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This king flies away from you

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Open are the double doors of the horizon/ Unlocked are its bolts

He reached his hand out in the hot darkness and she leaned toward him. “Husband,” she murmured, her night dark lips barely moving. “Husband, when will we build the city for Aten?”

He looked at her, her clever eyes, her noble jaw, the wide curve of her forehead, the deep and solemn bow of her mouth. He looked at her. “You should be my sun, beauty. But he is my sun, my Aten Ra.”

She ran one hand over his jaw, the bridge of his nose, his cheeks, smeared the kohl around his eyes. “Let me be your fertile Nile.” She smoothed her hands over his naked and aching collarbones, his deeply scarred chest, the pouch of his belly, his strong arms and wrists. “When I see this king … dawning as a soul …” she whispered, “I know that we will spend eternity together whether buried in the hard ground, staggering among the constellations, or reigning in the ka of Aten.” She touched his chest reverently. “I know you are a king because his light lives within you.”

He ducked his head down, using shyness as an excuse to kiss her breasts. He ignored the pain of the sharp metal digging into his sides, the heavy painful dirty pressure in his chest.  The familiar taste of honey, lotus, and oil on her skin soothed him, chased away the acrid tang of smoke.

“Ahmad Akhnaten Aten my love my sun my pharaoh,” she chanted softly. He licked a slow circle around one nipple, nosing her heavy necklace aside to get closer to her smooth, dark skin as her voice trembled and hitched. The light blinded him.

“Men fall and their name is not. Seize thou this king by his arm, take this king to the sky, that he not die on earth among men,” she sang softly. There was a sudden invisible light, sharp and hot, and a beating of great wings in the sky above them.

The horizon shimmered in the heat, waves of golden light like a frame around the desert. “What the hell is going on,” Tony muttered through cracked lips. “I must’ve hit my head.”

“Just hold on, Tony,” urged a familiar voice. “Just hold on.” Strong arms embraced him, pulling him away.

“My love,” she whispered, pulling at him. “What’s wrong?” He turned back to her, buried himself in her flesh, warm and alive and always.

“Just hold me,” he said. “The old ways are wrong. I served many gods and they were all false. I was wrong. I’m trying to change, be a better man.” His voice broke off. Even here, lying in her arms, he could feel the hot sand between his fingers, grains chasing over his skin as he ran burned and blistered fingers through her braids.

“I know, my love. We will change the world,” she replied confidently. “But, my love, do you remember how you got here?”

A metal face looked up at him in the sand, like the skulls of all the dead and forgotten pharaohs, broken and burning bones all around him, the coffin split open and splintered and all of the treasure laid bare.  He swallowed, his throat suddenly dry and scorched, but she covered his eyes with her cool fingers, encouraged him to turn so that the heavy limestone blocks on his chest were eased. She said, “Remember the lullaby we sang to Meritaten and Meketaten and Ankhesenpaaten when they were tiny girls?”

There was no love greater than the parent-love that suddenly seized his entire body and closed his throat. He could only nod silently in the dark and smoky air. She sang softly. “He flies who flies, this king flies away from you, mortals. He is not of the earth, He is of the sky. He flaps his wings like a zeret bird. He goes to the sky. He goes to the sky. On the wind.” Around him, the sand swept in circular waves, particles flying up to sting him.

“I’m afraid,” he said. “If I deprive the priests of Amun of their gold I know they’ll be angry,” he whispered his weakness only into her ear. “I know they’ll destroy my name, destroy my statues, erase us.” She nodded.

“You must be strong,” she said firmly. “They can only erase us if we don’t change the world. And, my love, a king must be strong and fearless.”

“That’s not me. I’m a man,” he said.

She ran her finger along his jaw, fading into smoke, and said, “Don’t waste your life.”