Word of the Day: Hypogeum

Word of the Day: Hypogeum

In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it.  My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations.  It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!

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By Alex Seise

The quietest place of all in the complex was the hypogeum. Buried beneath two large slabs of sallow reddish stone and sprinkled with a dusting of wind-whipped sand, the underground tomb never saw sunlight, nor did it ever hear any sounds from the living world above.

It was a place of rest, of eternal tranquil solitude. The thick, cool air hovered in the same place for eons, keeping the mummified remains that lay inside comfortable and dry. Ornate visceral jars and empty platters and heaps of jewelry and silk sat untouched in every corner where the stubs of long-since expired candles no longer beamed.

But the spirits of those interred in the room did not rest, and their mute forms hovered over the central dais of the chamber from dawn to dusk. Some days, they chatted silently. Other times, they rolled knuckle bone dice left behind as offerings to the dead. The tiny bones didn’t clatter or crack; their tumbles were as ethereal as the wispy vaporous hands that rolled them across the lavishly set tabletop.

For even though no light or sound or debris entered the sealed hypogeum, nothing could ever leave, either. Not the air, not the dice and certainly not the ghostly prisoners.

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