The Rekne

14 Oct

Commander Det, chief of police in the western Nile delta city of Sais, realized that he was in need of outside aid. The situation that he faced was too much for him and his men to handle alone. A feeling of helplessness had taken hold of him. He was in desperate need of a solution to the problem facing him.

In answer to his pleas for assistance, a special priest named Isem was sent from the Pharaoh’s capital of Thebes. The new arrival was briefed on the strange enigma confronting the police in Sais as soon as he reached the troubled community facing the endless sands of the western desert.

“We are suffering a plague of criminal madness,” began Det, on a stool across from the tall, emaciated holy man. “Wanton killing and suicide has grown to almost incredible dimensions. Our residents are afraid to go outdoors once the sun is gone. Assaults and attacks upon strangers, without discernible cause, have become common and frequent. As far as I know, there has never been anything like it before in Sais. This menace threatens to destroy us.”

“Have the perpetrators been questioned?” asked Isem. “What have they revealed?”

The commander grimaced, making a bitter facial expression.

“Nothing at all can be learned from them. All they do is speak in crazy language about the nightmares that afflict their sleep. Nothing they say makes any sense at all. That adds to the uncanny air of mystery around their activities.

“We have several dozen such madmen in our city prison at the present time.”

“No women ever commit such insane acts?” inquired the priest.

“That is right,” affirmed Det. “I am unable to understand what is going on in Sais. Nothing has any logical, reasonable explanation, none at all.” He stared at Isem with a pleading emotion in his smoky eyes and dark face.

The two men were silent for a time, both of them deep in thought.

“I should like to talk to some of your prisoners,” finally requested the slate-eyed, lanky man who had come to investigate the vexing riddle of murder and madness in the city of Sais.

After carrying out interviews in the prison, Isem thought that he saw a definite pattern emerge. He began to concentrate on the terrifying nightmares that the criminal attackers had experienced immediately prior to their crimes. What was the common thread in their horrible visions during sleep? the priest asked himself.

“There were strange animals with monstrous faces coming at me from all directions.”

“I saw a pack of lions come out of the desert toward me. Their expressions were frightening. There is nothing like them in the light of day.”

“Beastlike heads surrounded and encircled me. I was unable to see the rest of the bodies.”

“There was a horrid grimace on the gigantic head in front of me. It made me shake with fear till I awakened.”

The priest racked his brain searching for an explanation, until late that night. Sleep only came to him shortly before dawn, as he vowed to visit the temple of Thoth and search in the library there for some clue as to the meaning of these similarities in the crimes and the dreams that occurred prior to them.

Perusing a variety of different scrolls, the searcher at last came upon a passage that focused his mind and attention in an absorbing manner.

“The anger of the god Set fell upon men who were fervently loyal to his nephew, Horus. In his extreme ire, the divinity imposed his ugly face upon the thoughts of his enemies. His aim was to separate and divide them from their favorite, Horus, and turn them into adherents of his own worship. Each of their memories became imprinted with the horrible countenance of the evil god Set, foe of all other divine beings and friend of none. The imposed pattern could never be erased or forgotten, whatever the man attempted. It would be present forever, coming forth in dreams full of fear and terror.

“The special term for the victim of Set’s anger is the rekne. Each one of them is chained to the sight of the horrible face for life. There can be no escape from it. The reknes are enthralled and enslaved to the evil will of Set.”

Isem looked away, up at the smooth white wall of the temple library.

He concentrated all his thoughts upon a new riddle: how did the imprinted face of Set flow out of the rekne at the center of the puzzle into minds of mad killers who had brought catastrophe to the people of Sais?

The priest was determined to find answers.

Isem roamed the busy daytime streets, but unsuccessfully. There was no way of locating who might be the person projecting or broadcasting the horrid face of Set.

He decided that the search had to be carried out at night, when the rekne and his targets were all sleeping. But how to do that? His decision was to wander through the empty streets of Sais with all his thoughts on the problem of dream transmission. Could long, concentrated meditation provide some signal of value to him in this quest? Was his mind capable of solving the riddle of the unknown facto

The attempt was a dangerous venture into the darkness of both the city and the human mind.

There was no guarantee that anything would come of it, but he had to try.

