Author: Cheryl Carpinello
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure/Mystery
Title: Sons of the Sphinx
I sit here wondering how to tell this story. If I tell you the truth, you’re going to think I’m crazy. I don’t need any more thinking like that. I’ve been in trouble my whole life for telling people that I talk to dead people. At least I don’t go around saying “I see dead people” like that boy in that stupid movie. I just hear their voices. I get in trouble because I talk out loud to them. Boy, you should try that. Talk about people looking at you like you’re a freak. That will do it.
I can’t even pick who I talk to. Nope, they just pick me.
It would be nice to say that my great, great, great grandmother talked to dead people, and I inherited her gift. But I can’t say that. Nope. As far as I know, I’m the only one in my family with this curse. No, it’s not a gift. It is definitely a curse.
It would be one thing if I talked to famous dead people. You know like that Elvis guy my mother still drools over? I mean really? Like the guy would be seventy-something today! Anyway, if I talked to him, I could give my mom a personal message like “Sorry we never got to hook up.” That would be worth a few extra bucks, don’t you think?
No, the dead people who talk to me are just dead nobodies. Nothing exciting to say. Nothing going down. They’re just hanging out, waiting for I don’t know, to be more dead, I guess. Or, to see how much trouble they can get me in.
Like this one day in geometry. I was taking this test and concentrating on this problem about volume or height or something. This one dead guy keeps rambling on about how he would have done more good deeds if he’d known he was going to die soon. Duh! Like who doesn’t say that. Anyway, he just keeps going on and on without stopping. I tried to ignore him, but he just keeps asking if I think it was fair for him to die without any warning. I just couldn’t take his whining squeaky voice any longer. Out loud I say, “Bud, I don’t give a damn if it was fair. Just shut the hell up so I can get this test done!”
Did you get the part where I said “out loud”? Yep, that earned me an F on the test AND a trip to the AP’s (that’s assistant principal’s) office. I couldn’t even defend myself there. What was I going to say? “Excuse me, I’m sorry I blurted out loud in class in the middle of a test, and I’m sorry for cussing, but you see, this dead guy wouldn’t shut up.” Yeah, that would have gone over well. Nope, I just had to sit meekly back and say politely, “It wouldn’t happen again. Had to be the stress over the test.” You get the picture.
Then I had to face my peers, as they are called, the rest of the day. I just shrugged and mumbled something like “Idiot dead people.” Anyways, it’s always a bit lonely for me after one of those incidences. Kids avoid me for a few days. I think they’re afraid whatever I have will rub off on them, or that I’ll go bananas or something. Understandable. But then life returns to normal for a while, until the next time.
Like I said--It’s a curse, not a gift.
But, to get back to deciding how to tell this story...
About a month ago, I hear this boy calling my name while I’m walking home from the swimming pool. Geez, I look all over the place. I mean here I’m walking down the street with my towel wrapped around me--the pool’s only three blocks from my house--my hair is pulled back into a wet glob, and I hear this deep sexy male voice calling my name. I’m thinking of all the stupid luck. I look like crap, and some boy I don’t know, who sounds cute, is calling me by name! What the heck? Where is he? Then I hear him again.
Without thinking, I blurt out, “It’s Rose, not Roose.” Then I take off and sprint the rest of the way home.
Holy Crap--It’s happening again!
Luckily, no one is home. In my room, I plop on my bed. Without really looking, I check my belongings. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Maybe I think the next dead person I hear is going to come and take something. Crazy, huh? But then, so is talking to dead people.
Anyways, I check things out: Bookshelf-My marked up copy of The Once and Future King. Read that last year in freshman English. Loved it. I could see myself learning all that neat stuff from the animals, only I don’t know a wizard like Merlin who would turn me into different animals. My favorite horse books The Black Stallion series my grandma left me. My National Geographics, a gift from my uncle. All arranged on the bookshelves next to my desk.
Right above my desk held by a blue (my favorite color, by the way) push pin is my ticket stub from the King Tut exhibit. My mom took me last fall when the exhibit toured the US. Magnificent.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m kind of a dreamer. But don’t think for a minute that I dream up the voices. No sir, they’re real.
My grandma first called me a dreamer years ago. I had just read The Black Stallion. For weeks I was that boy Alex except my name was Alexandria. Every day I fed, water, brushed, and exercised The Black; he was my horse.
I’m like that, I guess. Always dreaming of being someone else whose life sounds better than mine. Alexandria with my own stallion; Wart whom Merlin teaches by turning me into different animals. Beats sitting at a school desk nine months of the year.
My latest dream was inspired by the King Tut exhibit. Here’s boy who ruled all of Egypt at the age of nine over 2500 years ago. It wasn’t until 1922 that his hidden burial site was discovered by that man Carter. But I didn’t dream of Tut. No, my dream was of his wife, the mysterious and beautiful Ankhesenamun. The Lost Queen.
Next to the Tut exhibit ticket is my picture of Ankhesenamun and Tut. You know the one. They are pictured on the back of the Golden Throne. He is sitting in the throne; she is standing facing him, her arm outstretched touching him. I’m not a romantic, well, maybe I am. The point is, when I look at that picture, I can feel the love they have for each other. And that is when my dream starts.
I imagine that we are discussing our future. You know, how many children will they have, how they will raise them. Some days I imagine we are talking about what is happening in Egypt, and I am showing my support for him with a simple touch on my hand. Still other days, we are talking about where we will be buried. They did that, you know. Had their burial chamber ready sometimes years before their death.