• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 07


The slim, moonlight dappled cats slip like shadows through the darkness, about their secret business while the daylight world sleeps. Fat, old drop footed Taia in the kitchens throws things at them but the cats belong to Bastet; Taia has been in the family since she was my age, or even younger. Hard to believe she was ever a girl – a slave and daughter of slaves, but the cats are free and go where they will.

I watch them, wide awake and thinking about my future, the ink still drying on the marriage contract. My sisters tease me, saying that the Goddess of Beauty must have been looking the other way when she bestowed her blessings and why would anyone want to marry me? They have no more sense than the sacred temple geese that cackle and hiss with nothing important to say. I have met my intended only once before and he struck me as dull as floodwater mud – a pleasant enough smile and easy on the eye, but not much intelligence. Perhaps love will come later…once we get used to each other.

Rising from my couch, the fine linen gown whispers encouragement – a few dabs of myrrh, lily and cinnamon perfume from mother’s alabaster flask as I twist my hair back with a gold clasp and fasten her amulet around my neck. The rest of the household sleeps, cradled in the arms of Nut, Goddess of the Night Sky. Only the cats watch me slip out into the courtyard, relishing the warm, scented air. They go where they will and so do I, all thoughts of my wedding day forgotten. Hopefully, our married life will be long and happy but for now, I do not want to think of him. For now, the night is mine and that is enough.