the altar gods

This is a short story I’m still working on. It’s rough around the edges, but I like the idea of it. I started writing it a while back and decided to play with it a bit today. Tweak here. Tweak there. A few sentences still need rewriting and bit more development might be in order. I’ll see where the editing process takes me. Thoughts?

The Altar Gods

Ankhesenamun saw him, Sahure, off in the distance, over mounds of golden wind tossed Saharan sand. It was sunset; the sky was pomegranate and his skin like wet blackberries under the failing light. He moved, agile and patient, seeking. She sat on the altar, knowing her body would be sacrificed and he would perform the ritual.

His shoulders were broad, and his hunter legs, scratched and pierced, were decorated with the markings of his tribe.

Before she could properly greet the prince who would usher her to the other world, he spoke. Her heart quickened.

“Ashura hanti bemba, Ankhesenamun.”

She stared into his eyes hoping he would understand that she was fine.

“Shembi libara bemba yoturi?” he said.

She nodded. She was ready.

He took her hand and motioned for her to stand. His breathe smelled of jasmine and almond oil. Her hands shook as she closed her eyes. The scent of jasmine enveloped her. His black locked hair brushed her face. It was filled with the smell of gardenias. He ran his hands over her shoulders and across her neck, all the while whispering in her ear, “Baruti shengala bemba tumani?”

Yes, she thought. I want it, I want to be sacrificed.


Sahure immediately prepared her body for the sacrifice. Her suri fell in a bundle at her feet. He lifted her and placed her on the altar, spreading her legs to prepare her for the other world.

“Bemba turi membi acoa.” His voice spoke from a far place.

He had moved close enough to smell the pungent mix of cocoa butter and her waters–she had prepared, scooping gobs of butter on her skin, imagining it seeping into to her bones, lacing everything with the aromatic glide of rich thick oils. Now he was stirring her flesh and like a lake of lilies in the noonday sun, her vapors rose to meet him, to intoxicate him, and even supine like she was, she could feel the power of the sacrificial lamb.

His tongue pierced her cheuwa, forcing her to moan with delight, begging for the sacrifice to continue. Now the scent of acoa made her drunk, as she moved without fear into the other world.

The gods were watching, smelling the acoa, knowing that she would soon be gone. They sent the rain. They were pleased.

© zaji


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