Did the rekne even know what its role was in inciting criminality? the anxious priest wondered.

How much consciousness of its influence did a rekne have?

Night followed night with no results.

Isem ranged from the edge of the desert to the banks of the Nile, exploring every street, lane, and alley. Silence and emptiness reigned everywhere.

The walker reminded himself that three murders had occurred on the streets since he arrived in Sais. He halted on the Nile shore and looked down into the black water of the night. Then the investigator lifted his eyes to the curtain of stars lighting the sky above.

I know that I have always possessed a measure of sensitivity to thought transmissions. Why am I not receiving what I am after? he asked himself.  What is the obstacle, the wall that is defeating me?

A  feeling of revolving and falling downward engulfed him, as if he were falling asleep.

Then it arrived, an extraordinary, unusual sensation, almost a signal.

Where is this coming from? Isem asked himself. What does it contain?

He turned around and looked at the large cube-shaped buildings facing the Nile.

His mind honed in on the wealthy, official residence at the nearest corner.

I have to find out who it is that lives there, he commanded himself.

That night Isem had no sleep or rest. He was disturbed by all that he had found out.

At dawn, he was still roaming the streets near the river banks. His thoughts were caught in a chaotic whirlpool. Was what he had learned actually credible? Was it true?

At the police building near the city’s center, the priest appeared to see the chief officer as soon as he could.

Greeting his visitor, Commander Det asked him to take a stool. “Have you discovered anything about what is causing our crisis?” he began.

Isem hesitated, uncertain how to go forward with what he had to say.

“I believe there is something strange going on behind the scenes here,” he slowly said. “It us hard to explain the matter in an ordinary way.”

“Please,” said the police chief, “tell me whatever you think you know.”

The priest unexpectedly posed a question of his own.

“Do you happen to have heard of something called a rekne?”

“No,” answered Det. “What is it?”

“A person converted through magic into a sender, a broadcaster of thoughts by the influence of some god. I can give the example of Set and his psychic agents in our world.”

“Set?” cried out the official. “Nothing but evil and sin comes to us from him.”

Nervous silence prevailed as the two stared at each other.

Isem, as if gazing behind and beyond the other man, whispered to him quietly.

“The astonishing fact is that a rekne can be unaware of its role as being the carrier of an image from the god we call Set. He is able to implant the face of the evil one in other minds, so as to drive them into madness and acts of criminal damage and harm.

“There is nothing else that approaches being subject to the power of Set.”

“You hold, then, that this rekne is not always conscious of having become an agent of the evil god, or of affecting the thoughts and actions of others?”

The investigating priest looked down at the floor of sand. “That seems to me to be the truth of the matter. It explains what Sais has gone through.”

“Have you identified the one who does all of that for his master, Set,” demanded Det with emotion.

Isem looked directly into the other’s face and eyes.

“It happens to be you, sir. I have traced the source of murderous thoughts to the house where you dwell. There is no one else who would be the broadcaster, since you have no wife or family. Only you can be the individual responsible.”

The police chief started to shake and tremble.

“If that is true, is there anything that can be done to put a stop to what is happening?”

The priest looked away as he answered the question.

“One could leave this city and escape into the desert. That means being alone and far away, in complete isolation out there.”

“I can think of another solution,” archly smiled Det. “A quick and immediate way out.”

“What path are you considering, sir,” fearfully asked the other, apprehensive that the uncovered rekne might take his own life in absolute desperation.

“There is a single temple I know of dedicated to Set, down the Nile at Betne,” explained Det. “If I go there at once, I can make sacrifices to that god to lift this terrible burden from me. That would surely put an end to the evil thoughts emanating out of me.”

“But what if that does not work, sir? What if Set refuses to release you from the bonds of being his rekne?”

“Then I shall stay there in Betne as a servant of Set among those who publicly adhere to him. Let them be the killers and victims of the evil thoughts I send out for their god,” threatened the head of the Sais police. “Would that not be a just punishment for Betne?”

“Yes.” agreed Isem, ” and it would promise freedom from criminal madness for the people of this city. The evil thoughts and images would have moved themselves elsewhere.”

The pair exchanged knowing grins.

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