Prompt Response: The Test of Truth

This story came from a writing prompt on the subreddit r/writingprompts. The prompt was as follows:

“You have always been a devout Christian, and, after you die, as you open your eyes expecting heaven, you are met by Anubis’ cold stare.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Aharon Essam’s heart froze. Or at least it would if it still beat in his chest. He shook his head in terror, this couldn’t be. The Jackal headed giant silently bid him to rise. He wanted to turn and run but he couldn’t get his body to obey. This had to be a nightmare. His arms would not even move to hold in front of himself to clap his hands together. He tried to silently pray in his mind but the words were hazy like trying to remember a dream. Anubis lead him through the inky blackness to a scale that filled the sandy floor of the chamber lit by bowls of bronze colored fire.

“Aharon Essam.” Anubis at last spoke. He was walking along a wall filled with hieroglyphics, ghostly fire floating over his head that lit the wall. Aharon saw along the mural, images of his life, showing things anachronistic to the civilization that created this form of writing, including planes and modern skyscrapers.

“Born to Ohmar and Naset Essam in the state of New Jersey, in the United States. Raised in the faith that your parents fled the Nile for holding in their hearts.” Anubis’ light briefly showed the family kneeling before a cross. “Attending to a place of higher learning.” The light showed Aharon in class with Thoth standing over him. “Traveling to his parents’ home against their advisement,” Aharon atop the Saqqara Bird descending upon the Pyramids. “And meeting his fate at the hands of others while there.” Aharon, along with others, being beaten while in a Church.

Anubis came to the end of the mural and stood before the scales, he held two things in his hands, one a feather that he wasn’t so much holding as it was floating above his palm, the other, Aharon saw with wide eyes of horror, was his still beating heart. Which he could even see was now beating faster despite it being outside his body. Aharon knew what this was. The weighing of the heart. Anubis weighed the heart of the dead against the feather representing Ma’at. If his heart was heavier with sin . . . Aharon felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Hot breath and horrid stench. Some control returned to him and he turned around to see a beast breathing down his neck. Head of a crocodile, body of a lion and hippo. Ammut, the devourer of the dead.

He screamed but only a dried huff escaped his open jaw. Aharon’s heart dropped on to the scale with a wet plop and Anubis held the feather over the other end. The words came back to Aharon’s head. He prayed. God had to hear him. This couldn’t be true. Ammit would eat his soul, total cessation of existence. To be totally nothing. Tears ran down his frozen face as the feather dropped on to the scale. His heart dropped like a rock, both literally and spiritually. His faith in a god that didn’t exist gone, he tried to run from the jaws now enclosing around him.

Then, the feather glowed and transformed into a glowing crucifix. The scales righted themselves and Aharon’s heart turned to ash. The whole scale shone like a star in the dark hall until it itself resembled a huge cross and Ammit recoiled back into the darkness. Aharon’s body felt not only in control once again, he felt lighter, healthier, like a weight he didn’t know he was carrying was lifted from him.

“You’ve failed the test of truth.” Anubis spoke. “As most do, for their is no human heart free of deception. The Christ’s healing love though eliminated all the poisons from your heart.”

“But I faltered just now! I doubted.” Aharon shouted, his voice at last returned to him. Anubis nodded.

“Not the first time you did in life. Death is no different. Now though, you must take your last journey.” Anubis waved his staff and a door opened behind him. “Beyond this door you shall find the river of the Du’at. Follow it through this Purgatory and at its end, you will find the shores of Heaven.”

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