The two sphinx loomed over the tiny avatar of Re, then turned to look at each other. They looked at the row of plinths behind them, then out at the desert. One shuffled it’s front paws over one another, the other managed to turn his head and stare down at his toes. They took one casual step outward, seemingly without noticing that they’d gotten out of the road where Re wished to walk.
He cleared his throat and they both took another step. “Very wise.” He waved a hand behind him at Naida and her friends, and the enormous green cobra. “My friends,” He said. “Come along everyone. I’ve wanted to see what Amun has done with the place.”
His hawk head had disappeared and He was manifesting only as a bright blue little boy with gold of honour on all his limbs and around his neck. His scalp lock was also bound in gold. His human face was set in stubbornness and pique, lower lip thrust out, but his eyes were calm.
“Amun! Hey, hey, come out and play!” He called out as he stalked up the row of sphinxes and they, for some reason, found a sudden urgent need to genuflect to Re so that all the fountains were open and shot to the sky. “See see, my playmate! Come out and play with me!”
There was a long and waiting silence as Re reached the first step before the walls. He set one foot on it, and waited, under the copper shimmer heat.
“I could cook on these stones,” Naida whispered to Wadjet, who slithered smoothly along, her tail trailing like a whiplash behind them. Bodhi’s lotus seemed to float on a flicker of air like a cool, blue pool, defying the heat.
“I’m all right,” Wadjet said. “If that’s what you’re saying.”
Naida nodded. She’d been worried about Sybaris’s belly scales, since her feet were feeling the burning even through her fancy sandals. “Is He serious?” Bodhi floated up and Naida offered Kurama to him so she not scorch her pads on the road. Asteri bounced up and balanced on his lion feet on the tip of a water fountain.
“As serious as a brain bleed.”
A haunting, echoing voice thundered out of the sky and tried to climb into Naida’s ears. “Oh no my playmate I can't come play with you..” a huge yawn roared around and she flung her hands over her ears.
Another little boy, about the same age as Re, peeked out of the Temple doors. Re waved and sang more of the song, that Naida could barely hear through her fingers, just because He was so close to her. “Say, say my enemy, come out and fight with me, and bring your bulldogs three. Climb up my sticker tree. Slide down my lightning… into my dungeon door…” Naida shook her head hard enough that the rapping of her braids against her head finally drowned out Re’s and Amun’s bright, cheery and gleefully sinister exchange.
Bodhi beckoned to her and as she took her hands down to jump up and into his lotus, she heard… “I’ll scratch your eyes out and make you bleed to death…” but when she sat, there was nothing ringing in her ears but a wind-chime and the sound of the fountains.
The golden boy had come out by this time and he had the same glow of divinity on him. He strolled up to Re and they began exchanging a clapping game in time with their song to each other. It began with a simple clap and then clapping their opposite cross hands. Naida knew clapping games like that.
Then there was a lightning flicker and the sun blinked and the two boy gods were exchanging ‘claps’ in insanely complex rhythms and faster than a cobra strike. Each hand clap was obviously loud enough to make the wind move and the stones jump, though Naida couldn’t hear anything.
“How do you do that?” She asked.
He turned and smiled at her. “Do what?”
“Just cut out all the scary dangerous stuff.”
He waved his hands and shrugged before scratching Kurama under her chin. “First of all my friend Wadjet and Bast are shielding us from that fight.”
“Oh. And there’s more?”
He smiled. “Of course. It’s that this doesn’t matter.”
Naida crossed her arms and stared mulishly out at the boy gods slapping hands outside. “You always say that.”
“Because it’s always true.”