You've probably heard of the circle of African gods, right? No. Well, a week ago I would have said the same. I would have sworn to the heavens that I knew nothing but contrary to what we think, several gods exists and call it myth or fiction...it's left to you.
Like you, I didn't believe in witches, monsters, angels and other mystic beings either...I knew one prophecy though. The same one burnt into my soul. Mom said the high priestess of the Malicar clan in Egypt read her fortune while she was pregnant with me and told her these words.
On a day, the moon will be red as blood,
The night dark and still,
A soulless child will be born.
Sixteen cold winters shall pass,
And when the child sees her true self,
The messenger of hell will come forth.
Darkness shall consume the earth,
Unless a dying wish is set.
Mom said she never asked what the prophesy meant, she just packed up and returned home. Months after, she went into labor but couldn't give birth. For some reason, I refused to be born.
The family were in Kenya with Dad on one of his research and because they were stuck in a small town on a shitty stormy day, a midwife had to take the delivery. I was born late Sunday night after days of labor, on a day the sky was red and the night was eerie and silent. I didn't cry after I was born and was cold blue so the midwife thought I was dead until she felt for a pulse.
She panicked then hit my butt continuously until I finally made a sound. As she handed me over to Mom, she cried,
"This child is not human and will live a short life.”
Mom spat back at her upset but her words reminded her of the prophecy. In fear, we moved from Mali to Botswana then Namibia.
Actually, we moved because Dad kept going on countless research around Africa.
"Katie, I hope you studied for the test? There will be no makeup test this time." Ms. Hudson's words rang in my ears as I was about to take a Maths test that would determine 30% of my grade. I flashed her my usual awkward smile and she handed me my papers then left.
I guess I haven't introduced myself yet...pardon me.
My name is Katherine Lawson and on my eighth birthday, I was told the prophecy about my death.
I have always hated it and wanted to change it.
When I was nine, I wanted to meet the sisters of fate and threaten them not to cut the thread. At ten, I wanted to meet the devil and struck a deal with him...I read many books but none had a way of summoning him. At twelve, I wanted to kidnap baby Jesus and ask for life as ransom. However, as I grew older, I stopped believing it.
It didn't say how but from Mom's interpretation, I was going to die after seeing my reflection, which was why I was never allowed to look directly into a mirror. Or go near a pool. Everyone seemed to have this fear that a demon would rise and kill me.
I knew I was strange for three reasons...I didn't feel pain, survived an earthquake with just a scratch and sometimes had flashes of hell.
When I was little, my parents were overprotective so I was homeschooled by Mom. She got a job so I attended a high school a stone throw from home. I never went out to visit friends because I had an inexistent social life.
Fortunately, Dad got a job in London and we moved here last spring. I was nervous but ready to make a friend who wasn't my big sister Ruby then Mom brought up the prophecy, again. She was nervous because I was clocking sixteen but Dad refuted her claim. He insisted I attended a normal high school like Ruby, which was how I ended up at Rosé high school taking a Maths quiz.
Least to say, hell let loose on my sixteenth birthday.
I was focused on my test so I didn't notice when the door flew open and someone entered the class. I heard whispers then looked up. A man was talking with Mrs Hudson at her desk but I couldn't see his face because he had his back turned to me. I noticed the girls were acting stranger than their bitchy selves but I didn't want the distraction so I went back to my test. A sudden giggling caught my interest immediately.
Ms. Hudson is laughing?
Ms. Hudson never laughs! I wondered and like everyone else, abandoned calculus and watched the drama instead. After all, our dear Ms. Hudson who had a permanent scowl and cold heart was blushing right in front of us.
"Katherine...your uncle is here for you. It's an emergency." She called out and I was so shocked when the stranger turned his back, I practically drooled.
He was tall, had a pale complexion and two cold eyes that seemed to suck in souls. His long hair was shiny black and neatly packed by a gold ribbon, which was the only odd colour in his total black outfit. When he smiled, his beautiful lips parted and he gave off the aura of a dangerous but sexy hypnotist. His ageless face made him look timeless. I was lost in his Egyptian accent I didn't realise he was calling me. At a tap though, I bolted from my daydream.
"Katie, I was sent to get you," he said and I didn't ask who or why, I just took my backpack and hurried after him, to the envy of the other girls.
"Who are you? Who sent you?" I demanded, snapping out of my trance. We were already out of the school and he seemed frantic. He kept looking sideways like he was expecting something to happen.
