Excerpt: The Lost Tribes by C. Taylor-Butler (copyright 2015)
Chapter 8: The Guardian
When Ben clicked on the scale, two enormous doors materialized at the end of the room. The polished metal surface was covered in symbols Ben didn’t recognize. Half of a balance scale was carved on each side holding a feather on the left and nothing on the right. Flanking the doors stood statues of Anubis and Toth — the god in charge of the weighing and the Goddess Ammut — part crocodile, part lion, part hippopotamus. Ammut ate anyone who didn’t make the cut. Above the doors crouched a woman, her wing-covered arms outstretched to either side.
“That’s the symbol for Ma’at,” Grace said. “This must be the entrance to the Hall of Truth.”
“The place where the souls of Egypt’s dead went to be judged,” Ben confirmed. “Bet you didn’t think I was paying attention in class.”
“You weren’t. You got a C- on the test. Besides, it says that right above the door.”
“I got a higher grade than you did!” Ben laughed. “Burn!”
“You didn’t need to go there,” Grace muttered, her cheeks flushed.
The symbols translated into English as soon as Ben passed over them with his cursor.
“Enter those who have proven worthy.”
A current of electricity jolted through Ben. In ancient Egypt, hearts of the dead were placed on the right side of the scale. If the scales balanced, you went on to a great reward—the afterlife. If not, you were dinner for Ammut and your death was final. If Ben solved the game, would the scale judge him to be worthy?
“Earth to Ben. Did you find something or are you daydreaming about slaying monsters with your supercharged basketball? I clicked on the doors but they don’t open. Guess we have put a heart on the scale before it will let us in. Got one we can use?”
Ben snapped back to attention and sighed.
“I guess that means ‘no.’ ” Grace chuckled. “Means we’ll have to find a heart somewhere else. Mine’s taken.”