The King’s Chamber (A Short Story) – Weekly Challenge: Literary Lion. King.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

Intef turned to change his side and felt sweat trickle down his back.  The heat roused him from his slumber. The first thing he noticed was the darkness. His chamber was never completely dark. He touched his bed. The sheets were of silk and the pillow was made of dove-feathers.
This wasn’t his bed.
Then he remembered. He was now King. He was the Pharaoh of Egypt, and he was sleeping in the King’s chamber. His father Pharaoh Akhnaten was no more. He had died thirty days ago, and the period of mourning had ended just yesterday when his embalmed body was finally taken to his pyramid for burial.
For some odd reason, his memories were choppy. It must be the heat, he thought, and swung his legs down the bed. His leather slippers were right where he had expected to find them.
Intef slipped his feet into the slippers and called the servants. His temper was now rising.
Where were they? And why were the curtains drawn close?
He tried recalling the layout of the King’s bed-chamber. It wasn’t easy, because he had never slept in there, never before last night.
“Where were those lamp-sconces?” he murmured, trying to focus on what he remembered of the Pharaoh’s chamber.
The pictures began forming. He saw himself in the royal chamber a week before his father’s death. Sekah-seshat, his sister was there too. The sky had already darkened outside but the Pharaoh’s chamber was lit bright with a dozen sconces, each of them holding a dozen oil-lamps. Two of these wall-sconces were right near the headboard of the Pharaoh’s bed.
Intef turned left. Moving against the edge of the bed, his outstretched hand touched the wall. He moved his hand up along the wall. There it was. Now he needed a flint-lighter.
Where could he find one?
He tried focusing on his memories again. Perhaps they would help him locate the lighter. In his imagination, the Pharaoh’s chamber lit up again. Sekah was asking the Pharaoh her father, for a boon. She didn’t want to marry Intef, her brother – as she was destined to. Sekah was her father’s favorite, and when the Pharaoh had smiled at her, Intef’s heart had sunk. He knew that Sekah was in love with Khamose, their cousin, and Pharaoh’s smile had confirmed that she now had his blessings for her marriage with him. His sister always got her way with their father.
Intef shook his head. Those memories won’t help him. Right now, he must focus on finding the lighter.
Where in the name of Osiris were the servants? He bellowed again. There was no answer. Something isn’t right, he thought as his voice echoed through the place.
He ran his fingers around the edge of the sconce once again, and his fingers hit something. The lighter. A wave of relief washed over him. He hated the darkness. It had been dark when he had stolen into this very chamber that night and poisoned the jug of water that stood on his father’s bedside table. The explosive mix of anger, jealousy, hatred, and fear had driven him to kill his father, the King, the Pharaoh of Egypt.
He released the clasp of the flint lighter and put it to the wick of a lamp. An unearthly yellow glow filled the chamber. Intef heaved a sigh of relief, and set about lighting the other oil-lamps.
Tomorrow he’d punish those servants. Hanging them alongside Khamose will be a good idea.
“But Khamose will die only after he has seen Sekah get married to me, the new Pharaoh of Egypt!” he chuckled.
The lamps burned casting a steady glow. They didn’t flicker at all. There was not even the slightest breeze in the chamber.
He pulled a sheet from the bed and wiped his face and neck. “let me draw the curtains myself,” he whispered wiping off the sweat that had accumulated on his brow, and turned to face the windows.
There were no windows.
He stood facing a wall that was painted in blue, yellow, and gold; a wall that told the story of Pharaoh Akhnaten’s rule. Blood drained from his face and he felt a chill run down his spine. Very slowly, pivoted on his spot, he turned again.
His father’s tomb, hewn out of a single block of marble and inlaid with gold and precious jewels, and within which his embalmed body lay, stood proudly in the center of the room. He stood inside the King’s burial chamber which was sealed shut after the ceremony had ended and he had left the pyramid.

Note: This story was written for Weekly Challenge at iSmithWords.com. This specific challenge was “Literary Lion. King.” The challenge required us to write a story in 400 words or less. This story has exceeded the word-limit, and so it doesn’t fulfill the requirements.  I tried my best to squeeze it down to 400, but couldn’t.

