A Phoenix Story

A Phoenix Story

I left the air-conditioned consolation of the taxi, and the sights, sounds, and smells of the previous bazaar in Jeddah assailed me: a robe-clad man on camel plodded by, an adjoining fishmonger added his odor to the recent dung on the street, and the hawkers yelled their wares.

I might solely converse Arabic at a center college degree, however as I strolled by the bazaar, I heard “Fresh dates!”…”Highest high quality rugs!”…”Most interesting gold jewellery!”… “Ancient books! The rarest in Saudi Arabia!”

My head snapped round. A bald, stumpy man in a white caftan noticed me look and mentioned, “Books? You want ancient books?”

“Yes,” I spoke fastidiously, understanding my poor accent. “Can you speak English?” I didn’t have a lot hope.

“Of course, my friend. Come into my shop.”

It was only a nook within the wall however shielded by an awning, with 4 bookshelves lined in previous books. Within the again was a worn rug, and as he sat cross-legged, he gestured for me to sit down on some cushions.

I did, having fun with the traditional ambiance of Arab hospitality. What a distinction from the hubbub of the US and the UK within the ’80s!

“Muhammed al-Jeddah at your service.” His English was wonderful.

“Andy Zach, doctoral student and seeker of Arabic manuscripts on the phoenix.”

“Ah. Let us enjoy some refreshments before we get to business.”

“Thank you so much for your hospitality. I am weary with jet lag. I just arrived yesterday.”

He murmured by a curtain within the again. A girl in a hajib got here ahead with a small silver coffeepot. She glanced at me. I noticed almond eyes of darkest brown, shining with curiosity. A whiff of sturdy espresso from the pot and the scent of jasmine from the lady greeted my nostril.

“My daughter, Myriam. She is my life since the death of my wife.”

“My condolences on your loss. I understand one never gets over the death of a loved one.”

“So true. Yet in my daughter, I see my wife as when I first married her twenty years ago. Allah has been good to me, leaving me a living memory.”

I nodded and sipped my espresso. Magnificently sizzling, sturdy sufficient for espresso liquor, and candy as a whole sweet store, the flavors and warmth warred in my mouth.

Muhammed sipped his cup, sighed contentedly, and mentioned, “There is nothing like fine coffee.”

“It’s quite remarkable. I’ve never had anything like it.”

He smiled. “I’m glad you like it. Here. Enjoy these fresh dates and figs.”

I bit a juicy fig and needed to wipe my mouth. “Amazing! It’s like I’ve never had a fig before!”

“Yes. Our tree produces the finest figs in Saudi Arabia.”

“You are blessed indeed, Muhammed.”

He sighed with a smile and regarded off within the distance.

Making an attempt to broach the topic of phoenix manuscripts tactfully, I mentioned, “I have been studying phoenixes for many months already.”

“You must be a diligent scholar to come all the way from America.”

“I do have a one-track mind,” I admitted. “I’m enrolled at Cambridge, College of Paranormal Animals, so I didn’t come as far as that.”

“I’ve never heard of the College of Paranormal Animals.”

“I’m not surprised. My advisor, Dr. Edwina McDougal, created it to suit my doctoral interest.”

“Did you see the copy of Solomon and the Phoenix in the British Library from the wondrous library of Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore?”

Impressed by his information, I mentioned, “Yes, that was one of the manuscripts I studied. In fact, that’s why I’m here. I’m looking for another such manuscript to shed light on the phoenix. The historian Herodotus said the phoenix originated in Arabia.”

“Ah yes,” he mentioned as if simply remembering my authentic request. “Have you read the Kitab al-Bulhan?”

Kitab al-Bulhan, which translated to E book of Wonders, was a fourteenth-century Arabic supply on the phoenix. It included a discourse on the Simurgh or phoenix. “Yes indeed. It’s well-named.”

“I do not have a copy of Kitab al-Bulhan,” he mentioned with a sigh. “I do have a few pages that resemble it.”

“Oh? May I see them?” I attempted to maintain my pleasure out of my voice however failed. A lot for my negotiating abilities. I had supposed to barter fiercely for something.

“I’m sorry, but they appear to be torn out of a book. That is why it was not worthy to be shown in my shop. You surely would not want to see such inferior merchandise, would you?”

