by C Eardley <3
A story infused with the mysterious ancient Egypt...Thanks if you review :)
I could smell incense and a sickly-sweet aroma that I did not recognise; it was so pungent. Images were slowly making themselves visible to me. I seemed to be standing in a stone lined room, but where? In the corner of my eye, a torch flame was dancing in the slight breeze that was gently wafting through the room and out into the passage furthest away from me. Then as if from nowhere, I could hear chanting coming from down the closest passage. I edged closer and peered down into its depths. Not that I could see much, as it was so dark. But I staggered backwards as I saw the dim light of a torch slowly moving towards me, and with it, the chanting became louder. I didn't have to think twice about getting out of here, but how? I ran back through the room and down the other passage, but I hit a sealed wall. I could see tiny beams of light forcing their way through the minute cracks in the plaster. How I longed to get through. How was I to know the dangers that could possibly be edging their way towards me?
I crept back to the end of the tunnel to await who or what was carrying that torch. I stooped into the shadows and peered into the room to wait. My mind was busy wandering over the chanting, I could not make it out. As it grew louder, it came to me; it was Egyptian, but...Ancient Egyptian... how very strange indeed!
I scrambled back against the wall; beads of sweat were rolling down my forehead. I could now hear the strange language being uttered more clearly as a figure emerged from out of the passage. It was a male, carrying the torch in one hand, and a staff in the other. I tried to move closer but I didn't want to compromise my position. He was wearing nothing above the waist, but below, he was wearing a skirt... no, a sort of kilt. The figure was also wearing a headdress, like the one that was depicted on Tutankhamun's death mask, but nowhere near as elaborate, just a fairly simple one. More people emerged after him; I drew my breath in sharply. I was trapped. The scene before me resembled some manner of procession; the people behind were carrying all sorts of items, large intricate wheels, bizarre looking chairs, a strange rectangular box with four wooden legs, how peculiar it all seemed.
For everything that I could see and hear, I could not put together the pieces of why I was seeing this. This was surely not real, which would be impossible. I guess daft myths and stories really do play with your imagination. The leader of the procession walked into the centre of the "chamber", and to my horror, the torch light fell upon a large stone box. The line of people filled the room and began to arrange the belongings in some order around the stone block. I can only guess that the things I smelt earlier were mummifying resins. I felt bilious at my revelations, but the scene before me was fading and retreating...
I awoke, startled and sweating from my dream. The summer heat really had it in for me. I glanced at the clock. ‘Damn!' either I'd missed my wake up call or the bellboy never even knocked as it was 9:30am. ‘Never mind' I thought, plenty of time to make my way through the Souq. I arose from my bed and hurriedly made it. Pulling the curtains back, I saw my first Cairo summer's day. The city was magnificently huge, separated by the great River Nile. I slid open the windows as the humidity in the room was almost too much to bear. At last, I had found the cool breeze that I was seeking. Something told me I should have gone to Alexandria or Luxor, where it was cooler at this time of year. But I simply couldn't resist the typical attraction of the capital city. A loud knock at the door awoke me from my daydreams. "Come in" I said through the door, guessing it must be my breakfast. The door steadily opened and in came the room service man, dressed in the usual attire, with my breakfast in hand. I was so hungry! I thanked him, and gave him a tip, locally called baksheesh. He nodded in appreciation and set the tray upon the small dining table close to the window, then tottered out of the room.
I lifted the lid off and sat down on one of the two chairs. I had ordered the previous night, choosing Ful Medames on the recommendation of the receptionist as I knew hardly anything about Egyptian cuisine. But it seems I had chosen correctly. It was stewed Fava beans with an accompaniment of chopped onion, coriander, cumin, lemon, garlic and served with a chopped egg (as it was breakfast). Also, I had ordered Aysh Baladi (local and traditional flat bread). It all smelt delicious, and of course tasted it too! It took me about 20 minutes to devour it, it was especially filling, and I couldn't finish it all as this is mainly why it's popular during fasting. For after, I had a small cup of spiced Arabic coffee. Contrary to popular beliefs, it is not very tart at all, well... it depends how sweet you have it. But whatever continent I was in, I had to have my morning coffee!