I couldn’t take my eyes off the shiny gold box lying unsuspectingly next to a necklace on display. I was standing in a room full of Ancient Egyptian artifacts and my eyes were glued to it—so glued that I barely noticed my class walking towards the next room. With one eye drifting back to my teacher, I just stood there hoping she wouldn’t notice my absence.
Artifacts is a new word we learned today, and I was not done learning about these artifacts. There were masks and jewels, spread all around the room. I tiptoed quietly from one case to the next delighting in every, single sparkly treasure. I’d catch up to my class in a minute.
On the wall there were pictures of mummies and the Sphinx. I sat down to read the words beneath each image. I knew my teacher would ask why I stayed behind, so I’d better have something good to tell her. Soon, the sound of my classmates’ voices faded, and I no longer heard the shuffle of feet on the museum floor.
I ran my hands along the wall, stepping quietly into the hall. It was too dark to see but my fingers felt something rough protruding from the hard surface. Just then the slightest hint of light, from what looked like a torch in the distance, cast shadows across the wall. Looking closely, I could now see the mysterious texture was a series of painted pictures and symbols.
I remembered seeing these at the museum earlier today. They were called hieroglyphics—a system for writing used in Ancient Egypt. I paused, running my finger over each of the little pictures—there were birds, snakes, and some that looked like elaborate designs. I walked further and further, following the hieroglyphics, until I heard voices and what sounded like music.
As I approached the end of the hallway it opened into a giant room. Someone was clearly hosting a party, but it was unlike any party I had ever been to. It looked familiar just the same—then I recalled an image I had seen painted on the museum wall. There was music and dancing—even jugglers! People were moving around the room, speaking a language I couldn’t understand. They were wearing clothes woven from very thin fabric and lots of gold. Everyone was wearing gold. There were a few children running around, but mostly it was grown-ups.
I hid behind a giant stone statue in the corner of the room, where I could see but not be seen. In the corner opposite me it sounded like there might be a band playing—I definitely heard singing—but from my hiding spot I couldn’t see that far. Nevertheless, what I could see was a barrage of artifacts like the ones back in the museum room where this strange journey began. I was suddenly reminded of my classmates and teacher. A small part of me was afraid I might never make it back to them. But another, much larger part of me was afraid of how much trouble I’d be in if I did find my way back.
I spotted another statue not too far from me. When I thought no one was looking, I scurried along the wall as quiet as a mouse. This one was taller and skinnier, so I could see around it much better. Right next to me now was a table covered in all kinds of food. The smell of honey drifted under my nose and the sight of the ripest fruits made my mouth water. What time is it? I sure hope I didn’t miss lunch. I was starving!
One of the children from the party bolted past me to the table and glanced around to see if anyone was looking. When he thought he was in the clear, he snatched a tiny cake off the table and popped it into his mouth. He turned around and looked right at me, with a mouth full of crumbs. We both giggled. I was so hungry. Surely if he got away with it, I could to.
I slowly crept out from behind the statue inching towards the table. I didn’t know if I should move quickly or be sneaky to avoid anyone seeing me, but it didn’t matter. No sooner has I taken my first step, than someone grabbed me by the shoulders.
“Scarlett, where have you been?! You almost missed lunch!” I turned around to see my teacher towering over me and all of my friends peeking out from behind her. A big long line of eyeballs right on me. Boy was I in trouble. I stood up, realizing I never left the bench in the museum. There I was surrounded by those unmistakable Egyptian artifacts.
I was sitting beneath a picture of King Tut’s mummy mask. I must’ve been tired and fallen asleep. That was the only explanation, wasn’t it? I stood up and followed my teacher out of the room, happy that I didn’t miss lunch. Turning back to look at King Tut, I was kind of sad that my adventure in Ancient Egypt had been nothing more than a dream, but King Tut looked back at me with a knowing look. I smiled, gave him a little wink and knew that my secret was safe with him.
About the Writer: Hallie Richter
Hallie is a freelance writer and former teacher. She’s a firm believer in the positive effects of getting children out to see the world through hands on exploration. Hallie enjoys traveling with her own daughter and feels that the key to the future is by encouraging our children to embrace new cultures and see them firsthand.
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