The Kepler Tomb


Fantasy wallpaper

Note: This story is over 6600 words long not including the afterword. You might want to get yourself a cup of coffee or tea and sit down in a comfortable chair before proceeding. Alternately, bookmark the page and read the story in stages. I hope you’ll find the effort worthwhile.

I found myself in the ruins again. I never imagined that I would wake up walking in the footsteps of an exo-archaeologist on a planet orbiting the red dwarf star Kepler 438b. No matter what I do, I wake up again in the ruins. On Earth almost a century ago, people thought the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun came with a curse. The curse turned out to be a myth, but it spawned any number of horror films, television shows, and novels. On Kepler, it turns out to be real, or real enough to keep me trapped here in a recurring nightmare.

How did I get into this mess?

As far as I know, my name is Jonathan Cypher but I only know that much because it’s what Raven told me. She also said I’m sometimes known as the Never Man, but so far that means even less to me than being Cypher.

All I know for sure is that I woke up one day in what looked like the bombed out ruins of Los Angeles. Then I kept waking up into a different world and a different life, including a particularly hideous nightmare. My most recent set of dreams had to do with saving someone who would otherwise have died in the London Blitz in 1940, but depending on who I saved or which other option I chose, subsequent history changed, usually meaning thousands or tens of thousands of people died who would otherwise have lived.

I finally managed to figure that one out, but now I’m in this mess and again it’s thanks to Raven.

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The Tombs of Petra


© Google – Nov 2014

Nadia tried to hide her tears as she witnessed the scene. “Oh, Abdus. Look at what they’ve done. How could they?”

Only a few of the other tourists in their party viewing the Nabatean Theater at Petra noticed the finely dressed Arab woman burying her face in presumably her husband’s chest. They hadn’t the faintest idea why she was upset and decided to ignore her.

All the others were focused on the gift shop at the far end of the theatre and what their young, enthusiastic guide was saying.

“I know, dearest. Our tombs. All gone. Erased first by the Nabateans and then by the Romans. Now the modern Jordanians make sport of our sacred tombs.”

“I need to leave, Abdus. The sight sickens me.”

“Stay, beloved. We were reincarnated to quicken the souls of the others. Someday, we’ll have an army and we will retake these ancient lands.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use the Google maps street view image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, Pegman takes us to The Nabatean Theater at Petra in Jordan. Apparently this was originally the site of many ancient tombs, but according to a group of Arab people called the Nabateans, who once inhabited northern Arabia and the Southern Levant, created the theater some 2,000 years ago, destroying many of the tombs there. The Romans expanded the theater in the early 2nd century CE destroying even more.

I found myself wondering what the dead in those tombs would think if they could see the place today.