I am young, but old enough that we’ve just covered Egypt in our history class. I’ve been given the cutest book – a short book of facts about the ancient kingdom, its people, and of course it’s gods, written in a tabloid style. I devour the book, reading the section about the gods multiple times. Later, after school when I am playing with younger children at the after-care program, we line up in order of height and play “procession”, chanting the names of the gods while lifting our hands in the air. I can vividly remember praising Nut with particular vigor, enamored of her bright blue skin dusted with stars, the lights of the dead.
I am a few years older now, a freshman in high school. Adolescence is not kind to me. The changes of puberty have sent me on an emotional tightrope; it takes little to make me curl up on my bed in tears. One night, fed up with the isolation of being an awkward, shy teenager, I am crying and shaking and failing miserably at falling asleep. I try my hand at desperate prayer. “Please, Father – I just need this awful feeling to go away for a little while.”
For the first time in my life, I hear a reply: “Well, okay. Just for now.” This comes in a voice I will eventually grow to know as the Jackal; a warm, musical baritone at the back of my consciousness.