Thursday, November 4, 2021

“Sleeping Beauty” • by Roxana Arama


The Pete Wood Challenge returns this week with six new stories, all keying off a simple premise: imagine an archaeological dig, as run by incompetent political appointees…

First up, this devilish little tale by frequent contributor Roxana Arama that drives home the lesson: always read the fine print.


He finished drilling,
then lowered the robotic arm through the shaft into the underground tomb. The sensors connected to his neural implant let him smell the dampness inside. His camera moved toward the sarcophagus at the center of the tiny funeral chamber. There was an inscription on the sarcophagus but he couldn’t read it because he teared up.

There she was, the last princess of his ancestors. He was disturbing her centuries-old sleep but he hoped—

“Attention!” A drone hovered over the archeological site.

Explosive anger overcame him. “Not now!”

“Move away!”


“A filing error when the administration changed. The updated form doesn’t say tomb, it says—”

He focused his camera on the inscription and the last thing he saw was a B.

¤     ¤     ¤

Roxana Arama is a Romanian-American writer and a member of Codex Writers’ Group. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, her work has been acknowledged in several literary contests and magazines, and she maintains the website Rewriting History: How writers turn history into story, and story into history at She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter at @RoxanaArama.




Pete Wood said...

Of course, what is the excuse of Indiana Jones? He pretty much destroyed every archeological site he ever encountered.