• Caroline

SIXTINE Book I / Chapter 10

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

I am the powerless witness to my heart-scarab’s betrayal.

The orange light which has spun between my fingers has vanished. Now the walls shake with the bellows of outraged jurors and Hapi’s amused sneers.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, my sister,” he hisses. “Did you not heed what was written in Chapter Thirty of the Book of the Dead? Before it is weighed, travelers must always silence their heart, for it is a great traitor. This court has never witnessed a heart’s own testimony. What fate awaits you, my sister?”

The voice of Osiris fills the cave. “Your voice is true. But your heart-scarab refuses the orange light. You must go back.”

I do not understand. The baboon on my shoulder stops whistling. The emerald water ripples with the whispers of the jurors.

Anubis is already at my side, pulling me from Horus, dragging me towards the boat. I want to struggle, but my body is only ether.

“But the green river flows only in one direction,” Thoth protests.

“Then our sister’s soul will go with her Night Traveller,” Osiris declares.

The words in blue ink stop moving. The silence is disturbed only by the gentle lapping of the water against our boat. Everything in the universe holds its breath. Even the beast.

The voice of the heart-scarab rises again. But what it says doesn’t sound like a statement; more like a long wail. The heart’s tale of woes seems to enthrall everyone present. When it comes to an end, Hapi’s face is streaked with tears.

Anubis glances, almost anxious, towards the eye of the judge. The jurors whisper animatedly.

“The heart is right. Thus it shall be,” Horus says, putting a stop to the blabbing.

“It can’t be! She is not ready!” a juror cries out.

“None of them ever are,” Osiris retorts. “They must become it.”

“Does she even know her purpose?”

“None of them ever do. They must seek it.”

A whole chorus of voices spill out from the jurors’ niches. “When will our sister come back where she belongs? Who will ensure that the Night Traveller follows the right path? Is the heart telling the truth?”

Suddenly a thundering echo erupts, engulfing the river and its swarming banks.

“How dare you question the scales of Ma’at, goddess of truth?” The green eye has nearly turned black with anger. “The heart is true; our sister must go back. She will return here soon enough, when it is time. The Night Traveller will find the path; my messenger will ensure it.”

The mighty eye of Osiris scans each one of the jurors, silencing them with his unforgiving stare. Once every single objection has been squashed, he declares,

“The Truth must not be told.”

“The Truth must not be told,” the forty-two jurors dutifully repeat.

Then the gigantic eye turns to me, filling me with burning ice.

“My sister, you have earned the Fields of Reed, the scales of Ma’at have told us so. They will be your home when you are returned to us. Until then, you must attend to your heart’s unfinished work. The Night Traveller will guide you.”

“When will our sister be returned to me?” Horus asks.

“When the Night Traveller finds the path, and lets her go.”

With this final, unchallenged proclamation, the eye dissolves into tumultuous waves; Anubis grabs hold of the oar of our boat and maneuvers it against the flow of the current. Soon there is nothing left of my tribunal other than darkness and raging waters. Hapi digs his claws into my shoulder so as not to be thrown off the boat. The storm is monstrous, and Anubis bears his teeth, planting the oars in the green froth at our flanks, to keep us afloat. My eyes open wide to comprehend what we are heading for.

A vast and angry maelstrom.

Overwhelming pain gradually invades all my limbs, my skin, my senses, my mind. I can feel my body again, but the price to pay is too great. I turn to Anubis to beg to return, but his eyes are elsewhere, filled with horror.

We are no longer alone in the boat.

Crouched in the shadow of the little cabin, there is a woman, a satisfied grin drawn on her sublime features. She wears a blue war crown, and her eyes are two empty sockets filled with a moonlit sky.

The monkey, hypnotized, yelps,

“The Queen warrior! Nefertiti!”

Paralyzed by pain and horror, I contemplate jumping into the water. But it is already swirling around us, pushing us down into the black hole of the maelstrom. Its edges are smooth and silvery like a mirror. As the monkey screams again, I catch my reflection in the water.

I am myself again. I have a body. I am no longer a ghost.

But my hair is grey. And my eyes are as green as the green river swallowing us all.

Suddenly Hapi jumps on me, baring his teeth. In one violent push, the monkey forces its muzzle into my lungs. I draw a painful gasp.

I can suddenly breathe.

With breath comes my voice.

With my voice come words.

They are the only thing left when our boat disappears into the dark, watery void.

NEX exists, amen, I am sane? Time, axis. The main exit is... I am the main exit, former saint, inmate, east, east, east! Main exit... is me! NAME EAST I AM SIN MEATS XIII SIXTINE I AM I AM SIXTINE EAT SIN I AM SIXTINE.


This is the end of the sample chapters.




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