Author's Note: This was going to be a last minute entry in the Earth Day Contest, but I didn't have it ready in time. I probably could've gotten it posted before the deadline, but in the end, I decided I'd rather have a regular story I could be proud of, than an unproofread contest entry.
I hope you think this was worth the delay. Enjoy!
Inebni was a kind soul, a quiet farmer who was strong in both body and resolve. He tended his fields with humble dignity and though his crops grew poorly, he nonetheless praised the gods for providing enough bounty for him to survive on.
Like all Egyptian farmers, Inebni's livelihood depended upon the annual flooding of the Nile. Every year the waters of the sacred river would rise and cover the fields along its banks. When the waters receded, a layer of fertile silt was left behind. These nourishing silt deposits were a crucial requirement for a rich harvest.
Unfortunately for Inebni's family, several years ago, there had been a massive rockfall on their side of the river, less than a mile upstream from their farm. The rockfall acted as a sort of dam that, during the flood season, held back the majority of the silt that was bound for their land. In the years since the rockfall, the floods had left only a thin covering of the precious silt upon their fields.
The farm's harvest yields declined rapidly and the family left to find new land to settle upon. Inebni alone remained behind.
Despite its barren fields, this land was still his home. This was where he had taken his first breath. This was where his feet had first touched the earth. All the memories of his childhood were rooted in this beloved land. This farm was more than a mere livelihood for Inebni, it was a part of him and he felt deeply tied to it. He couldn't simply abandon it in its time of sickness.
Tending the farm was a lot of work by himself, but Inebni endured. Early on, he had cleverly deduced that by concentrating the farm's thin deposit of silt into a smaller field, he could harvest a small crop that was fully-grown and fruitful, instead of a large crop of immature plants. If he did this and diligently cared for his crop throughout the growing season, he would produce just enough food to feed himself and his small amount of livestock for the next year and to pay Pharaoh's taxes.
Still, there was one aching hunger that Inebni's farm could do nothing to appease.
Inebni may have been content to be just a humble farmer, but his newfound life as a hermit did not suit him at all. As the months came and went, Inebni found himself increasingly yearning for a female companion.
However, Inebni had come to realize that no man would grant the hand of his daughter to a man whose farm was so unsuccessful.
From time to time, Inebni would sight the mature daughters of neighboring farmers. Several of them were very comely. Sometimes they would give him a furtive glance and smile. If their fathers were not watching, he would smile back and take a second to admire their slender bodies.
Nearly every night, Inebni layed upon his sandstone sleeping slab and lost himself in blissful fantasies of those women. He imagined what they must have looked like under their flowing white linen dresses, using memories of his elder sisters (whom he had often seen naked growing up) as a guideline. He wondered if the feel of their flesh was delicate as their facial features, or as intoxicating as their deep eyes.
Whenever his mind wandered in this way, his maleness would quickly grow much larger and become incredibly stiff. He could feel a great welling of spirit within it. As he continued to dwell on thoughts of beautiful young ladies, it was his cock, more than any other part of his body, which yearned to know their touch.
But unfortunately, with such poor silt deposits upon his ground, it seemed that Inebni's carnal desires would never be satisfied.
That was all to change in the growing season of his nineteenth year.
It began one day when Inebni's shaduf, the water crane that allowed him to irrigate his fields, broke down. One of the crucial leather straps had snapped. Inebni always tried to be as thrifty as possible, but in this case, the strap was beyond repair and needed to be completely replaced.
He set out for the nearest village immediately. It was an hour and a half journey by foot. Inebni took with him his old ass, carrying three empty clay storage pots in its wagon. It was Inebni's hope that he would be able to barter the pots for a new leather strap. Of course, come the end of the harvest season, he would need the pots back in order to store all his grain. But he would deal with that problem when the time came.
Upon arriving at the village, Inebni headed for the shallow well, to fetch some water for himself and his ass. They were both thirsty from their journey through the desert.
As he approached the well, Inebni noticed a hooded figure sitting upon as stone wall nearby. They were dressed in an oddly cumbersome robe that covered all but their hands and feet. It was jet black, with golden trim.
When he came closer, Inebni noticed that the robe's golden trim was covered in intricate hieroglyphics; but being an illiterate, the symbols meant nothing to him.
