Akhetaten was capital of the New Kingdom of Egypt when Akhenaten was pharaoh. When Akhenaten became pharaoh the worship of Aten alone came to be. It was abandoned shortly after Akhenaten’s death and now it was just ruins.
The expedition arrived on a sunny day. It seemed even after all these centuries Aten was still shining down upon the city of his greatest worshipper.
“So, just who was Akhenaten?” asked Julie as she and Patrick cleared some sand from an obelisk.
“”He was the tenth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty.” Replied Patrick. “Everyone thinks that he is the uncle of half-brother of Tutankhamen but I personally think that he was Tutankhamen’s father.”
“’Tutankhamen’… Oh! You mean King Tut!” exclaimed Julie. She had never heard the Boy King’s real name before but it didn’t take that much effort to figure it out. “So, why don’t you think Akhenaten was Tut’s uncle or half-brother?”
“It just doesn’t fit.” Began Patrick. “Akhenaten was born in 1380 BC while Tutankhamen was born in 1341 BC, eleven years after the death of Akhenaten’s father Amenhotep III and I don’t support the theory that Akhenaten’s mother Tiye was one of her son’s lovers and it doesn’t look like any of Akhenaten’s siblings bore children, except for one whose name is lost to time whom I believe was the mother of Tutankhamen by Akhenaten. Everyone also seems to be under the impression that Akhenaten was homosexual but the coregent in the stelae looks more like a woman than a man and is most likely his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti.”
This whole thing was a case of Patrick being ahead of his time. In the case of Akhenaten being Tutankhamen’s father, the DNA test that revealed that the two were father and son would not happen until 2010. As for the various stelae that showed Akhenaten with a coregent wearing a king’s crown wouldn’t be identified as Nefertiti until the 1970’s. In both cases, Patrick was completely right: Akhenaten was not Tutankhamen’s uncle or half-brother and he was not homosexual.
“You read about Akhenaten a lot?” asked Julie.
“Indeed, I do.” Replied Patrick. “I must admit I find Sigmund Freud’s theory that Moses was an Atenist priest forced to leave Egypt after Akhenaten’s death as laughable as the other beliefs I mentioned. The very fact that his theory has entered the popular consciousness and serious research baffles me. I don’t find the attempt to connect him to Christianity or Judaism very stimulating. It bores me. Then there are theories about him being deformed or intersex based on his depictions but I think that his depictions were for religious reasons and he was neither deformed nor intersex. If anything Tutankhamen was the one who was deformed with his parents having been siblings and all. I’ve actually checked and Akhenaten’s parents were not brother and sister so deformities from incest would be all on Tutankhamen.” This was another case of Patrick being ahead of his time. The discovered that Tutankhamen was deformed and Akhenaten looked normal would not come about for years.
“What do you mean by his depictions?” asked Julie, puzzled by this. She had never seen any depiction of Akhenaten so she was completely out of the loop here. “How was he depicted?”
“With a sagging stomach, thick thighs, large breasts and a long, thin face.”
Julie gagged in disgust at the thought of such a person. She was by no means shallow but the appearance sounded horrifying and indeed by the year 2008 there would be high school students making noises of disgust upon seeing carved images of the Heretic Pharaoh. In her own way, Julie was also ahead of her time.
“Certainly a better sight than this mismatched eyed freak!” If a vulture had a human voice, it would have belonged to the man named Elvis Herbert. He even looked like an Egyptian vulture, his hair looking like the plume and his nose looking absurdly beak-like. His hair was even prematurely white while Elvis himself was not even twenty-five yet. “Julia, your fiancé wants you.”
“Jeffrey Collins is not my fiancé!” exclaimed Julie, not a little angry. In fact she was very angry when it came to Collins being referred to as her fiancé. He hadn’t proposed and she wouldn’t have accepted it even if he had.
“If he says he is then he is.” Said Elvis, his cold eyes upon both Patrick and Julie. He didn’t like Patrick tired of his beliefs like Ramses II was a redhead who had come from a prominent family of redheads. As for Julie, she belonged with her father’s debtor Jeffrey Collins, whom Elvis had become close too. “He wants you.”
Julie gave a huff and looked away from Elvis. “Patrick, will you accompany me?”
“Your fiancé wants to see just you.” Stated Elvis. “Not this ruddy skinned freak as well!”
“I will not go see that moneygrubbing walrus alone!” exclaimed Julie, this being the angriest Patrick had ever seen her. She looked pretty. “I will have Patrick accompany me or I—“ Julie went silent as a strange sound came to her ears. “What is that?” She was not frightened, rather she was curious.
“Hear what?” asked Patrick.
“I don’t know, it sounds like a cicada… three cicadas!” Julie turned to the north. “There it is again! It is nearby!”
“I don’t hear any—“ Elvis didn’t get any further. He found himself interrupted by Patrick.
“I hear it too!” Patrick exclaimed. “Sounds like it is coming from the Great Temple of Aten!”
In the ruins of the temple, the three found a trio of kittens. They had black tufted ears, reddish-tan fur, two black stripes from the forehead to the nose, a black outline of the mouth, distinctive black facial markings and white patches surrounding the eyes and mouth. These kittens were the source of the noise.