Muhammed was in full negotiating mode. Disparage your merchandise to see how a lot the consumer needs it. “Ordinarily no, but my curiosity must be satisfied.”

With no phrase he bought up and ducked by the curtain. He got here again with a number of dusty pages of parchment. The mud didn’t disguise the brilliantly coloured phoenix adorning one web page.

I gasped. “This matches the Book of Wonder I saw in the British Museum!”

“Yet I fear it is not the same. For I too have seen that, and these pages do not match.”

Though I used to be poor at listening to and talking Arabic, my hours of research enabled me to learn the 2 accompanying pages. They have been totally different from the usual E book of Surprise.

The author spoke of finding out the phoenix in Western Arabia. He mentioned it nested within the hills above the Pishon River. I knew from my research on the Backyard of Eden that the biblical river Pishon had dried up within the millennia since and now corresponded to the Wadi al-Batin. That was fairly near Jeddah, lower than 100 miles away!

“Oh my! This is a dream come true!” All ideas of negotiating evaporated as I noticed my objective inside attain. Think about if I might get a blood pattern of the phoenix! I’d have the ability to isolate its regeneration gene!

All my undergraduate organic research would bear fruit! I’d obtain my Ph.D. in animal revivification on the Cambridge School of Paranormal Animals!

Rereading the pages fastidiously, I famous the nameless creator mentioned the nest was two or three days’ journey from the origin of the Pishon, close to Medina. That’d be sixty miles by foot or ninety to 100 and twenty by camel or horse.

“This seems to be a copy of Katib al-Bulhan with additional notes.”

“Perhaps. The illustration is definitely a copy. I believe the notes are a copy of a yet older manuscript.”

“Oh? Why do you say that?”

“The Arabic style is very old, pre-Mohammed, may his name be praised.” He paused. “Is this something you want for yourself?” requested Muhammed.

“I’d love to own it, but I doubt I have the money to buy something so valuable. You’d be better off selling it to a museum or holding an auction.”

“Money! I have enough. I delight in seeing someone who appreciates the beauty of this manuscript. What can you afford?”

“I can’t really say. You see, I have to go on an expedition looking for the phoenix mentioned here. That was my purpose for coming to your land. After that, I don’t know how much money I’ll have left.”

“To the Pishon river? Isn’t that the Wadi Al-Batin today?”

As soon as once more Muhammed impressed me. I’d thought that was a reasonably obscure reality. “Yes, you’re correct.”

“How far must you travel along the Wadi?”

“Probably a hundred and fifty miles from Medina, to be sure.”

“I believe my cousin’s husband can help. He takes people on tours. May I call him to check?”

“Of course.”

Muhammed known as by the curtain to Myriam. She introduced an vintage French cellphone on a protracted twine. He dialed and talked quickly on it. After he hung up, he mentioned, “Good news! My cousin Hassan will gladly take you to search for the Simurgh.”

“That’s wonderful! But will I be able to afford him?”

“Do not worry about money. If you find the phoenix, that will be payment enough for me.” He smiled.

After all. If I discovered the phoenix utilizing his manuscript, that might multiply the worth of his doc!

“When can we leave?”

“Tomorrow evening would be best. In the desert, you should travel by night. I assume you are prepared for desert travel?”

“Yes, my clothing covers both the cool nights and the hot days.”

“Good.”

The next night I met Hassan and Muhammed within the souk by the bookshop. They led me to a battered Land Rover. I might barely see the dark-green paint by the scrapes, sand, and dirt.

I had checked out of the resort and held my solely bag. I had my detailed map of Saudi Arabia with me, a canteen of water, pemmican, beef jerky, and dried fruit for a number of days.

“My cousin al-Hassan.” Muhammed launched us.

“Salam Alaikum,” the cousin mentioned formally, along with his palms collectively.

“Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.” I replied correctly to his greeting of peace with, “And peace to you. I am Andy Zach.”

“Welcome to my adventure tour. Muhammed has told me of your plan to explore Wadi al-Batin’s source.”

“Indeed yes. I have it charted on my map”—I gestured to it—”however I don’t know of the easiest way to get there.”

“There is no best way in the desert. There is only the way you find.”