It wasn't until Inebni was standing right at the well's side that he realized the figure was a young woman. A very beautiful young woman! Her eyes were gazing absently down at the dusty ground; it seemed she had not noticed him approaching.
"Hello," Inebni greeted with a friendly smile, already smitten with the mysterious stranger.
The woman lifted her head and looked at him. Only then could Inebni notice the heartbreaking sorrow upon the woman's face. She seemed like she was on the verge of tears.
"What's wrong?" Inebni asked with concern. He sat down beside her, yet not so close as to intrude on her personal space. "Is there something I can do to help?"
The woman's brow furrowed as the sadness in her eyes gave way to offence. She said nothing to Inebni, but let out an indignant huff before getting up and storming off across the square.
For a moment, Inebni thought about pursuing her, but quickly decided against it. It was clear that she wanted nothing to do with him. Inebni had no idea who she was. But judging by her reaction toward him, it seemed likely that she knew him: the boy from the pathetic farm. It was not the first time Inebni had been looked down upon.
Trying not to give the conceited lady a second thought, Inebni began to draw some water for his thirsty ass.
Once Inebni had quenched his own thirst as well, he proceeded to the tanner's hut and bargained for a suitable length of leather. He tried to purchase the strap in exchange for only two clay pots, but the greedy tanner had noticed that Inebni had brought three pots to the village and knew he could hold out for all of them. Inebni was forced to agree to the tanner's price.
Looping his strip of brand new leather over his shoulder, Inebni and his ass set off for home. With luck, they would be back before midday. The trip proceeded much faster without the ass hauling the weight of the pots.
About two-thirds into the journey, Inebni thought he heard a quiet, intermittent squeaking. He paused a couple of times to listen for it, but each time he did so, the noise stopped. As he proceeded, the noise grew louder and began to sound more like whimpering than squeaking. Suddenly, there was a sharp, piercing yelp.
Inebni wandered off the path and began to scan the terrain in the direction he'd heard the noise. It wasn't long before he sighted the body of a large jackal, lying at the bottom of the ridge. At first Inebni thought it was dead, but then he saw it stirring. Inebni realized that the sounds he'd heard were the poor creature whimpering in pain.
He made his way down to the jackal, approaching it with caution. Even though it appeared to be incapacitated, jackals were dangerous animals.
The jackal's eyes were open. It watched Inebni as he leaned over it, but seemed too weary to lift its head.
Inebni could see why the jackal was in such pain; there was an arrow imbedded in its upper thigh. No doubt it had been struck by a hunter, or perhaps a farmer wanting to protect his livestock. Either way, the jackal had somehow managed to elude whoever shot it and make its way here.
A large patch of the animal's fur surrounding the wound was stained red; it was slowly bleeding to death.
Inebni reached toward the wound, to brush the fur away so he could examine it better, but as he did so, the jackal suddenly lunged toward him. Inebni yanked his hand away just in time to avoid losing his fingers. He took two steps back and the weary jackal layed back down with a sickly moan.
Inebni felt sorry for the poor creature. It wasn't vicious; it was just afraid.
For a moment, Inebni thought about putting the jackal out of its misery. Though, the wound didn't appear to be fatal; if tended to, the jackal might have a reasonable chance of survival. But it would be foolish to have a large wild predator anywhere near his farm, even an incapacitated one.
Without intending to, he looked into the jackal's eye and saw its vulnerability and pain. With that, Inebni's conscience won. He couldn't kill this animal, nor could he simply leave it to die alone.
Carefully and with great finesse, Inebni wrapped his new leather strap around the jackal's snout, so it wouldn't be able to bite him. The jackal made almost no effort to resist.
Then Inebni lifted the animal into his cart and took it back to his farm. He was almost ashamed of his own stupidity. Along the way, he tried to appease the pragmatic part of his mind by convincing himself that even with aid, the jackal would probably die anyway, in which case, he could add its meat to his short supply of food.
