The Story of Hathor & Dayo:
I’m in love. I’m in love with this woman. I’m in love with this place. But I can’t stay here. If it were up to Hathor, I would spend all my nights and days in her opulent palace bedroom with the river dancing just beyond her balcony. This land is beautiful. The sun shines here like it was born to rise on these sands. The towering palace, the looming statues that watch our every move, the lush courtyards, and the grandiose triangle peaks of linked energy fields screamed of a dynasty whose future would live it the shadows of an earlier glory. Yes, I’ve found the portal alright – a gateway to a past my world didn’t know it had. These people are more advanced than my world. Their ways seem like magic but they’ve truly just mastered physics in all dimensions. I can’t say I understand it, but it makes sense. Too much sense.
I need to go home.
What would the Agency do if they saw a place like this? I didn’t know and I didn’t want to find out. I won’t tell them. They don’t need to know about this place, they don’t need to know about Hathor, they don’t need to know about us.
Hathor made me a believer.
While I was infatuated with the land’s magic and swept up in passion by its feminine ruler, I was very much aware that this place was not safe for our newfound love. No amount of passion could cloak the danger that lurks here for Hathor at every turn.
"When I press it. she reminds me that her time travel hobby is her gateway."
She is both ruler and goddess in this land. While her people love her, those within the palace walls are hell bent on seeing her demise. I don’t know the language here but the daggers of pure envy and rage that engulf this place are beyond anything I’ve ever sensed. She is revered and loathed. Everyone from the innocuous servant to her bizarre, bedazzled brother is zesty murderers thirsting for blood. I don’t know if she has any friends here. Not knowing the language enables me to see beyond the lure of elegant words. I hear the grated tone of their voice, I hear the hardened swallows when she turns, I witness the piercing beads of angered sweat that run from their temples when she looks away, I see the raised hairs on their arm when she makes a flagrant command. I feel the weight of their clenched fists when she walks away. She, in some ways is immune to the danger that hangs in the air. I, not so much.
“I grew up with this treachery,” she says easily as she lies in my arms. The sun was setting now, and we’d spent all our few hours wholly engaged in one another’s touch. Hathor’s cavalier about danger. When I press it, she reminds me that her time travel hobby is her getaway. Then she suggests another world, another land and off we go.
Hathor and I went to 7 worlds in 7 days and I literally pried myself from her arms to get back to my time.
“Why are you going back?” she asked after our 24 hours of paradise nesting in a secluded tropical island on the red seas of Pluto. I honestly didn’t know. I had nothing to go back to, no one to see. Nothing to look forward, too. But that wasn’t the point. I didn’t want to alarm the agency and one more day away could trigger an inquiry. Hathor wasn’t convinced, neither was I, but we agreed to part.
“When you want to see me,” she said, “just open this,” and she slid a gold watch into my palm.
“I’m always here for you,” she reminded me as she ushered me to the dark corridor that led to the bar where we’d met. Just before I opened the golden door, she kissed my forehead and ebbed into the darkness.
When I returned to the bar on Titan, it’s as if a week hadn’t passed. The revelers were still dancing. Patrons hung their heads low and Del was pushing his way to the door when I entered.
Time hadn’t shifted here. My seven days with Hathor were mere seconds in this world.
“You let her getaway?” Del said, annoyance flashing across his face.
Del pulled the door to the portal open and felt around. But the corridor was gone. The gates were closed. All he could feel was a crush velvet wall. “How’d she vanish out of a closet?” he screamed. A closet? How quickly things changed. I pushed my way through the crowd and Del followed.
Maybe it was all a dream.
My heart wasn’t racing, my gaze was steady. I wasn’t sweating. But the burly man with the X on his chest nodded from his nested chair as I passed by. Hathor’s seat remained empty. This was no dream. Del and I stepped outside. The still night air punctuated my silence. Del couldn’t take it anymore.
“What’d she say?” he asked.
“She didn’t say anything,” I said.
Del squinted his eyes.
“I told her I was looking for portals. She said she knew the way and took me into that closet. Then she vanished,” I said coolly. “There’s a first time for everything,” I joked.
“You thought there was a portal in the closet?” Del asked, his voice ringing with his classic sarcasm.
“I didn’t want her to get away,” I said.
I can’t believe I expected Del to believe me, but he eased up a bit.
“She vanished,” he said, contemplating it all with a flatness in his voice that implied doubt. Then he shook it off. “I guess she’s a magic worker. That or we’ve got some other alien life abilities around here,” he said. He went on to tell me about some other club on a moon in another solar system where it was rumored that the planet’s original inhabitants were invisible. Del always had a story to give legitimacy to the paranormal. I just went with it.
“Maybe we should go there,” I hinted. I’d agree to almost anything to throw off suspicion. But I had such a chill, unreadable attitude anyway, that my tepid reaction seemed normal to Del. It’s the reason I kept this chill demeanor. I stay unreadable.
“Not a bad idea,” Del said, thinking over the trip to the Island with the invisible visitors. But Del was still thinking and I was hoping he’d stop. The night’s moons made the walkway brighter than usual. We walked off to our ship but Del stopped in his tracks.
“Seriously, you want to go find that moon with the invisible people?” he asked.
“Why not, “ I said. Del just looked at me. He knew I wasn’t admitting to something but what could he do about it. “I never thought you were one to chase black unicorns, too,” he said. I laughed it off and headed onto the ship. Del followed.
