Julius Caesar. Michael finished hammering the final pieces of the smooth, white marble into place. He brushed off invisible dust from the rounder nose time. It was perfect.
Though in the honor of Julius Caesar's death, nevertheless, it was his greatest masterpiece. Etched onto the bottom of the marble marvel was a simple epitaph, a line from one of Caesar's journals.
Michael slid his hand over the stone. It was cold to the touch, and his fingertips tingled from the sensation. He sighed, dissatisfied.
Tomorrow, they would take away the Masonry's most prized sculpture; the funeral attendees would most likely only give a cursory glance at the statue. Micheal believed that it was worthy of more attention. It had taken almost two weeks to complete the final product, a perfectly carved statue that one could slide his fingers over and nearly feel the essence of Caesar within.
His gaze flickered towards the long, wooden rectangular box in which the body of Caesar was laid to rest in. Momentarily, he felt somewhat sympathetic towards the lifeless man. whichever reprobate was responsible for the unfortunate incident had shown no shame. Even during the rough years at hand, twenty-two stabs seemed to be quite cruel. Though, in Rome's hauteur society, it wasn't the worst that had happened. Perhaps, Michael thought, I'll just take a peek at him. Just to check if the embalmer has done a good job. Though Caesar had had an ephemeral glory, the man was simply too important not to be properly sent off.
A candle flickered from the only window -- a colorful piece of glass with a picture of a crown -- in Michael's tiny workshop.
His dry and peeling fingers reached for the small metal latch, and he slipped it off of the metal hook that held the coffin together. He let out an uncontainable gasp.
It was a cenotaph.
There was no sign of the dead soul ever being placed into the dusty wooden box.
"Are you looking for me?" A deep, rumbling voice came from behind Michael, and he squeaked, unsure of what to do. Saliva made its way down Michael's throat, and he swallowed slowly. His fingers wrapped around the edge of his sleeve, and he tugged it. Surely he was just hallucinating.
But he was not.
He gulped and slowly turned on his heel until he faced the man wearing the white toga stained with blood. It was a nearly impossible task to keep the scream he so desperately wanted to let out within him. He bit his tongue hard, a copper taste filling his mouth.
Julius smiled, and Michael nearly fainted from shock as the man paced around the poor stonesmith. Michael was frozen in this spot, his knees wobbling and his fingers trembling.
"Now my friend, don't be scared."
He might as well have died of shock at that very moment; how could Michael stifle his fear? A supposedly dead -- and famous -- man stood in front of him, just after he had finished carving a statue of him. In fact, Caesar stood right next to the statue, taking the same post as Michael had carved for it.
At the same time, though his hard was hammering against his chest, Michael thought it was fascinating. Or maybe he was simply losing his mind.
"So, you're afraid? How do the dead come back to life?" Julius Caesar paused for a dramatic effect, and Michael could feel the man's gaze focus on him. He stared at the ground. A simple man like him was not worthy of meeting the gaze of such an influential character. Caesar turned towards the stage that Michael had carved of him. His eyes moved over it as if he was evaluating it.
Michael was scared just to think what would happen if the man did not like his work. Would he die? Would Julius make sure to shatter his pride?
"My nose is crooked."
Michael's cheeks heated from the clearly visible flaw, which he had failed to notice earlier, and struggled to recover from the minor contretemps that were currently occurring inside of him.
Julius fingered some other work of Michaels omnium gatherum of goods and nearly tipped one over. Michael worried that they would fall and shatter; however, there were more germane concerns at the moment. For example, what he was supposed to do with the soul of a famous man.
He turned to face the coffin and chewed his cuticles until they were nothing but hard, stubby pieces of skin. Once he could bite them no more, he began biting his nails.
He would just tell the man to go back into his coffin. What else was there to do?
Caesar couldn't hurt him anyway. He was dead, after all.
Michael turned around the face Caesar, but instead of seeing him, there was nothing more than a stone figure lying on the floor, and a message written on parched paper. He reached for it and slowly lifted it up.
I see you have created my figure well. Michael was no longer unhappy with the statue taken away. It had received all the attention necessary.
This is a short story I wrote for a classroom competition using some of our very-weird vocab words. Though I might share :).