The jackal was still alive when they arrived back at Inebni's mudbrick home. Inebni carried the wounded creature inside and fetched some wide strips of old linen and some cuttings of medicinal herbs that his parents had often applied to injuries he'd received during his youth. Once he was prepared, he carefully extracted the arrow from the jackal's body. Sharp cries of pain seeped through the jackal's bound jaws at even the slightest twitch Inebni made. No doubt it felt like an eternity to the animal, but it took little more than a minute for Inebni to remove the arrow.
Without the arrow to partially block it, the wound began bleeding heavier. The jackal couldn't afford to lose much more blood. Inebni quickly applied the herbs to the wound area and then began wrapping the linen around and around the jackal's abdomen, so that it held against the wound as tightly as possible. It was not an easy task as the confused jackal kept thrashing its good limbs around weakly as if try to fight him off.
Inebni was proud of the job he'd done on the binding when he was finished. It seemed to have stemmed the animal's blood loss; that was as much as he could do. He could only hope that the arrow had merely struck flesh and not a major artery.
Inebni left the jackal alone to calm down for about half an hour. Then he gingerly removed the leather strap from its mouth. It layed there peacefully, even after the strap was gone. It was still conscious. In fact, the jackal seemed no worse for wear than it had been when Inebni first found it.
Inebni kneeled beside the animal (which he'd noticed was a male) and stroked it comfortingly upon its head. It seemed to understand now that Inebni meant it no harm.
The jackal had lost a lot of blood and would need to rebuild its strength and fluids. Inebni filled a clay bowl from his home water jug and placed it within easy reach of the jackal's mouth. He also fetched a disk of his homemade hard bread, a common peasant meal and broke it in to several pieces that he likewise laid before the jackal.
Inebni watched the animal for several minutes, but it didn't seem interested in his offerings, even when he bought them right up to its mouth.
A little frustrated, Inebni took the new leather strap from his table and walked down to his shaduf to mend it. There was nothing further he could do to help the jackal at that point and there was much that still needed to be done on the farm. He needn't worry about his livestock; the jackal was in no condition to be a threat to them. Not at the moment, anyway.
Once the shaduf was working smoothly again, Inebni proceeded to irrigate his fields as he'd intended to do earlier that morning. By mid-afternoon, he still had nearly a full day's work ahead of him, yet he could not help looking in on the jackal before he continued.
Inebni was delighted to see that the bread had disappeared and the water bowl was half empty. He refilled the bowl and broke up another loaf of bread to offer to the jackal. Almost immediately, it reached out and consumed one of the bread chunks. Inebni petted it lightly on the head once again, before stepping out to resume his chores.
As the day went on, Inebni pondered the fact that if he had to nurse the jackal through a full recovery, it would surely eat significantly into his precious food supply. But a bigger worry was what he would do if and when the animal became well enough to be a danger to his livestock or even himself. These were problems he would need to think on carefully.
Time passed. Every day the jackal grew a little stronger. By the end of the first week it was able to sit up. By the end of the third week it was trying to walk, although it had a severe limp on its injured leg. By the seventh week, it was almost walking normally. Inebni gave the jackal as much food as he thought he could spare, which amounted to half a bread loaf a day.
Meanwhile, Inebni's modest but healthy crop proceeded to grow as expected.
Inebni had grown attached to his canine patient, so much so that he hardly ever looked at him with the same concern he'd initially had. Though such thoughts did cross his mind from time to time. He no longer feared for his own safety as he felt the jackal had come to respect him for his kindness. In fact, when the jackal had regained some limited mobility, he would wait patiently at the door for Inebni to return from the fields, like a loyal pet.
But now that the jackal's energy was returning, Inebni feared for his livestock. Sooner or later, his wild instincts would return and when that happened, the worst place for him to be was on a farm.
One night, while sitting at his table, Inebni decided it was time for him to bid his jackal friend farewell. The jackal was healthy enough to survive back in the wild, Inebni thought. The following morning, he would lead the jackal half a day's journey out into the wilderness, then persuade it to run off and hope it didn't follow him back home.
The thought of saying good-bye to his animal friend saddened Inebni.
As he was thinking these things, the jackal began to bark and jump around excitedly. Inebni was surprised; it had hardly barked at all over the past few weeks.
"What's wrong?" he thought to himself. A moment later, he heard the sound of footsteps upon the dirt outside. "A Visitor? At this hour? Impossible!" Inebni thought.
