A Golden Opportunity Missed








Ezra Azra
.



 
© Copyright 2024 by Ezra Azra

Artist's impression of Nineveh at Wikimedia Commons.
Artist's impression of Nineveh at Wikimedia Commons.

Kalendri and Nezhthra, identical twin sisters, had been walking for hours through the countryside. They were dressed as men. They wore swords because there was a war in progress, albeit far away at that moment.

We are lost?

No, Kalendri. We are not lost. We have been walking East. And that's what Dad did to take us to the family mountain cave.

It's been twelve years since Dad died. We can't rely on our child memories.

East is East. How long ago it was, is irrelevant. The mountains are our Eastern limit. That's where our cave will be, forever.

I don't remember walking through this jungle. Do you?

Itís not a jungle.

Trees. All look the same to me. I was too young to remember a road. Of course, there are more trees now than twelve years ago.

I feel so lost, I cannot trust myself to know which way to go back home.

Just a minute. Climb a tree. We'll see the mountains.

First, let us rest a bit. The trees will still be here.

I know I'm being just silly, but I cannot help myself.

What?

That shack of ours. I miss it, knowing we are never going back.

There is nothing there to miss. No memories of family. We are the only two who lived there. The cave is full of memories of Vestrin, Dad, Mom. Dad said he made improvements in that cave. It's now more than a mountain cave.

We could go back for one last look at the shack when there is no more war.

Go back from Nineveh?

Right now, that Nineveh is chickens counted before they've hatched. They said only married persons are allowed to join to go to Nineveh to escape this war. Husbands are our tickets to that Nineveh. We don't have husbands, Nezhthra. Not likely to, while this war goes on killing men before we get to them.

I have told you I am working on a plan.

You've said that more than once. You're working on a plan. But never even once have you divulged to me your plan.

Because as yet I do not know if it will work.

The saying fits.

Which saying's that?

Two heads are better than one. If both of us work on your plan, there is a better chance we'll find out sooner if it has a chance.

Oh, all right. The moment we are in the cave, I'll tell you all I have resolved so far.

Okay. But, so far, let me say I think we've missed a golden opportunity by giving back the necklaces. With Horsin's golden horses necklaces, we did not need husbands to escape to Nineveh in Parthia.

Kalendri, we discussed and we agreed on what the best thing was to do about those Horsin horses.

You must admit, about the horses being magnetic, Horsin spoke the truth.

Yes. Hide-and-seek was fun with them.

I'm sad we could not keep them.

I'm sad you are allergic. That proves conclusively those Horsin horses are not gold. To gold that's pure, there is no allergy possible.

I'm puzzled. We are twins. Why's only one of us allergic?

Because, Kalendri, only one of us has tonsils: me. If you had tonsils, you would not be allergic to whatever those Horsin alleged-gold horses are made of.

Horsin said she'd bring us forms to fill out to work in the royal Palace.

And we discussed that, too. The Palace, or the family cave. When our country has lost this war, the cave's the safer place to be.

But if we win, we can come back?

If we're still in the cave. Not if we're living happily in Nineveh.

Nezhthra, you're forgetting the condition that allows us to go to Nineveh to escape this war.

No, I haven't forgotten. Marriage.

And once we arrive in Nineveh, will we be allowed to leave our husbands?

First things first. So far, we do not have husbands to leave once they get us to Nineveh. And, remember, if we are allowed to leave them, they will be allowed to abandon us.

Of course. My skin gets creepy crawly shivers when I think I'll have to have a husband. Yuck!

Nezhthra, I wonder if that red Cat will show up in Nineveh.

I am surprised we have not seen it since yesterday.

It was in front of me the whole way to the fruit tree yesterday. And led me back.

It would not come in from out the rain. I called. It just lay there on the roof in pouring rain, and looked at me as if I was the one who needed shelter. I named it, there-and-then.

A great idea! So, tell me!

Raindrops.

The password our brother, Vestrin, chose when three of us played Secret Spies! Good for you, Kalendri!

I've heard when Cats like somebody, they kill small animals and leave the corpses at the door.

Rats! I hope this Cat does not like us that much. I am so hungry all the time, I won't be able to not cook and eat whatever it brings in.

If you share with me, I'm with you and the Cat at every step.

Shhhhh! Something's coming. Listen. That way. Draw swords, but donít raise them.

Itís a man. A soldier. Coming this way.

Hello, sir!

Women?

In every way you can imagine, sir.

And youíre on our side in this war.

Otherwise, I would be suspicious. No foreign women would dare be in our territory in these times. Put away your swords. You must move far away from here. There's going to be a battle any day. Go that way.

That's where we are headed.

How is the war going for us?

We're holding our own, barely.

They are from so far across the sea. Why is it we are having so much difficulty driving them away?"

That's because our King doesn't care to wage total war. The King thinks we are unconquerable because he believes the founder of our nation was an almighty god. And, so, the length of this war is of no consequence. Our destiny is victory eventually. That's why we fight limited battles here and there. If all of us committed to one final battle, we will easily drive all the invaders into the sea. To oppose the King is not to be against our country, necessarily.

Our brother, Vestrin, fought and died for our country.

He was a patriot.

That did not stop him and our Dad from expressing disagreement with the way the King is conducting this war.

I'm sorry to hear about your Brother. I'm an only child. Only my Father is left. He's very old. Should I fall in battle----

Tell us his address. We will visit him.

I'm coming from there now. A cave in the mountains.

We're on our way to our family cave in the mountains! Give us his name. We'll find him.

No names. The enemy know us. No need for you to be implicated. You will see me in my Dad, instantly.

We'll find him, and care for him. Let us meet again after this war.

Thank you. By the way, be extra careful around here. Lots of wild Cats.

Red?

Yes.

Have you seen more than one at any time?

Strangely. No.

So it could be just one Cat?

Yes.

We have seen it. Thank you for alerting us.

Good. I have to leave now. Goodbye.

We should have asked him to accompany us.

He is on duty. He would have had to decline.

Darn!

What?

Rats! We just missed a golden opportunity. We could have struck a deal with him. You marry him; and I marry his Dad. And the four of us would have been happily on our way to Nineveh in Parthia.


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