That didn’t give me a lot confidence. However what selection did I’ve? I needed to discover out if a phoenix was a mere mythological creature or an precise supply of revivification for animals. I confirmed Hassan my map of the traditional Pishon river and the varied wadis composing it.

“Wadi al-Batin is on the mouth of the Pishon, indicated by the traditional alluvial fan. Then there may be Wadi Rimah, which results in Wadi al-Batin. Continuing upstream, that wadi splits into Wadi Qahd on the northwest and the Wadi al Jarir on the southwest.

“Which one should we investigate the source of the Pishon? Wadi al Jarir goes further uphill to the Mahd adh Dhahab gold mine, exactly as the Bible says: ‘The River Pishon encompasses the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.’ So can you get us to the beginning of Wadi al Jarir?” I concluded.

“Yes. We’ll go along the coast and then take the old mining road. Once we’re there, we’ll go to the Wadi al Jarir.” He smiled. “Then you’ll have to take over, young man.”

I nodded extra assuredly than I felt. May I discover the supply of a river that hadn’t flowed for over thirty-five hundred years? May I discover the nest of a hen that hadn’t been seen in over two thousand?

In the meantime, Hassan launched me to his aide, Omar.

A thin youth with curly hair grinned at me, exhibiting crooked tooth. “I only speak Arabic,” he mentioned.

“I speak a little,” I replied as we shook palms. I towered over him.

“Good! We’ll get along fine!”

“Omar will help with the driving,” Hassan mentioned. “I’m no good driving at night. Too old. But not as old as my cousin!” He checked out Muhammed.

“True, true. We can’t all be as young as you are, Hassan or Omar.” Muhammed stared at Omar with a frown, as if one thing was incorrect. “What happened to your regular driver, Abdullah?”

“Ah, he fell sick. He recommended his friend Omar.”

“Inshallah,” Muhammed mentioned, like a prayer.

“Inshallah,” agreed Hassan and Omar. “God’s will be done” was a tough translation.

I wasn’t Islamic, however I mentioned, “Amen!”

We left by ten and traveled by the darkish evening. First, we adopted the Crimson Sea north, after which we took the street into the mountain highlands to Mahd adh Dhahab. Hassan quickly fell asleep within the backseat, however Omar chattered in Arabic the entire manner as I sat subsequent to him.

“So what do you seek in Mahd adh Dhahab?”

“The origin of the old river Pishon.” I didn’t know the phrase for “ancient” in Arabic.

“Ah! I have heard of that river! It began in the mountains and flowed to the gulf many years ago.”

Stunned, I requested, “How did you hear?”

“I read—a lot.” Right here he lapsed into English and gave me his large grin.

“How much English do you speak?”

“Just a little. But I understand a lot!”

So we continued, me in my damaged Arabic and he in his occasional English phrase. The 5 hours went rapidly, and once we reached Mahd adh Dhahab, Omar drove to the outskirts and pulled off the street. Hassan awoke.

“Here we are. We’re in the Wadi al Jarir. Now where do we go, Mr. Zach?”

I slid out of the Rover and stretched my legs. Within the moonlight, I might see the mountains to the north of the wadi. “How far can we get into the mountains from here?”

“As far as you dare,” Hassan mentioned with equanimity.

I laughed. “You’ll find I dare a great deal. How much danger is there driving off-road in the dark?” It felt good to be speaking in English once more.

“Only from hidden rocks and ruts. We’ll avoid them, inshallah.”

“Let us go then!”

We adopted the underside of the wadi as much as the foothills. I picked a valley main as much as the best level. The jostling bought a lot worse. A number of occasions I believed we broke one thing, however Hassan mentioned, “No problem! Do not worry!”

We had simply climbed a steep slope and had been headed barely downhill, earlier than one other, steeper slope.

Crash! The entrance left wheel slid right into a gap, and I felt the underside of the automotive backside out.

“No problem!” In Arabic, Hassam mentioned to Omar, “Back us up.”

The wheels spun uselessly.

“No problem! Omar, you push. I’ll drive.”

“Let me help.” I hopped out of the Rover.

