“Ah,” he said, shading his eyes with his hands. “I believe this is the right spot.”
The young man beside him looked around in confusion. All he could see was sand, stretching away in every direction.
“This? Mr Harvey, we’re in the middle of nowhere!”
The older man tutted. “Dear me, Smith. Your tutors have you believing that this country’s filled with grand ruin after grand ruin. You can’t expect to just trip over history everywhere you turn, my lad. Sometimes you have to look for it.”
Smith looked around again. “Sir, I still don’t see anything.”
Harvey grinned. “Come to the top of this next dune and you will.”
The young man followed him, somewhat reluctantly. The sun was rising ever higher, and the effort of walking up sand which slipped away beneath his feet was making his legs ache.
“Look,” Harvey said, grabbing his hand and pulling him up the last few steps.
For a moment, Smith didn’t understand what he was looking at. “Are they columns?”
“No lad,” Harvey said, folding his arms. “Legs. And look just yonder, at the edge of that next dune.”
Smith squinted. “That’s the head? Good grief, it’s massive!”
Together they scrambled down the other side of the dune to look at the remains of the statue.
“There’s a tablet at the feet,” Harvey said, gesturing with one hand. “A little weathered – you might strain to make it out – but have a go.”
Smith knelt in the sand and examined the hieroglyphs carefully. After some thought, he looked up with a smile.
“There’s a name here, I think. Ozymandias?”
“King of kings,” Smith continued, reading more slowly. “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.”
Harvey nodded. “Just so,” he said. “Just so.”
© Kari Fay
(Author’s Note: The Three Word Wednesday prompts this week were the words Massive, Ruin and Strain – which put me in mind of Shelley’s poem Ozymandias. I find it an entertaining exercise sometimes to try and re-write familiar subjects in my own way – even if it’s not a patch on the original!)