Ep 13 – Lions… Oh My!

INTRO: Mirai is currently talking on the bus on one of the stops.

MIRAI:

We’re in the middle of one of the stops and the weirdest person just got on. Well, I don’t mean weird in a bad way, but it’s just… Well, cosplay isn’t allowed in public and yet they’re dressed like a furry from 1500s feudal Japan? Like I’m talking fox ears that move and twitch, you would know, the expensive ones, and clothes that even my grandmother wouldn’t wear.Anyways, that was just my little observation. If they’re allowing furries then I should have no problem talking to myself on the bus! But speaking of furries, Dog mentioned Alina’s going to find their own beast for protection. How are they all going to pull that off? They can’t even find Sam!

SCENE STARTS: (“Proserpina Bops” plays as Alina enters the cafe, greeting Drew and Dog.) 

ALINA:

Hey gang, meeting Drew and Dog again at the cafe. Jun’s still recovering, so it’ll be just us and his nonstop text messages.

SOUND: (Alina’s phone rings as Jun’s voice saying “Aliens!” appears, notifying Alina that she has a text.) 

DREW:   

How’s he doing?

DOG:

Complaining, so obviously doing just fine.

ALINA:

It’s good to hear that he’s recovering well at least. 

DREW:

Everything okay with the parentals?

DOG:

Oh yes, Jun just claimed he’s on another obsession and locked himself in his room. They won’t bother him for a while. Hopefully his neck wound will heal quickly.

ALINA:

Wow, that’s really convenient. 

DOG:

Only in these kinds of circumstances. 

ALINA:

Anyways Dog, you said you knew of a creature that could possibly help us out until Sam comes back?

DOG:

I have a list. Uh, we need someone to keep us safe, so there is someone I have in mind. 

DREW:

Let’s go then. I hate feeling this useless.

NEXT SCENE: (The three of them wander the park.)

DOG:

So, the Goddess we’re looking for is Sekhmet.

DREW:   

Wait, like as in the Egyptian Lion Goddess?

ALINA:

Ooh what is she the goddess of?

DOG:

She can be either a warrior goddess or a healing goddess. Theoretically, both kinds would be nice, but there is a… dent in her perfect record.

ALINA:       

What kinda dent are we talking about?

DREW:   

Oh! I-Isn’t one of her names “The One Before Whom Evil Trembles?”

ALINA:   

Well that’s good for us right? We need someone who can fight evil.

DOG:   

Well, she can get a little blood thirsty every now and then.

ALINA:   

Are… you saying she could kill us as well?

DOG:

Let me tell you more about Sekhmet and then how about we decide? It’s a bit of a walk anyways. We have to get as close to the sun as possible to call upon her — she’s also a sun god. 

DREW:

Oh boy…I just remembered why I know her name, and it’s not good. There’s a famous story about her. 

SOUND: (A windy field appears as Ra says “aha, I am the Sun god. Obey me!”)

One day Ra the Sun God, aka Daddy dearest, gets a bit upset because the humans were not obeying his rules. So he sends his daughter, Sekhmet, down to deal with the punishment. Except she decides to go on a horrible rampage instead. I’m talking she fills the fields with blood. 

SOUND: (a crowd of people scream as Sekhmet punishes them, causing Ra to say “whoops.”)

There was so much blood, that even Ra took a step back and tried to stop her… When even he became unable to control her, Ra filled the Nile River with red beer, tricking Sekhmet into thinking that it was the blood of all the people she had slaughtered and she drank it happily. The liquid that she thought it was blood. All of it. It was only after she became intoxicated did the terror finally end.

SOUND: (Ra fills the river with beer and Sekhmet drinks it)

DOG:

Yeah… but it was only the one time! She’s still known as a protector of pharaohs!Her name means “power” or “might.” Like Drew mentioned, she is a daughter of Ra. She’s closely associated with the Goddess Hathor as well so Sekhmet is also a patron of doctors and medicine, averting plagues and curing illnesses.  

ALINA:   

Okay… I can see why you’d be interested in asking her I guess…

DOG:   

We need a strong companion. I think both of you know that even outside of mythology, lions stand for strength, courage, and justice; exactly what we’re looking for. 

DREW:

Hmm, it’s not that I don’t trust your word Dog, but it’s just one time too many in my book. I’ll buy another bat, if needed, thanks.

ALINA:

Then maybe we can find another lion goddess? There has to be more, right?

