After 4233 BC in Eridu, along the Euphrates River. Kairos: Anenki
Anenki woke just before dawn. He felt a chill in the air. That did not feel right. There was rarely, if ever a chill in the air along the Euphrates and as close as they were to the Persian Gulf. By the time he came fully awake, though, the feeling passed. There was nothing to see in the room so he shrugged it off and pulled Bashte from her back to her side so she could face him. She responded in her sleep by slinging her lovely arm around his waist. He wanted to kiss that arm – to kiss her, but he did not want to wake her. He could just make out her beauty in the dim light before dawn and he contented himself with that vision. How could he be so blessed? He stared and thought he might catch a nap before the sun brought him fully awake.
Anenki cupped Bashte’s perfect breast in his hand. She was still asleep, but warm and inched closer at his attention. Her breasts were full and firm and terribly unfair, he thought. He just turned forty, and looked it and felt it. Granted, she was only thirty-three, but she still had the look of someone who was twenty-three. She still had the energy, too.
Anenki shifted his hand to her back and inched closer himself. Then again, perhaps it was just as well that one of them had the energy. Niudim was twenty-one and still a special needs child. Lili was eighteen and always a help with her brother, but she was presently garnering the attention of every eligible bachelor in the city so she did not have much time to spare. And they were just the two from his first unfortunate marriage.
Anenki shifted his weight to a more comfortable position and Bashte responded with a sigh. Then there was Nanna, the daughter of Anenki and the goddess Innan whom he called the goddess of desire. And Innan was desire itself – far more than a simple love goddess. Nanna was birthed by Bashte who served as a surrogate mother almost from inception. Nanna called Bashte Mama, like the other children. She called Innan Mother. And at fourteen, she was beginning to garner some real attention from the boys herself. Takes after her Mother, Anenki thought.
Bashte peeped, a sweet sound and pulled up tight against him. That turned Anenki’s thoughts to the five children he and Bashte had. Annie was twelve. The boys Erech and Kish were ten and eight, and the girls, Larsa and little Nippur were five and just three. He ran his finger down Bashte’s side to her slim waist and then let it rise up her hip. No way she bore six children, he thought. With that, he let his hand slide to her backside.
“Anenki.” Bashte opened her big, brown sparkling eyes and looked up at him. “What are you thinking?”
“I was just thinking about the children,” he answered honestly enough.
Bashte giggled, a sound of pure joy that reverberated down to Anenki’s soul. “I can feel what you are thinking.”
“That? Oh that is just an automatic reflex every time I am near you.”
Bashte said nothing. She backed up just a smidgin to pull her hands up and then counted on her fingers. “Niudim, Lili, Nanna, Annie, Erech, Kish, Larsa, Nippur,” she stopped and looked up at him again. “I still have two finger’s left.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“What you are thinking.” She grinned again so Anenki had to grin with her . “We could try anyway,” she said shyly in a most alluring way.
“And for how long?” Anenki asked. He was thinking of the years, but she took it differently.
“I wouldn’t mind forever, or until your reflexes give out.”
Anenki wondered what he ever did to be so blessed even as his sister Risah came running into the room. The woman was hot and sweaty, but that was from the cooking fires where she and her best friend Nephat loved to be. They cooked for the palace, such as it was.
“Anenki. There are strangers at the gate, and they are strangers like I have never seen before. One has yellow hair. One has red hair. One is darker than a herd follower and two of them are your elves. I noticed them right off.”
“Risah.” Anenki said her name to quiet her. “Tell the Captain to treat them with his best and I will be right there.” He gave Bashte a peck on the lips, got right up and quickly got dressed. “Hold that thought,” he suggested.
Before Bashte could say anything, Nippur came toddling in at her fastest speed. “Mama. Mama.” She crawled right up on the bed and pulled the covers over her head. Nurse Hannah came in a moment later dragging Larsa by the hand. Bashte finally said something.
“What did they break?”
By the time Anenki arrived, he saw Nanna was there ahead of him. She had wandered down from the market along with a couple dozen other people. The people mostly just stared at these very strange travelers, but Nanna got in the middle of them. She had Katie Harper stand next to Lockhart. Alexis and Lincoln of course went together, being married. She had Roland stand next to Boston, which made Mingus very uncomfortable, and she was presently apologizing to Mingus and Captain Decker.
“I’m sorry, gentlemen. I seem to have run out of playmates.”
Mingus spoke first. “I am married already. I have a son and a daughter.” He pointed to Roland and Alexis. “And that is quite enough.”
“I’m married, too,” Captain Decker said to everyone’s surprise. He looked surprised that they looked surprised. “Why do you think I am so quick to volunteer for hazard pay?” He asked with a perfectly straight face.
“Captain!” Alexis protested with just the word while Katie and Roland stepped slowly away from their designated places. Captain Decker stared back at her without expression. He meant what he said and felt no need to apologize.
“Nanna.” Anenki called and she turned at the sound of his voice. Niudim, her watcher also turned and it was Niudim who spoke first.
“I tried to stop her.” Apparently Nanna’s watcher had been watching.
“Father.” Nanna stepped toward him and planted a kiss on his cheek. She only called him Father when she was pretending to be all grown up.
Anenki responded to Niudim first. “That’s okay, son. No harm done. You can smile.” And Niudim did while Anenki turned to his daughter. “I think your Mama needs your help, unless you would rather help your aunt Risah in the kitchen.”
Nanna made a face at the thought of helping in the kitchen, but Risah jumped. “Oh, the roast.” She shouted and rushed off.
Nanna looked back once.
“You can get to know them over supper,” Anenki said.
Nanna smiled, and it was a smile hard to resist. It came from being the daughter of desire. “I think Mama needs me with the little scamps.”
“Not the boys?” Anenki asked. Erech and Kish were notorious for getting into trouble.
Nanna shook her head. “No, father. Larsa and Nippur have been bad, I think.” She started to walk off, but as she walked by, Anenki let his hand give her a soft spank on the rump. Nanna wheeled.
“Daddy!” So now he was Daddy again.
“Don’t forget Niudim. Take his hand.”
“Come along big brother,” Nanna said and Niudim took her hand and went willingly. Anenki finally turned to the travelers.
“Welcome to the beautiful city of Eridu, population two thousand and something and growing. The biggest and best city in the world.”
“City?” Boston wondered.
“I see they learned to put some straw in their bricks,” Katie noticed.
“Anenki?” Lincoln had the database out.