It cannot be real.
It must be an illusion.
I have been drawn here. With the help of the old woman and the flow of the river I have been carried far from lands I know. But not all the way to this hidden place. The sweet voice in my head guided me to the spot she resides. The massive hollowed eucalypt is her home. It stands guard above and around her.
No others dwell here but this pretty girl. This child.
She is fragile, smaller than me, but we are related. I know this regardless of the aura she gives off. Her eyes are shark grey around her enlarged pupils. She wears a simple light blue shift over her moon pale body. Her hair is dark and straight like mine. But mine stops before it reaches my feet. Hers must have started growing when the giant tree was a sapling. It extends across the ground in all directions, up the inside of the tree and across the roof.
It parts where I take a step.
I hesitate as I get close, for I sense danger. A wave of hair rises where I stop and forms an elegant stool. I take my seat.
And I notice her skin.
It is pallid, untouched by sunlight. Mine is as dark as Osiris in comparison.
And through it, underneath it, I see an illusion that I know is not.
It swims beneath her flesh. It is purple and grey, silver and gold, swirling through oily blue. It is sharp and angry. Smooth and soothing. It both heats and cools her. It converges and dissipates as it whispers and teases and torments and screams.
I recognise it and therefore also her.
She is myth made real.
She is purity.
Her speaking voice is the one from my head.
“Hello little queen” she says. That which the gold man called me many seasons ago. She is the love that Ptah cannot hold.
Ma’at answers the questions I don’t need to say aloud. And the ones I don’t want to.
As she speaks, her tale plays out under the paper lantern of her skin.
“My mother was Wadjyt, a beautiful mortal woman. She caught the eye of your grandfather, who befriended her. In awe of what Ra was able to show her, she feigned an attraction for him to find out all she could of his secrets. When she still remained unsatisfied, she devised a plan to sleep with him with the sole purpose of learning all of his knowledge. He resisted her seduction for many years, and the longer she waited the more bitter she became. Practically insane, she finally succeeded but the lovemaking he had avoided so long was cold and spiteful. At the point of his climax she screamed to the heavens to know everything and to be everything. Ra, cheated and angry, granted her request. Into her flowed what she sought and beyond. But Wadjyt did not benefit from it. She gained only longevity, to suffer for longer. The rest entered via the twins conceived by Ra. The first born was given the physical everything. The most beautiful woman of existence. Desirable to men and women alike, her face and body never ravaged by age or blemish. But none could desire her more than she loves herself. Her selfishness has festered into an apathetic cruelty and continues to worsen. The beautiful façade hides her complete lack of morals. She is vile and false. When she encounters a kindred spirit their partnership will threaten everyone. Everything.
Her twin was given the answers. All of them.”
She held out her thin arms and the colours and movement beneath her flesh intensified.
“All that has been, and is, and will be. The truth of everything. It is so overwhelming, the touch of my skin by a mortal is fatal. Even one like you would be lucky to survive. It fills me. Then overfills me. It moves within me endlessly. Relentlessly. Overlapping. Day and night. Always being added to. Always more. With every second, more. Sometimes it pauses for a moment, but only a moment. But when it does, I see things clearly.
”I have seen you” says the little voice.
“I told my mother I saw you on that high ledge. It was in the future, but I didn’t know when. I could see your fate, but you could not. There was something you hadn’t realised, and your ignorance would cost your life. In that instant I also saw within you, and knew that you could not perish there. That we must meet.
My mother, as willing penance for her sin, offered to go to the place I described and wait for you there.”
I wondered how long poor Wadjet had sat there awaiting my wedding day.
“Six and a half thousand years” said the Truth.
Ma’at had spoken of Wadjyt in the past tense. To avoid giving me away under Seth’s torture, she had followed me over the edge.
Her penance is over. It has saved me.
The Blue Truth has saved me.
I look at the tiny girl and can see within the storm of the truth, the tortured child who carries an unbearable load. She reads my pity and her soft tears follow well worn paths down her cheeks.
I want to hug her. Kiss her. Thank her.
I get up and step forward a little. The stool drops back to the floor and a new one appears where I halt. I can feel the electricity of her. It rages and surges, liquid and dangerous. It threatens me. But her face is so terribly sad. I cannot come closer and she knows I wish to comfort her. It adds to her existing torment. At that moment, it is worse. I wonder if she has ever been held.
She does not say it but the colours and patterns in her flesh do.
My heart doesn’t just break, it shatters.
I rise and go to her. I must.
Her eyes tell me even she did not foresee this.
As our skin makes contact it feels as though insects are running through my fingers. The sensation rushes through me like forest fire, an avalanche of rapid, vivid images. A maelstrom incinerates my mind. Faces and futures. Two fair haired girls. A freckle faced boy. A kind faced man with my sister’s eyes. A short middle aged woman, her forearms dripping blood. A gaunt man nailed to a cross. And others.Countless others. Thousands. Millions. A small red gem that sings my name. Buildings and vehicles of strange construction. Storms made by nature and storms made by man. Burning forests. Burning houses. Burning cities. Burning children. There are pleasant things, but the bad swamps and overwhelms them. Pain. Pollution. Disease. Famine. Murder. Insanity. War. Endless death. It tears through me, a clawing biting squealing hurricane. It lasts an instant. A half instant.
I am thrown away from her in a shockwave and my body slams into the ground, cracking bones and ripping flesh. I feel detached from the neck down, unable to control my limbs. Vomit gushes from me as my body purges violently. Attempting to stand, I crash back down face first. I do the same a second time. On the third attempt I get to unsteady feet.
It is beyond comprehension. An unliveable life. Every second is an agony for her. Every single second.
Her way out is the same one I have just faced. The only freedom is death.
She has seen herself free. She wears a dark crimson gown, almost black. Her face is at peace.
But she is not yet ready to don the dark gown.
She only wears the pale blue dress. Despite her endless tortured existence she lives to help.
I have never been so humbled. Felt so unworthy.
She is noble. Innocent. Terrifying.
I am the goddess Nephthys and I try to run from her despite broken limbs. Blindly I stumble away, the physical pain ignored. I fall. I run.
She calls me queen but I am a coward.
Leaving behind the lonely child.
The bravest girl on earth.
(excerpt from the novel „Last Goddess”-available on Amazon.)