The Son of Sahkmet: Part One
Kontar leapt over spiny underbrush, ducking mechanically
as he passed under low hanging banan leaves. His friend Mahani, an Island Kougra
followed soundlessly behind him. Mahani had always been more graceful than the
large Island Lupe.
"Ha!" exclaimed Kontar as he jumped out of the
stifling jungle and onto the white sand of the beach. "I win!"
The Kougra emerged right after him. "Puh-leaze,"
he smirked, "I was hardly trying." He looked up at the sun. "I sure hope that
spot of yours is close," he said, "We've only got another half hour to get the
Underwater Chef's ingredients."
"Well then don't just stand there," said Kontar
running down the beach, "follow me!"
He stopped at a large tree that's roots came
up out of the sand and hung over a small pool of water. Tiny little fishes darted
away as Kontar reached his paw in and grabbed a large, thick Blobbule plant
from the muck.
"Wow," admired Mahani sarcastically, "I had my
doubts, but I have to say that that is the most appetizing blue goop I've ever
Kontar hurled a ball of wet sand at him and the
Kougra recoiled in disgust.
"Great," he said brushing himself off, "hours
of grooming for nothing."
"Oh come on you hairball, you know how mad the
Chef gets when we don't get his ingredients on time."
The Kougra put his paws on his hips. "Oh he never
stops ordering food!" he mimicked in the whiny manner of their employer, "My
job is never done, boohoo."
Kontar laughed at his friend as he jogged back
towards the jungle. It must be nice not to take anything seriously, he
thought. Mahani may have just taken on the job to have something to do, but
Kontar knew that the rest of his life depended on his apprenticeship to the
Underwater Chef. His Aunt and Uncle couldn't keep paying for his things and
Kontar, more than anything, wanted to be on his own. He longed for the adventure
that would come after he became a chef. He dreamt of cooking for Kings in grand
palaces instead of serving the temperamental Mambo-Pango in the swampy Mystery
Island he called home.
At last they burst through the thick jungle and
onto the grassy stretch before the Chef's large kitchen hut.
"You two!" shouted the purple flotsam, "I've
got less than five minutes to prepare Mambo-Pango's food! If you don't have
my ingredients you're fired! You hear me? FIRED!"
Mahani rolled his eyes. "Relax," said Kontar,
pulling out the large Blobbule, some Flotsam tail cookies, and a squirming Nautilus
from his brown sack, "all your ingredients are right here."
The chef grabbed them all and examined them
closely. He smiled and patted the Lupe affectionately on the cheek. "You did
well my boy," he smiled, turning the dial on a large stove as a pot of water
boiled over, "you'll be a fine chef yet."
Kontar smiled happily as he and Mahani left the
hut. "I think all those fryers melted his brain," joked the Kougra. Kontar just
ignored him, an action that was best in most situations involving his headstrong,
sarcastic best friend.
The two said their goodbyes, Mahani parting in
the direction of his large adobe home and Kontar in the direction of his much
He parted the grass doorway and was greeted immediately
by the happy caw of Artu, his pet Horus. It perched lightly on his shoulder.
He started to walk towards the kitchen but stopped at the sound of muffled voices.
He poked his head out from a coconut shelf and saw his uncle, an Island Lupe
like himself, talking seriously with a hooded figure. His aunt, a white Lupe,
sat sadly on their tiger couch, watching the conversation with frightening concern.
The figure turned slightly, revealing the face of a desert Acara.
"Acrab!" cried Kontar excitedly, rushing to the
families' old friend.
"Why hello, Kontar," she said, forcing a tight
smile, "we didn't hear you come in."
The young Lupe looked around the room of serious
faces. "Is someone sick or something?" he asked.
"Not at all," said Acrab putting an arm around
him and leading him into the hallway, "we were just having a heated discussion
about desert politics."
"Oh," said Kontar, "how are things going there?"
"Fine, fine," she said dismissively, "but I'm
much more concerned with how you're doing. I assume you're excelling with your
He sighed heavily. "I really don't see the point
of all those lessons. Is it really necessary for me to learn about the Meridell
family tree or the best method of desert irrigation?" He petted Artu's feathers.
"I should be spending more time studding with the Chef instead of learning Algebra
Acrab patted him on the back understandingly.
"One day you will appreciate the fine education you're getting as much as that
Petpet I got for you. It looks as if you've been caring for him nicely."
"They are very intelligent creatures you know.
If there's ever any danger they can sense it," she stuck out her wrist and the
bird eagerly grabbed it with his claws. "Promise me Kontar, that you'll never
let him stray far from your side." The Acara's eyes pleaded with him, a look
of momentary weakness that he had never seen in her before.
"Yes," he said confusedly as he put Artu back
on his shoulder, "I promise."
The rest of the evening had gone normally, his
mother served dinner while his father told Acrab about the happenings at Mambo-Pango's
palace and other small incidents that occurred during his shifts on guard duty.
Kontar ate quietly, unable to shake the feeling that something was off; there
was a certain indescribable tension. He excused himself and sat outside listening
to the symphony of crickets.
At some point Acrab sat down beside him.
"I'll be leaving again tomorrow," she said.
Kontar shrugged. "I figured as much."
"You seem angry."
"No. I'm more confused. I feel like I'm being
left of something, like how you and my uncle stop talking when I come in a room.
You try to act normal, but I can tell something is going on."
"You have a fine intuition Kontar," sighed Acrab,
"it's a fortunate quality."
He shook his head. "You're not going to include
me in whatever secret you're keeping are you?"
"When I return," she said, standing slowly, "I
will start to tell you."
Kontar watched the Acara disappear slowly into
the night. Her visits had always gone in the same manner; she would show up
unexpectedly and leave shortly after. For as long as he could remember she had
been a good friend to the family. Every holiday they always found a package
waiting outside containing some kind of desert trinket.
He knew she had money, she alone was paying for
his schooling lessons, but how she obtained it was a complete mystery to him.
She'd never told him anything about her life in the desert or what her purpose
was in being there.
He lay awake in his bead trying to think back
to all the occasions Acrab had visited and if there had ever been any reason
He sat up as he heard his cousin Cay walk into
their room limply, looking very tired from his guard training at Mambo-Pango's
"Cay," he whispered, "how long have we known
The striped Lupe struggled to remove his large
boots. "I don't know Kontar, as long as I can remember."
"How did she meet Uncle Sani and Aunt Pohanah
Kontar threw off his sheets. "What do you think
she does in the Lost Desert?"
"I really don't know," Cay said impatiently as
he pulled down the covers on his coconut bead, "I think she's involved somehow
in Sakhmetian politics. She might even work in the palace."
"Wow, how come she never-"
"I'm really tired Kontar, give it a rest already,"
he said, pulling his blanket over his head.
Kontar tried to fall asleep, but the buzz of
questions zooming around his brain kept him awake.
He couldn't take it anymore, he needed some answers.
Lurching out of bed, he walked quietly down to
the small bookcase in their living room. He flicked on a small lamp, and grabbed
a dusty Neopedia off the shelf. Even if it was only full of old articles, there
had to have been something in there that he could use. All he needed was some
kind of lead to help him find out more about the secretive Acrab, who called
herself a friend.
He reached the Lost Desert section and quickly
flipped through the pages. He pulled apart two that were stuck together.
No, he thought, it couldn't be.
He rubbed his eyes and then turned on another
A picture of a once young desert Acara stared
back at him, clear as ever, smiling the smile he'd seen since he was a pup.
Senator Barca, read the top of the page- Acrab
To be continued...