It felt odd to be paired with a five-foot Arab boy who most likely didn’t weigh greater than 100 kilos, half my weight. We pushed and pulled gamely as Hassan rocked the automotive ahead and again. The front-wheel wouldn’t edge out of the opening. I couldn’t see how deep it was at nighttime, however the wheel gave the impression to be hanging within the air.

The Land Rover teetered on the rocky berm, and neither the entrance nor rear wheels achieved good traction.

“We need a lever to pry us out of the hole,” I mentioned.

“Dawn is coming,” Hassan mentioned, pointing to the lightening japanese horizon. “That will help. Let us make coffee and drink it until then.”

“Good idea.”

We sipped our small cups of sturdy, candy espresso produced from the electrical coffeepot Hassan plugged into the cigarette lighter as we sat watching the dawn. We mentioned the place we might get a lever. No timber have been in sight. It was six miles again to Mahd adh Dhahab, which we might see within the distance.

“Hassan, you seem very calm, with your car stranded here.”

“Inshallah. We’ll go back to Mahd adh Dhahab, or we’ll find a way out.”

“Hey, look at this!” Omar known as. He had been analyzing the opening wherein we have been caught, looking for the underside. We ran round to the entrance wheel, and subsequent to it was Omar’s head. He had wriggled his physique into the opening and was standing upright.

“I hope the car doesn’t fall!” I switched to Arabic once more to match him.

“Ha! Inshallah! The hole is much deeper than I am. Watch!” His head disappeared, after which he known as from underground, “It gets bigger! It’s a cave! Get a light!”

I shone my flashlight down. I might see maybe ten ft down, however no Omar, solely rocks.

“Hand me the light!” He popped again up from underneath the wheel.

I handed it to him.

I actually needed to comply with him, however there was no manner I might match. Until… “Hassan! If I take off the wheel, I could go down there too!”

He peered on the gap and the wheel. “I am curious too. Let’s do it.”

With the wheel off, each Hassan and I wriggled previous the axle and down the opening. It descended at a forty-five-degree angle for fifteen ft and leveled out. It was virtually excessive sufficient for me to face.

“Look!” Omar cried. “Water!”

Far at the back of the cave was a small pool in a melancholy within the rock. I studied the partitions of the cave. Every little thing was easy and weathered, however there have been no stalactites or stalagmites, as I’d count on to see in caves in the US.

“I wonder if this is the Pishon source? Everything is eroded like the bottom of a river.”

“Perhaps so,” Hassan agreed with warning.

Trying upward from the water pool, I noticed a excessive, domed ceiling. The water erosion continued upward for ten ft, after which the rocks have been jagged and tough.

“We’ve gotten this far. I might as well explore a little further.” With a leap, I grabbed a ledge about 9 ft above and pulled myself up. I loved mountaineering, and this was straightforward in comparison with some cliffs I had scaled.

From the ledge, I surveyed the higher portion of the dome. Reverse me, twenty-five ft away, was a darkish opening. I shone the flashlight on it however couldn’t see a lot. Finding out the adjoining rock partitions, I plotted a path to the recess.

Clipping my flashlight to my belt, I traversed alongside the vertical partitions to the recess. With a last leap, I plopped onto the lip that hid the recess from beneath.

Within the recess, I discovered a circle of stones 4 ft in diameter. The stones have been all weathered easy and spherical just like the river stones beneath. How had they gotten up right here? And who had positioned them? And when?

“What is it? What do you see?” Omar cried in Arabic.

“A circle. Someone has placed stones here in a circle.”

“Oho! Maybe it’s the Simurgh!”

The phoenix? I hadn’t considered that. However this might have been the supply of the Pishon, and the circle of stones was like a nest. I stirred the grime in the course of the stones. It was darker than the remainder of the mud, nevertheless it was simply grime.

“Here. Take my camera. You must take pictures.” Hassan held up the digicam.

“Let me help!” Omar grabbed the digicam after which, like a monkey, climbed the wall to the ledge.

“My! You’d do well in rock climbing!”

“I love to climb.” He handed me the digicam, full with flashbulbs. I took as many photos as I had flashbulbs, eight.

“Ah, he fell sick. He recommended his friend Omar.”

“Inshallah,” Muhammed mentioned, like a prayer.

“Inshallah,” agreed Hassan and Omar. “God’s will be done” was a tough translation.

