The Ghosts of Herak- Part 2
There were booming and whooshing sounds from afar. It was as if the skies had opened up to all elements of the earth. There were cackling, keening, thousands of whispering voices and moans and groans. The cacophony of sounds seemed to seep into our beings, weakening our spirit, making us all helpless and terrified.
The people crowded into our main building, a circular enclosure, roofed and walled against the elements. It had withstand a cold winter, rain and sleet, and we hoped that it could withstand whatever was coming from the otherworld.
We were helpless. We did not know what to do. My grandmother whispered that we should have strewn the black beans around our house, circled it nine times and implored the other worldly beings to leave us alone. We forgot, we didn’t even have the beans. We were so focused on our wheat and barley, our celery, parsnips, artichokes, beets and onions. We didn’t have beans.
Our common building shook as the otherworldly beings landed on the ground. As they stood on terra firma, they seemed to gather the energy around them and strengthen their forms. They looked almost tangible. We looked on in horror at their half formed faces, their elongated green limbs and their gaits. They didn’t look human and yet we knew that they were the evil souls of the ancient, come to reclaim their life.
The seal that Romulus stamped on the door of Remus portal was broken; the dead brother came back for vengeance with his minions.
Pandora and I were at our grandmother’s bedside, holding her hands to comfort her and ourselves. We didn’t know what to do and in fact, we were just waiting to die or be possessed by the evil spirits around us.
“What shall we do grandma, what shall we do?” I whimpered, scared out of my wits. I felt Pandora shiver besides me, and I felt her fear.
“Call Orcus…get Orcus, you must consult him…,” the old lady whispered.
Pandora and I looked at one another. We didn’t know who Orcus was and had never heard of him.
“Ask…ask…” she whispered.
We went out of her room to the main hall, where the farmers and their families huddled together at the fireplace. I looked around and met the eyes of one of the elders who motioned to us to come nearer.
“How is your grandmother?” the elder, Julius asked.
“She is fading fast. She asked us to look for Orcus…but we don’t know who he is.”
Julius went pale and looked at his hands, answering, “That’s an impossible task. He lives beyond this forest towards the North. It is but a day journey, but dangerous under the circumstances …he is the high priest dedicated to Romulus, he can help but getting to him is impossible.”
“We will go,” I blurted out, and immediately regretted it. Who could withstand the evil that was lurking around us? The gold box outside the building containing sulphur to repel evil would soon be not strong enough to ward off the howling spirits, as they congregated on the field before our hall.
But we had to do something, even though we were farmers, Pandora and I were still daughters of a proud Roman soldier, a centurion no less and we didn’t want to die as cowards cowering behind sacks of wheat.
“I will go with you,” someone said, very calmly.
One of our cousins stood tall and determined, Ameria. Her long hair of burnished gold piled on her head defied her station in life as a farmer’s daughter. Pandora and I stared at her and somehow, we felt like we could do it. We were greatly encouraged.
To be continued….
Written by Grace
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