Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams
(A Short Story and a Verbal Caricature – by Shafali The Caricaturist)
The Year: 2020 A. D.
Brice checked the machine once again. Everything appeared to be in order – but Brice wanted to be sure. On his last trip into the past, his time machine had developed some sort of engine trouble, and it had delayed his arrival back. Technically you could never be late in arriving back into your time as you could program the machine to bring you back as soon as you had departed – but when you spend 2 years of your time in the World War II Europe, trying to fix your machine, you age. Those worry-lines on Brice’s forehead weren’t there when he had walked into the time travel machine for that last trip!
So after Brice had ensured that the machine was in good shape, he stepped into it, set the time dial to 5:30 PM, July 1725 BC, and typed in the longitude and latitude of the place of his dreams. It was time of inundation; it was the time when the androgynous goddess of fertility Hapi rode the Nile and made the land fertile; it was also the time that he had been dreaming of, every night of the last three months – it was the time of Amunet!
The door closed behind Brice. It would take the machine about 3 minutes to reach its destination. Brice closed his eyes and memories from his dreams rushed to fill his mind. The beautiful almond eyes outlined with kohl, the full red lips, and the dewy freshness of her skin – the way he had been seeing Amunet all these months. He also saw the banks of the swollen Nile; and he almost felt the happiness that came with the flooding of the Nile. Brice was a time travel scientist, he wasn’t a historian; but that girl in his dreams made him spend hours of his time researching not time-travel, but the history Ancient Egypt. She had become his obsession, and he had to find her – and if he really did, he might even stay back in time…Love makes you do strange things.
A sharp beep told him that the time machine had arrived into the past, at his destination – the City of Thebes on the eastern bank of the river Nile. Everything was as he had visualized…except the landscape. What were they? Broken Chariot wheels?! The Hyksos had brought the chariots to Egypt, and they hadn’t arrived until 1700 BC! Something wasn’t right – but then everything else wasn’t a lot different from what he had seen in his dreams! He hid his time machine, and looked around…if Amunet were there he’d see her because nobody else could be as beautiful!
And then he saw her…on the steps of the ruins. The steps, on which she sat, looked like they belonged to the beautiful fountain that he saw in his dreams. It was the same place – and there she was – the same almond-shaped eyes, the same sideways glance…but she looked different with all that makeup! And her jewelry was mostly blue…Lapis Lazuli. He looked again. She sat there laughing, talking to drunken men, who’d pay her and then stagger over to one of the younger girls and…Brice could watch no more. He turned and ran, trying not to vomit – the girl who he had seen in his dreams was now the much older harlot who sat on those steps – she and all the other girls, wore the blue Lapis Lazuli stone on their foreheads or in their hair – he had read in the history text s that the law in Ancient Egypt required that the harlots announced their calling to everyone by wearing the blue stone on their foreheads.
Brice ran across the fields towards his time machine. He couldn’t understand it at all. What went wrong? And then it occurred to him…the history books that he had read during his research and based his calculations on – were wrong! They were at least 25 years off the mark!
The time machine was still there. Brice thanked his stars, climbed into it, and reset the dials! He was going back to his home in the time-space – never to return!
The Year: 2025 A. D.
After his Egyptian fiasco five years ago, Brice decided to junk his job as a time-travel scientist and decided to become a computer programmer instead. Now he programs computer applications that drive people nuts by asking them for updates twice a day!
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