Are really difficult to learn. We have to learn the uniliteral hieroglyphs - the ones with only one consonant sound - by tomorrow and I am struggling. So I wrote a story to try and help. It hasn’t really, but now I super want to explore this setting.
Also, I can’t figure out how to make the read more page break work, because it isn’t doing, so sorry about that.
High above her a vulture soared, blocking out of twin half-crescents of moon hanging in the sky. The call was shrill and loud and drifted down towards her through the cold winter air. To her left a lone reed-leaf swayed in the chill breeze, bent into the curve of an upside-down j. On her right stood two more, curled together at the bottom but splaying out towards the tops of the stems to form a y shape.
She reached out her arm and ran her fingers up the soft stems, carefully untangling them until they stood separate.
“Répétez,” she muttered, the only word she knew in French, staring at the twin leaves standing identical in front of her. From between them came a soft rustling and then a quail chick stumbled out onto the path on wobbly legs, fluffy wings working in the cold air. She cooed and picked it up, its feathers soft against her palms. It wriggled, flapping its tiny wings, and she laughed and placed it back on the ground by her foot.
“Bye, then,” she whispered as it tottered off the path in the other direction. She looked ahead of her once it was out of sight.
The building in front of her was plain, bare square walls staring sombrely back at her. By the door – the only break in the walls – stood a small stool, a simple thing made of light wood, on top of a mat. A pet of some kind sat on top of it, the movement visible in the gloom, but whether it was a cat or a dog she couldn’t tell yet, it was too far away.
A rustle in the undergrowth to her left caught her attention and she jumped as a snake – a horned viper – slithered out of the undergrowth and across her path.
“Fu-” she started, reeling back, but it ignored her presence and disappeared into the sand on the other side of the path. Above her an owl called but she ignored it, staring at the ‘m’ shape pressed into the sand by the moving snake. After a moment of silent contemplation she shook herself off and carried on, passing over a small bridge, beneath which water lapped at the sandy riverbanks. It was nice, she thought, to stay and stare at the dark water for a few moments. She opened her mouth and flicked her tongue against the top of her mouth to pass the time, making a clicky ‘r’ sound with the tip of her tongue.
She eventually continued and came to the house, patting the dog – she could see that it was a dog, now – on the head and stepping through the door into the enclosure, examining the graffiti carved into the wall by the door for a moment. An engraved ‘h’, made with a crude chisel, perhaps. Below it hung a strand of twisted rope on a hook, the knot at the top forming a dot below the h. A small, dirty mirror hung beside it and she breathed sharply on the glass, wiping away some of the grime with a sleeve and smiling at her own blurred reflection before her attention was caught by a painting a little further along the wall.
She stared at it for a few minutes, trying to figure out what it was, before she finally realised it was a stylised drawing of a birth, and the part that had really been confusing her was a placenta. She made a strange noise, halfway between a cough and breath, and turned her attention back to the h on the wall, pulling at the chain around her neck, from which two silver pendants hung – a straight bar and a curved piece of metal that she playfully called her ‘rocker’.
Bypassing the birth painting she moved on to the next one –a cow, it’s belly and udders hanging fat and low beneath the rest of it’s body. She started to fiddle with the bar on her necklace instead, tracing another h carved into the wall with her fingertips. She barked out a short, almost silent laugh at the grumpy look on the animals face and then moved on.
A gust of cold air from outside blew the unlatched door open and she jumped at the loud bang when it hit the wall. Breathing deep to steady her racing heart she took a step across the room and pushed the door shut again, pushing the door bolt into place and stepping backwards as cold draughts hissed through the cracks between the ill-fitting door and the frame. One particularly big one was in the side, seemingly carved intentionally, a z-shape. She looked around the room and spied a bolt of cloth hanging on the opposite wall, so she grabbed it and pushed it into the gap, her breath whistling through her chattering teeth as she stepped back to admire her handiwork and toppled into a pool of water in the middle of the room.
“Shoot,” she snapped, pulling herself upright and tugging the wet clothing over her head, wringing it out as best she could before pulling the dry cloth from the crack in the door, wrapping it around herself and replacing it with her wet clothing.
A small window was set into the opposite wall and she stepped over to it, spying a hill in the distance over which the blush of dawn was beginning to appear. Still irritated by her fall she kicked out at the wall, ignoring the beauty of the outside world. Plaster flakes drifted down towards the floor and one of the crude paintings coating the walls was almost obliterated, leaving only a lone ‘q’-shape adorning that section of wall. There was no telling what it might have been depicted there before and she regretted ruining it almost instantly as unsatisfiable curiosity took over her.
Beside her was a jar stand on the ground with the letter ‘g’ inscribed on the side. Atop it sat a basket.
“’Kay,” she muttered, spying the loaf of bread inside the basket, then tutting as she tried to pull a mouthful away from the whole and realised it was rock solid. It had probably been sitting there for days.
Disappointed, she turned away and fiddled for a moment with the hobble hanging from the wall, rolling the bar hanging from her necklace between her fingers and glancing back at the loaf of bread, tutting again, wondering if it would be edible if she soaked it in the water for a while.
She tried. It was still unbearably chewy.
When she gave up on the bread and flumped to the floor, hands in her lap, she spotted the new dirt on her palms. Not the stuff ingrained from the journey, but new. It must have been from the hobble, she reasoned, staring at the ‘d’ shaped patch of grime for a moment before rinsing it off into the water. At the bottom of the pool was a mosaic, carefully created in bright colours. A cobra was depicted, about to strike, and she smiled at it’s ferocity, running her hand across the rough surface. She raised her other to play with the bar pendant, the light from the window – the sun almost up now – illuminating the shadow of a d written on her hand.
She wiped away the due that had formed on the floor in the night and shifted in her seat, still focused on the cobra on the floor.