Wednesday, 12 September 2012

135: Mummy Maker

I was apprenticed to Zham-bi, the chief embalmer of the noblemen of middle Egypt.  My father paid him handsomely to take me on and I was determined to become the best embalmer Egypt had ever seen.  I hoped one day to become so accomplished even the Pharaoh would seek me to preserve the bodies of his beloved Queens.

All Egyptians know that so a person can proceed into paradise his body must be treated so as to look like it did in his years of life.  Failure would leave the soul without a home.  Demons would feast upon the soul and the body will rot away to nothing.

For many years I observed Zham-bi, in time taking on roles such as assembling the canopic jars, helping pack the body in salt and even holding the bowl to catch the brain residue that had been hooked out via the nose.  I mixed the oils together to perfume bodies and eventually was allowed to stuff a body cavity with linen soaked in resin.

Then I was allowed to embalm a body without Zham-bi’s assistance, instead just his oversight and observation.  My father was so proud that day and I was happy to live up to his expectations.  In total I took 42 days to make sure the fluids were dried out and the body looked as close to life as possible.  I wanted my first embalming to be without fault.

Overall I was very pleased with the result and Zham-bi seemed impressed too.  Exhausted from the labours and with the mummy at rest in the coffin, I retired to my quarters.  As I was slipping into sleep, I heard a noise.  Jumping out of my cot, I ran towards the workshop, fearful thieves may be trying to ransack the body and steal the charms in the linen wrapping the body.

I saw a figure bending over the coffin, lid laid beside the base.  I was right, the body was out of the casket.  I could see it was empty.  Then I realized then the figure was the body.  It had risen into life again.  No body Zham-bi had embalmed had ever risen again. 

Unsure how to proceed, I watched from inside the door.  The body lumbered towards the jars and bowls holding its organs.  It tipped over the jars before picking up the bowl containing hooked out brains.  It tried scooping the jelly into its hands then pushing it back into its nose, then its mouth.  I decided to leave but knocked a tray of tools as I moved.

The body turned to me and dropped the bowl of brains.  It started to shuffle towards me, linen pieces beginning to unravel.  With stains of its own brains around its mouth place, it tried to speak.

“Zham beee,” it said, shambling with purpose.  “Zhaammm beeee.”

Inspiration: Egyptian Mummy Embalming 

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