I don’t remember if I shared this with y’all. It was a couple of months ago that I wrote this, and I may or may not have entered it in a short story contest. I honestly don’t remember anything about this, but I found it in my homework folder randomly, and today I honestly have nothing to post, so enjoy!
Just keep in mind that I didn’t proofread this at all (I probably should have), mainly because I think I chose a different story over this to enter in the contest (I put that up yesterday). Thanks!
Amy stood poised with the brush in her left hand, the tip of her tongue poking out from between her lips as she studied the glyphs inscribed at the bottom of the rusty red canyon cliff. She leaned forward and carefully dusted some loose dirt off the last one in the row, then whipped out her notebook and scribbled something in the margin of the already-filled page. “Sun rises there and the sunset horizon is her son while the sunrise horizon is her daughter, but the moon has no grand exit, so the void child has no children. But the sun and moon are sisters,” she mumbles, tapping the ballpoint pen against her chin thoughtfully. “This story is very interesting.”
“Could you maybe hurry it up?” I sighed exasperatedly. “I want to get to exploring.”
“You can explore after I decipher these, Tessa.” A teasing smile played on her face.
“Even Grandfather would be faster than you,” I groaned loudly. “And you don’t even make sense when you say it out loud. Who’s the void child, and why doesn’t she have children? What did the moon do? And why is the sunrise the daughter of the sun and the sunset the son?”
Amy held up a hand to forestall the questions, then brushed a long strand of blonde hair off her shoulder. Even after tying it up in a ponytail, it was so long that it still crept over her arm.
“Let me finish this,” she muttered, scrutinizing the glyphs one more time. She snapped a quick photo with the camera around her neck, an old-fashioned one that still had film in it. “The Galaxy People were very superstitious about the sun, the moon, and the sky in general,” she murmured, tracing the ancient glyphs with her right index finger. “They didn’t care too much for what was beyond, because they believed that was their origin and that the past didn’t really matter much. They diverted most of their focus to the sun and moon, because they believed they were the protectors of the realm and would save them in times of dire need.
“The sun and moon went by the names Tesseia and Nareia, or sun and moon. Their first appearance was shortly after the world’s creation, when everything was in chaos. They descended from the skies to restore order as a deadly duo, and when they finished the job they passed their powers to trusted friends to continue protecting the innocent and the world even after they were gone. Of course these friends had families, so within a few thousand years every one of the Galaxy People had some relation to a descendant of those protectors, called the Elementors–”
“This makes absolutely no sense,” I interrupted. “Spare me the backstory. Let’s explore!”
I leaned over and pushed at the stone, which swung inwards, revealing a secret passage. “A crypt,” Amy said from behind me. “The Galaxy People were also pretty advanced.”
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s just go. Deciphering is boring. Exploring is adventurous.”
Amy followed me inside with a sigh, and I held up my flashlight to illuminate the moist cave walls of the crypt. I took a few steps forward into the musty cavern, and there was a sudden grating sound. I whirled around, watching helplessly as the crypt door swung shut, blocking out the midday sunlight. I hurried over, trying to push it open, but to no avail; it was sealed tight.
As if on cue, the flashlight began to flicker. “No, no, no!” I whisper-shouted, banging it against the palm of my hand in frustration. “Don’t die, not now!”
It flickered again, then held steady, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
“I think we have a more pressing problem,” Amy pointed out. “There’s no way to leave.”
“There has to be one further down the passage,” I reasoned. “Onward, my good friend!”
I couldn’t see Amy in the dark, but I was sure she was rolling her eyes. “Onward where?”
“Uhm.” I paused for a moment, shining the flashlight around the cave. “Thataway.”
Amy and I ventured deeper into the crypt, the flashlight cutting through the darkness. I slowly unclipped my chisel and mallet from my belt (all good archaeologists had a pair).
Soon the passage widened out into a small room. I stepped forward, then jumped back, feeling the edge of a deep chasm yawning before us. “Careful,” I warned Amy.
I waved the beam of light around until it fell on a narrow stone bridge spanning the gap. “Are you sure that’ll hold?” Amy asked skeptically, eyeing it with suspicion.
I shrugged. “Only one way to find out.” I stepped onto the bridge, testing the weight.
Amy wasn’t far behind. “This isn’t too bad.”
There was a sudden inhuman screech and I stiffened, heart pounding. Amy let out a small squeak of terror and bumped into me. Before I could catch it, the flashlight fell from my hand and clattered into the abyss below, its soft beam bouncing over the walls before going out.
I couldn’t hear it hit the bottom.
I scrambled across the remainder of the bridge, my hands feeling the edges as I no longer had any light to go by, and Amy followed suit. Once we were sure we had made it to the other side, we straightened up and tried to make sense of things.
“Now what?” Amy whispered. I looked around, ignoring her question as I tried to find the exit. I wandered over to the wall and began to feel it, searching for some sort of opening. Before long, my fingers found the familiar grooves of the strange glyphs.
I pushed hard on the surface of the rock. Sure enough, the wall swung inwards, just like the first one. I stepped inside, one hand still on the door to make sure it didn’t close. Thankfully, unlit torches lined the narrow stone corridor, and I grabbed one, yanking it from its crumbling perch and striking it against the wall. A small orange flame sprung up, and I carried it back inside, holding it up to the glyphs on the door.
Amy whipped out her notebook once more and began to translate. “Two doves in a murder of crows will depart before the night gives way to dawn,” she said when done.
“I think you translated wrong,” I snorted.
Amy put her notebook away. “No, I don’t think so. The Galaxy People had weird sayings that had a deeper meaning than what was on the surface. I’d say this meant that those that are out of place somewhere will leave quickly, before anything changes.”
I shrugged. “Your call.” Stepping forward, I pushed the door open again, and we began the walk down the corridor as the door sealed behind us. Amy held up a second torch to read the glyphs inscribed on the walls while I kept a lookout for any danger.
We soon came to another door, titled, according to Amy, “The ☁th Soldier”. I thought to question it, but decided not to, having already come to the conclusion that the Galaxy People were strange in many, many ways. Instead, I pushed the door open to reveal a room empty except for a large box in the middle; moonlight filtered in through a hole in the ceiling high above our heads. I walked over to the box, only to realize it as not a box at all, but a container that strongly resembled an Egyptian sarcophagus, yet not quite. A blank piece of parchment sat atop the box, and next to it was another, smaller box. Opening it up, I found it to contain several jet-black crow feathers and two snow-white dove’s feathers.
A chilling thought struck me and I dropped the box, slamming it closed. The parchment rolled up, almost of its own accord, and I backed up to where Amy stood, perplexed.
“I think you got the meaning of the quote wrong,” I told her shakily. “I think it means that the two that are out of place will leave before the night is over.”
“Leave where?” she asked, then understanding dawned in her eyes. “Leave the world.”
I nodded. “Right. And I think the crows are going to come soon. Which means…”
Amy finished my sentence. “Which means we’re the doves.”