This is an astral post, so if you are not interested in such things, you do not have to read.
I actually managed to land a punch on Sekhmet with my right hand, but failed to connect with my second. Screaming in frustration, I grabbed for her throat, intent on choking her out with the level of my rage. We went barreling over with the force of my jump at her and tumbled down the side of the sand dune until we came to a stop with me on top. Eyes narrowed with my intense focus, I squeezed as tightly as I could. This was complete bullshit. There was absolutely nothing that warranted my having built something of use and only to have it disappear from sight in mid-build. I didn’t care how many promises I made. I didn’t care how many steps backward I may have been taking by attacking her. Point of fact, I really didn’t give a shit as to what she was going to do to me because of this. All that mattered was that she understand and accept the homicidal levels of anger I was feeling. If nothing else, I just wanted an apology – a single moment in time where she actively and completely accepted the emotional stress and emotional burdens she had been putting me under.
The thing about choking a god, though, is that it gets ridiculous after the first few minutes. After the first few seconds, you think, yeah, bitch, fuckin’ take it – feel my rage. After a minute, you realize that they’re pretty much just letting you do whatever and you’re like, well, I should probably stop. And maybe normal people could have pulled themselves back from that. Maybe they could have been like, okay, this is pretty ridiculous right now, and stopped what they were doing. But I was so blinded by my anger that I couldn’t bring myself to stop for a good two to three minutes. And the rest of that time I kept reminding myself, she can end you at any moment so you should probably cut the shit now. When that phrase finally managed to connect to something still fully functional in my haze, I felt my hands loosen from around her neck and fall to my sides.
I was lying on top of her, of course. I had managed to surprise her, if nothing else, and we had both gone bowling ass over teakettle into the sand. Feeling not so much ashamed but ridiculous, I climbed off of her and skittered backwards. I was beginning to feel ashamed of myself. The shame wasn’t in so much as my having been allowed to choke her for a few minutes or that I had, originally, fully intended on killing her, but the knowledge that she had let me give vent to my rage at her. I had been so overwhelmed by the level of my feelings that I had succumbed to my initial impulse. And of course, her only reaction as she rubbed her throat and sat up was to grin at me. “Well, that was certainly surprising,” she said. Her voice wasn’t even hoarse. I had inflicted absolutely no damage with my onslaught. I supposed I should have been happy, but I had kind of hoped that I had been able to do something besides startle her. No such luck.
I said nothing but sat down heavily on my ass, staring down at my hands. I had been so close, I felt, to getting somewhere. If she had shown up only moments later, I probably could have had a functional dune buggy. Or I may have already been driving around all over the place. Of course, rationality indicated that the dune buggy would have disappeared in any instance, whether I was driving it or not. Just as the sandworms I had attempted to create, the sandwich I had tried to make, it would have disappeared the moment she realized what was going on. For whatever reason, she wanted me here and she didn’t want me to leave here based on what abilities I had at my disposal. I didn’t know how I was going to leave or what the purpose in all of this was – so surprising, that – but I had to be here. This was whatever the next phase was. Now that I was sure about that, I just had to figure out what the hell I needed to do.
“We’re walking,” she explained to me cheerfully.
I glowered up at her from my perch in the sand. “Oh, really?”
“Yes, I need you to walk. Not driving. Not sliding. Not anything but walking.”
“So, the whole fucking lesson here is ‘walking,’ according to you.”
“How do you know there’s a lesson at all?” She asked, cocking her head to the side. She was studying me as though I were an interesting specimen. I’d give her an interesting specimen! What I really wanted to do was go after her again, only this time landing really satisfying punches on her face and stomach and every other soft spot I could find purchase. Of course, she was probably prepared for such a ridiculous reaction now, so I knew that bothering was, well, ridiculous. Instead, I studied the same boring, idiotic sand I had been studying the moment I had woken up here. “So, we’re walking, yes?”
“Sure,” I said, lying through my teeth. I’d find something, somehow, and fucking use it if I wanted to.
