Gods walk this land, it is hallowed by their footprints. He who dies in this land will die only in their body; their spirit shall live on. If they have lived a life of virtue then Osiris will guide them out of this realm to the after life. No Egyptian travels far from his homeland for if he dies in a foreign land his spirit will be cursed to wander the Earth in eternal lamentation. No Egyptian would ever willingly leave this land blessed by the gods.
Yet high in the mountains south of Elephantine, the farthest boundary of Egypt, the desert sun was beating down upon a man covered in dirt and bruises. He struggled to climb up from the river valley below. He moved like an ant his thin body hauling a giant pitcher of water on a makeshift sled. Up he went dragging himself and the clay jug through a narrow passage between the sandstone rocks. He eventually reached his destination: a small alcove on the summit looking over the river valley. Here lay a small garden organised in two long beds in the only part of the alcove exposed to the midday sun. In this garden grew some shafts of wheat and a few vegetables. The thin man set the water jug down and rested for a few moments. Unfastening the stopper inside the top of the jug, he started to carefully hoist it up to pour the contents into a small pan that ran along into a canal that fed out to the garden beds. The journey up the hill had weakened him too much and he struggled under the weight of the jug.
“Let me help you with that,” said a voice and the man flinched as two strong hands appeared from behind him and gripped the jug. The jug would have fallen if the other man were not so strong that he could support the full weight of the jug by himself. The thin man scrambled backwards along the ground and watched the intruder carefully pour the contents of the jug into the irrigation channel for his gardens. Continue reading “The Egyptian Expedition”
In the town of Kaladon there lived a sculptor renowned throughout the land for the beauty of his statues. Vergan, for as he was known, made statues of dogs, lions, owls, fish, and bears that were used to decorate all the great buildings of the nation. Vergan was rightly proud of his work, and the crown prince himself had come to thank him for his services on more than one occasion. He believed in excellence above all else and worked long hours perfecting his skills.
However, the sculptor was now old and had no wife, and the loneliness of his days weighed heavily upon him. In the basement of his home he had built a large underground workshop where he put all his passion into a statue of a woman. The proportions and features of this woman were perfect in every way. The stone woman was young, fit, and sublimely beautiful. There was no living woman as outstanding as this statue which he kept hidden away from the eyes of the locals.
Vergan was feeling deeply sad one day as he gazed upon his work, and so he prayed to the god Archen.
“Lord Archen, god of excellence, your servant Vergan has laboured hard in your name to create works of beauty, come here now to gaze upon the most wonderful work of art that I have ever created!” Continue reading “The Marble Beauty”
“Eric,” huffed Steven, “You’ve got to come and see this! There’s a woman in the old farmhouse!”
Eric regarded his friend carefully, Steven was a slightly chubby twelve year old boy with a reputation for exaggeration. Eric was also twelve years old, but was wary of any story that seemed too incredible to be true. Since no one had lived in that big old farmhouse for years, he was duly suspicious of Steven’s account immediately. However, Eric was secretly afraid of going to the farm house on his own and since Steven was willing to do it that gave spurs to his courage to go there too.
Steven lead Eric around to the backyard of the old two story weatherboard house. The summer heat had killed off the garden leaving it a shrivelled and brown. There was a rectangular depression in the ground near a window of one of the back rooms. Eric looked at the weathered grey husk of a building and shivered. The atmosphere of emptiness within the building was so great that it seemed to be drawing the boys into its jaws. Steven was moving towards the back door as though in a trance so Eric tapped him urgently on his shoulder and pointed to something written on the waterboards next to the door. Steven looked groggy for a few moments before he focussed on what Eric was pointing out to him. Just faintly the word “WITCH” could be traced on the exposed wooden panels. Continue reading “The Old Farmhouse”
All my life I knew that I was different to everyone else. People would ask me how I knew they were near me and all I could express was that I just knew it. I could even let people know when doors opened or closed, when others were home or not, or if someone was walking or running behind a wall, and all without seeing them. The adults speculated that I had the second sight, while the children preferred to spread rumours that I had the devil’s touch. The adults informed us that this was nonsense and that no one had had the devil’s touch in generations, however, I could see in the faces of some adults the echo of genuine concern from generations passed. The children believed that I had the devil’s touch because I could also make the lights turn on or off without touching the wall panels. No one could see how I did this, and at the time I didn’t understand either. No one could point out to me what I was doing. I was a source of wonder and fear for everyone around me, yet I was still a small boy and my unusual abilities hadn’t gotten me into trouble yet.
