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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
There is Nothing Like Peace and Quiet

The sarcophagus lid fell open and landed on the dirt floor. The mummy opened his eyes and looked around the room. A torch sat in a bracket on the wall, blazing with fire, enabling Arik to see the hieroglyphics in the ancient tomb. It was just like he remembered. He’d been mummified two thousand years before but had been awakened when his sarcophagus had been opened.

The light from the torch flickered in the room. Arik saw three passageways. One was lit with a soft light from an archeologist’s torch. The other two were dark. The mummy looked down at his body. He was still in the bandages, wrapped long ago. They were dirty and tattered. He moved his arm and raised it in front of him. He moved his other arm. It moved also. Then he moved his legs and climbed out of the sarcophagus. His feet landed heavily on the floor. A cloud of dust floated up towards the place his nose had been.

Carefully avoiding the lit passageway, Arik moved slowly, one step at a time, stiff-legged, down one of the dark halls, not sure if he remembered the way out. He passed several rooms but it was too dark to see what was inside them. He had to feel his way along by touching the walls as he went. After wandering about for a long time, Arik saw a crack of sunlight coming through between two of the huge limestone blocks that made up the pyramid. Curiosity overcame him and he headed towards it.

He peeked through the crack. Fresh air swished through it, hitting him in the face. He could see the sun shining brightly in the sky. Using all his might he pushed some broken pieces of a block out of the way, making a hole big enough for him to squeeze his bandaged body through.

After much effort, he was out in the midday sun. It felt good, warming his cold, dead body. He rested on one of the steps of the pyramid, gazing at this new world around him. To his right he could see the River Nile. It looked much the same, yet there seemed to be many new buildings built up around it. He wondered why they weren’t worried about the flooding that came every year? The Sphinx stood majestically, but was worn by time, wind and blowing sand. It had no nose. The Pharaoh would not have been happy to know this once great statue had begun to deteriorate.

Arik looked further. A large city spread out as far as he could see. Curiosity once again overcame the mummy. He climbed down from the pyramid and headed towards the huge city.

The desert sand climbed inside his bandages as he trudged through it. He stopped to shake it out. As he shook his leg, he heard a roar come from above him. He looked up and saw what looked like a huge shiny bird. It had two large wings, a tail, and a pointy beak. It also looked like it had eyes running up and down the entire length of its body. It made a loud noise, almost deafening. Arik was terrified. He looked around for somewhere to hide from the monstrous bird. He began to run towards some boulders. The bird’s shadow flew over him and carried on. He watched it as it flew lower and lower, heading towards the large city, and soon it disappeared from his view. He had never seen an airplane before.

Arik was nervous about going to the city, but curiosity overtook his fears and he walked on. He went down to the shores of the Nile where he saw many barges making their way down river. They didn’t look like the barges he knew. He was relieved to spot a felucca, with its sail blowing in the gentle desert wind.

Watching out for crocodiles, Arik moved on, thinking about all the strange things he saw. As he approached the outskirts of the city, he saw a sign. The writing on it spelled out a strange word. He sounded it out. Cairo is what it read. The noise of the city was overwhelming to him. There was a low non-stop droning, and a noise that sounded like millions of honking geese, yet different.

As he walked down the street, which he noticed wasn’t dirt, but instead was hard, black material, a huge animal, shiny and red, came racing towards him. It didn’t have legs, but it did have round, black, rubbery feet, and was traveling at a high speed. Inside the animal was a person, holding onto something round. It started honking, like the goose noises he’d heard a while before. Arik jumped out of the way. It almost ran him over. That was enough for Arik. He turned around and headed back towards the pyramid. This new world was too dangerous for him.

When he arrived at the pyramid, he found the hold in the limestone blocks and squeezed his way back inside. He stopped and took one last glance outside. He saw the tall buildings, pumping dirty smoke into the air. He saw the strange boats and everything felt so unfamiliar to him. He gazed at the other pyramids, saddened by the state of decay they were in. He listened to all the loud noises. There were no birds flying overhead; he couldn’t hear the river flowing by, nor children laughing, nor dogs barking. He’d had enough. He made his way down the dark passage by holding onto the walls. He passed the rooms as before and kept going until he’d found the room his sarcophagus was in. The torch was still blazing in the wall. He looked at the hieroglyphics and smiled. He then saw his bandaged feet, covered with reddish sand stains. He went over to his sarcophagus and climbed inside. He had just finished pulling the lid on top when the archeologist came into the room. He pulled the torch off the wall and turned; leaving the tomb in darkness and peace and quiet, the way Arik liked it.

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