Crocodile Tears

Crocodile Tears

A Story by NixelsAndWords

This is short, meta-fiction about a river, an ancient culture, and what it is today.

The girl found herself in Cairo, one of Africa's largest cities. She didn't know why she was specifically drawn there, out of over 50 countries in Africa. Was it the mummies and pyramids and stories of Tutankhamen's tomb that attracted her to Egypt? Or was it the simultaneous existence of the bazaars and the mosques along with the tall, modern buildings in the city that seemed to appear like a modern façade for secrets that lurked deep within? Almost like a barrier from one world to another. 
Barriers - now that seemed to ring a bell. She didn't remember much since she'd woken up. She knew she was supposed to be somewhere. She chose Cairo because she felt a calling to be in Egypt, and Cairo seemed like the best choice. Barrier. Was it the barrier that was shielding her memories from her? She had to cross it, and swim deep into the waters of all memories, retrieve everything that was hers, and head back to where she came from. 
She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate and find her memories. When she opened her eyes, she found herself underwater. Where was she? Yet it strangely felt like home. She closed her eyes again as she swam. 
She had visions of riches. People leading better lifestyles. Children going to better schools. The tall buildings being built. More people coming to visit Cairo. It was thriving. 
Then she remembered. The Suez Canal. That marked the removal of the barrier between Africa and the other continents to its east. It had facilitated more convenient trade from Europe and Asia, instead of them having to circle around Africa to reach Egypt and the neighboring areas , helping them flourish. Tolls from ships along this canal were a big source of income for Egypt. She opened her eyes. Almost 200 kilometers of the canal. What a beauty it was. But this was not her memory.
Suddenly, she saw long strips of white cloth. They were reaching her, like tentacles, wrapping themselves around her. She could hear evil laughter. Oh no, it was just the hum of the ships. She swam away as fast as she could. But the white strips coiled around her. They covered her arms and legs and were reaching her face. 
She tried to swim to the top. She was almost there. She emerged from the water and gasped for air. She saw the tall rising buildings and smiled. Humankind had evolved to create such wonders. First the pyramids, now these, she marveled.
Just then, a single white strip pulled her back into the water. This time wrapping itself around her face, leaving just a little room around her eyes so she could see. She struggled to get away, but it had her in its grasps. A single white strip, the final one that would take her life, was now around her neck. She knew what she was becoming. A mummy. The ancient ritual of preserving the dead for a good afterlife. She was dying. Except, her insides weren't being drained out before being laid to rest within the wraps. Just when the last strip wrapped itself around her neck and cut off all air to her lungs, she remembered. She could see clearer now. The white strips were clearer.
It was plastic. It was garbage. It was everything people didn’t want. It was strangulating her. She was being turned into a mummy by them. But that could only mean one thing. The people were killing her. She could see some weren't. Some were trying to get others to do something about saving her. They protested, made speeches, shed tears. Just then a crocodile swam next to her. She realized. It was all crocodile tears. No one could really care. There wasn't much hope. She stopped struggling, and let herself sink to the bottom and depths of herself waiting for death. She knew trying to swim towards Europe or Asia would also be in vain. Because she would die anywhere. People like her were dying everywhere.  She'd rather just die here, where she was born. 
But crocodile tears were still tears. It meant someone knew that it was important to care but they couldn't bring themselves to act on it so they just pretended. There probably was some hope for others like her. Maybe they could be saved - her sisters. She looked at the crocodile swimming beside her. "I know you care for me, child", she thought.
She remembered who she was. Her insides were already drained out, preparing for the mummification. All of the life that lived in the depths of her, destroyed by humans for their tall buildings. One beauty for another.  One creation for another. Some of the trash floated before her, shielding her from seeing her own ruin. The axe cared for her, but the executioner couldn't.
"At least they wish the best for me in the afterlife", she thinks, as she rests in her own Sarcophagus, hope prevailing even in the darkest of times. She still believed in the humans she had nurtured for thousands of years in her womb. She carried them on her shoulders. She gave them life. She gave them her blood. They were her children. She believed.
She was the Nile, being laid to rest as a Mummy. Just like an Egyptian Queen. Because that was who she was. 

© 2022 NixelsAndWords

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Added on April 5, 2022
Last Updated on April 5, 2022
Tags: metafiction, weird, thoughtful, short fiction




Writing for me is like brewing a potion. I am doing something magical. more..