"Hello?" he called "Who's there?"
A figure clad in an elegant black robe stepped into his humble home.
"Greetings, good farmer," she said. Her bewitching brown eyes were locked upon him in a 'come hither' gaze. She offered an affectionate smile.
The jackal immediately wandered over to the stranger and lifted its head to her right hand, as if pandering for her to pet it. The woman continued to look at Inebni for a prolonged moment, before turning her attention to the jackal.
"Hello, Ankhefenosis! Oh, I'm so happy that you are alive!" she told the jackal as she fondly stroked the top of his head. The jackal was clearly delighted to see her.
It took Inebni a few seconds, but he realized that he'd seen the woman before; several weeks ago, in the village, on the day he'd gone to get a new leather strap for his shaduf. She had been sitting by the well.
That was the same day he'd found the jackal.
"I know you," Inebni began, "You were in the village..."
The young woman nodded in agreement.
"I am called Maharet," she introduced herself, "and I am a sorceress of the sands."
Inebni had heard legends of such women. They were said to be very powerful, almost to the point of being demigods and they were not to be crossed. He tried to conceal his sudden unease, but the sorceress still perceived it.
"Do not be afraid," she told him with a comforting smile. "I will not harm you. Our order are blessers and healers, not tyrants."
"Wha... Well then, what do you want?" Inebni nervously asked.
The spiciness suddenly returned to the woman's eyes.
"This is Ankhefenosis," the woman said, petting the jackal firmly on the head. "He is my familiar, my kindred animal spirit.
"Two months ago, Ankhefenosis and I were roaming the desert freely in the moonlight, when a careless hunter struck him with his arrow. The hunter was not even hungry for my dear friend's flesh; he was merely took pride in hitting such a swift target.
"Ankhefenosis' ties to my soul run deep; when he was gravely wounded so too was my soul. I lost all my magical powers, and all the will I might have had to retrieve them. I was left broken, maudlin, without even enough hope to find my familiar and comfort him.
"Praise the gods that you came upon him the following day, while life still burned in his heart. So many men would've shown him no mercy, ignoring his pain and seeing only his threatening appearance. Yet your incredible kindness shone through your fear, when Ankhefenosis needed it the most.
"In recent days, I have been able to see your kindness through Ankhefenosis' eyes and memories. Thanks to you, he has fully healed and so have I. You have done such a wonderful thing for both of us. It is time for you to receive your reward," Maharet commented in a sensuous voice.
With that, she peeled off her robe and let it drop to the floor, revealing her naked perfection. Inebni's jaw dropped in utter shock.
She was amazing. Her body was a lovely hourglass shape, topped by two generous handfuls of breast that sat proudly upon her chest. Each had a light brown nipple and round areola that was just about the right size to fill a man's adoring kiss. A curtain of long, straight black hair encircled her head from cheek to cheek, framing her gorgeous young face. Her legs were long and exuded a powerful sense of youthful flexibility. The entire vision was covered in flawless olive skin that was perfectly smooth, save for her eyebrows, scalp and the short arrow of jet-black hair between the tops of her thighs.
Inebni's late night fantasies had been pathetic compared to this enchantress.
He began to babble incoherently. Although he was incredibly tempted and aroused by Maharet's body, he was reluctant to lay with one of the sorceresses he'd long ago been cautioned against. Maharet played eagerly to the former impulse.
"Come," she invited with a seductive smile, "your reward is at hand."
At the word, "hand," Inebni felt a warm incorporeal hand gently cupping his nutsack and lifting him off his wooden stool.
"Oooooo!" he uttered in shock. The invisible hand then grasped the shaft of his cock and pulled him toward the sand sorceress. His organ began to rise rapidly in response to her magical touch. The hand led Inebni till he was standing face to face with Maharet, separated from her body only by the length of the tent in his loincloth.
With him standing before her, Maharet took a moment to run her eye over Inebni's muscular arms and toned body. She seemed exceptionally pleased. As she shot him a lascivious glance, Inebni suddenly felt two incorporeal mouths teasing the head of his fully erect penis. One was on the left side, one on the right and together they kissed his tip and teased it with their invisible tongues.