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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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! 
AngelOfDarkness replied...
Sept. 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm
I loved the way you portrayed Cleopatra as a cold hearted, power hungry woman who has no care for anyone who gets hurt along the way. :) Brilliant!
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Sept. 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm
Thanks for commenting!
writerfreak21231 said...
Aug. 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm
Once again. . . LOVED it!!! :)(:
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm
Thank you! :)
xelawriter97 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm
Woah... I really liked this! I love whow you portrayed Cleopactra! How her thoughts contrasted with her dialogue was thoughtful!
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm
Thanks!  I'm glad you liked it. :)
BorderlineGenius777 said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm
wonderful Historical story. I enjoyed how you were really able to make Cleopatra seem cold and calculating. it could maybe use a little more description about what Mark looked like, since not everyone would know who he is, but other than that, FIVE STARS
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm
Thanks for the five star rating!  I really appreciate it. :)
Harebelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm
It's a very original portrayal of Cleopatra, so well done for making her a relatable (if scheming) character! Keep writing!
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm
Thank you! :)
Readqueenz7 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm
I think this is good. Very well written, and the historical facts are beautifully incorporated into the narrative. I'm not sure I exactly agree with your portrayal of Cleopatra, however. I'm not quite sure you captured Cleopatra's strength, she was practically the goddess of Egypt, and mostly of her own doing. I also have a hard time believing that she didn't love Mark Antony. I mean, she did kill herself very soon after he died, and I know that the last sentence implies that she did that out of... (more »)
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm
Well, I respect your opinion of Cleopatra, even if I don't agree with it.  Thank you for taking time to write such a detailed comment! :)
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:31 am
This is really good! You portrayed Cleopatra wonderfully. I could really get a historical feel from this piece. Excellently written. :)
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 19, 2011 at 9:27 am
Thank you! :)
BreeTayler This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm

OOooo it gave me chill bumps when I read After all, Octavian was coming... I like this peice just a tad bit more than Only A Woman.. Not entirely sure why... I guess it's because I know more of Mark Antony than Cleopatra.

Do the world a favor and write a textbook!!! I'm down on my knees, begging! lol Though the storyline doesn't exactly "hook" me, your writing certaintly does. You are simply an amazing writer. And that is that. lol:)

CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm
Thank you very much! :)  But no, I don't think I'll ever write a textbook.
BreeTayler This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm
tis a shame.... Sorry, Mrs.Harrison, it looks like you're going to have me for another year.. haha
shadowrider said...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:48 pm
This portrayed Cleopatra amazingly well! She was a tyrant and a woman, and you showed that completely! The descriptions really popped! You are amazing at making history interesting! If only textbooks could be written like this!
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm
Thanks!  I'm glad my portrayal of Cleopatra sounds realistic; I was worried she wouldn't seem cold enough. :)
CheyMJonas replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm
This is good very good i like the fact that you made me feel like i knew Cleopatra :)
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