A few hours before the sun was due to rise, I threw a leg out from under the covers, hoping to god I would cool off a bit. Kaul was a furnace of hell itself. I guessed it was due to the muscle mass he now carried that he just radiated heat like mad. Rolling away from him, I jerked back at the sight of Anne standing over the bed.

“Jesus, Anne….”

“It is so odd that you choose to say that name,” referring to Jesus.

“What are you doing?”

“Waiting for you to wake.”

“And you couldn’t do it in the living room?”

“I cannot see that far, mother.”

Sighing, I sat up. “What’s wrong?”


Kaul pulled the covers over his head.

I refrained from elbowing him. “Okay…then why are you here?”

She tilted her head. “You gave birth to me.”

I should know better by now. “No. Well, yes, but…” Waving a hand, I started over. “Why were you waiting for me to wake up?”

“It is dangerous in Duat, the underworld, and so I wanted to give you this.” From her dress front pocket, she retrieved a small envelope. “But you have to eat it.”

“Why do I have to eat it?”

“Because you cannot take it with you.”

She placed the envelope in my lap. “Anne, as tempting it is to eat paper…I don’t see how this will help. And… it’s paper.”

“You said it was tempting.”

“I was being facetious.”

Anne ran a hand down her tawny braids. “You are confusing, mother. The point is, is that the dead must be protected before they enter, and this will help. You also require trinkets to ward off evil.”

“And how, do you know this?”

“Father showed me the internet. It is a fascinating device that is full of lies, and very little truth, but I was able to ascertain fact from fiction. You and father have twelve hours to go through twelve gates that harbor monsters beyond anything you have seen before. These aren’t giants that Thor can simply kill with his hammer. They are creative creatures…”

“You underestimate the giants,” Kaul said from under the covers.

“No, they underestimate themselves, but you are pulling away from the conversation and adding little. You should not do that.”

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