That night, Suzy sat alone in her room with McBayers' Little Book of Deities open in front of her. She had read through the whole thing now, and still found nothing about divine gifts or talking to gods. In thePraying and Offerings section, they didn't even mention responses once. There were tips on how to make sure your prayers were answered, but nothing about actual answers. She closed the book and looked down at Cuddles, who was resting besider her bed with the slightly tense posture of a guard dog. He looked back up at her, and his jaw opened a little. Suzy figured his tongue would be out, if he had one. Cuddles was definetely real too. Both her parents and Jessie could see and touch him. Her parents still kept a safe distance from him, but Jessie could pet him just fine. After giving her a good sniff, Cuddles had let Jessie scratch him to her heart's content and even rolled over to expose his belly.
"What do you think, Cuddles?" Suzy asked, patting the top of his head. He let out a contented bark that sounded etheral, as if it was a distant echo.
"I guess you don't know, huh?" She said to the dog. She felt like she could get used to talking to him. She considered asking Anubis about it. Would he respond again if she called? She knew he said to ask if there was anything, but apparently no one else got responses from their deities. She opened her book again and flipped to the section titled From Pyramids to the populace: Egyptian Gods. In the notes there she read that Egyptian gods were often given offerings of meat, while incense was burned to please them. If she wanted to talk to Anubis again, she figured this was her best bet. She ran downstairs to the fridge, hound in tow. He cocked his head at her while she took out some leftovers and put them on the fancy china that her mother normally reserved for special guests. As she returned to her room and set the plate on the floor, she noticed the scented candle her aunt had given her.
She lit the candle and glaced over at the Prayer Suggestions page before sitting down in front of the plate and taking a deep breath.
"O great and mighty Anubis who rules over the afterlife, hear my prayer.Can we please talk?"
The ground shook. The lights in Suzy's room flickered and went out. The flame burned brighter and began to float above the candle before transforming into Anubis again. Suzy thought he seemed slightly larger this time. The tips of his jackal ears grazed the ceiling.
HELLO AGAIN, SUZY OF HOUSE MILLER.
He looked down at the plate of reheated meat and vegetables.
WHAT IS THIS?
"I heard it's polite to offer meat and food when praying to a god. All I have right now is Mom's leftover beef heart, I hope it's good enough."
He seemed to stop and take in the smell.
YOUR GIFTS ARE ACCEPTED BY ANUBIS. MAY BLESSINGS BE UPON YOU.
Anubis sat down cross-legged in front of her, and began to pick pieces of meat up off the plate. Suzy felt like it was the most dignified way she'd ever seen someone eat with their hands before. He was strange to look directly at, it played tricks on the eyes. He had a sort of fuzziness about him, as if he wasn't really there. Suzy gazed at him even more. Finally, she spoke up.
"If you don't mind, could I ask a few questions?"
SPEAK SUZY, AND I SHALL ANSWER AS MUCH AS I AM ALLOWED.
Even though the hand bringing food up to his mouth did not slow down one bit, his voice rang out as booming and clear as ever. Suzy pressed forwards.
"Why are people so scared of you? Everyone in my school got surprised when I said I talked to you, even the teacher. Did you do something bad?"
WHAT DO YOU KNOW OF MY NATURE? This felt like a genuine question and not condemnation, but it was sometimes hard to tell with Anubis' voice.
"I read that you lead souls into the afterlife, and do something with their heart."
AFTER THEY HAVE DIED, I TAKE THE SOULS OF MAN AND WEIGH THEM AGAINST A FEATHER. IF THEIR SINFUL DEEDS ARE TOO GREAT, THEY ARE DEVOURED BY AMMIT. PEOPLE FEAR THAT IF THEY ANGER ME THEY WILL SURELY MEET A TERRIBLE END AFTER DEATH.
Suzy nodded. "People were scared of Cuddles too, but he wouldn't hurt a fly."
Anubis said nothing, but seemed to agree with her.
"Why don't people talk with their gods more often?
ARE WE NOT TALKING NOW?
"I know, but it seems like no one else talks to their gods. They pray to them, but it doesn't seem they ever respond."
Anubis sat in silence for a moment.
THEY PROBABLY HAVE TOO MUCH TO DO.
"Isn't guiding souls to the underworld a busy job?"
THERE ARE MANY OTHERS WHO HANDLE THE DEAD. HADES, THE VALKYRIES, THE LORDS OF XIBALBA. HOWEVER, ANSWERING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE MUST BE TOO MUCH WORK FOR ONE.
Suzy thought for amoment. "Then how come you answer me?"
MORTALS THAT THE GODS FAVOR WILL OFTEN GET ANSWERS IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER.
"One more question, if I could."
SPEAK, SUZY OFHOUSE MILLER.
"No one believed Cuddles was real, except for the people that saw him. Don't people normally get gifts and blessings from their gods?"
SOME GODS BESTOW BLESSINGS ON THEIR MOST DEVOUT FOLLOWERS.
"But when you gave me Cuddles we had just met. There must've been someone more faithful before then."
Anubis shhok his head, and Suzy could swear his ears were drooping ever so slightly.
THERE ARE NOT MANY WHO WOULD PUT THEIR FAITH IN A GOD OF DEATH. FEWER STILL ARE THOSE WHO ASK ONE FOR GIFTS.
Suzy pondered this for a moment.
"How manyfollowers do you have then?"
Anubis gazed at her and held up a single finger.
"I'm your only follower?"
YES, SUZY OF HOUSE MILLER. YOU ARE THE FIRST ONE TO INVOKE ME AND BELIEVE IN ME FOR MANY YEARS.
"That doesn't seem fair."
LIFE IS NOT FAIR. DEATH IS FAIR.
"Wait, if I'm your only worshipper, what does that make me?"
YOU ARE MY HIGH PRIESTESS, OF COURSE. THE ONE TO LEAD ALL THOSE WHO MIGHT FOLLOW ME.
Suzy pondered fora moment. It sounded difficult, she'd never been good at helping other people out. Then again, it's not like anyone else could do it. And Anubis was all alone if she didn't do it.
"I'll do my best", she said. Anubis seemed pleased.
VERY WELL, SUZY OFHOUSE MILLER. YOU MAY SUMMON ME IF YOU NEED ME AGAIN.
"You can just call me Suzy, if it's easier. I hope you liked the heart."
I HAVE NOT BEEN SERVED AN OFFERING THIS FINE IN OVER A CENTURY. THANK YOU, SUZY.
Anubis vanished in a wash of fire, like how he entered. In the blink of an eye, he was gone. The plate sat on the floor, seemingly untouched. Suzy picked up a piece and tossed it to Cuddles, who snapped at it midair. It soared through his open mouth and landed at his feet. He looked at it sadly. As Suzy got ready for bed, she decided that she'd have to learn more in the morning. She tucked herself in and Cuddles sat down on the foot of the bed. He yawned and curled up as she turned off the lights.
"Goodninght Cuddles", she mumbled. "Goodnight, Anubis."
YOU ARE READING
Suzy of the house MillerAdventure
In a world where all the gods of myth and legend are real, 8 year old Suzy Miller's having some trouble finding the deity that'll answer her prayers. When she finally discovers her god, it's not what she expected.