“Land of Goshen,” Lincoln said. He put a piece of wood on the fire before he sat down.
“Land a Goshen,” Decker said, in his best southern accent. “Y’all don’t say it right.”
Quiet settled around the campfire before Lincoln interrupted.
“Land of Goshen”
Decker echoed with, “Land a Goshen.” He laid back against a log and smiled.
“How long are you two going to keep this up,” Alexis asked, in her most annoyed voice.
“Who is this Goshen, anyway?” Elder Stow asked.
“I don’t know,” Decker admitted in a fake-serious voice. “But this is his land.”
“It’s Land of Goshen,” Lincoln said.
“Land a Goshen,” Decker echoed.
Alexis stuck her fingers in her ears.
“I remember Bubastis when it was just a little village,” Katie said, trying to keep up a normal human conversation.
“If they were androids, I would send them to get repaired,” Artie said, with a look at the men.
“Bubastis is all grown up now,” Lockhart said. “It has big temples and everything.”
Katie nodded and put her arm around Artie. “I wonder if our other girl is around somewhere.”
“Sakhmet? I would imagine she is,” Lockhart said.
“Land of Goshen.”
“I would imagine she is all grown up now,” Katie said.
“Oh, probably for centuries now,” Lockhart agreed
“Land a Goshen.”
“She usually shows up when we are in town,” Katie said. “Maybe she has forgotten us.”
Lockhart shook his head. “But she is probably occupied with her own responsibilities these days. We can’t expect her to show up just because we are here.”
Sakhmet appeared, grinned, and rushed to squeeze between Katie and Lockhart only to find another girl there. Katie quickly introduced them.
“Sakhmet, this is your little sister, Artie. Artie, this is your big sister, Sakhmet.”
“Oh yes,” Artie said. “You told me about her.”
“You mentioned me?” Sakhmet sounded surprised. “You thought of me when you weren’t in Egypt?” Sakhmet began to cry. “And you got me a little sister. I always wanted a little sister.”
“I have a big sister?” Artie said. “I want a big sister, so I have someone to teach me, and I can ask questions.” Artie started to cry. “Why am I crying? I’m happy. I don’t understand why I’m crying.” She hugged Sakhmet, who hugged her right back. Katie got up and hugged them both at once. The rest of the travelers looked at Lockhart, who looked a little uncomfortable, but got up to hug everyone.
“Girls. Girls. I’m glad you’re happy, but no need to cry.”
Sakhmet stopped crying suddenly, so everyone stopped crying. Sakhmet had a question.
“When are you two going to get married?”
Lockhart looked at Katie. “Soon, I think. Ask your mother.”
Sakhmet and Artie both swiveled their heads to Katie.
“Soon,” Katie said. “Your father knows. We haven’t set a date.”
“It won’t be without you,” Lockhart said, mostly for Sakhmet’s benefit, and Sakhmet smiled a mischievous smile.
“Come, sister,” Sakhmet took Artie to the side and sat facing her. She whispered so Katie and Lockhart could not hear. “They will never get married as long as you sit between them. They have to be touching, until they need to do more than just touching.”
Artie grinned a big grin and turned her head to look at Katie and Lockhart, but her ears were all Sakhmet’s. They talked for an hour, while the others followed their lead and whispered, until Lincoln and Decker got up to get in their tents. They had the midnight to three in the morning watch and needed some sleep before then.
“Land of Goshen,” Lincoln said, and waved as he went into his tent.
“Land a Goshen,” Decker echoed and went to bed.
“Thank goodness for a few hours of peace,” Elder Stow said.
Alexis agreed. “Time for bed,” she told Boston. She went into their tent, and Boston followed, but she looked like she was having a hard time keeping her tongue from saying, “Land of Goshen.”
After the hour, Lockhart and Katie were side by side, staring at the girls, no doubt wondering what they were talking about.
“I have to go,” Sakhmet said. “I’ll catch up with you in Memphis. That is where Rachel is, but right now there is trouble. Someone is infesting men with demons, and it is not my place to track down who. At the same time, I can’t let demonized men run around chopping up the ordinary folks. For now, the seven so far are in jail cells where they can’t hurt themselves or each other, or any innocent people. But they are running out of cells, and I think if the demonized men die, they may come back as vampires.” Sakhmet shrugged and vanished.
Artie opened her mouth. “What are vampires?”
“Wait a minute,” Lockhart interrupted. “What did you girls talk about?”
Artie shook her head and grinned. “Sakhmet says sisters can have secrets.”
Katie added, “Dad is always the last to know.” and she escorted Artie into the tent.
After a few minutes of staring at his scanner, Elder Stow announced, “No crocodiles present. Lincoln said they don’t move around much when the sun is not out to warm them.”
Lockhart said nothing. He just stared at the fire.
“Vampires,” Elder Stow said. “That does not sound good.”
Lockhart said, “Land of Goshen.”