Secrets of Geraptiku
In Geraptiku, everything was dark. Mera scurried along,
her candle flickering as if the overwhelming darkness were snuffing it out.
Mera stopped for a second, and looked, by the
dying candlelight, at her once-perfect golden coat. Being a Uni, she was quite
vain, but the present disaster was more urgent then picking the dirt bits from
her worn hooves.
Finally giving in to a short rest, Mera leaned
against a cold stone, and opened the knapsack her mother had given to her, though
she was nearly running out. The yellow Uni picked halfheartedly at a leftover
turkey sandwich, and let some berry juice run down her dry, dust-coated throat.
Finally, staring up at the jet-black sky, Mera fell asleep.
Mera awoke a few hours later, her mane and fur
caked with dust, and her throat drier than it ever had been. Mera felt a pang
of dismay as she realized a few bugs were feasting on the residue her open bottle
of berry juice had left on the hard, packed ground beside her. Mera looked once
at the bugs, once at the stone propping up her head, and emptied the berry juice
into her mouth.
Slowly, waiting as the sun turned the thick
blackness to a rich, dark fog, Mera plodded along, reviewing her life.
She had begun life as an innocent Uni, before
she learned of her prophecy. Three months ago, she had left her comfortable
life as a wealthy suburban Uni, and went to the ancient city of Geraptiku, where
her prophecy would be fulfilled.
So far, Mera had done almost nothing but learn
that she was to venture inside the deserted, ancient tomb of Geraptiku…and so
far, Mera admitted with a pang of guilt, had done nothing of the sort.
In a sudden gust of energy despite her draining
energy Mera broke into a run. Today, she whispered to herself. Today,
I'll step inside that tomb.
Finally, Mera stopped. She was at the tomb,
snakelike and twisted, crawling with Spyders and other insects. Mera forced
back a shiver, and slowly approached the tomb.
Forcefully shoving the door open, Mera blew
out her candle, and replaced the warm, dripping wax with another candle, plain,
white, tall, and long, just like the other. Too bad, Mera thought. Cinnamon
Cupcake scented candles are still my favorite.
Seeing the tomb didn't make Mera feel any more
ambitious to fulfill her prophecy. She was stepping in a thick layer of grime,
though she was heavy enough to break through it, and each time she withdrew
her hoof from the ground it was covered in a thick layer of dust. There were
many halls, all illuminated by the dull light of Mera's candle, but none looked
more appealing than the one she had been in last. Everything was coated by the
heavy stench of blood.
Forcing herself through a layer of last century's
cobwebs, Mera found herself in a room spattered with blood. In the corner, she
could see a skull. But then, there was the scuffle of a living creature…
"Hello? Are you lost?" whispered Mera.
"Yes. Are you here to save me?" an excited voice
Mera turned her lantern so it reflected the
face of a baby Usul, its long fur shaggy and windblown.
"No," admitted Mera readily. "I'm here to fulfill
The Usul's amethyst eyes grew huge. "Fulfilling
a prophecy?" tittered the Usul.
"Yeah," muttered Mera awkwardly, "But I don't
know what I'm doing, or how to do it."
"Oh," said the Usul. "Kerani will help you.
Let me come, please! I have food, I have been captured by the natives, I have
food they have supplied me. Find the treasure, they want me to do, me help you
"Ummm…Kerani?" she said. "I'd be honored."
Kerani chattered eagerly to Mera all the way
through the halls, but Mera wasn't listening. They were looking for a place
to eat, maybe sleep, too-neither of them were fit enough to stay up the entire
"Here?" said Kerani, awakening Mera from her
Mera smiled, and realized that Kerani had led
her into a small, dusty tomb. There were stone benches that filled the room,
and despite the skulls that lay around, Mera realized this would be the best
place to sleep.
"I have four blankets," offered Kerani, "One
to cover the bench and one for warmth. And the cheese will be going bad soon,
we will have cheese and bread," she finished at last.
Mera had to admit that the meal was the most
filling she had had in days. They both had myriad slices of cheese on slightly
stale bread, and lukewarm berry juice. It was not the feast that Mera had grown
accustomed to in her life of riches, but it was good enough.
