Sunsets and Old Gods

Jake leaned back against one of the column bases that made up the perimeter of the temple grounds. Serena sat in front of him, between his legs and settled against his chest. She sighed. It had been a long day and she was exhausted. She was very grateful that Loren, the toymaker and their friend, had offered to keep Melia overnight. “You have earned a night off,” he’d said, smiling. “Besides, I have new toys that need to be tested before I put them up for sale in the market.”

Serena was honest enough with herself to recognize that Loren was absolutely correct. They needed a night off. Right now the thought of returning home to an excited and rambunctious three-year old was just too much to contemplate.

She smiled up at Jake. “We have the night off.”

“I know,” he said, dropping a kiss on top of her head. “What do you want to do?”

Serena turned back to the glorious sunset. “Honestly? Grab some take-out and then fall into bed.”

Jake wrapped his arms around her. “Works for me. Loren’s keeping Melia until lunch time, so we can even sleep in since we’re not working tomorrow.”

Serena sighed again and snuggled back against her husband. “For now, let’s just enjoy this amazing sunset.”

A few hours later, the dinner dishes – the few there were – were cleaned and Serena settled down on the sofa next to Jake. As much as she missed Melia and their evening routine, Serena also enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere of the house. A smidgen of guilt tugged at her, but she resolutely ignored it. It was okay to enjoy the quiet. And Melia was probably having far too much fun with Loren and his wondrous toys.

Serena pulled out her tablet and glanced over at Jake. Her husband was reading an actual, physical book. “What’s that? And where did you find it?” she asked curiously.

“Loren loaned it to me. It’s a history book that focuses on this area. He said it belonged to his grandmother. He thought I might like it and maybe get some more information about the temple.” Jake paused and gave her a thoughtful look. “It turns out that even the locals don’t know much about it. Loren said it was a legend in his grandmother’s time even though it’s mostly forgotten now. So when he ran across this book, he thought we might find it useful.”

“Oh, wow. So, is there anything in there?”

Jake stared down at the book. “Not that I’ve seen yet. According to Loren, his grandmother collected stories from everybody she knew and anybody else willing to talk with her. She had stumbled across the temple when she was a young girl and had always been curious about it. And, he said she tried to organize the stories she heard in some sort of chronological order… of the stories, not by when she heard them. So, I’m reading through and not skipping around. Hopefully I’ll run across something soon.” He smiled at her. “What are you reading?”

“Old Earth ancient Greek mythology. I think we need to know more about these gods and what they meant to people,” Serena looked over at him. “And why we’re finding them, or at least something like them, on a planet that is a couple of galaxies and a few hundred light years away from Old Earth.”

Jake licked his lips. “Yeah. About that… do you think those gods really existed? Exist? I mean… we all felt something in that temple.”

Serena stared down at her tablet, not really seeing it. “That’s what scares me and excites me all at the same time. If even half of the stories I’ve read so far are accurate, these guys are not fun-filled, benevolent beings. I’m not so sure I’d want to run into any of them.”

Jake watched her fingers running up and down the edges of her tablet. “Great. Okay, so we definitely need to make sure that nobody inadvertently calls on one of these ancient gods.”

Serena shuddered. “Absolutely. I also think we should go inside the temple as little as possible. We don’t want to disturb whatever’s in there, whether it’s an ancient goddess or something else that’s taken up residency.”

Draping one arm across her shoulders, Jake pulled Serena in close, tucking her into his side. “We’ll figure it out and we’ll do it without anybody getting hurt. I promise,” he reassured her. “We have a great team and we’ve run across weird stuff before.”

Serena nodded, feeling some of the tension leave her body. Despite the strangeness of this dig, Jake was right. “Yeah, I know. But this isn’t like anything else we’ve dealt with. Weird yeah, but there’s something more to it,” she whispered.

“I know, love. I know,” Jake replied. “But it’s all part of the adventure.”


I didn’t get my prompt challenge in on time last week, so I took one of the spares from this week’s list at More Odds Than Ends: Watch the sky as the sun sets, and enjoy the glory of it… It made me think of xenoarchaeologists, Jake and Serena. I’m still not sure what their entire story is or where it’s going. I’d like to think there are adventures awaiting them out in the stars and on new planets. It’s something I’m going to have to investigate.

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