Okay, I admit, I was being petulant and snotty. I had the opportunity to question her as to what all of this was and I was so focused on my hurt feelings, my feeling lost and confused feelings, and the fact that I was stuck in a fucking sandbox for whatever reason. In all honesty, even if I had been at my level-headed best, I wouldn’t have asked her a damn thing. She would never have responded with a straight forward response. It’s not something she could have given to me, anyway, even if she had wanted to. And again, I don’t think she would have wanted to even if she could have explained it all. Whatever the case was, I had to go through this shit. And whether I liked it or not, this was part and parcel to the deal we had made. I understood that in some far recess of my brain, but that didn’t make this any easier.
None of this was easy.
“How will I know where I’m supposed to be?” I asked her, still staring at my hands.
“It will be time then,” she said.
And that was it. I was alone again.
I sat there for a long time and debated about whether or not I wanted to even try. I mean, I had been walking for what felt like an eternity until I finally found the little dune buggy. And now, I had the knowledge that I could either sit around and stew or I could walk around and stew. Was there even really a point to this? Evidently, at least, by the comments that Sekhmet had made, there was a point. But did I care. I was hot. I was tired. I was aggravated. I was sandy. I was pretty sure I had sand in places that would not get clean ever again. And it didn’t matter if I was walking or if I was sitting. Sand was going to keep getting in places it had no business being. I was still going to be tired, angry, hot, aggravated, bitchy, and every other emotional pitfall or emotional high point in between. I was stuck in this shit show and I had no fucking clue what I was doing.
It was at that point that I got really fucking angry.
As if I haven’t been angry enough during this whole hoopla, it was then that I really started to get so angry that I started screaming into the wind. Nothing responded, of course. I only heard my own maniacal screeching echoing down across the sand dunes that had piled up after eons of wind storms and sand storms. I vented that anger into the desert and felt it swallowed up by the nothingness that surrounded. The red-gold sand that had become my constant companion fed upon it hungrily, absorbing my rage into itself. Maybe this was supposed to be part of the process, too – my angst and anger. Maybe by screeching into the desert and letting that vast empty space of nothingness absorb that rage into itself, I was cleansing myself and preparing myself for the next phase. I was trying to remain a little positive and a little light-hearted here, but without any indicator as to what the whole point was, I was only left with the tailspin of an emotional breakdown. I ended up rolling over and crying into the sand.
Crying can be pretty fucking ridiculous after a while, though, and you end up just stopping from sheer exhaustion. And that was it, I was exhausted.
I had spent weeks at Sekhmet’s every beck and call, not knowing anything about what was going on. I was given the most basic of basic instructions or the most basic of basic explanations as to what was going on and had to fill in the gaps of my knowledge what I had managed to observe. Honestly, I don’t even know if my observations were really all that excellent because whatever I had seen, I had only gleaned a small fraction of whatever was going on. The things I felt that I learned I could count on one hand. I had learned that the other gods still really feared Sekhmet. I learned that they still kowtowed to her and that really fucking frustrated me. I learned, mostly because of someone else’s comments, that there were set procedures for each deity to follow when it came to specific things and if they didn’t follow that procedure, especially in how it kowtowed to Sekhmet, things could end badly for the deity fucking up the procedure. I had also learned that they were all the most boring fucking creatures I had ever fucking met in any of my lives. I had had more interesting conversations with lichen-covered rocks than I had when I was staying with Sekhmet.
Hell, my fucking human lives had been more exciting than the last few weeks I had spent with Sekhmet and that included that time when my ex-husband murdered me.
I did the only thing that I thought was appropriate, I got up and started walking again.
There is nothing exciting about walking around in the desert, especially one as desolate and boring as the one I was trapped in. I fell a lot. I griped a lot. I cursed a lot. I went mindless and numb a lot. When I would come back to myself at those moments, I would find myself in the fetal position on the ground, wondering what the hell had become so important that this was where I had ended up. It seemed pretty damn ridiculous that I had found myself exiled to a deserted wasteland with nothing more than my thoughts. And in all honesty, what in the world did this have to do with “the next phase?” And what was the next phase? And why the fuck was it so hot? Like was that just how the desert rolled or was it just being really hot because I hate the heat? And why the hell was there all of this sand everywhere? What the hell was the point to having all of this sand everywhere? All it did was hamper my way.
My thoughts got very muddled, very quickly, and stayed that way.