DOG:

There’re many lions we can discuss. It’s not just gods either, there are creatures just as strong. The chimera, the guard stone lions, all sorts of sphinxes. I’m assuming you’re both familiar with sphinxes? Yes?

DREW:

The Greek and Egyptian ones, yeah.

ALINA:

Those are the ones who ask riddles or eat you right?

DOG:

Ah yes, that’s the Greek one. She’s not really all that bad, you just have to… let her talk.

ALINA:

And the Egyptian ones? They must be held in a high regard if Sekhmet is also a lion.

DOG:

Yes, Egyptian sphinxes are held at a much higher, nicer, regard, hence why pharaohs would carve their faces on sphinx statues, and then unfortunately have pieces of their face fall off.

ALINA:

So maybe we could find a sphinx instead! Could you tell us more about them?

DREW:

Yeah, I agree, looking for Gods… that’s a lot. I don’t think my mind could handle that logic.

DOG:

Fine. Let’s talk about sphinxes. There are many more types all over Asia. They generally contain the face of a human, the body of a strong mammal, and the wings of a bird. 

ALINA:

Do you have any idea which one would be ideal for us?

DOG:

The Lamassu is a good option if any, they’re a Sumerian deity. Known to be a protector, which is something we sorely need at the moment.

DREW:

Do you know where we can find them?

DOG:

Well… actually, right where we came from.

ALINA:   

Where? There’s nothing where we came from.

DOG:

The entrance! Typically, we’d need to find a statue of one, but they’re guardians, so the entrance of the park should work. We could walk back I guess, if Sekhmet is really out of the question… 

ALINA:

Well, they do seem a safer bet… And hey, we’re getting some exercise at least. Dog, can you tell us more about Lamassu? I’m assuming they’re more like the Egyptian sphinx instead of the Greek one.

SOUND: (We go so far up into the sky that we’re in space. The Lamassu roar and flap their wings.) 

DOG:

Yes, they’re nice creatures. They’re actually technically classified as hybrids, not sphinxes, but uh to-may-to, to-mah-to. They also have different names, such as Shedu, Apsasu, or Lumasi, depending on the area and if the creature is male or female. Back in the day, every city wanted a Lamassu for protection.It’s said that they are strong and impregnable. And because of that, their statues sometimes have five legs, to show how sturdy they are, and that they will never fall.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, they’re depicted as symbols of the stars and the zodiac. They encompass all life, due to their protective nature, and are omnipresent because you know, the wings.

DREW:

Dang that’s pretty hardcore. All right, I like these guys a lot more now.

DOG:    

Yes, they’re definitely a good option (sigh) if we’re not looking for gods…

DREW:

By the way, how would we ask Lamassu to help us out?

ALINA:

Uh, maybe we ask nicely?

DREW:

…We should have come up with a plan before we even came here.

DOG:   

Well who knows, maybe asking nicely could work. That’s kinda how I met Sam.

ALINA:

Oh! Origin story. Okay, okay, hold up. I want to take notes.

DOG:

There’s really not much of a story…

DREW:

Just let her do this, she was never able to figure out Sam, so she really needs the win.

DOG:

Right. So. I’d been looking for a way to get out. Humans these days are too quick with their smartphones and devices, it’s nearly impossible for creatures like me to go explore the world without getting noticed. I had been thinking about going to see the fairies to help glamour me, when I bumped into Sam and his friends. And then I asked them nicely for help.

ALINA:

Friends as in Cerberus? Or actual talking friends?

DOG:

They were human, like him. 

ALINA:

How many were there? What did they look like? And where are they now??

DREW:

Alina, breathe.

DOG:

There were two others, a young man and woman. I’m… not exactly sure where the man went, but I am hoping to meet the woman again.

ALINA:

You mentioned someone’s name before didn’t you? When we first met? Uhh what was it again?

DOG:

Oh Jessica, yes. She’s the young woman I’m talking about. I had hoped that she would also be in the park when I returned.

ALINA:

How long did you leave the park for? And why?

DOG:

Well, after Sam and the others introduced me to the fairies, I was finally able to slip out into the human world. But then Jun became my owner and I was never able to disappear without anyone noticing. 

DREW:

Should’ve been a cat. You could’ve disappeared for a week and it’d be normal.

MUSIC: (“Park in Twilight” plays.)

DOG:

Well, Sam suggested the Shiba Inu form, thinking about it, he really is quite the dog person. 

ALINA:

Of course he is. 

