A Gift From The Gods

A Gift From The Gods
Photo By Nicole N, Belgium

Friday, September 19, 2008

Enter Tiya and Joel

Excerpt from Chapter II of my original novel, "Crowning Heights"

Glistening in the new morning sun is Tiya, sprawled out on her bed like her strewn silk sheets. Amon Ra sent his first rays of light to wrap around her naked body as he does every third morning. Tiya has the unfortunate valor of being the cruel Pharaoh’s favorite of the concubines. Every third night, so as not to tire of her, she is his. The other two nights his fifty some odd other women took turns. It really didn’t matter to him who he saw on those nights. Only the third night mattered.

Maidservants vigorously try to wake her from her deep slumber which is the custom. Tiya wallows in her dreams, holding fast to them for they are the only reality she prefers. When she finally wakes, she steps away from the maid servants and their attempts to get her freshened up. Tiya draws hypnotically to the golden disk of Ra like a moth to the light. The only thing she liked about the third night was the morning after, knowing that she had two straight days of freedom ahead of her. Tiya looked down to the garden below filled with her favorite flowers, lotus blossoms, and took a deep breath, catching the floating fragrances in the air.

Tiya!” A middle aged maid servant named Menna shouts trying to wake her from her happy trance.
“As you lay, sleeping away your caged life, you missed the whispers.”

“Whispers? I hate whispers. You know this. What importance do words have that can not be yelled from the tops of mountains?” Tiya says raising her voice, spinning around, arms and legs dramatically whirling everywhere to the dismay of the two maid servants who are so used to her antics. They never understood why she always seemed so happy, occupying the same cage they did. After dancing around for a few minutes, Tiya playfully bumps into the young maid servant Yuya, accidentally knocking the sheets she was folding out of her hand.

“So what kind of whispers do you speak of?”

“Whispers of the arrival of a savior for the slaves. Can you believe this?” Menna says with disgust.

“The Hebrews?” Tiya asks excitedly.

“What other slaves do we have?” Menna asks sarcastically.

“From where has he traveled?” Tiya asks peeked with interest.

“No one knows.”

“They say he used to be Egyptian?” The maid servant Yuya interjects coyly.
They all look at her perplexed in a moment of thinking silence.

“Well how could that be?” Tiya asks.

“I do not know. But that morning when he arrived with another man, I was in beer service to the king at court. In the presence of the Pharaoh, his companion spoke for him, like a man presenting a god, and through him he asked, no, commanded that his people be freed.”
Tiya walked over to her window in a cloud of thought. She was gripped by this story; all the possibilities played around in her head.

“Freed?!” Menna laughs. “They have been our slaves for almost 500 years. What is the reason for them wanting to be free now?”

“To go serve their god.” Yuya answers, busily putting the finishing touches on Tiya’s bed.

“What god? A god of slaves? How powerful can a god of slaves be? At any rate, we have many gods that they can choose from to worship. This man is mad. Pharaoh did not grant them what they beg for did he?” Menna asks in an angry tone.

“Pharaoh Amenhotep?” Yuya asks knowing full well that anyone who knows anything about the Pharaoh would know the answer to that question.

“No. Our Pharaoh added more burden to the work of the slaves.”

“But of course.” Tiya says disappointed.

“He has audience with the Pharaoh once more this morning.” Yuya adds.

“You mean he is not dead?” Tiya asks confused. The maidservant Yuya shakes her head, no.

“This is strange in deed. I must be there when he returns.” Tiya says excitedly.

“Of what purpose is there to see a carcass in waiting?” The older maid servant inquires of Tiya.

“If this savior is victorious and the slaves are freed, what more evidence do you need that one day we will also follow.” Tiya says confidently. “Do you not taste it?”

“Taste what?” A maidservant asks.


Shhhhhhh!” The servants let out as one.

Tiya, you look into your mirror with closed eyes.” The older servant smartly smirks, turning her back to Tiya while throwing her old sheets in a large cane woven basket.

“You do not have to clean the soiled sheets and dirty clothes and dirty behinds of others.” Menna notes making a reference to her duties to Tiya.

Pointing out the window to the distance Tiya returns.
“And you do not have to mold and drag monstrous slabs of rock up hill and watch your best friends and family get crushed under them time and time again while being whipped for working too slow in the fury of the sun because your soul has been weakened by the memory of your mother being ravaged by Egyptian soldiers all so that this Pharaoh can indulge in his vanity of having his name and these monuments stand to times indefinite.”

Tiya slid closer to the older maid servant in a threatening manner.

“Do not tell me I look into my mirror with closed eyes. Next time you look into your mirror, peer a little closer and you will see a line of people standing behind you.”

Menna, defeated, motioned for Yuya to exit. She had enough of Tiya. Every time she saw her in the splendor Pharaoh Amenhotep would lavish her with, she would be sick to her stomach. She would always think that, that could have been her. After all, she and Tiya were both servants to the Pharaoh. They just had different duties and if Menna was younger and beautiful, and Tiya was older and heavy set as she was, the duties would have been switched. So when Tiya complained about having to simply pleasure the Pharaoh, the Egyptian god on earth, Menna just wanted to slap her to her senses.

“Do not leave. I don’t want us to part on bad footing.” Tiya pleaded, holding on to Menna touch arm as she walked out the door.

Menna faced her from the hall way. She looked down at her own footing, tattered cloth sandals being held together by makeshift strings and then she looked over to Tiya’s golden threaded sandals in the corner. Tiya’s eyes followed hers and the silent message was clear as a cloudless day. Giving a sour smile Menna disappeared down the hallway and the younger maid servant, Yuya reluctantly followed, looking back at Tiya with apologetic eyes.

Tiya plopped on her freshly made up bed and just laid there naked as she was born.

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