• Caroline

SIXTINE Book I / Chapter 9

Updated: Sep 18, 2019





A man with a long, curved beak writes in blue ink, sits opposite me. It’s Thoth, the god of writing and magic, keeper of the Moon, watching a set of scales. In one of the scale’s trays, a feather, soft as a mother’s skin.

The Feather of Truth.

In the other, my heart, still beating. With each successive beat, it transforms. From red to blue, then from dull to shiny as legs grow from its flanks.Its back smoothens and divides into two wings.

My heart has turned into a scarab.

Anubis, Thoth and the green eye of Osiris observe the two trays of the scales, rising and descending in turn.

I feel the breath of the beast, its vile scent chilling my core.

A baboon suddenly swings on the chain, upsetting the scales and further delaying the moment of truth. He laughs maniacally and shouts, “If your voice is true, my sister, your heart-scarab will be as light as the feather of Good and Evil. And you will enter, blessed, into the Fields of Reeds. However, if your voice is false, your heart-scarab will be heavy, and the beast will devour your stinking soul. Have you told the truth, my sister?”

I know who he is.

Hapi, son of Horus, keeper of the lungs of the dead, warden of the throne. In a shriek, he jumps on my shoulder. Together we watch as the see-saw motion of the scales slows, up, down, up, down. The links of the chain creak and their song mingles with the distant sound of the green river.

When the trays stop, there is no sound at all.

The scales are perfectly aligned.

The beast grunts.

“Your voice is true,” Thoth says.

Then Horus the hawk, the sun in one eye and the moon in the other, appears before me. He smiles at me and takes me by the arm. He guides my steps towards a pinkish, orange light whose warmth fills my empty chest. A few more steps and it illuminates my fingers, my hand, my arm. On the horizon, I see infinite fields bathed in a benevolent sunrise. I feel whole again, and my soul expands with bliss.

A scream tears the fields apart. Hapi, terrified, points at the scales and screeches,

“The heart!”

A hubbub fills the great cave as the jurors stand up to watch. The trays of the scales are moving again.

Osiris’ eye darkens, and the big blue scarab, my own heart, starts speaking in a tongue I do not understand.

“Chapter Thirty of the Book of the Dead is missing!” Thoth growls.

“The heart!” Hapi sneers, his monkey eyes burning a hungry fever. “The heart will betray!”


Carry on reading Chapter 10 here.


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