This short story is based on the following paragraph from "Imprisonedwith the Pharaohs" by H.P. Lovecraft Published May 1924 in Weird Tales.
"Then we saw the vast pyramids at the end of the avenue, ghoulish with a dim atavistical menace which I had not seemed to notice in the daytime. Even the smallest of them held a hint of the ghastly -for was it not in this that they had buried Queen Nitocris alive in the Sixth Dynasty; subtle Queen Nitocris, who once invited all her enemies to a feast in a temple below the Nile, and drowned them by opening the water-gates? I recalled that the Arabs whisper things about Nitocris, and shun the Third Pyramid at certain phases of the moon." "She was the noblest and loveliest of the women of her time." - quote from a writer named Manetho
My story was written especially for the Ocober 2002 issue of www.riroads.com I have posted the whole story here as the link at RI Roads does not always work correctly. Enjoy and let me know what you think.I have been asked to make this a novella or novel -- Can I request other suggestions or opinions??????
The Papyrus of Queen Nitocris
By Diane C. Hundertmark
They finally showed me his body. They wailed, moaned, and told me how brave and heroic he had been, and now dead ripped apart by a lion they said. My beloved, my husband, the God King, Meren-RA II, who was my beautiful brother, my lover and Pharaoh.
“At least the lion did not mark his Lord’s face,” the ancient Wenis rasped in a voice as dry as the desert sands.
I looked over at the two of them, old, wrinkled, and evil men. Wenis that lowly peasant scum who had bowed and whined and fawned his way to power under my family’s rule going back to my grandfather. He now held the lofty title of Governor of Upper Egypt. He looked like he had already been through the mummification process so wrinkled and shriveled he was. And the other, My beloved Uncle Dja’u, the Grand Vizier, my father’s youngest brother. Dja’u wasn’t as old as Wenis but his foul life had left him looking much the same.
I leaned over and kissed my husband as a proper Egyptian wife should, “Farewell my Brother, I know you await me in the afterlife.”
“My Queen Nitocris, “ my uncle's voice was as silky smooth as the royal cobra’s hiss, “The court awaits you and your statement on this tragic accident.”
I frowned at both of them as I turned, “Dja’u, you and I both know that Maren-RA would not have gone hunting alone…but…” I paused and shook out the pleats of my sheer linen gown and carefully checked my hair, “but for the people…it will be an accident. We will lay him in his tomb and finish it around him. Red I think for the final covering…for the blood he spilled.”
Their faces drained of color as I strode by them. Meren-RA and I had known our lives where at risk since we married and he was named Pharaoh God King. Well we knew he was at risk, and they had killed him. They still needed me as royal daughter and God Wife to gain the kingship through my blood. Now I wondered who would I be forced to marry. So I made them think I was not upset by the heinous murder and poured my efforts into his funeral arrangements, the completion of the pyramid, and my revenge.We would bring Meren-RA to his final resting-place by the Nile in great pomp and celebration.
Between the pyramid and the Great River I had a great chamber built beneath the sands to hold a banquet of the most elaborate. Months it took, but I was patient. Gold and the finest paintings decorated the walls. Jewels and pearls encrusted the gold and silver platters. The food was to be the most exotic and lavish my servants could create.
The night of the banquet, I dressed in my most costly fabrics. They all came, all those who had plotted in My Beloved's death. Dark and moonless was the night, a stiff wind blew the stinging sand into their eyes and perfumed wigs as they made their way to the entrance of the chamber. Torches flickered in the breeze casting eerie shadows. I drew my fine linen cloak around me and followed the great gold sarcophagus as slaves carried it down into the chamber. There we feasted and drank to My Beloved's memories and glory.
Well they ate and drank, I watched. I stood in all my royal arraignment clothed in the symbols of the Queen of two lands and raised my arms above my head for drama.
"With my pleasure, I would ask you to remain here and wait while I accompany My Beloved to his tomb," I waved behind them to where more delicacies had been spread.
Greedy and ever true to their nature they turned to consume more of what had been prepared. The doors to the entrance where shut and bolted as where those behind me as I followed the sarcophagus down the tunnel opposite the entrance locking all the murderous scum inside. Alas, so were many faithful servants who choose this way to honor their murdered Lord and Pharaoh.The tunnel did not in fact lead to the pyramid but back up to the surface and into the night. The wind had stopped and a dire stillness surrounded us as we separated to complete our tasks for the night.
The slaves took the sarcophagus to the pyramid and Meren-RA's tomb and I went to my solitary and grisly task. I walked back to the entrance tunnel and checked that the doors had been duly bolted shut. I pulled the ornate lever and opened the chamber to the Nile. I could hear the faint screams as the truth was revealed, but soon it grew quiet with only the lapping of the Great River God against the other side of the door and the soft sounds of the night.
Now my plan failed me."Nitocris, My Queen," a voice slithery smooth, "What have you done?"
I turned to find my Uncle, his countenance even viler in the light of the flickering lantern he carried.
"I guess I have made it rather harder for you to consider using me as a puppet. How will you kill me? I do wish to lay close to my brother husband."
"And so you shall," his skull face grinned at me.
February 3, 2013
I have made some changes so that this is easier to read. I do look forward to any new comments.