"Calm down, Katie. I was sent by.....
Several loud grunts cut him off and before I could blink, two ugly creatures lunged at us with sharp pointed fingers. They had hairs all over their body and two small eyes that sank deep into their head.
Yeah, you read it right.
They were Siamese demon twins.
I screamed in fear, immobile as a hand headed for me but in a swift, a sword appeared out of air and sliced it off. The demons shrilled in unison, saw the stranger with the sword and went for him instead. He fought them off for long then finally cut off their head. It fell off easily and turned into worms that crawled away quickly into the pipes. I threw up instantly.
"Katie, are you okay?" He asked.
"W-what was that?!"
"A Negrocer. They're twins who live in the first hell. The fact they're here means the gate of hell is open. We have to go now."
"Go where? I'm not taking a step until you tell me what the hell is going on here. I need answers."
I needed answers and he gave them.
His name was Anubis and he was the guardian of the underworld. He was sent by the circle of gods to get me because apparently, Lucifer was coming back for his gift.
Seventeen years ago, a woman said a prayer at a temple in Egypt and the devil answered. He saved her child and gave the child a gift. A fragment of hell and its powers. He didn't know this and when he did, he was already locked up in hell for messing with the wheel of life. That woman was my mom and the child was me. Anubis said that the circle believed that the devil wanted the powers and he would kill me to get it. They wanted to protect me in the temple of life, which was in the pyramids in Egypt, but we had to be there before midnight.
"We are in London, Anubis. Egypt is on the other side of the world. How do we get there in time?" I panicked. I guess knowing the prophecy about me dying was true and Lucifer after me, made me desperate to live.
"The big Ben is a pathway to the pyramids. We can travel through the space to Egypt."
He saw the befuddled look on my face and told me there were portals in all the famous features in the world that people with magic travel through. Witches, sorcerers, magicians, monsters etc. lived amongst humans but only those who still believe in magic can see them. the magic world exist behind the veil so few people ever see beyond it. I was only able to see him because I had the mark of death.
For our trip to the big ben, we had to make plans. Since I knew nothing about how to get around London, he consulted the best guide...a map. I live on the other side across the river Thames so we took a boat. We ran to the nearest deck and arrived there, panting and out of breath.
Well, I was. Anubis didn't looked like he ran a lap. He still looked composed and prim in his jetblack suit.
We rented a boat and he paid for it...actually I think he said something to the guy then they shared a handshake.
“We should be safe now. Water is out of bounds," he said.
But when we were halfway across, heavy current slammed against the boat. I ran to him and before he even asked me to hold on, I was already clinging to his waist. As the waves continued to hit the boat with force, it rocked sideways and slammed us into each other. Anubis tried futilely to steer it but it was like a mere mortal fighting against the gods. We argued at first then agreed on jumping.
Good news...we jumped before the boat capsized. Bad news...I couldn't swim. I was practically drowning when he noticed and had to swim to the shore with me.
"You said the water was out of bounds? Something almost killed us back there!" I lashed out.
“Yemoja has never sided with anyone before. She and Osun has always been neutral."
“Well, Yemoja has taken a side now. We are staying out of the water. I don't intend to die by drowning."
He agreed then pondered how the goddess had seen me. I knew how but said nothing. Mom didn't tell me the prophecy initially instead she gave me a list of don't.
Don't go near the water.
Don't look in the mirror.
Don't take off your cross.
I learnt them by heart and followed them strictly but before Yemoja showed up, I was staring at my reflection in the water. That was probably how she saw me.
According to whoever Mom learnt sorcery from, as long as I stayed away from waters and mirrors, no one would see me. It was just noon and I had already broken the first rule. Anubis suggested we shopped for clothes since we were soaked like wet dogs, I couldnt agree more. We picked out few items at a store and I was excited I got to choose my own wears for the first time. Mom never let me. I changed into a pair of jeans, shirt and sneakers while he came out in the same jet-black suit as before.
“What!" He asked sheepishly and I couldn't help but laugh. He brought out something from his pocket then gave me. It was a necklace with a dark rose pendant. He called it the rose of death and told me to wear it always for protection. Because I couldn't use a mirror, he wore it around my neck. The feeling of numbness in my legs was all I felt as his cold breath graced my ears. Im in love. I blushed.
“Oh geez, I forgot! Mom will be so freaked out. I need to call her." I suddenly remembered then sprang up to get my phone only to realise I left it in class.