I wasn’t Islamic, however I mentioned, “Amen!”

We left by ten and traveled by the darkish evening. First, we adopted the Crimson Sea north, after which we took the street into the mountain highlands to Mahd adh Dhahab. Hassan quickly fell asleep within the backseat, however Omar chattered in Arabic the entire manner as I sat subsequent to him.

“So what do you seek in Mahd adh Dhahab?”

“The origin of the old river Pishon.” I didn’t know the phrase for “ancient” in Arabic.

“Ah! I have heard of that river! It began in the mountains and flowed to the gulf many years ago.”

Stunned, I requested, “How did you hear?”

“I read—a lot.” Right here he lapsed into English and gave me his large grin.

“How much English do you speak?”

“Just a little. But I understand a lot!”

So we continued, me in my damaged Arabic and he in his occasional English phrase. The 5 hours went rapidly, and once we reached Mahd adh Dhahab, Omar drove to the outskirts and pulled off the street. Hassan awoke.

“Here we are. We’re in the Wadi al Jarir. Now where do we go, Mr. Zach?”

I slid out of the Rover and stretched my legs. Within the moonlight, I might see the mountains to the north of the wadi. “How far can we get into the mountains from here?”

“As far as you dare,” Hassan mentioned with equanimity.

I laughed. “You’ll find I dare a great deal. How much danger is there driving off-road in the dark?” It felt good to be speaking in English once more.

“Only from hidden rocks and ruts. We’ll avoid them, inshallah.”

“Let us go then!”

We adopted the underside of the wadi as much as the foothills. I picked a valley main as much as the best level. The jostling bought a lot worse. A number of occasions I believed we broke one thing, however Hassan mentioned, “No problem! Do not worry!”

We had simply climbed a steep slope and had been headed barely downhill, earlier than one other, steeper slope.

Crash! The entrance left wheel slid right into a gap, and I felt the underside of the automotive backside out.

“No problem!” In Arabic, Hassam mentioned to Omar, “Back us up.”

The wheels spun uselessly.

“No problem! Omar, you push. I’ll drive.”

“Let me help.” I hopped out of the Rover.

It felt odd to be paired with a five-foot Arab boy who most likely didn’t weigh greater than 100 kilos, half my weight. We pushed and pulled gamely as Hassan rocked the automotive ahead and again. The front-wheel wouldn’t edge out of the opening. I couldn’t see how deep it was at nighttime, however the wheel gave the impression to be hanging within the air.

The Land Rover teetered on the rocky berm, and neither the entrance nor rear wheels achieved good traction.

“We need a lever to pry us out of the hole,” I mentioned.

“Dawn is coming,” Hassan mentioned, pointing to the lightening japanese horizon. “That will help. Let us make coffee and drink it until then.”

“Good idea.”

We sipped our small cups of sturdy, candy espresso produced from the electrical coffeepot Hassan plugged into the cigarette lighter as we sat watching the dawn. We mentioned the place we might get a lever. No timber have been in sight. It was six miles again to Mahd adh Dhahab, which we might see within the distance.

“Hassan, you seem very calm, with your car stranded here.”

“Inshallah. We’ll go back to Mahd adh Dhahab, or we’ll find a way out.”

“Hey, look at this!” Omar known as. He had been analyzing the opening wherein we have been caught, looking for the underside. We ran round to the entrance wheel, and subsequent to it was Omar’s head. He had wriggled his physique into the opening and was standing upright.

“I hope the car doesn’t fall!” I switched to Arabic once more to match him.

“Ha! Inshallah! The hole is much deeper than I am. Watch!” His head disappeared, after which he known as from underground, “It gets bigger! It’s a cave! Get a light!”

I shone my flashlight down. I might see maybe ten ft down, however no Omar, solely rocks.

“Hand me the light!” He popped again up from underneath the wheel.

I handed it to him.

I actually needed to comply with him, however there was no manner I might match. Until… “Hassan! If I take off the wheel, I could go down there too!”

He peered on the gap and the wheel. “I am curious too. Let’s do it.”

With the wheel off, each Hassan and I wriggled previous the axle and down the opening. It descended at a forty-five-degree angle for fifteen ft and leveled out. It was virtually excessive sufficient for me to face.