DOG:

Well anyways, that is how we met.

ALINA:

Wait, Dog. I have one more question. I forgot to bring it up last time, but Sam. When he saw Jun, he… looked terrified. And he kept mentioning something about him being there, or being able to hear him… What was that all about?

DOG:

It’s… it’s nothing for you to worry about Alina. Just focus on apologizing to Sam for breaking his trust.

ALINA:

Okay, but I feel like I need all my facts to apologize correctly. 

DOG:

I’ll handle that part of the apology, don’t you worry.

ALINA:

But, can he hear you?

DOG:

(pauses) You already know about that?

DREW:

Hey, uh, we’re back at the original place we came from right? What should we do now?

ALINA:

Uh, how about we rest for a bit? I guess we should tell Jun about what we talked about today, what with Lamassu and Dog’s story. Let’s sit down and I’ll message while we wait and see I guess. We shouldn’t stay too long regardless.

DOG:

Don’t worry about telling Jun my story. He already knows. Wouldn’t stop asking about it after that first day. 

DREW:

Ooh I can imagine. 

SOUND: (Alina’s phone rings again with another message from Jun.)

OUTRO: (We return to Mirai. “Proserpina Bop” plays as the sound of the bus comes back in.) 

MIRAI:

I think I was speaking too loud, the person with the fox ears looked right at me a few times. Ahh I hope they don’t think I’m the weirdo. Anyways, Dog’s first choice of protection was quite interesting. I don’t know how I’d feel being protected by someone who’s also got a taste for blood? But she is the expert in the park so maybe it’s necessary. 

I guess Cerberus is also pretty much on the extreme side, but I don’t think there’s any stories of him killing a bunch of people for fun… are there? Ugh, I’ve already gotten used to thinking my dog actually is a talking alien. Maybe I’m just thinking too much, but I do miss her doggy-woggy faceee. She’s soo cute. 

The Heart of Ether

[There are some shuffling noises as AGENT JUNE sits down.]

AGENT JUNE

[HE HUFFS A LONG SIGH.] Alrighty, then. Just have to wait until Agent May gets back. That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

[A short pause, before AGENT JUNE groans loudly.]

AGENT JUNE

It’s so boring here. There’s gotta be something for me to do, right? Let me just…

[AGENT JUNE is heard going through papers and messing around on the computer, before stopping.]

AGENT JUNE

Huh. This wasn’t here before.

[He clicks, and there’s a beep as the recording starts. We hear IRENE GRAY going through papers. There’s wind whistling, and the creaking of her attic.]

IRENE

[TO HERSELF] I think I’ve seen this code before. I’ll have to give it to Phoebe. She might be able to…I don’t know.

[A BEAT. IRENE SIGHS.] I know there’s something wrong with this town, Rose. Of course I do. Not just the people, but, well…[SLOWLY] some days, I step outside, and it feels like there’s something lurking right beneath my feet. As if the ground is just waiting for the opportunity to swallow me whole.

Though, can I be honest? I think that same thing is what’s keeping me here. Maybe— [SHE THINKS, THEN] Maybe it’s because I know how much you’d love it. Even with its weird quirks.

[A BEAT AS SHE PURSES HER LIPS.] Rose, I—

[Eerie music begins playing in the background as IRENE picks up a photograph.]

IRENE

[SHE SUDDENLY STOPS, THEN, HER TONE SHIFTING TO FEAR] Wait, there’s…It’s a photograph of—god, I don’t know what. It looks like it should be a person, but—

[As she talks, we hear footsteps outside of the recording.]

AGENT MAY

[OVERLAPPING THE RECORDING] June, hey, turn that off!

AGENT JUNE

Alright, alright, jeez! Sorry!

[There’s a click, and the recording of IRENE stops. A pause as AGENT JUNE thinks.]

AGENT JUNE

Whatever that was sounds like it could be important, though, right? I mean, it wasn’t there before.

AGENT MAY

We can worry about that later. We have a job to do.

AGENT JUNE

[MOCKING, TO HIMSELF] “Oh, we have a job to do.” [TO AGENT MAY] Yeah, alright. Fine. Let’s go.

[Phone beep.]

AUTOMATED VOICE

The Heart of Ether is a mystery and horror podcast made by Three-Eyed Frog Presents. Stop by the quaint forest town of Daughtler, Washington every other Friday, wherever you get your podcasts. Stay safe out there.

[Music fades out.]

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