Translations in the Tomb

The team had worked tirelessly for the past month to move piles of earth, carefully excavating the tomb of the newly discovered funerary chamber.  The discovery had been disturbing to locals.  A series of previously undiscovered wall portraits were discovered, leading further and further underground.  The final portraits were of a pair of guards painted outside of a sarcophagus niche.  Within the niche, on the wall overlooking the sarcophagus, was a fearsome face, half crocodile, half human.  Sobek, the Guardian of the space between worlds and protector of the Nile.

The scientists, in bleached and starched coats took their macabre triumph to the fresh air of the world above. The sarcophagus that had spent more than 4000 years underground was finally going to be opened.  Dr. Abdulla Gibrahn had given up her lifestyle of dancing and drinking and was finally going to be famous for something significant. She was thankful to the boyfriend who had ghosted her that previous summer. It allowed her an opportunity to reprioritize her life, finish her dissertation, and focus on this dig.  “This is Old Kingdom, perhaps even before the treaty of Narsus. Be careful with those crowbars!”

As the workers moved in unison, a sharp hiss was heard as the air pressure within the stone coffin normalized.  The scientists could smell the musk of deteriorated bandages mixed with sweet perfumes.

As they pulled the lid off the sarcophagus, they found a mummy within, holding a ragged silk, once beautiful and only now showing signs of its long journey to the present.

The silk was painted with hieroglyphs.  Dr. Gibrahn had been well studied and looked closely.  “It’s a message.”

She tried to work it out.

“Try not to get into a fight… no an argument with a . . . this is a word I have never seen… Tabean.  They are clever people…. No.  Creatures. Clever creatures behind their brown eyes.”

One of her colleagues had already started to unravel some of the tightly wound bandages.  Abdulla was too deep into her translations to notice the over excited scientist.  She heard the coos of wonder before she looked up and saw the face.  Perfectly preserved. They were all deep in fascination over the pristine skin, because usually these types of finds, the desiccation was still thorough and the specimen more pickled than anything else, when she opened her eyes.

Brown. Deeply brown like the old growth forests. She murmured something that sounded to Abdulla like the classical Coptic that she had learned. Perhaps something close to, “I’m famished” And then she smiled.

As the rows of teeth opened wider and wider around her face, Dr. Gibran knew it wasn’t friendly.