Friday 14 December 2012

#FridayFlash - Sand and Snow

Outside in the cold, bells toll around the city to ring in the special day. Delicate flakes of snow dance and whirl through the frozen air in their own celebration ballet. Strangers exchange seasonal greetings in the street, warm with the glow of red wine and mince pies.

Inside the museum, whispers echo around empty halls, and ancient words entwine with plaster and glass. Syllables slide through cracked stone; the sarcophagus fills with spells not heard in three thousand years. Dessicated flesh stirs inside flaking wrappings and sparks flare within empty sockets. Skeletal hands press against wood; the coffin lid clatters to the floor. The owner of the voice steps forward to push aside the stone slab.

A pale hand grips the gnarled ancient fingers and helps the figure clamber to its feet. Recognition flickers in the eyes of the mummy princess. Many centuries have passed since she last laid eyes on the man before her. Her heart would skip a beat if it had not been replaced by a clay amulet.

The arcane priest leads her across the parquet floor of the Egyptian Gallery, one hesitant shuffling step at a time. He places a cold finger to his lips, calling for quiet. The beam of a torch swings through the doorway as the night watchmen performs his rounds. He does not notice the wizened mummy princess and her curious pale companion in the shadows.

They leave their hiding place and make their way through the museum. The sparks in the mummy's eyes grow brighter as she takes in the wealth of history, all younger than her but older than the museum, as they tread through the empty halls. They reach the entrance atrium, and the priest waves his hand. The glass doors swing open, and he leads his princess outside.

Snow lies several feet thick, heaped against the gutter, blown aside to clear the road. The black trees of the avenue wear their wintry white coats with pride, limbs extended to the heavens in silent thanks for the seasonal bounty. The mummy princess gawps, her jaw hung loose by withered tendons. The snow reminds her of the sand of her youth, though she does not remember white sand that glitters beneath light. She marvels at the lamp posts with their artificial suns.

The priest leads his ancient prize into the street. Snowflakes drift toward them, settling on yellowed wrappings and worn cloak alike. The princess spots patterns traced in the frost on the windows. Her face labours but produces a smile, and the sparks in her eyes glow white with pleasure. The priest returns the smile, and their hands find each other in the cold.

They stand watching the snow fall as the bells ring out for Christmas Day.