Chapter Twelve: Outcast
The Eastern Desert, Egypt- 2200 BC
The summer morning peeked across the Pharaoh’s lands. The winds howled like wolves in the night. Grains of sand were stripped into the air and carried away to a destination not yet revealed. Creatures lurked from underneath the barren valley emerging their heads and roaming the desert floor, anticipating what their day would succumb to.
Upon the vast bare distance of this sandy valley, everything had a purpose. Even a being that resided in a small tent resting in isolation. Waking up on his normal hour, a tall, tan, muscular man with short dark hair, brown eyes and a vexed expression exited from his makeshift home. Stretching, he looked up at the sky and basked in the sun. His scarred body soaked in the rays as his worn and tattered clothing rippled in the desert breeze. The sands slowly engulfed his feet feeling the warmth radiating throughout his body. Breathing in the crisp morning air, any thought of civilization he once knew escaped him. Alone and content, he enjoyed his seclusion.
Grabbing his cloak and staff, he prepared to travel to the outskirts of Memphis were he would walk amongst the common folk. He needed to gather essentials in order to maintain his survival. Taking on a human form was harder than anticipated for the god, but necessary. If he remained to be hidden, the only way was to be the one thing god’s feared most, powerless. For himself, this was unfamiliar and uneasy feeling to endure, but he did so for his own safety.
Hiking into the desert, he began taking his daily stroll as he always has. Now appreciating the little things that never once crossed his mind; being in tune with the earth and the life that it processes brought him the peace he never thought he would receive. Instead of causing immense chaos that he has inflicted during his time on earth, he decided to go against his very nature and embrace enlightenment. For that alone, it has also made him redeemable in his own eyes.
Barely peeking high noon, he finally arrived at his destination. Pulling his hood down, he entered the city treading with caution. Stands selling a variety of items and sustenance was scattered throughout the streets of Memphis. It was packed, loud and fast-paced. People yelled over one another for what they needed. Everything was being flung in the air to appease the ravenous customers who each were in dire need of something they offered. Merchants even took to the streets trying to tempt folks with purchasing their goods, and others tried swindling oblivious commoners. If you blinked merely for a second, you could quickly be stripped of your possessions, never to be found again.
He loathed every second within this place. He always understood the nature of how humanity worked and the lengths they take to ensure their livelihood. Since their creation, he never truly watched them, but since he stepped back and looked at the world from a bigger perspective, he never quite got why they would turn on each other. Such mindsets they’ve adapted and revolutionized baffled the god. How could humanity plummet this far? He knew the gods could be ravenous and heartless for their own causes. Humanity, though, was different in the god’s eyes. Each has burdens to carry, families to feed, and battles of mortality to fight. There was more on their shoulders than any god had the privilege to handle. All this knowledge of one another tucked within their minds, and in the end, still, they choose to ignore such things.
He knew his judgment was misplaced. The god who scorned other gods was last to utter about betrayal and treachery. He knew he was no better for the past indiscretions committed, but he also thought humanity could have been wiser than the gods, including … himself. Pondering, he wished to stray away from such displeasing acts, but he knew to be human, he had to adapt to this way of life and thinking, and so, he did.
Making his way through the large crowd, he came upon a stand that sold fruit and vegetables. Eyeing the place intently, he began brainstorming. He had no money to afford such luxuries. Things like currency have never been an issue for a god. Even though money may not have been in his possession, what he did have was his chaotic nature that follows him like a shadow.
“Oops,” a whiny voice broke through his concentration. Looking down, he spotted a ball made of papyrus plants in between his feet.
“My apologies,” the little girl said with sincerity.
Picking it up, he looked at the child, who waited patiently for her ball. “May I use this?” he asked her.
Nodding innocently, she gave him permission to use her toy. Looking back at the stand, he noticed a flaw within its legs design. One seemed to be shorter than the rest and easily flimsy. The god knew if he wanted dinner, this leg would be his best chance for a meal.
Winding his arm up, he threw the ball with tremendous speed and force. Splitting the stand’s leg in two, it toppled over, scattering food in several directions. The hungry god took various assortments from the ground and tucked them underneath his cloak for safekeeping. Turning to the child, he noticed her ball in shambles. Smiling faintly at the generous girl, he handed her a few pieces of leeks for payment before leaving her sight.
Disappearing back into the crowd, he continued further in to see what other options were considered. Coming up upon the heart of Memphis, he was stopped by an old blind man. The peasant leaned against a wall and had nothing to his name but a mere cloth around his waist. He looked as if he hasn’t bathed in quite a while.
“I beg of you,” the man pleaded. “Spare what coin you can.”
“I have nothing to spare, for I do not have any of my own,” the god told him.
Seeming defeated, the man put his hand down and whimpered under his breath. Wanting to continue, something halted him. Maybe it was his newfound humanity or perhaps he felt for the old man. Whatever the reason may have been, he could not leave just yet. Looking down and grabbing an apple from his cloak, he gently placed it in the gentleman’s hands.
Feeling the item that was given to him, he smiled up at the stranger. “I am humbly grateful. You are kind.”
Grunting at that word, he dismissed the man’s compliment. “I am no means kind.”
Before walking away, the blind fellow spoke wisdom toward the god. “I have seen many things during my time in this harsh world. Before my eyes deceived me, I saw many truths about the human soul. What acts you have committed in the past does not define now. Mistakes are what all righteous men make, but we grow into better men. You may not see as I, but you are.”
Looking away in shame, he countered the blind man. “You know not of me. Your words, endearing as they seem, are false. I am by no means of the sort. The acts I have committed … no god or human could forgive. No matter the tremendous good I display.”
“Have faith in yourself,” he interrupted. Catching the god off guard, he became speechless. “Sitting here upon the ground covered in my filth,” he continued, “You see to appreciate the time and the life you spend. I am grateful for your company you have provided and the food you handed me even when you could have chosen differently. For someone to treat any such as I with a shred of decency? It is not of bad blood. It is not of evil or hate. Those with hearts are worthy of anything, even the forgiveness you seek.”
“You are a kind fool,” the god bluntly blurted out. Appreciating his words, he rested his hand on the stranger’s shoulder and gave him an extra apple before speaking again. “May Anubis judge you mercifully as you are merciful to others.”
Leaving the gentleman’s side, their brief encounter sparked both hope and ill forgotten regret within the god. Deciding he’s had enough of today, he made his way out of the city and into the desert. He replayed the words that captured him so intensely. Can someone who’s done such torturous acts be forgiven? Could he truly be accepted back for what he has done? Even if he couldn’t accept his own self?