Anubis copyright c. 2015 T.A. Chase

Part Twenty-Four-

Anubis and Thoth strolled away, for all the world looking as though they were in no hurry to get wherever they were headed. Yet both of them wanted to get to the caves. Anubis snarled at the internal tugging he felt every time he thought about them.

“What do you think is going on in the caves that our gods want us to search them?” Thoth rubbed his chest and grimaced.

“You feel it too, huh?” Anubis had never had this strong a demand before.

Thoth grunted then said, “We knew there had to be something else going on beside some fringe group not wanting the site disturbed. Hell, you could get up in arms about it since it’s your people they’re digging up.”

Anubis shrugged. “I’ve been skirting the edges of believability and soon Jamil’s going to figure out I know far more than I’d have learned from legends. I’m trying to act normal, knowing that Okilma, the princess, and their son were killed at some point after they sacrificed me.”

“You know we’re all sorry about that,” Thoth commented quietly as they approached the first of the caves.

The gate that kept visitors out yielded to Anubis’s magic. He could’ve gone and gotten a key from one of the guards, but he didn’t want anyone escorting them. They weren’t grave robbers, interested in ancient artifacts to sell on the black market. Neither he nor Thoth would desecrate a grave like that. Even if they had been that kind of person, their gods wouldn’t allow it.

Thoth glanced around before meeting Anubis’s gaze. “You’re safe.”

He rolled his eyes. “Safety is relative.”

“All right, asshole. You’re clear. There’s no one around and I’ll make sure everyone stays away.” Thoth turned his back on Anubis, lifting his hand to touch the gate they’d shut behind them.

After stripping out of his clothes, Anubis folded them and set them on a shelf close to the top of the cave. He closed his eyes then let his magic roll over him as his shift took hold. His mind went blank. When he could think again, he breathed deep and sneezed.

“I don’t have super smelling and I think it stinks in here,” Thoth spoke from where he stood further inside the first cave.

Anubis shook his entire body, adjusting to having four paws and a tail as he did so. Then he tilted his head as he stared past Thoth.

“What?” Thoth looked down at his shirt and pants. “I can’t change. It would look really odd if someone wandered by and saw a hawk in the caves. A jackal’s one thing. You might be rare around here, but it wouldn’t be strange that you’d gotten in somehow.”

Shaking his head, Anubis huffed. ::I wasn’t looking at you. I see shadows behind you.::

“Shadows?” Thoth whirled around and peered into the darkness. “What kind of shadows? Like someone left a lantern—or torch—on and the flame is moving with the breeze? Or like there are actual people back there waiting to attack us?”

::Shadows like spirits drifting on the air as though they don’t realize they’re dead or are trying to find their way out of the cave.:: He growled. ::Sekhmet should come here and bless this place. Apparently no one has done it yet. Maybe then the dead will be happy.:: Joy swelled in his heart at his thought and he sighed. How was he going to get Sekhmet to do that when he rarely saw his brother? Maybe he would suggest it to Isis and he could discuss it with Sekhmet.

“Good luck with that,” Thoth quipped. “Let’s go. We have to get this over with before your boyfriend comes looking for us. Don’t need him to find out his lover can turn into a jackal and is thousands of years old.”

::Shut up.:: Anubis didn’t want to discuss Jamil or the possibility of the man discovering exactly what Anubis was. ::He’s just a way to pass the time while we’re here.::

Thoth snorted then coughed. “Ugh! That stench is getting stronger and we haven’t even moved yet. And try pulling my other leg. There’s something going on between you and the archaeologist, Anubis. Pretend all you want, but even I can see it.”

Curling his upper lip to expose his canines, Anubis acknowledged Thoth was right about the smell. The breeze hadn’t changed in intensity since they’d entered the caves. It was almost as if whatever created the aroma was moving.

::There can’t be anything between us, Thoth. You know that we are meant to spend our time alone until our gods and goddesses free us from our duty.::

“What kind of bullshit is that? If that was true, then Bastet would’ve never found Kellan and his goddess wouldn’t have blessed their union. You’re just scared of losing Jamil to old age.” Thoth held up his hand when Anubis took a step toward him. “Stop it. We’re all scared of that. I mean really? How many lovers have we lost over the years? Too many to count, yet for some reason, we keep falling in love. I don’t think our patrons meant for us to spend our lives alone.”

Anubis decided he was done with the conversation. He trotted past Thoth, heading deeper into the first cave. All of the burial caves were connected, though the humans hadn’t found the tunnels between them yet. The ancients that had buried their dead in the caves had made sure about that.

The scent grew stronger as he hunted. His human side wanted to gag and throw up at the rotting flesh smell. His jackal wanted to find it and eat since scavenging was its primary way of feeding. ::There’s something—or someone—dead ahead of us in one of the hidden tunnels.::

“Do you suppose it’s one of the guards that’s disappeared?” Thoth had stuck close, in case Anubis needed a pair of hands to open a door or something. It kept him from wasting energy to shift back and forth between forms.

::It could be and that would explain why no one found them yet. They don’t know about them.::

“Someone does. That’s not a good thing, Anubis.”

Thoth’s comment was an understatement. Whoever had done this knew more about Petra then the police and the people who worked there. Anubis wasn’t sure what that meant yet, but he knew it was going to be important some time soon.

One Response “Anubis”

  1. josexpressions says:

    man, great excerpt – thanks T.A.!

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