Recreated (Reawakened #2) - Colleen Houck


An Ancient Egyptian Love Poem

Lost! Lost! Lost! O lost my love to me!

He passes by my house, nor turns his head,

I deck myself with care; he does not see.

He loves me not.

Would God that I were dead!

God! God! God! O Amun, great of might!

My sacrifice and prayers, are they in vain?

I offer to thee all that can delight,

Hear thou my cry and bring my love again.

Sweet, sweet, sweet as honey in my mouth,

His kisses on my lips, my breast, my hair;

But now my heart is as the sun-scorched South,

Where lie the fields deserted, grey and bare.

Come! Come! Come! And kiss me when I die,

For life, compelling life, is in thy breath;

And at that kiss, though in the tomb I lie,

I will arise and break the bands of Death.

How could I have done something so foolish? Amon thought. Leaving the safety of the afterlife for the uncertainty of the netherworld had been a bad decision, a dangerous one. But Amon had felt as if there were no other option. Besides, death was what he sought, though admittedly he would have preferred a gentler one.

As he wandered the stone path leading to, he hoped, a temporary refuge, Amon wondered what form death would take. Would he be swallowed up by a monster that would slowly digest him over centuries? Would he be flayed alive by a creature whose expertise was in making a man suffer? The best case he could think of would be death by venom. The netherworld was full of venomous creatures bent on the destruction of those who wandered into their nests.

Even though Amon courted death, he didn’t wish to succumb to it just yet. Lily had only recently returned to her mortal life, and it would be years before there was even a remote chance that he could be with her again. Amon had promised to meet her in the afterlife. Exactly how he would accomplish that now he didn’t know, but he had decades to figure something out. The truth was, even if he hadn’t met Lily and fallen in love with her, he still would have given up his calling. It had been so many years. Too many. And death wasn’t the worst thing he could imagine.

His brief sojourns into the realm of mortals were no longer enough. If he had reunited with his brothers before the judging, they would have known what he was up to, would have talked him out of it. That was why he leapt before he saw them again. He wanted more. He needed more than just a pale shadow of a life.

So he had forsaken his duty. Forsaken his brothers. And now he’d forsaken the gods themselves. There would be a reckoning, but he didn’t care. Lily was the only remaining tether linking him to the path he walked. The only reason he didn’t give himself over to the next plane of existence. Wherever that might be. So, he fought to bide his time as he waited.

As the days passed, he tore asunder every gnarled and frightening beast of the netherworld that challenged him. Some came at him because he was reckless. Some, he suspected, were sent as punishment from the gods. Others were drawn to his melancholy state. The brief moments of respite he earned were too short. No matter where he went or how evasive he was, the demons always found him.

Though he’d left his mortal body behind, his wandering soul still felt the pangs of the flesh. Fortunately his needs were markedly less than they were in the human world. When Amon thirsted, he begged the spirits who lived in the trees for gifts. When Amon hungered, he stole provisions from the stores of the creatures he slaughtered, and, occasionally, if nothing could be found and the pains of his empty stomach became overwhelming, he roasted the bodies of the beasts he’d slain.

When he was utterly exhausted from the terrors he’d brought upon himself, and he was relatively safe, Amon slept. It was always brief. Always fitful. Dreaming was the only happiness he felt in his otherwise horrifying existence.

The worst part about wandering the netherworld wasn’t the endless barrage of monsters or dangers that threatened a second and permanent death. It wasn’t the separation from his brothers, his constant companions for thousands of years. It wasn’t even the loss of purpose he felt, the absence of self-assurance he’d always possessed, or the knowledge that he had a place in the cosmos, one he was if