TITLE: SONG FOR THE DROWNED
GENRE: Adult Historical
There is a moment of confusion upon waking when you do not know where or who you are. In such moments, far-off thoughts rise to consciousness like a river spiting up a Senet game piece from a set once loved but long lost and forgotten.
The thought I have now is of Herodotus. He wrote that the ancient Egyptians loved their cats so much that if their homes were burning, the men would sacrifice themselves to save them. People say that Herodotus was the world’s first historian. I say he was a fool. Women do the sacrificing, not men.
Yet, when I study my sister with her eyes outlined in a layer of kohl as thick as her black hair, oiled now and set loose down the length of her back, I think Hikmat aims to test the theory. Would men rush into a burning fire to save her?
If she carried an ankh, I might have mistaken her for Bast, the cat goddess. For the tiniest of instances in those confusing moments, I do.
But then the room comes into focus behind her. The repulsive walls of poured cement, painted the shade of watery urine are chipped in spots and stained in others. The always-closed, ever-small window to the outside world is still there, still positioned much too far from my reach lest I somehow span the distance from my bed to it, unaided, and then proceed to fall out, a monstrous three cubits to the muddy ground below.