Before the Gate

The hospital room was dim and quiet. When B rolled the medication cart in at midnight, she was not surprised to find someone sitting in the darkness at the other side of the room, looking over the frail figure in the bed. Since Mrs Rose’s feeding tube had been discontinued two days ago, family and friends had been visiting around the clock. Rather, what startled B was the huge black hound that sat at the visitor’s side. It sat as stiff as a statue, with Anpu’s tall Egyptian ears and sharp, elegant muzzle.

The visitor was dressed in black, and the folds of cloth seemed to fade into the shadows. Her posture was curved with age, but when she looked up at B, her face was young, pale, and glowed softly, ethereally. Inside her eyes, starlight sparkled — two torches — like eternity.

Don’t fear, B felt.

A graceful hand reached out to caress the old woman’s brow.

I’m only a guide.

Time sighed.


[By night, Iamba is an RN, pagan, and writer living and studying in South Florida. By day … she’s asleep. Her eclecticism colors every aspect of her life, and on any given evening, you can find her writing about herbs, germs, deities, hippogryphs, or grand steampunk engines. To read her stray thoughts and hear about upcoming stories (including her first ever novel!), visit her LiveJournal.]


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