“Look!” Omar cried. “Water!”

Far at the back of the cave was a small pool in a melancholy within the rock. I studied the partitions of the cave. Every little thing was easy and weathered, however there have been no stalactites or stalagmites, as I’d count on to see in caves in the US.

“I wonder if this is the Pishon source? Everything is eroded like the bottom of a river.”

“Perhaps so,” Hassan agreed with warning.

Trying upward from the water pool, I noticed a excessive, domed ceiling. The water erosion continued upward for ten ft, after which the rocks have been jagged and tough.

“We’ve gotten this far. I might as well explore a little further.” With a leap, I grabbed a ledge about 9 ft above and pulled myself up. I loved mountaineering, and this was straightforward in comparison with some cliffs I had scaled.

From the ledge, I surveyed the higher portion of the dome. Reverse me, twenty-five ft away, was a darkish opening. I shone the flashlight on it however couldn’t see a lot. Finding out the adjoining rock partitions, I plotted a path to the recess.

Clipping my flashlight to my belt, I traversed alongside the vertical partitions to the recess. With a last leap, I plopped onto the lip that hid the recess from beneath.

Within the recess, I discovered a circle of stones 4 ft in diameter. The stones have been all weathered easy and spherical just like the river stones beneath. How had they gotten up right here? And who had positioned them? And when?

“What is it? What do you see?” Omar cried in Arabic.

“A circle. Someone has placed stones here in a circle.”

“Oho! Maybe it’s the Simurgh!”

The phoenix? I hadn’t considered that. However this might have been the supply of the Pishon, and the circle of stones was like a nest. I stirred the grime in the course of the stones. It was darker than the remainder of the mud, nevertheless it was simply grime.

“Here. Take my camera. You must take pictures.” Hassan held up the digicam.

“Let me help!” Omar grabbed the digicam after which, like a monkey, climbed the wall to the ledge.

“My! You’d do well in rock climbing!”

“I love to climb.” He handed me the digicam, full with flashbulbs. I took as many photos as I had flashbulbs, eight.

“It burst from the egg with a blaze of flame. I could feel its heat as it flew by me. Where did it go?”

“To the east. I think it’ll come back.”

“Why do you say so?”

“I believe it needs to gather the ashes of its nest. That seems to be instinctual.”

“What will you do next, Andy?”

“Try to capture it.”

“The Simurgh is a large and powerful bird.”

“I brought sedative doses suitable for shooting from my tranquilizer pistol.”

“Will you shoot it as it enters the cave?”

“No, I’ll wait inside the cave, hidden, while it seeks its nest. Could you take pictures, Hassan?”

“Yes.”

“Could I help?” Omar requested.

“Yes. Let’s get the car repaired and get some date-palm branches.”

“Why?”

“One of the traditions about the phoenix is that it builds its nest from the branches of the date palm. Thus, it would look for ashes of the date palm by its nest. Let’s burn some and give it the ashes it needs.”

Collectively, Omar and I levered the automotive out of the opening. Hassan and I left Omar with the tranquilizer pistol whereas we drove to the closest oasis, again within the metropolis.

Returning with the palm branches, we constructed a hearth of them, then gathered the ashes and carried them into the midst of the stone circle the place we’d discovered the phoenix egg.

The setting solar supplied solely lurid gentle into the cave. I huddled in an alcove above and throughout from the phoenix’s nest with my pistol. Hassan hid along with his digicam beneath a darkish tarp on the ground.

My legs cramped, and I shifted backwards and forwards to stretch my muscle tissues. I’d been ready for hours now. I’d hand over after sundown.

Whoosh! Click on. A flash of purple, yellow, and blue landed within the nest. It carried a ball of one thing. I caught a scent. Myrrh! Myrrh resin was what the phoenix used to collect its ashes for the journey to Egypt.

I aimed fastidiously for the phoenix’s breast. I used to be a succesful shot, having been within the NRA since my Boy Scout years. The very last thing I needed was to hurt the hen after it had survived 1000’s of years. I figured a shot within the breast was least prone to trigger damage.

Crack! The gun sounded louder within the enclosed dome. The phoenix exploded into motion! It leaped into the air and flew away even sooner than it had come.