Immediately, Julie was all over the kittens. Falling to her knees and picking one of them up, she began to pet it happily. “Aren’t they the cutest things you’ve ever seen?”
“Yes…” agreed Elvis as he picked up another kitten. “I should be able to make quite a pretty penny if I sold these things.” No wonder Elvis and Collins had gotten so chummy. They were both greedy.
Patrick didn’t even get a word in when the sound of hissing came to their ears. All three turned to see the mother cat. She was eighteen inches tall at the shoulder and had a head-and-body length of twenty-nine inches with her bushy tail being eleven inches long. She had a robust build, a short face and long canine teeth that were all too apparent with her hissing. Upon seeing the mother, Julie gently put the kitten she was holding down. Thus the mother’s eyes were on Elvis alone and she did not look happy that the vulture-faced stranger was holding her kitten.
“Elvis, put down the kitten before she goes on the offensive!” ordered Patrick.
“I will not!” countered Elvis. “If Collins won’t pay me for playing messenger and the Professor I work for is taking money out of my salary for me taking money out of his wallet on of a daily basis then I am perfectly in my right to sell this little beast!” It was a wonder Elvis had not been fired yet.
The mother cat only kept hissing as she leapt at Elvis with claws extended and scratched the left side of his face. Drawing blood, she kept on hissing at Elvis as she landed on her feet and backed away to prepare another leap. Sighing, Elvis relented and put down the kitten. The mother stopped hissing but didn’t take her eyes off Elvis being more kind to Julie, who had immediately put down her kitten, and Patrick, who did not pick up any of her kittens.
“Okay, now that Elvis has learned a valuable lesson let us get back to camp.” Said Patrick. Elvis glared at Patrick but ultimately remained silent. Returning to the camp, the three found another cat of the same species in a cage. From the slightly larger size, it was obvious this one was a male. “Looks like we’ve found dad.”
“The mama must have been looking for him when she came back to the temple.” Suggested Julie, kneeling down and beginning to unlock the cage. The father cat watched her as she did, sensing his freedom at hand. A large hand then grabbed Julie by the back of her shirt, pulled her away and locked the cage so the cat wouldn’t get out. Upon seeing the one who had put him in the cage, the father cat began hissing.
It was Collins, twisting his mustache like a villain from a cartoon. “You aren’t letting this guy go, Julie. I could sell this caracal to any zoo I want and make plenty of money. Even better if it is a private one.” Collins had been born to a poor lower-class family and when the Great Depression hit did it ever hit hard. Ever since then Collins had been obsessed with making money because he was always convinced another depression was just around the corner. “This isn’t why I wanted to see you.”
“And just why did you want to see me?” questioned Julie.
“I don’t find you spending so much time with Patrick here appropriate.” Stated Collins. “If your father can’t pay off his debt, and we know he won’t, then you’ll have to marry… Elvis, what happened to your face?”
“This one’s mate.” Answered Elvis, pointing at the father caracal in the cage. Much like his mate, the father was hissing at Elvis.
“A mate? Really? Two caracals to sell to a private zoo?”
“Five.” Corrected Elvis.
“Five? What do you mean by ‘five?’ One plus one is two not five.”
“They have kittens.” Explained Elvis, mockingly. “One plus four equals five.”
“I KNOW MATHEMATICS!” roared Collins, looking like he was about to burst a blood vessel. “SEE HERE, YOU VULTURE-FRONTED ABERRATION, IF YOU EVER MOCK ME AGAIN I’LL COVER YOU IN OIL AND SET YOU ON FIRE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? YOU’LL BE SO WELL DONE BEELZEBUB IN ACHERON WOULD EVEN FIND YOU BURNT!”
“I know that Acheron is a literary term for ‘hell’ but it is first and foremost one of the rivers of Hades.” Stated Patrick.
“GEHENNA THEN!” Exclaimed Collins, never even turning his head to face Patrick. Thankfully, “Gehenna” was just a name for “hell” in Judaism and the New Testament so Collins did not need to be corrected.
Now it was Elvis’ turn to give a response to Collins. “You can’t threaten me! I am the son of the governor of Ontario!”
“The governor is William Earl Rowe.” Commented Patrick.
“I am his illegitimate son!” corrected Elvis.
“No you're not.” Remarked Patrick, completely deadpan.
“I am his adopted son!” corrected Elvis. Collins did not look convinced. “I am his stepson.” Collins still wasn’t convinced. “I’m his nephew.” Collins was still far from convinced. “Alright, I’m in no way related to William Earl Rowe but I am not going to be threatened by some fat tub of lard!”
“ONLY SIXTY PERCENT OF MY BODY WEIGHT IS FAT!” roared Collins, seriously angered. It used to be fifty percent but he was losing his physical edge. “UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR NECK WRUNG BY A MAN WHO IS FORTY PERCENT MUSCLE YOU WILL SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” Collins and Elvis both turned their heads to find Patrick and Julie gone. The cage holding the father caracal was empty too. “When did they let the cat out and left?”
“I’m guessing around when I was trying to pass myself off as a relation of William Earl Rowe.” Conjectured Elvis.
“Really?” asked Collins. “I thought it would have been when I gave the percentage of my body weight was fat.” They had actually left when Elvis claimed he was William Earl Rowe’s adoptive son. The point went to Elvis.