The chamber before me left me open mouthed. Opposite me sat a Sphinx in a room filled with sand, palm trees and small turquoise pools. An undercover oasis which had felt like a mirage of sorts; I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen water that crystal clear before.
I slowly made my way down to level ground, feeling incredibly small as the sphinx guarded with the room with an almost knowing smile. I was aware that I’d been alone far too long; the only company I’d had in hours were those of the suspected dead. I could confirm they were not. Yet for now, I felt safe in the moment to take in the wonders before me.
Winds from crevices I couldn’t see danced through the chamber, silently explaining the ripples in the sand underfoot. I traced my hands over the carved hieroglyphs on the pillar nearest the pool, feeling grains of history stick to my tacky fingertips. It told of tales and myths that anyone would have dreamed to have witnessed. I could never tire from seeing beauty like this; I didn’t think one ever could.
I turned to take another look at the idyllic palm fronds and pool in front of me. Blinking harshly, I continued to be amazed that it hadn’t disappeared. With a job to continue to do and already giving myself a stern word, I ignored both and continued to unlace my boots. My feet throbbed from their continued travelling and felt stifled in the heat and thick white socks, which almost felt like another facet to my uniform.
I sighed with a smile as I allowed myself minor rest, feeling the tepid water welcome my toes. Sitting back on the sands, I gazed in awe at the room. Concern scolded me as it warned that danger could strike at any moment within these walls, however my pistols were dry – I could still shoot whilst relaxing. Swishing my ankles brought relief and tranquillity; I knew I couldn’t sit here all day, or night, but I could at least just allow myself another five minutes. Perhaps ten instead.