This is an astral post, so if you are not interested in such things, you do not have to read.
Whenever I was given free time at Sekhmet’s palatial sprawl, I would wind up at a window, looking out and into the desert. I could never understand the lure. Of all the places I’ve explored during my astral travels, it has never been the desert. Honestly, I’ve left those types of places alone in a sort of unknown foreshadowing of what was to come. It was Sekhmet’s domain and if I wanted to be in her domain while I was traveling all over the place, I would have gone to a desert. Sometimes, I would wind up there in my dreams, anyway, talking with her about all manner of crap that I can’t remember now. But for the most part, unless I really needed or wanted her attention, I left the whole thing alone. Even with my IRL love of the Dune series and all that entails, I’ve completely left it alone. I didn’t want to go into a place that was beyond my ken and could, quite possibly, end up leaving me lost, alone, and at a complete loss.
After the last party, which was only as interesting as an entry that comes later, I ended up out in the desert. The night of the party was strange for a lot of different reasons, but the most interesting part was that the shindig was for me. After having gone to so many of them in the last few weeks, being shown off to all of the netjeru and everything, I finally got a celebration for me. Sekhmet said we were celebrating the break through the first phase of everything – the boring phase of the Duat and the observations only parties – to the next phase. It was the night that I completed my first rites and services in her name. She said she was very proud of me and wanted everyone to enjoy my night. Of everyone out there, I think I was the only who didn’t end up enjoying the night. I ended up off and alone, per usual, watching everyone take their time as they paraded around and had conversations and ended up doing things that I didn’t care about. I stood in the far back corner for most of the night, trying to figure out what the next phase entailed.
Was it only the fact that I was finally doing what she wanted? Or was it the fact that I was the “intermediary” she had been pushing for? Or was there more to it? Of course, I could have asked her (again) and she would have ignored me again. I was deeply unhappy, in all honesty. I had expected a lot of things, but none of the things that I had expected were happening. It’s possible that I had expected the wrong things and so now that none of them were coming to pass, I was unhappy. Or maybe I had never really understood what it was she wanted from me and now that everything was coming to pass that was what was causing my unhappiness. But of course, that’s all a bunch of shit. It’s all a bunch of horseshit. I knew why I was unhappy. As I stood there, watching everyone doing everything that they always did and said things that I didn’t care about and ate all of the food that wasn’t actually about me, I knew precisely why I was so unhappy.
I had been hoping that I could get back to the way things used to be in our relationship. I wanted to go back to a place where things made sense to me. Everything I used to say about faith and happiness and feeling good about it all – I wanted to get back there. I wanted to remember what it was like to love my gods and not fear them, not be bitter towards them, and to understand everything that was going on. Instead, I was so busy being confused and suspicious of what they were doing and why they were doing it that I couldn’t get back to the place where I had once been. Or maybe I had deluded myself – more like probably – into believe that I could get back to that place. The second I came out of that white room, I had become such a bitter, angry, suspicious devotee and I hated it. I fucking hated it. I hated everything about those emotions. It wasn’t that they weren’t warranted because they absolutely fucking were, but I remembered the days of blind devotion. And I loved the days of blind devotion to be honest. I missed all of it and I had hoped, secretly, that I could get back there somehow.
Instead, I was a mess.
I was a huge ball of emotions that was reacting instead of thinking logically and completely about what I was getting myself into. Honestly, though, even if I could have been logical about the whole enchilada, I didn’t think I could have when I had made the decision. I felt full of myself and confident, believing that I could get what I wanted out of the whole deal. But I was wrong. Sekhmet had been playing around with deals and emotions and peoples’ lives, some of which were even my own, for centuries. And I thought I could best her at her own game? Seriously? I felt stupid and idiotic. I also felt like I was some tiny little morsel on the menu and everyone was waiting for the moment when they could devour me whole. But above all else, I mostly just felt stupid and alone.
There’s nothing quite like feeling stupid and alone when you’re surrounded by beings that probably view you as something they’ve scraped off their shoes.
And that was the crux of the whole matter: I felt like I was dispensable. I had wanted to be indispensable but in fact, I was just another tool to be thrown away if they wanted to. Everyone always talks about how the gods are great and they’re wonderful and they can and should and will treat you so well. Hell, I even tell people to tell gods to fuck off if they think the god in question is crossing the line. There was always this knowledge, at the back of my mind, that I could walk away and everything would be okay. There are a ton of people out there who talk about how devout they really are to their gods and how their way is the best way. And I have to sit back now and look at the bullshit around me and ask, “Is it really fucking worth all of this? Is anything worth this?” I have to think that maybe, just maybe the answer is “no.”
