She tried to clear her throat, but the only sound it made was a scratchy echo rippled in the vast room. She looked around with a cold smile.
The walls were painted with deities to guide and welcome the pharaoh's arrival. The scripts next to them depicted what a great king he was. All the figurings, jewelries, furniture and everything else they thought the pharaoh would need in his afterlife was provided, richly decorated with glittering gold and priceless gems. The garnet ring whispered to her under the torch light with its crimson curse.
She grabbed the ring and threw it against the door with a desparate roar.
Her parents were more than relieved when she was picked by the pharaoh's court. They could barely feed the family of seven. Now she could take care of the family for a change.
And she did. The pharaoh was charmed by her gift of singing and dancing. She was showered with jewelries, presents and servants, and most of all, the pharaoh's frequent visit to her chamber. She sent most of the favors home.
"Papa, put these away for me please." She said. Her papa understood the unspoken words, and kept the small stash for her. The family was well fed now, but she was afraid of her position in the pharaoh's court. She couldn't give him a son, a tragedy saddened them both, but his love for her never wavered. It was his wife's jealous look that worried her the most.
Being the pharaoh's favorite woman, she imagined a quiet and secluded life after his passing. After all, he was quite a bit older than her. Although he promised to take care of her, she knew her fate would be uncertain once her protector was gone. Still, she had prayed to the gods that she would be sent home by the queen to live out the rest of her life.
She laughed. A tear slid down her cheek and she didn't wipe it away. She didn't suspect a thing when the queen told her to dress up for the funeral. We need to look our best for the pharaoh's journey, she said.
She was in the middle of the prayers when she suddenly realized her voice sounded hollow in the room. She looked up and saw the last of sunlight before the stone door slowly closed out the world behind it. She ran to it screaming, "No! Have mercy, My Lady!"
The queen's voice coldly replied, "Thank you for volunteering your companion, Amarna. We are grateful for your sacrifice." With that, the door was sealed forever.
The air felt cool and heavy in her chest. There wasn’t much time left. She found a hairpin in the jewelry chest and started carving on the wall. She and her family would be long gone when someone saw this—if it would be seen at all. Her only hope was her story would be told, and her name would be remembered.
Her malachite-green eye shadows were smeared with black eyeliners by tears, but nobody would witness it. She would leave the gold and turquoise necklace, bracelets and headdress on her, so one day people will have a clue as who she was from her remains.
I may not have an afterlife for the lack of a proper burial, but my name will live forever--she promised herself.
(A trip to the Egyptian museum inspired my wild imagination.)