Friday 28 June 2013

#FridayFlash - Sightseeing

The statue coughed twice, sending a cloud of dust into the air. Tendrils of ectoplasm snaked out of the statue's nose, and billowed into the display case. The cold fingers of phantasmic goo sought the key hole near the top of the glass, and oozed through the lock mechanism. The figure coalesced on the other side into that of a slender man with delicate hands.

He peered at the statue through the glass and shook his head. The artist was more of a mere craftsman, and simply hadn't managed to capture the boyish line of his jaw, or the laughing smile in his eyes. They'd dressed his statue in gaudy fabrics befitting a prince, conveniently ignoring his more simple attire in life.

Prince Aken-Aten stretched, imagining his joints popping as they did before he died, and looked around the room. He'd grown tired of exploring the Egyptian Gallery, filled as it was with familiar things. He wanted to see the world, and learn more of what happened after his death.

He walked away from the case and stuck his head into the corridor. Tableaux of stuffed animals lined the route, re-enacting scenes from the North African desert. Aken-Aten bowed before the noble lion, and marvelled at the cobra, rearing as it ready to strike. He followed the passage and the decor changed, turning from desert vista to lush jungle. Aken-Aten recognised the greenery but the animals were alien, covered in stripes, or shaped like hairy men.

The Prince spent the evening touring the Natural History gallery, teaching himself to read the strange symbols on the wall beside each display. He even visited the gift shop, marvelling at the small reproductions of the stuffed animals. He believed them to be toys, albeit ones very different from the wooden or bone games they had at his father's court. His sister would have loved the soft fur of the lion cub.

The sky beyond the windows grew pink, and Aken-Aten made his way through the museum to return to the Egyptian gallery. He allowed himself to dissipate, feeling his limbs grow long and his body expand, and his ectoplasm fingered a path through the key hole into the case. It forced itself up the nose of the statue, and turned its thoughts to sleep as the dawn broke.

* * *

Roland peered into the display case containing the funeral effects of Prince Aken-Aten. He stared at the statue in disbelief for a full five minutes, before turning to shout for his assistant.

"Mavis? Mavis? The statue's moved again!"

* * *

This flash was inspired by this news story!