Desertion This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 12, 2011
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“My Lady.” Neferura, my body servant, bowed low before me.

“What’s wrong? How did the battle go?”

Neferura bit her lip. “We were defeated. Mark Antony is storming around the palace, demanding to see you. He was furious that the legions he took out defected before the battle.”

I sighed and closed my eyes. First we had lost at Actium, now Mark’s legions had defected…he was not going to be happy. I picked at an imaginary crumb on my sheath, pondering what to do. What would Mark do to me if I answered his summons? Was he so far gone that he’d kill me for abandoning him at Actium?

“Neferura, you will go back to Mark and tell him I’m already dead.”

She gasped. “My Lady, he would never kill you out of rage. You have enthralled him.”

“I have no idea what he’ll do in this state; he may very well kill me. Now go tell him I’m dead. That’s an order.”

She bowed, then ran out of my mausoleum. Ever since we came back from the battle at Actium, I had hidden in my half-finished mausoleum. No one would ever think of finding the Pharaoh in her own tomb. It was the perfect hiding place.

My crypt was illuminated by a single lamp and the flickering on the painted walls made it seem even creepier. I usually had Neferura or a slave with me, but now I was completely alone. It was so silent that I could hear every breath I took and every set of footsteps nearing the tomb sent my heart fluttering with fear. Was Mark going to take his anger out on me? He couldn’t kill me, though. He loved me.

“What is it?”

A pale, flushed Neferura returned. I looked closely at her eyes and saw that she had been crying. What had Mark done to her?

“My Lady, Mark…he…stabbed himself.”

“No!” I screamed. “He can’t do that! Who will protect me now?”

Neferura just stood there.

“He’s still alive, but he’s dying quickly.”

“Get some slaves and bring him here. I need to see him before he dies.”

Neferura ran like the Khatyu demons were chasing after her. I waited only five minutes in agonized silence before slaves bearing a litter rushed in. As soon as the curtains were pulled back, the metallic stench of blood filled my crypt.

The source of that horrible smell, Mark, stumbled out of the litter toward me, bleeding copiously from a self-inflicted wound to his stomach. How could he leave me now, when Octavian was ready to capture me and take over Egypt? I felt hot tears rolling down my cheek.

“Don’t cry Cleopatra, not over me.” He reached up and brushed away the tears that ran down my face. “You’re so beautiful.”

Gods, what an idiot. I wasn’t crying over him dying! I was crying because I was losing my key to power in Egypt. Of course I wasn’t going to tell him that; I would humour Mark for the last time.

“How can I not cry? The love of my life is leaving me.”

“We’ll see each other again in whichever heaven we go to.” He smiled, then grimaced. “Neferura, bring me a goblet of wine. I am the incarnation of Dionysus; I need my god’s wonderful creation before I die.”

Neferura hurried over to my stash of food in one of the antechambers and came back with a goblet of good Roman wine. Mark took it in his shaking hand, then downed it in a few gulps. He sat up, grimacing the whole time and we hugged.

It was a fierce hug, the kind when you don’t know if you’ll ever see the other person again. Mark smelled like blood and judging by the stickiness in my stomach area, I was now covered in his blood. Lovely.

He looked at me for a few seconds, then kissed me. I could taste the blood on his lips; why did he have to stab himself to commit suicide? Couldn’t he have used poison? Finally, I felt him go limp in my arms. Thank the gods!

I unceremoniously dropped his body on the floor, then stood up. Neferura didn’t look shocked in the least; she knew I never really cared about him. She looked at my sheath and saw the blood, then ran back to the antechamber to get me a new one. I scrambled to get my blood-soaked one off and as soon as I did, I draped it over Mark’s body. The affair Mark and I had ended as soon as he died. It was time to get a new man.

After all, Octavian was coming.

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Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Sept. 17, 2011 at 12:56 am

You did a superb job of capturing the essence of everything Cleopatra was. I enjoyed your avid descriptions and your marvelous character development , although the title does not seem to fitting with what the story is about. Your spelling and punctuation seem to be in order , great fiction piece!

5 stars :)

CarrieAnn13 replied...
Sept. 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

The title is about Mark Antony deserting Cleopatra just when Octavian is coming.


Anyway, thanks for the comment!

julian This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm
You have a beautiful way of creating story progression in this tale. I like the pacing and the flow of of things. Wonderful! Personally it would be nice to have an opening paragraph to explain the setting, and the current situation, or maybe you could interweave it into the story more. But really, the dialogue was brilliant, the descriptions were detailed, and the characters were well developed in a short amount of time. Great job!
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Sept. 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm
Thank you! :)
InsaneKitten said...
Sept. 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm
It's so awesome, but poor Mark that little sap of an idiot  D:
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Sept. 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm
Mark Antony knew what he was getting into when he fell for Cleopatra, I think.  He just let himself be deceived.  Anyway, thanks for commenting!
ItsAshMal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm
lovely work and all, but I'm confused. If this is supposed to be historical fiction, it is inaccurate. If it is supposed to be a work of your own imagination, it is too close to history. Beautifully written and a nice concept, but I am a bit wary of it still.
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm
This is historical fiction, not from my imagination.  What would you say is inaccurate?
SaphirraThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm
It's Great! I love how you give Cleopatra a modern kind of outlook and, well i just love the way you wrote it. Cleopatra is such an interesting topic!
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 28, 2011 at 12:12 am
Thanks for commenting! :)
itsbeautifulandsoareyou said...
Aug. 26, 2011 at 10:32 am
This was the same one you entered in the contest, but I am still blown away at how you can capture the inner workings of Cleopatra's mind, and how it draws me in. Bravo!
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm
Thanks! :)
alex198 said...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 11:45 am
I'm really impressed with your ability to write historical fiction. Your style of writing is simplistic but effective and believable as a piece coming from the time itself. The only reason I didn't enjoy it as much as I possibly could have is because when I read historical fiction I prefer to read it in a novel form. I just don't feel that a short story always has the length necessary to draw you into the era and the world that the characters are living in unless the history within the story is ... (more »)
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm
Thanks for such a detailed critique! :)
AlleyCat16 said...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm
LOVE IT!!!! The historical value of this story, and your other ones, is magnificent. You should definitely write more stories like this. You have talent.
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 11:42 pm
Wow, thanks!  If you want to read more historical stories, I'm writing one about Nefertiti that'll be in the forums soon (like the next two days).  Thanks for commenting! :)
owkey said...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm
You like ancient Egypt quite a bit don't you? :) It's a great piece overall. I especially loved the ending XD
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm
I love ancient Egypt.  Thanks for commenting! :)
dancemaniac said...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm
i love this! i love cleopatra and i thought you did an excellent job in portraying her character! Great job! 
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm
Thanks!  I'm glad you like my portrayal of Cleopatra. :)
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