Yes, I found the ultimate black unicorn.
I was kissed by a goddess.
I wanted to be alone with my thoughts, replay my days of ecstasy with Hathor over and over in my mind, but Del wouldn’t stop talking which made our short flight long and aggravating. He leaped from one tall tale to the next as we travelled the galaxy and I nodded agreeably, trying not to let on to the time lapse, the travels, or the reality that I was intoxicated with regality. I craved the smell of jasmine.
I wanted to take a nap and dream about her. I wasn’t focused. Del’s chatter was keeping me from my fantasies. It was probably a strategy to get me to fess up, but I no longer cared.
“Whatever happened to that botanist with the green curls you dated some years back?”
“Do I ever ask you about your personal life?” I snapped.
“It’s just a question. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Just making conversation.”
“Well find another one,” I said.
Those next few days, I worked in a noncommittal daze of automation. I checked out the list of locations the agency sent us to. I searched, asked the appropriate questions to saucy witnesses. I furrowed my brow with concern when things had gone awry. I pretended to care; I pretended to give a damn about this investigation all the while waiting for my second to escape. Del and I scouted out a space junkyard on the outskirts of a farm town on Pluto the other day. There’s a lot of odd traffic that way. We sifted through tainted metal and rock, waded through puddles of toxic waste and sewage. We lifted boulders and piles of stones looking for who knows what. Del was convinced we’d find a door, a key, a hole or a tunnel. I went along, maintaining a pensive look on my face. But secretly, I was waiting for a moment alone, away from Del when I could open the watch and meet Hathor again.
“You can’t stop thinking about her, can you?” Del said as we stepped out of the puddle of toxic slush.
“Come on, the woman at the bar. She was everything. She got in your head didn’t she? Damn, that woman’s got power. You never fall for anyone. What did she want? You can tell me.”
“She didn’t want anything.”
“Aren’t you curious?”
“About what?” I asked.
“She’s got to know something. I can’t believe she didn’t give you a name. Or were you too hypnotized to ask?
I ignored him.
“She’s not the mission,” I reminded him.
“Can you at least admit she’s hot? This stoic monk thing you have going can’t be 24/7”
We rinsed off in a nearby red pond and my thoughts wondered to Hathor. Aboard the ship, Del pummeled his litany of questions. So much for the silence of space. Thankfully, Del shut down when an unseen comet was headed in our path. But as soon as we dodged it, he went back to his inquiry.
“Do you think the agency is trying to drive us crazy?” Del asked. “I mean you and me on a trip together? They can’t stand either of us and yet we’re on this mission.”
“All we have to do is document what we find,” I said. “If we find a gateway, we find a gateway, but until then, we look.”
“That lady’s got to know something,” Del repeated. “If we found her once, we’ll find her again. If there’s one thing I’ve learned out here on these skyways it’s that seekers are creatures of habit. If she’s got a thing for dark places where pilots hovel, we’ll see her again.
The entire club was enshrouded in encased fireflies. This twinkling light was all to guide patrons through this dark hovel. The music was heavy. The patrons flickered in the darkness. Del said that a race of Mermen and Mermaids sometimes came through on legs before they headed back to sea. This guy and his stories.
“There’s no sea around here,” I balked. “Why would they come here?” I asked. Del shrugged. Always a story, never an answer.
Del and I took a seat. Two lead cups were slammed in front of us.
“They only serve one drink, too,” Del said. I hope you like fermented moss and Saturn ring dust. “Must be a mermaid favorite,” I joked. “I’m gonna look around,” Del said and moved on into the darkness. My eyes were still adjusting to the lack of light when I whiffed the smell of jasmine. A light jingle of an ankle bracelet floated above the moody bass and a soft hand brushed my shoulder.
“You never opened it,” she said. Before I could reply, Hathor slipped her hand in my pocket, grabbed the watch and what little light was dancing in the blackness dissipated.
We were in a forest standing hand in hand between sky high trees.
She wrapped her arms around me as my eyes skirted the shrine of greenery.
“I missed you,” she said.
“I missed you, too. Where are we?”
“Does it matter?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said.
Several men emerged from the trees. They were painted, feathered, and armed. Hathor spoke to them in a language I didn’t know. Another ancient language. We were in the past, but not her past. The men lead us to a courtyard of temples and towering pyramids similar to Hathor’s land. They ushered her through the grounds, past guards to a woman, feathered, jeweled and armed. Two well sized men were fanning her with giant leaves. She was their leader.
“She’s a friend,” Hathor said. Hathor spoke to the women. The woman smiled and Hathor and I were lead to a smaller stone dwelling. We entered alone. She drew the curtain and kissed me.
“How do you like it?” she asked.
The space was neat, clean with turquoise art and pottery. An emblem of a snake was etched in the wall. A hammock was posted at the center.
“I come here to visit. These are my friends. We’re on Earth,” she said. In your time it would be 500, how do you say it, B.C? Aren’t their temples nice? Don’t they remind you of home? My home,” she said kissing me again.
“Hathor, I can’t stomach a human sacrifice.”
“So you’ve heard about them? I thought it would be a surprise,” she said with disappointment freckled on her face.
“How are things at home?” I asked.
“This is home,” she said. “Your home is wherever I am.”
“Is that right?” I said stepping into her gaze. he stepped back, puzzled.
“Don’t question me, Dayo. It’s not becoming of you.”