Breaking News – The Caricaturist Turns a Writer! Read the Story, “An Archaeologist’s Nightmare!”

Breaking News! —  Breaking News! — Breaking News! — Breaking News!

The Caricaturist is now a Writer! You don’t believe it – do you? Well…here’s the proof. I wrote the following story for Vivienne Tuffnell‘s Short Story Contest. Read the story and leave your comments – I am desperately looking for alternatives – so let me know if I could  consider writing as a possible option! (Well…everyone I know is a writer these days, so I might want to be one just to fit in:))

Note: What you see in green (in teal, to be precise) is the stub – using this stub, you need to write a story. Give it a shot – it’s fun:)

Breaking News! —  Breaking News! — Breaking News! — Breaking News!

Well…

The Story begins…

An Archaeologist’s Nightmare!

Many years ago while Alex was a student, he spent some weeks one summer helping on an archaeological dig. The weather was fine and while the work was quite boring, the other people were pleasant and he found he was making friends.

One afternoon, he was kneeling in a ditch with the sun beating down on his back. He was slowly uncovering something buried in the earth but when the piece of pottery came free, so did something else. Looking down with utter horror, Alex saw poking out of the mud a piece of bone. He wasn’t expecting to unearth bones around here – especially in this part of the dig. But then, nothing was impossible.

Finding a bone was as irregular as it could get at the dig, and all the junior archaeologists, even the summer interns knew that if any irregularity popped up, they were supposed to call others. At the dig, every new day was exactly like the previous one – and so an irregularity was a break in the monotony – everyone wanted to be a part of the excitement.

Alex’s call brought everyone at the excavation site including Laura, his supervisor to his corner of the ditch. When Alex had started his summer training with them, little had he realized that he’d have to use all his ingenuity to ward off her advances! Unfortunately the task of avoiding her wasn’t easy as Laura was very attractive, and also very persistent. Alex’s billionaire father had warned his only son again and again, about just this kind of women!

Within a few minutes a new hierarchy was established for excavating Alex’s find. The task was quickly taken over by his more experienced colleagues but as the finder, he was given the opportunity to help. Randal, a Junior Archaeologist took over the task of brushing the dirt from the bone, and carving it out without causing any damage to it. It clearly was a piece of a human clavicle – but there was something other than the centuries old dirt that was pulling it back…something that looked like a chain.

After a lot of coordinated effort, the clavicle, the neck sans the head, and the chain, all came free. At the other end of the chain was a pendant, which looked like it was made of gold and which had an inscription on it. Randall carefully separated it from the bone to let the pendant fall into Alex’s outstretched palm…and it was then that it all began…

The moment that pendant touched Alex’s palm he felt that he was pinned down to his place and couldn’t move. The people who either sat or stood around him began to turn hazy and then disappeared completely, while the hot afternoon transformed into a cool night. The dig around him disappeared and Alex found himself standing in a lovely, well-kept garden. He looked around. In the north, where they hadn’t begun to dig yet, stood a magnificent palace. The broken walls of the fort seemed have mended themselves and they stood erect and proud, with sentries at the posts.

“Isn’t the night beautiful?” he heard a woman’s voice. He didn’t like the voice. It reminded him of something, or someone…but he couldn’t recall what or whom.

Ah well…whatever it is – I have to play the game, he thought.

“Yes, it is,” Alex said and turned to face the owner of the voice. The woman’s face was beautiful but cold – a little like her voice. She was slim, and she wore a gown that went out of fashion about 500 years ago. Suddenly Alex had the urge to look at himself; he looked down at his hands – what the heck? He was wearing rings. Alex hated rings! On his chest, over the brocaded tabard lay a gold pendant with an inscription, which read “Sera and Zareb”! He could read the inscription and understand it! This was a different world.

“I am glad that you are safe. I was worried. Your brother came back three days ago, and he thought that you might not come back at all, until he received that message from you.”

For some reason, Alex felt a stab of pain in his heart. He couldn’t place the reason – but he had enough sense to know that it was a dream – and he knew that all he could do was play the part. As he didn’t know what he was doing there or who he was, it was best that he kept quiet. So he smiled.