My life was still relatively normal until when I was fourteen I woke up with the realisation that someone was breaking into my bedroom. I made the lights come on without touching the wall panels in my usual way and there standing in my room was a woman in a thick black jacket, she’d obviously smashed in my window to get into my room for the glass was so freshly broken it hadn’t started to melt into the floor as it typically did when broken. She signalled to me that she knew that I was the boy with the devil’s touch. Feeling that I had to reply to her, as she was an adult, I signalled back that she was correct. She unbuttoned her coat and it slid from her naked body. She was the picture of mature womanhood in full bloom. However, I was only fourteen and found her terrifying. She saw the fear in my eyes but signalled for me to keep still because she just wanted to lie in bed with me. Continue reading “The Devil’s Touch”
The evening sun was waning over the abandoned city, and the cats were on the prowl. Leo Socks was walking down what he believed was an empty alley way just minding his cat business when from out of a bin sprang a red fox. Leo regarded the newcomer with consternation. He’d seen foxes before, but few as bold as this one. He was after all deep in cat land.
“Say, what brings you here Mr. Fox?”
The red fox skulked as he crept sideways yet was careful to maintain eye contact with Leo.
“Who are you?” Croaked the fox.
“Socks, Leo Socks,” said the cat coolly.
A broad toothy grin slipped across the fox’s face. Leo instantly recognised the meaning of this grin and bounded forward just as the fox did the same. They connected in mid air except Leo landed on the fox’s back and sprang back off again driving the fox’s nose down into the ground in an dramatically uncontrolled landing. The baffled fox snarled uncomprehendingly at what Leo had just done; cats generally run away from foxes not attack them head on.
“You’re very brave for a cat!” Hissed the red fox. Continue reading “The Tuxedo Terror”
There once was a platypus named Herbert who lived in a river deep in the bush. Like most platypuses, Herbert was happy living underground or exploring the riverbed believing this was the reach of the entire world. If you asked a platypus what the world looks like they would tell you it is equal parts water and land, with the land at the bottom and the water mostly near the top. This explanation had satisfied all the platypuses for centuries; except for Herbert, who was different to the other platypuses: Herbert had doubts.
Herbert would often ask difficult questions, especially during the long nights sitting underground in his little cave counting the worms wiggling by. He often wondered if there was more to the world than just the riverbed and the little underwater caves the platypuses lived in. However, platypuses pride themselves on knowing everything and whenever he spoke to the other platypuses about his doubts they smugly told him that there was nothing beyond the riverbed but more riverbeds.
Herbert asked what lived in those other riverbeds and the answer always the same, “some of them have other colonies of platypuses, but most of them are full of monsters that would eat a platypus if they could! So a platypus must never ever leave their riverbed else they will get eaten by a monster.” Continue reading “Herbert the Platypus”
“Hey Bree, what’s up?”
“Oh, nothing much, I just wondered if maybe you had heard any news about Amelia recently.”
“You mean about how she’s pregnant?”
“Yah, that’s it. I mean, yeah, I know about that, but I was wondering if you knew of anything else, since you’ve known her since high school?”
“Not really, she’s always kept a lot to herself, in fact I was chatting to the guys about her last night, and we’re all kind of confused, we didn’t even know she was dating anyone, then she announces online that she’s pregnant out of the blue. I kind of thought one of the other guys might have been secretly dating her, but we soon found that’s what everyone else was thinking! Some of the guys even thought I might be the father. But we had established by the end of the night that no one here knows who the father is.”
“Yeah, that’s right, the other girls don’t know either, Amelia is being really tight lipped about it. It seems to be a pretty well guarded secret because I haven’t found anyone else who knows.”
“Yet she seems really happy about it all.”
“Yeah, she is. Too happy if you ask me.” Continue reading “Amelia’s Baby”