But I fucked myself over here. I had entered a whole new arena with this one. I had made a deal; not quite an oath, per se, but a deal was a deal was a deal. And I had fucking made one. It was sealed and signed and there wasn’t any way I could back out of this. I was stuck and stuck and stuck some more. I had to keep at it, knowing that I was just going to end up burned out and wearied by the whole ordeal. Even thinking about walking away made me feel nauseated and disgusted. Even knowing that this was the usual bullshit that these gods put their tools through didn’t make it any better. In fact, it made it worse because that meant there were just that many more people out there, in the world, who were being shit upon for the “big picture.”
At that moment, in the middle of that party, I wanted to scream, “Fuck you and your bigger fucking picture.”
I didn’t. I got drunk and passed out instead.
When I woke up, I was pretty sure I was going to hear about how rude I was or there would be embarrassing comments about how I can’t hold my liquor. Deciding that dealing with either of those scenarios was not important, I rolled over and reached out to wrap around in my blanket a few times. However, I couldn’t find my blanket. Aggravated now, I lifted my head to find my blanket and found out that I was not on my bed, which explained why my blanket was nowhere to be found. However, I was surrounded and wrapped within the cocoon of a sand dune, which was more than mildly disconcerting. Had I been kicked out to sleep it off in the desert? Had I gone outside in a drunken haze and passed out wherever I fell? Had I been kicked out because of how embarrassing I had behaved or because of some other perceived slight I may have been caused?
I had to slowly but surely dig myself out of the dune I was wrapped within. By snuggling deeper into what I had originally and sleepily thought was a bed, I had half buried my body in the process. Slowly, I managed to extricate myself from the sand and sat up. I blinked against the harsh light of the sun, trying to figure out where I was and why I was here. I couldn’t remember anything after my internal meltdown. I also couldn’t figure out what sort of idiotic idea this was. I mean, really, drunk dialing and drunken sloppy sex is one thing, but to go out into the desert? I must have screwed the pooch somehow, I figured. It was the only thing that made sense. I had been forced to stay within the boundaries that Sekhmet had set up for me, which didn’t include much more than a few token steps into the desert surrounding her palace. So, either she had taken a bunch of lovers to her den of iniquity and I had walked off without her watching over me or she had kicked me out because I had fucked up somewhere.
I got to my feet and started climbing up the dune.
Here’s something I bet most people didn’t know, but that climbing up the golden sands of a desert are damn difficult. I tried to just dig my toes in and fell over. I tried to crawl up the face of the dune and fell over. I ended up sort of half-slithering up the hill in an undignified mass. When I got to the top, I lay there, panting, trying to close out the heat of the day and the sunlight burning a message behind my retinas. When I felt okay enough, I stood up and looked around.
There was… nothing.
I was surrounded by desert and sand; sand and desert. Winds were picking up in the distance and I could see little swirls of sand tornados periodically, but I didn’t see the palace I had come to call a sort of home. Instead, I found nothingness, blandness. There weren’t even any rocks or cliff faces or any distinguishing features. I had no idea where I was. I had no idea how the hell I had gotten there. I didn’t even know how in the world to get from one place to another without sliding down sand dunes and getting sand everywhere, as if it weren’t already. I could feel particles grating against each other under my boobs and in my ass crack. “What a great way to start the day,” I muttered. What made it even better was that, as I surveyed my surroundings, that intuition thing that I had been paying attention to was telling me that this was important with a capital I. It may have been important, but it thoroughly sucked too because there was absolutely nothing.
I didn’t have my pack of handy supplies and I had to wonder if I was going to die of thirst or something ridiculous like that. I didn’t have anything with me except my wits and my abilities. Thinking about my abilities, I decided to start creating things in an effort to have something to do besides walk across the wide expanse, hoping I was going in the right direction. I lifted up a handful of sand and whispered to it, narrowing my eyes at it as I envisioned it turning into a sandworm, like what I envisioned the worms of Arrakis (Dune reference) would look like. The particles solidified together and started to bond into the form of a worm. When I had a worm the size of my palm, I whispered at it, trying to give it life. Instead, a gust of wind shoved the thing out of my hand and scattered each individual piece of sand.
I tried again. Same result.
I tried a third time. And the same result.
Just in case I wasn’t sure about what was going on, I tried it another time and received the exact same result.
Okay, so sandworms were out of the running.
I tried to create a bottle of water and met with no success. I tried to create a meal fit for a queen and met with no success. I decided that maybe a peanut butter sandwich would be a good idea and ended up eating a handful of sand instead of sandwich. I was growing frustrated. Sekhmet had always said that while she appreciated the fact that I was a loner and liked to do things on my own, I should also try to use the powers I had been born with and the ones I had been given over the years. While I didn’t practice much more than starting a fire in the woods if the need arose or snagging something to snack on when I had no business grabbing it, I didn’t think I was so bad at this whole “magic” thing. I had always been able, at least, to get what I needed. And now what I needed to do wasn’t working. And I was seriously getting pissed off and frustrated.
