November 6th, 2018 by Patrick Starks
A lot have said that the story of the gods were just fairy tales or myths, but I knew better, no matter how much I wish I didn’t, I knew better. I still remember that day even, the taste of the salt from the seven seas. Thunderstorms, all of which brought luminosity to the grey, and from that grey, mysterious objects that soared amongst the stars like no other—something like birds, but still, more than what met the eye, I assure you. And as beautiful as it all might’ve appeared to be, many men lost their lives that day, many widowed wives in fact. Chaos flooded the city—no hero, no savior, just evil alone.
But before all of it had occurred, I was just a butcher, a one arm butcher—a retired soldier. I had a beautiful wife and son. And on the nights when I needed too, I’d keep the shop open a little longer, all in the hopes to put food on the table, more so, fix the leaking rough up over our heads that Iyala would never let me hear the end of. Ziyad, my baby boy, was only four months old at the time. And how the weather was changing miraculously, there was no way I’d allow any of us to be on the streets. I’d always deny it, but I was getting old. My back was killing me. But still, for my family, it would be worth breaking, no matter how much the doctor told me it wasn’t.
The city was growing like no other, trades were better than they had ever been. Many in the city spoke on this growth, and how it was good for the entrepreneur minded, however, all it ever did to me was bring more clutter, more chaos, more competition, and debt to the ones who just wanted a peaceful life—and so the saying goes, it’s a small world after all. Although, I still disagree with this notion, for there is still so much about this world and ourselves we have yet to discover.
Everyone and their children’s children cooked up whatever extravagant dish that they could. The night was busier than normal. The gods are angry, no, the gods are sad, the people argued. But at the end what they really wanted to say was that they didn’t want to be the punching bags for the gods that knew not of what being emotional was. Supposedly, a little bird down the street told me that one of the gods had died. But how they knew, anyone’s guess would be as good as mine.
Nevertheless, men and women all drank the most potent of pomegranate wines until their bellies burst, all while their little ones scurried along to their beds. Part of me wondered if the party was really for the gods or for them. I’d never seen so much sin in one day, naked bodies everywhere, although, there was that time in Rome.
Not long after, all of what I thought was a ritual, more so an outside brothel had stopped. For once, there was silence. I could hear my own thoughts. It was my clue to close-up shop, get the hell out, and onto a place more righteous than it. But before doing so, there’d be a knock on the door.
“Sorry my friend, we are closed. Come back tomorrow,” I yelled.
The door then pounded even harder, followed by the horrors of scratching and grunting. I ran over and took a peek through the eye hole. Part of it made me nervous. There was a man who did the same not too long ago and was claimed to be murdered—a spear right through the eye—wife taken, then child sold, oh, such horrors would make any many feel the death of cold. I wasn’t taking any chances.
I then pulled away, as opening door would’ve probably been safer, but I’m sure many would argue to this. But still, I opened the door and from left to right I searched.
Down my feet, completely grey in every way, like the sky somewhat, and if so, its eyes would’ve been the stars—a kitten. Most of the time I preferred dogs or horses, but this little fellow was just too cute to ever deny. Iyala was always fond of furry critters—I knew she would love it, for I’d already made my decision to keep it. Besides, had I left it to fend for itself on the streets, it might’ve only survived for only a few days.
I had only scraps of bread and a liter of milk—the meat had been completely sold—no fish, no chicken, no beef, not even swine nor wine—just bread and milk. Nevertheless business was good, and there’d be a patched-up rough soon enough.
Being haste with the little time that I had, I locked up the shop as I’d intended. It was off to the drunken streets of Egypt. The night had become darker, and a little too dark if ask me. But I had the perfect guide, the cat could at least see. Excitement pumped through my veins, just a few more blocks and I’d be in sanctuary again.
“Stop,” whispered a woman. “Come here.”
A cold breeze then brushed up against the back of my neck. I stopped. For being in the middle of the desert, it was pretty odd to experience anything cold. The cat hissed, as most would do when they smelled evil from afar. Part of me hoped that the cat was the reason the woman had not come out to introduce herself. But I was sure she’d do so regardless if she really wanted to.
“Are you the butcher,” she said. “I have heard many things about you from above.”
“Yes, I am a butcher, but I am afraid to inform you, I am not the one you seek,” I said.
Underneath the moonlightؙ—toes, ankles, thighs—revealed. Tattooed scriptures all over, coiling around like a cobra’s tail. And not long after, I would lay eyes on the one who bared them. The woman was tall and beautiful. Not really what I’d expect from a woman submerged in the dark corner of an alley but there she was, pure beauty. However, I had a woman more beautiful waiting at home that no woman, not even a goddess could’ve seduced me from. Love was love.
Her tongue slid up and down my neck. I pulled away. “How did you?”
“Don’t worry about any of that,” said the woman. “The only thing you should worry about is what you are destined for.”
The cat then ran beside the woman. It arched its back and rubbed up against the woman’s leg. Things were beginning to look like those days on the battlefield—the battle between sere illusion and reality, I feared. But no matter, I was not the man to play with.
TO BE CONTINUED