So this morning my writing partner send me this link. And I thought of a story I started a long time ago–and so I’ll share the beginning with you. This is one of those stories that probably won’t go anywhere, but the beginning was thought-provoking, to say the least. Enjoy!
The tomb was chill white marble, pitted and polished by the dust-laden desert wind. Glittering in the midst of the dun and tawny of the Waste, it hunched against the side of the defile; no spiny succulent or tough leathery bush dared to set root in its vicinity. It looked, after all the years, like a part of the Waste despite its foreign material, a stubborn bleached tooth stuck fast in a skull’s jaw. A cold breath exhaled from its walls, even under the merciless whitegold eye of the Sun.
The king’s resting-hallow was built low, in the style of ancient invaders. Fluted columns stood desultory guard at the portico, and the door was in the shape of a keyhole. Bricks of sandy stone, incongruous next to the pale marble, filled the door, carefully carved and mortared together. The Emperor’s sigil—the three leaves of the hollyhock crest, foreign to this land as the tomb itself—had once been sharp and precise on each brick as well as the leaden seal set in the door itself. Sacred writing danced around the edge of the lead disc containing the great symbol, once incised carefully and sharply, now blurring.
Sand blew, dust blew, the wind came and the sun rose and fell. All things were as they should be, and the tomb slumbered.
The bricks were sandstone, and crumbling. The lead of the seal fared slightly better; corruption ate at it nevertheless. Spots of unhealthy paleness began to taint the metal, and widened. Yet still, both the seal and the wall held fast.
Something moved in that narrow valley. Something shaped the flying sand into whorls and combed the thin stunted bushes growing at the defile’s mouth. Something more invisible than air brushed the tops of the high crumbling cliffs.
And the leaden seal began, imperceptibly, to rot faster. Behind the bricked-in door, sometimes, on moonless nights when the stars were hard cold points of fever and the Waste grew viciously cold as a rejected lover, sometimes…there might have been a sound. A slow, uneven thrum, spanning several moments then fading. As if a desiccated heart had squeezed out its last drop of blood dried to powder.
As the decay worked on the leaden seal, perhaps those beats began to draw closer together.