Giving up, I started walking.
As I walked, I noticed that there was nothing around me. I saw movies, of course, so I knew what should be in a desert. And I had read books about animal life in deserts, so I knew that there should be creatures of some sort. But I didn’t see anything. I thought, maybe, I would see creatures from the Dune books and that would have been okay. And if I happened upon a sandworm because I was walking rhythmically, then I was going to sacrifice myself to it because that had to beat out this whole walking around like a normal person thing. Instead, I saw nothing. I didn’t see vultures. I didn’t see jackals. I didn’t see snakes or spiders. I didn’t see anything. Of course, just because I had seen movies and read some books didn’t mean I was an expert. Maybe I had to wait until twilight before anything came out? But the fact that I saw nothing and heard nothing outside of the whispers of the wind was enough to make me start singing to myself… very awfully and horribly off-key.
I couldn’t keep it up and before long, I was lost in my thoughts. I was trying to figure out why, where, what, when. But nothing was coming to me. It really didn’t make any sense. Sekhmet had spent so much time keeping me close to her and now, I was lost out in the middle of nowhere. And it didn’t seem like I was going to get any clear answers. I tried calling out to her then, hoping beyond hope that she would come to me. I wasn’t overly surprised when she didn’t. Nothing happened. I just kept walking, one step in front of another, until I couldn’t remember how many steps I had taken. I kept telling myself that if I took one more step and fell one more time, then I could take a break. But I didn’t really give myself a break. I just kept climbing and walking and stepping and promising myself a break that I never really intended on taking.
After the millionth crest of a hill, I stopped and saw something glinting in the sunlight. I licked my dry lips for the millionth time, which chapped them further. I could feel elation. I could feel excitement. I could feel something beginning to stir. It looked like a dune buggy or maybe like a very old VW bug that had no hood. The buggy had one been bright yellow, but now was dull. All of the windows were broken out or stolen. There was a roof, though, and a steering wheel. Those, I felt, were the two most important aspects to this thing. If I had something to keep my head covered from the sunlight and if I had something that I could use to steer, I would be okay.
In my excitement, I tried to run towards it and ended up rolling down another sand dune. I fell flat on my face only a few feet away. I ran over to the dune buggy and began touching it, making sure that it really was real. And it felt real. I ran my hands over the gnarled and pitted surface, ideas and thought coming to me. Even though I had failed at creating the sandworm to get me from A to B, I could probably do something really fantastic with this thing and shove the hell out of this place. Or, if I never found a way out that was okay because I had something with me and so, even though it was a mechanical beast of burden, it was something.
“Okay,” I told myself, my voice hoarse from disuse. How the hell long had I been out here…? It felt like ages. “I can do this.”
I reached out and placed my hands on the steering wheel, envisioning what I needed it to do. I needed an engine and I pictured what kind of engine I needed it to be. I began slowly building it, bit by bit, piece by piece, and placing them in the proper places. The engine began to take shape and I could feel excitement boiling over, but I had to tamp it down. I felt that if I got too emotional about what I was doing, then it would end up getting screwed up and the thing would never anywhere. While I built the engine in my mind and then in the belly of the beast, itself, I could just imagine the jumping and flying I could do. And how fast I could get around out here. I was really beginning to feel like I was taking control of whatever the hell this damn experience was supposed to be and turning it, morphing it into something that I could use.
I felt in control for the first time since I had woken up in this desolated wasteland. And that’s all it was to me now. It was just a place that I had been exiled to for apparently no reason or maybe I had exiled myself out here for apparently no reason. In either case, I was stuck out here and I had to make the best of it. And now I had the ability to do so. Not only did I have the ability to do so, but I had the wherewithal to do so. And I was going to fucking get the hell out of here. Even if I had to sell my soul to the first thing that crossed my path to get me the fuck out of this fucking shitty place, then that’s what I was going to do. I didn’t care. I didn’t care. And if I told myself that enough then maybe, it would be true.
The dune buggy disappeared.
I stared at what had been slowly but surely coming along as a really bitching project. It was definitely not there. The rust bucket that had been slowly but surely growing an engine under my own tutelage was just a mirage.
Had I dreamed the whole thing? Was I so delusional? How fucking long had I been here?
Beside me, Sekhmet said, “Cheater, cheater.”
Screaming, I went at her with two swinging fists and days’ worth, nay, weeks’ worth of unleashed angst.