“I can see that you are happy to be back, and so am I, but nobody knows that you arrived tonight – isn’t it?”

“Zareb knows, just him – nobody else.” Alex said and shocked himself. How the hell did he know that his brother was called Zareb? He felt drawn towards this cold but beautiful woman, and he didn’t know why. He knew some answers but he didn’t know how he knew them!

“My dear husband, give me a hug. I’ve been alone for so many months… and I’ve missed you so much!” she said with her arms outstretched.

Alex felt a warm rush of affection towards the woman – he loved her! He stepped forward and took her into his arms. It was nice to be home.

Before he could kiss her, he felt something odd – his head snapped back…away from her face! Before he could understand it, he felt a red-hot pain at the base of his neck…and before he closed his eyes, he saw his own body fall sideways with blood spurting out of his neck, and then as he sank gratefully into the painless unconsciousness, he heard the cold cruel laughter of the two people who mattered the most to him!

Alex regained consciousness in his tent. He looked around. There was nobody there, except Laura who was sitting on a stool at his bedside – not a hair out of place, not a crease on her blouse – it was a wonder how she looked so beautiful and so…

“I am glad that you are safe. I was worried,” she said, in a voice that Alex had just heard, in another world, in another time… and her face was so beautiful and yet so cold!

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12 comments on “Breaking News – The Caricaturist Turns a Writer! Read the Story, “An Archaeologist’s Nightmare!”

  1. Pingback: Contest results « Zen and the art of tightrope walking

  2. Ah Shafali,

    You do have a vivid imagination….great story….very exotic and intriguing…..Dewey just can’t dream up stories like this…..he always thinks DOG, MOUSE, VERMIN, DIG…..

    • Nancy, thanks for your kind comment. I am glad you liked the story.
      I love what Dewey writes. His stories brim with innocence. To be able to look beyond the pain and deceit and write something that pulls at the reader’s heartstrings is a gift:)
      Warm Regards,
      Shafali

  3. PS: About the scifi/fantasy bit…
    Wasn’t it a nightmare?
    If not – rebirth?
    -S

    I meant fantasy like Lord of the Rings type stuff, lots of magic and dragons and kings and sorcerers genre, that’s how it came over to me, but I’m mad. I guess I may have been thinking about how it might develop. Only said Sci-fi, cos they are often under the same heading in bookshops and libraries – probably because the imaginative elements are “impossible” to the average librarian.

    • Wow! Ian, you are going to have a spoilt brat on your hands – with her heads in the clouds and her feet five miles above the ground! I don’t think I’ve ever given a serious thought to dragons, knights, mages, and the likes…but you’ve got a point there.

      I am waiting for your story to appear on Viv’s blog:) BTW, why don’t you start your own blog…it’s very simple with WP!

      Regards,
      Shafali

    • Thanks Ajay:)
      What happened to Alex later? That’s an interesting question…your comments could motivate me to tell you rest of the story:)…
      Another story coming up – today – but then that’s for the story in the caricature blog carnival. I’ve visited your blog and I think you are quite a storyteller yourself. How about giving it a shot?
      Here’s the link: https://shafali.wordpress.com/story-in-the-caricature-blog-carnival/
      Glad you visited and commented.
      Regards,
      Shafali

  4. Excellently written, Shafali. I good sci-fi/fantasy tale. I think you could develop this. The names are interesting, are they from any particular culture/region, or out of your head? BTW is there a fantasy novel genre in India? Not sure that was what I meant; maybe “is there a market for this sort o story in India?”

    • Hi Ian,

      Glad you stopped by to comment.

      A market for any sort of stories in India?!
      In India a book that sells 5000 copies – it’s considered a hit…and if it does 50000 – it’s a bestseller!

      About the names…hmm. I guess you mean Sera and Zareb…

      I customized Hera and Hades…Sera, I guess is easy to connect with Hera – but Zareb with Hades…I don’t know how it came to be – but I started with Hades (of course, you know why:))

      Regards,
      Shafali

  5. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end; spooky….so what next???
    Poor old Alex.
    well written and well conceived too.
    A great big thank you and a (knife-free) virtual hug. You are as talented with a story as you are with drawing!
    xx

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