However, since I had taken this challenge as an assignment for Blogging101, I think I’ve managed one of the two things that I had set about accomplishing – I’ve finished my assignment 🙂

The Egyptian eye above can be seen sans-makeup here.

 

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26 comments on “The King’s Chamber (A Short Story) – Weekly Challenge: Literary Lion. King.

  1. Really loved this piece! I have always enjoyed mythologies and kind of saw where it was going but super good job! Great details on everything. I could really see and feel the scene.

    • Thanks 🙂 Yes. That was the idea…to keep unravelling the story paragraph by paragraph…without it, we wouldn’t know the reasons why. I am glad you like the details…I too have a love for details, in drawings too.

  2. Great story. I also love the drawing of the eyes–so gorgeous. I used to like drawing eyes a lot when I was in my teen years. There’s just something about them that are so captivating.

    • Thanks Sarah. There’s indeed something about eyes that intrigues all artists. More than half my doodles are of eyes. I think it has something to do with eyes being the windows to one’s soul…when you draw an eye or a pair of eyes, you can look into them and wait for a story to happen.

  3. Lots of imagination in this! It seems so well researched too, are you a fan of the Egyptians or did you just do a LOT of research before you wrote it? Don’t worry about the word count, at least it prompted you to finish the blogging101 assignment!

    • Thanks Laura. I am glad you enjoyed the story. I used to love reading about Ancient Egypt and always dreamed about visiting the country – but those hopes and dreams have now been consigned to the “Perhaps in next Life” basket. However, I did research to confirm the facts and find the names before I posted the story. I loved your prompt the best – so I followed it. I can’t really squeeze in a story in 50 or 150 words. You need some words to create the environment and establish the premise.

      • There’s something quite entrancing about that era of history isn’t there? I remember doing a project book about it at primary school, I spent a long time drawing Tutankhamen for the front cover, I got through a few of those gold paint pens that were around in the early 90s… haha. You never know, you might still find yourself in Egypt one day. I visited the pyramids and the sphinx about ten years ago, I was actually a little disappointed, they’re not half as grand as you expect, the sphinx overlooks a KFC and a Pizza Hut, it was all a bit strange. I think Luxor and the Valley of the Kings is probably a better place to go! I hope you get to do it one day 🙂

        Thank you, I’m pleased you like the prompt, I look forward to seeing more stories from you!

      • No 😦 Egypt is already stricken off my list. I guess I was too late…and whatever I saw of Egypt on the television during the unrest, will last me a lifetime. I’ll continue to watch the documentaries on Egypt. I’ll continue to contribute…I am sure. If a prompt starts a story off, you have to let it out 🙂

    • Thanks Mr. Venkatachari,
      (Do tell me if I am spelling your name incorrectly. Is that “a” after “t” ok?) Glad you stopped by. Blogging101 assignments are very interesting, aren’t they?

  4. Yes I loved the story, quite an eerie feeling I have now. I am also grateful for the link to your site because it led me to the stories regarding your hats. She haunts me, that No.2. Absolutely breathtaking.

    • Thanks so much. I must admit that your appreciation for the hats has helped my sagging morale. When I did that first hat with all that symbolism, two of my closest friends thought that I was losing my mind.

      • Impossible! (Or is it?) The symbolism – the seasons, the ladder, the snake, the sun? The subdued colors and spiderweb in number one? The blood and bruises in number 3? Its absolutely remarkable. They resonate with me – those hats. Please believe that I am sincere when I tell you that I feel that your hats have born out of a truly gifted mind.

      • Those hats, each of them is triggered on its own. There are events that touch your life – sometimes a piece of news that touches you on the periphery, drills a hole through your shell, and reaches the core. These hats have almost painted themselves…as I said in one of these posts, they don’t let me rest. Thank you for your comments. I value them, immensely.

  5. Shafali, I’m up quite early today. It’s not quite 4 AM. I loved your story and am so glad you did not try to edit it to 400 words. That would have been a shame. And the eye is quite alluring with or without makeup. A good fable to wake up to (in a room with windows!)

    • I hope everything’s fine. 4 AM is indeed early (it’s the time I wake up every morning, but I haven’t come across many who get up at this unearthly hour.) Thanks for reading the story. I am glad you liked it 🙂 I think I must stop writing stories or this blog will change its character. (Glad you are in a room with windows 🙂

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