When I would come back to myself, if I wasn’t in the fetal position, it was because I was being trolled. I ended up seeing the dune buggy, that archaic old hulk that I had thought was my salvation, quite a few times. It would appear in front of me and in my enthusiasm, I would go tripping down a hill or I would crash into it or I would run right fucking through it as it disappeared. It always disappeared. I was getting really tired of being played with because, honestly, that’s how it felt. “Here is this really magnificent thing that you can’t possibly use to your own advantage. See it? Oh, good yes. Watch it go on its merry little way far away from you now.” Sometimes, I would get to it and I would be able to sit in it, sheltered from the wind, the sand, and the heat of the day for a while. But mostly, it disappeared on me before I could get any closer. Evidently, Sekhmet had learned the lesson on that one – don’t give her anything to assist her with because she’ll fuck use it like it’s nobody’s business and screw up this next phase in the process.
This went on for seemingly centuries before I finally just gave up.
One of the last times that the dune buggy appeared, I screamed at it. I screamed at it until my voice was hoarse. I kicked sand at it. I threw sand at it. I screamed into the sky, letting the desert around me absorb the intense feelings that I could feel eating me up internally. When I was screamed out, I fell to the ground and began to cry again. This time, I just let myself cry until I felt hollow and empty. I felt more than anything as though every feeling I was having was pouring out of me and into the desert beneath me. I felt like I was crying an ocean of tears and they were being sucked in greedily by the ground beneath me. I felt like I was being played with, in all honesty, and that there was nothing I could do about it. I could only allow the playing to continue because there were no other options available to me.
When I sat up, feeling like a hollowed out shell of what I used to be, the dune buggy was done.
I shrugged and said, “Fuck this.”
I sat down and did nothing. I did nothing for a long time. I wasn’t going to move any further and I didn’t care anymore. I had stopped caring, really, the second after I had attacked Sekhmet. The process, whatever this was, didn’t matter anymore because I just didn’t care. If I told myself that enough, then maybe I would believe it. But in reality, it wasn’t that I didn’t care. I was just fed up. I was fed up with the unanswered questions. I was fed up with having to walk through a desert, by myself, with nothing to get me from A to B. I had no fucking clue what I was doing or even why I was doing it. And it didn’t matter, in the long run, why I had to do any of this. All that mattered was that I was too tired to continue any further. That was the real problem: I had been walking around in the desert for a couple of weeks and I had gotten no further, in my estimation, to whatever the next phase in the process was. I hadn’t learned much of anything.
I still couldn’t walk properly in the thick sand dunes because I fell all the fucking time.
I still couldn’t figure out how to make anything that would stick together long enough to get me going anywhere.
I still didn’t know what this whole thing was.
I felt empty, though, at least. The hate and anger and confusion and hurt and questions were all used up and had floated upon the waves of the unending sand around me. As I sat there, studiously refusing to do a damn thing, I realized that the desert that surrounded me was kind of like a metaphor. I had come out of that white room, all those months ago, feeling empty and feeling as if I had screwed the process up. I had worried, deeply, that the emptiness that I felt within my body and within my emotional state and within my mind was a signpost that I had messed up the stitching together of myself that I had been forced to do. Instead, I realized that the emptiness was preparation for the next phase just like the desert that surrounded me. I was empty, on purpose, because I had a lot of new things that were coming to take the place of everything else I had been before now. I was definitely changing. All signs pointed to my shedding the old skin to make way for the new. But I have to admit, the whole process sucked beyond belief and it would have been nice if someone or something could have told me that what I was going through, what I would go through, and what I was learning were all going to happen.
Then again, maybe if I had known in advance what was to come, things wouldn’t have worked out so well.
So, I sat there. I sat there and thought about being as empty as the desert that surrounded me.
It was then that I saw, for the first time, a vulture in the distance. I think it was a vulture, but I honestly don’t know if it is. It looked like a vulture, like those seen in movies. Actually, the bird kind of reminded me of a scene from the movie Rango, in all honesty. And let me just say here that I can’t be faulted for that because Rango was a movie that my household was forced to watch over and over and over and over and over again last summer. But the bird, the creature floating along on the wind currents of that desert, and it was the first time that I really felt, well, okay. I felt happy. When I saw that creature floating along, barely flapping its wings as it perused the world beneath it, I found myself feeling as though I was finally doing something right. I felt as if I were not quite coming to grips with what the hell was going on around me, but that I could handle, at least, what was going on around me.
With that bird floating around above me, I felt at peace. More at peace than I have in a really long time.