“Look out!” I screamed to Nimajneb. The fangs of the dreaded half-lion, half-reptile missed us by inches. As the beast turned to attack again, I lay on my back and plunged my knife deep into its ribs. I could smell the foul stench of its dying breath as I lay still. Too frightened to open my eyes, breath or allow my heart to beat. Nimajneb growled and stood guard until I could move. I retrieved my dagger, gave thanks to the Creator of the universe and wiped my knife clean before putting it back in the animal skin sheath.
“We will eat well for the next month,” I told Nimajneb. “I wish I could send some food home to my sisters, Allebasi and Imeon.”
He barked and wagged his tails recognizing their names.
It took the rest of the day to prepare the meat for our journey. I made a fire and roasted enough to satisfy our needs for the day.
“Nimajneb, I do think this is the first of many adventures we will face along our journey.”
He wagged one tail in reply while the other signaled danger.
“What is it?” I asked quietly. I was prepared for another attack. We watched the grass move in an unnatural motion and could hear footsteps coming our way. I withdrew my knife and waited. After several seconds in which all motion and time froze, the grass parted and before us stood the tallest man I had ever seen. At least I thought it was a man. He had two arms. Stood on two legs and appeared to be breathing the same air. He stood taller than the tallest tree in our land and his arms were covered in more dark, dense hair than Nimajneb. His legs were thicker than the columns supporting the roof of our temple. His torso and midsection were covered by a material that reflected the light of the sun in such a way as to nearly blind me. Nimajneb growled. I moved into a defensive stance with my knife ready to do battle. The man-creature before us grunted as his large nostrils sniffed the air. His eyes were as black as the deepest, darkest cave in the mountains surrounding our village. His matted beard appeared to move as though it were alive. With a wave of his hand, he extinguished our fire, and when he spoke the ground shook knocking me and Nimajneb several feet away. My knife had been wrenched from my hand by the force of his voice. I prepared to surrender my life to this unknown force of nature. He took one step and towered above me. I quickly prayed to our Creator to accept me into the next world when the creature lifted me in his hand as tenderly as a mother holding a new born babe. I felt as small and helpless as a newly-hatched bird in its nest. The black eyes began to shine with an intensity I had only seen when the sun shone it’s brightest. My desperation turned to hope for a split-second before his hand began to close.