One minute everything was fine. She was giving a report on linguistic shifts in fifth century English before a group of distinguished professionals from all over the world, and it didn't seem like she was sticking her foot too far down her throat.
The next thing she knew she was bent over before a strange altar, straightening and sorting the offerings left behind by the latest group of worshipers. What a mess they had made! Really! A little respect would be nice, instead of people just showing up to beg her Goddess for favors and wishes.
"Njika?" a small voice asked behind her, and she started, whirling to find her brother behind her, staring down into his deep dark blue eyes as he gazed up at her curiously.
"Njiki!" she exclaimed. "You scared me. What are you doing out here?" She knelt down before him. "I asked you to wait for me in the private part of the temple."
"Why do people come here and leave stuff, njika?" Rain asked, ignoring her question.
"To ask the Goddess for favors and to beg Her to let their loved ones into Her arms."
He blinked at her, trying to reason out her words. "So when we die, the Goddess takes us in her arms?"
She nodded. "If we are good, then She'll hold us in her arms till we're reborn." She tapped her finger on the tip of his nose. "And if we're really good, then She'll embrace us forever."
He considered this a second. "But what if we're bad? What happens to the bad people, like the ones who killed Mother and Father?"
She frowned, gathering her brother up in her arms. "Then She washes Her hands of them, and they are forever lost in the world." She held him tightly a moment longer then leaned back. "So we always have to be good, Rain. Do you understand?"
"Sort of, I think."
"Good." She smiled, standing and holding her hand down to him. "Come now, njiki. We need to go back inside before people see us."
"Why can't people see us, njika? Do they not like us or something?"
"No, it's not that at all. I'm sure many people would like to see us. There aren't many like us anymore, after all. But because of what and who we are, some people might want hurt us, like they did Mother and Father. They don't understand, after all..."
Rachel shook her head, coming back to herself. She glanced around, half amazed that she didn't see Rain sitting beside her and half amazed that no one was staring at her. The man next to her was speaking, congratulating her on a marvelous speech. Apparently, she'd gone on autopilot, finishing her linguistic presentation even when her mind was miles away. Suddenly she was very glad of all the time she'd spent rehearsing in front of her bathroom mirror at home.
What was that anyway? she wondered to herself. Usually that dream only comes at night, when I'm asleep. She collected her papers, said a very distracted farewell to some of her fellow linguists, and boarded the bus headed towards her loft apartment.
She stood outside her door, trying to select the key for her lock as her mind continued trying to work its way around the problem. So it was a goddess she worships, not a god. Hard on the heels of that came the realization She's starting to take over my life.
16 April 2004
Wow... That took a while. I think maybe I'm working on too many projects at once: all my writing (fanfic and original), plus my research into the Sherrilyn Kenyon novels. ~.~
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