule.

“Oh crap,” said the mouse, being chased by the cat.

“Have fun! Now where was I? Oh yes. My name is Ozymandias, king of kings…!”

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