"I called her already. You know, she really loves you, Katie."
“Yeah. I'm alive because of her. Sometimes my family gets on my nerves when they are overprotective but I guess that's how families are.
A, do you have a family?”
“Not in human sense. I am a gatekeeper in the underworld. I guide dead souls to the afterlife.
“You must feel lonely then. Alone in the dark just guiding souls across. I know how it feels. The prophecy ruined my childhood which is why I hope to change it."
"Fate can be denied but never changed. Humans have always believed they can fight their destinies...they think too highly of themselves. Get some rest, Katie."
Although I wanted to argue that I was ready to fight even the twelve Olympians to change my fate or travel to Tartarus, I fell asleep instead.
"Katherine, wake up! Look around, child of darkness...it's time to claim your powers." I heard a strange beautiful voice and opened my eyes.
I noticed I wasn't in the taxi but a garden filled with red roses. An ageless woman with a beauty only meant for goddesses smiled at me then repeated the words. I grumbled and asked for Anubis instead but she cackled menacingly. Wrinkles appeared on her face as she shrieked 'Liars' and chanted trancelike of the end of Lucifer. I stared at her confusedly and one minute she was there smiling and the next, a senile woman lunged at me with frail hands.
I shrieked and when skeletons began to rise from the earth, I jolted up. I was back in the taxi with Anubis.
“A crazy lady just tried to kill me." I told him and he didn't look surprised. He told me the closer we got to the portal the stronger the monsters would be able to sense me. I asked about the powers she mentioned and he said it was better I didn't mess with them because powers like that came at a deadly price. I knew he was right but I didn't believe him. Unknown to him, I could feel the dark energy in me increasing each minute.
“Katherine, there is something you should know."
It turned out Anubis told me the story but hid two lines. The fact I was the gift from hell and there was a bounty on me which was why monsters were after us.
The taxi abruptly stopped and when we stepped out, hundred ugly looking creatures with antennas, giant eyes and scorpion tails surrounded us. Anubis clutched his sword but he couldn't fight them all. They were stronger and hard to kill than the first. I noticed he was outnumbered and tried to help but a tail smacked me away. Please help me, I whispered. Then suddenly, I began to feel different as a surge of power flowed through me. I shrieked, and thousands of the undead rose from hell. They attacked the monsters and we escaped. Anubis forgot to add that I had the power to summon the dead but I somehow felt it.
“We are out of time, Katie. Do you have enough energy left to summon something?" He managed. He was bleeding and getting weaker by the moment.
“Like the chariot of hell?" I teased.
That was how I lent Hade's horses without permission and ended up on his bad side, not that he ever liked me anyway. We space travelled in a minute and arrived Egypt after sunset. I grumbled about why he never mentioned the chariot in the first place but quickly forgave him.
We finally made it to the temple but it was empty. Anubis had no reply to why the gods weren't there and I couldn't believe I missed school, almost drowned, travelled half the earth just to find them but they were missing. I may have lashed, pleaded and screamed for the gods for hours but nothing happened.
Finally, a man in a white robe appeared out of thin air but I wasn't stunned…I was already used to stranger things. The stranger looked devilishly handsome with his fiery white hair and playful grin. Something seemed familiar about him.
“Nice to see you again. It's time you regain your memories." He said then snapped his fingers.
I had flashes of first day in midschool when some bullies pushed me into the school pool and I drowned. I was losing consciousness when a hand pulled me out. I never saw the face of my hero but I could now. He had the same grin as the stranger in robe.
“You saved me. But why?"
“You know why Katie. You've already experienced the power. I don't want you dead like the circle said. They lied to you."
I never knew Lucifer was such a charmer until I met him. He talked big about how we could rule the world and claim all the powers and wealth together but I wasn't interested. I told him I only wanted to live. He promised me immortality, fame and power but I still turned him down. He stopped being nice and swapped his robe for a suit.
I offered to trade the mark for a normal life but he was against it.
“You will feel pains, grow old and even die." he argued.
“I know. They are parts of being human."
"As you wish, child."
Finally, we struck a deal. With a kiss to my forehead, he took his gift back, the same way he had given it. I bade Anubis goodbye and rode the chariot back to London.
“The prophecy was a hoax. I knew it! Ruby fumed when I didn't die at midnight. She nagged on with her questions so I wished she would stop talking. When she actually went dumb and couldn't speak...I grinned.