Another week and another I Dare You from Jo Prescott at her wonderful site JM Prescott - A Reader's World. This week, the challenge came in the form of clothing..."Clothing can set the scene as certainly as a wedding dress, predict plot like a ski mask and laytex gloves, or reveal character like chaps and spurs."
So, here is my piece for this week's challenge, entitled Coated In History. I hope you enjoy it.
Coated In History
I sit alone at the end of the bar, looking every bit like the sad, pathetic loser that I feel. Everywhere I look there are groups of people gathered together, enjoying each other’s company; several men, dressed in coal-covered overalls are gathered together near the open fireplace that is blazing in the far corner of the room, laughing loudly and slapping each other on the back as good friends are comfortable doing; half a dozen attractive younger women are seated in the middle of the floor area, simultaneously preening themselves in the long mirror behind the bar and whispering to each other and breaking out in huge fits of giggles, occasionally glancing over at the miners to see if they are paying them any attention.
My night hadn’t started out this way. I had come here with Jo, my friend from the office where we worked ten hour days, slaving over endless reams of tax forms and, this being Friday, decided to drop by the local for a few cold ones before heading home to our respective empty homes. Halfway through our second beer, Jo’s phone rings and, after a few seconds, puts the phone back in his pocket, apologises to me (my brother has just been in a car accident – I gotta run), and he leaves me, sitting there alone at the end of the bar.
I finish off the beer that I ordered half an hour ago – it has gone warm and I contemplate getting another but decide against it. As I gather my things together, I notice Jo has left his coat – that damn ugly coat he so loves to wear – hanging off the back of his stool. I don’t want to ring and bother him so I figure I will take it home with me and will return it to him on Monday, maybe even drive by his house over the weekend and drop it off for him.
I step out into the night and find it has become quite cold; thick, heavy clouds have rolled in – they look like snow clouds – and I do the only thing I can think of – put Jo’s jacket on. It is woollen inside and extremely warm. I snuggle my body inside it and head out into the darkness.
My trudging footsteps are halted by a sudden, blinding headache. I hear myself moan from the pain and I feel a mixture of beer, bourbon and bile rise in my throat. I crouch down, limiting the chances of falling and injuring myself.
A rush of images assaults my mind; flashes of Egyptian pyramids, sand storms, and wall after wall of hieroglyphics. I cannot fathom what is happening. In a panic, I try to throw the coat off, but only succeed in tangling myself inside it. As I struggle with it, a final, terrifying image of a man who could only be a Pharaoh, speaks inside my head.
“Imposter, who are you to wear the Soul of the Pharaoh? Be gone and suffer a slow and terrible death.”
A fresh burst of pain shook me and I fell the rest of the way to the ground, finally able to pull free of the coat. I threw it across the gravel parking area and lay, trembling on the stony ground.
The trembling, however, has nothing to do with the cold.