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Our pharoah, Our Queen
Bandages. Tombs. Hieroglyphs. Embalming. Mummification.
To me, it was always "just another history lesson." I never took it seriously, never thought that someone could be so obsessed with me that they would bury me alive. Of course, they didn't think they were doing anything wrong. They thought I would be honored. They thought they were worshiping me. I was their Queen, their Cleopatra, their Pharaoh.
Until I decided to cough.
I'd always known about my little "fan club," if you could call it that. They'd been more like a cult, in my opinion. It had started when the Archaeology club found a tiny statue of some Egyptian queen. They'd decided that it looked exactly like me, although I hadn't seen how, at the time.
My crazy ex-boyfriend, Landon, had been the one who convinced them that I was the reincarnation of Cleopatra (this had been, evidently, who the statue appeared to be). More than half of the Archaeology club agreed with him. At first, I hadn't believed it; I'd thought they'd been joking.
That was before they started calling me Pharaoh. They bought my lunches, they did my homework, they even walked me home. Queen Chloe never had to lift a finger. I let them believe that I was their Pharaoh, although the notion in itself was still quite ridiculous in my mind. I didn't want to disappoint the poor guys by telling them I wasn't their Queen; besides, why let a good thing go to waste? Something about not looking a gift horse in the mouth, right?
Landon was especially nice to me. After all, the poor boy was still in love with me. He took special care in making sure I got everything that I wanted. That was all good and well, until he started going over the top.
It had been about two months since they found the idol, when I thought the group would be over it. Sure, most of them had left, but there were about five stragglers, including Landon. A tall, skinny red-head named Shaun had taken over and started to turn them from "fans" into "cultists." they waited outside of all my classes, staked out my house, and one of them even followed me into the bathroom!
Landon was walking me home sometime after Thanksgiving when the cough came. It was just a tiny cough, but to him, it was like I was dying.
"Pharaoh! Are you okay?" He cried.
"Yes. I'm fine. Its just a cough," I answered impatiently.
"We must get you to bed, Pharaoh." He grabbed my wrist and pulled me after him.
I jerked my hand away. "I told you, I'm fine," I growled. I rubbed my wrist where he had seized it.
His eyes were glazed over, and his pupils were tiny. He was looking straight ahead, both at me and through me at the same time as he picked me up and slung me over his broad shoulder like a sack of potatoes. "We must get you to bed, Pharaoh," he repeated.
"Ow!" I yelled. "Landon, that hurts!"
"Everything will be fine, Pharaoh," he said in a tone that was anything but soothing.
"Stop calling me that! Put me down, Landon!" I pounded my fists against his back, but he didn't seem to notice.
"But you are our Pharaoh, our Queen. You must not fall ill." His voice was a steady, haunting monotone.
"Landon, what is wrong with you? God, get a life. And put me down!"
"I live only to serve my Pharaoh, my Queen." I'd been so busy struggling that I hadn't realized that we'd already arrived at my house.
"Stop! Put me down!"
To my surprise, he did as instructed, and slipped me off his shoulder and onto the floor of my room. "You must lie down, Pharaoh."
"Stop calling me that! I yelled, louder than I'd intended, "I am NOT your Pharaoh, I never WAS your Pharaoh, and I never WILL BE your Pharaoh, so STOP calling me that!"
Landon stumbled backwards, as if my words had been a punch to the gut. He mumbled something unintelligible under his breath. "My brothers will hear of this," he said, his voice rising shakily with the unmistakable tone of fury. "They will hear of your treachery!" He inched closer, until I could feel his hot breath on my face. "Mark my words, Pharaoh," he hissed, "You. Will. Be. Punished." He turned and stormed out of my house, slamming the front door audibly behind him.
I could feel my heart pounding against my rib cage so hard it hurt. Part of me believed he was serious; the other part believed it was merely his wrath talking. I didn't want to prove Landon right and go to bed, but I suddenly felt overwhelmingly tired. I crawled under the covers and sank into a dark, dreamless sleep.
When I woke up, I was in a dark, dank room I recognized as being my basement. Candles were lit all around me, casting eerie, flickering shadows across the walls. I tried to sit up, but I couldn't move anything but my eyeballs. Glancing down across the length of my body, I saw that this was because everything from my nose down had been wrapped tightly in white gauze. I cried out, but my voice was muted by the gauze.
From the shadows dissolved four figures with hideous fake tans and sheer white sheets wrapped around their waists. Their hair was dyed an inky black and they scowled at me. My eyes widened when I recognized Shaun and the other cultists. Landon was not among them.
Three of them held clay urns with hieroglyphics scratched into their surfaces; Shaun held the figurine that had started this whole mess. The shock of realization hit me full in my half-wrapped face: They were going to mummify me! I struggled against the wrappings, hot tears forming in my eyes; the gauze loosened a little, allowing me to move my constricted knees and elbows. I cried out once again in fear, but my voice remained muffled.
Shaun set the idol down and steeped calmly towards me. A gleam of silver flashed through the air, and an unbearably sharp pain shot through my leg. I screamed as loud as I could at the red-handled knife protruding from my thigh. A dark red stain appeared around it, followed by the unmistakable coppery scent of blood. The pain was overwhelming; it made my head swim and my vision dance.
My heart was pounding in my ears; I barely heard the basement door slam and someone rush in.
Who was it?
"Oh, my God, Chloe!"
Landon was at my side, now.
"You idiots!" He spat at the cultists. "You said you weren't going to hurt her!" His voice was cracked and thick with tears.
"Brother Landon," Shaun spoke with spooky calm, "Step away from the Pharaoh."
"I'm not your brother!" Landon hissed, "And Chloe isn't your Pharaoh. She'd no body's Pharaoh!"
They edges of my vision began to stretch and blur, as if I were viewing the scene through a fish lens. The last thing I saw before I passed out was Landon being dragged, kicking and screaming, away from me.
When I came to again, I couldn't open my eyes, and my leg was in even more pain than before. I could feel, however, that the rest of my head had been wrapped, and the gauze had been tightened. I was experiencing a strange sensation of weightlessness.
My head was still swimming from the pain. My back hit something hard; somehow, I could faintly smell earth. Through the gauze, I heard someone scream "No!" and then a chorus of voices:
"Our Pharaoh, our Queen."