Soon, Mera could here Kerani's gentle breathing,
and felt her ears droop with exhaustion. Still, as the last of the candle's
orange flame flickered into nothingness, Mera could not sleep until well into
Mera was awakened by the scent of food, and
saw Kerani eating an apple and drinking some Kau Kau milk. "Eat," she offered,
and Mera sat down with her.
"So how was your night's sleep?" asked Mera,
biting into her apple core and spitting the seeds into the eye socket of a skull.
"Fine," said Kerani. "Always fine. Never bad,
that how it is with us Usuls. Hardy, no time for glory."
Kerani finished her apple shortly after Mera
did. Wiping apple juice off her lips, Mera said, "Let's go, then, Kerani."
Again, Kerani chattered throughout the journey,
but Mera did not reply, unless it was by a nodding. She had no idea what her
companion was saying, it was as if she had been dunked into icy water. Was she
the only one who could sense a veiled threat in this ancient Geraptiku tomb?
No. No, you're not. The others have just
all died. Mera's thoughts were suddenly filled with evil laughter. And
you will too, before long. You and Kerani will be dead, all before you realized
that you had time to escape.
"Mera! Is something wrong?" Suddenly, Mera jerked
her head up, and saw Kerani standing above her, her plume-shaped ears bobbing
up and down.
"No, I'll be alright," said Mera, deciding not
to confess on what she had just heard. "I'll be alright…but I want to stop for
a little while."
Mera found a place to sit, and sat down. Her
entire coat was caked with grime, and she realized she had not bathed in about
a month now, ever since she had left civilization.
Suddenly, she heard something. It was much louder,
she was certain, than any noise that Kerani could have produced.
"Did you hear that?" she whispered to her companion.
"Yes," whispered Kerani. "What was it?" Let's
"No. No need. I am right in front of you," a
"Who…who are…" whispered Mera, though she felt
as if she knew. It was the same thing, the same voice, that had spoken to her
in her dream.
Suddenly, Mera was aware of a dim glow of silver
light, pouring down from above. Standing in front of her was a giant serpent,
an evil aura pouring from its body. Its body had a crystalline glow, and it's
eyes were evil, red, and full of hatred.
"You made it this far," the creature hissed,
"but no farther. The secrets of Geraptiku are secret and always will be. No
prophecy has changed that."
"You mean," said Kerani, her purple eyes glittering
"Yes," hissed the beast. "Yes, that other prophecies
have been made, none fulfilled. You will not be any different."
"I MUST," said Mera determinedly. "Really."
"Oh?" hissed the serpent. "I have never been
wrong predicting death in these tunnels."
"You will be this time," grimaced Mera. Finally,
casting a glance at Kerani's frightened, round face, she said. "Run. Run to
the end and tell everything you know. Don't wait for me. I want Geraptiku's
secrets to be told."
Watching the Usul run, her white fur glowing
with candlelight, Mera turned back to the serpent. "Tell me what I must do,"
"Why," said the serpent, in a mocking voice.
"That should be clear to you, O Chosen One." The serpent's last three words
dripped with mockery. "Simply run, and tell the secrets of Geraptiku."
"But Kerani's doing that," snapped Mera impatiently.
"Now, tell me what I must do."
"Run," he said. "Geraptiku's secrets have been
revealed to you… especially what it is: an evil place, the keeping-place of
Suddenly Mera realized her prophecy. "You see
not," the serpent spat, "but you know. Run now."
"NO!" shouted Mera. "I want to know!"
Suddenly, Mera felt a jolt of pure joy. This
serpent preys off my own uncertainty in my duty, she realized. I must
"Tell me what you hide," said Mera certainly.
"I must know."
But she realized that the serpent wasn't there.
It was again vanishing into a thousand silver wisps. "Defeated…" it whispered.
Stepping cautiously forward, Mera saw a pinprick
of light. It was a book, a tiny book. Reading it aloud, it said, The Fulfillment
of the Prophecy.
"This is it," said Mera. "Another step in."
She dug into her knapsack for another candle,
and lit it. She smelled Cinnamon Cupcake.