The Iron Writer Challenge #160
2016 Spring Open Challenge #8
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Maureen Larter, Zac Moran, Dani J. Caile, Emmy Gatrell
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)
Bravery Knows No Bounds
“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!
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
“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 Kings
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.
“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.”
“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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