I used to be certain I’d hit it. It ought to collapse quickly. I scrambled down and raced previous Hassan and out of the cave.

Omar was there holding the opposite digicam, his eyes huge with amazement.

“What happened when the phoenix came out?” I requested.

“Lightning. It flew like lightning,” he mentioned in Arabic.

“Flew where? You get pictures?” I spoke extra rapidly than I ever had in Arabic.

“There.” He pointed to the purpling japanese horizon. “I have two pictures.”

“And…” He stooped to the bottom. “This fell from the phoenix.”

It was the tranquilizing dart. I studied it. It was empty; the hen had gotten the complete dose. It shouldn’t have been in a position to fly greater than a dozen ft. Nevertheless it had flown out of sight to the east.

I shouldn’t have anticipated regular medication to work on paranormal birds.

“Have we lost the Simurgh?” Hassan requested quietly.

“For now. My tranquilizer didn’t work.”

“Will Simurgh return?”

“Let’s see if it took the myrrh egg.”

I climbed again into the cave and as much as the phoenix’s nest and noticed the discarded egg. The phoenix had hollowed it out and crammed it half stuffed with ashes.

“The phoenix will probably come back!” I known as all the way down to Hassan and Omar. “It’ll want its egg and ashes.”

Later, as we ate across the kerosene range, I requested my companions, “Normal drugs didn’t work on the phoenix. What can I use?”

“The phoenix can heal itself. It would have to be something very powerful.”

Omar laughed. “I have some hashish!”

I laughed too. “Why do you have that?”

He shrugged. “For injuries. It is good for pain.”

“True. I’m willing to try anything. Perhaps even a poison.”

“I saw some wormwood on the way to town.”

“Really? That’s what they use for absinthe. That’s very powerful. Any other ideas? I think we’ll only get one more chance at this bird. I can’t believe how fast it flies!”

Hassan barked fun. “I have a quart of ‘sid’ in the car.” Conserving a straight face, he mentioned, “It’s for disinfecting wounds.”

I laughed too. “Sid” or “siddiq” was Arabic for “my friend.” Siddiq was home-brewed alcohol, like moonshine within the States—and simply as unlawful in Saudi Arabia, a supposedly “dry” nation.

“Cut or uncut?” I requested. Usually siddiq is diluted two to at least one previous to consuming with a mixer.

“Uncut.”

“Whew! That makes it one-hundred-fifty- to one-hundred-eighty-proof alcohol. Kissing cousin to paint stripper.” I believed a second.”OK, let’s do that. I’ll take the cannabis and let it soak within the sid in a single day. Then we’ll gather the wormwood tomorrow, grind it up, and add that to the combination. Then I’ll put it into the trank capsule and provides it a strive on the phoenix. If this doesn’t work, I’ll must strive a internet.”

“Supposedly the Simurgh is impossible to catch,” Hassan mentioned with audible doubt.

“Yes. It’s Hobson’s choice. When you have one alternative, you try it. I doubt anyone in all history has tried this concoction. It’d definitely be poisonous to a human. For a paranormal bird with supernatural recuperative powers, who knows what’ll happen?”

Hassan and Omar contributed their medication, and I blended them in Hassan’s mason jar labeled in Arabic: Disinfectant: don’t drink.

I bought dizzy simply from respiration the fumes. I used to be fairly certain the opioids in cannabis have been soluble in alcohol, as was absinthe. I sealed the jar tightly.

“I won’t have any trouble sleeping tonight.”

“When should we go for the wormwood? What if the phoenix comes with the dawn tomorrow?” Omar requested.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” I admitted. “It makes sense too. The phoenix is highly intelligent, and it may try to slip into the cave the first thing tomorrow morning, even before dawn.” There! I’d mentioned an entire sentence in Arabic with out translating it first.

“Can we get it tonight?” Omar requested.

“In the dark?” Apart from the small city, there was no gentle within the desert.

“There’ll be a little moon, and I know exactly where it is. We walked right by the bush.”

“It’s worth a try.”

“You boys enjoy your search in the dark. I’ll sit here and drink tea and read,” Hassan mentioned, turning a web page in his e-book.

I acknowledged it—an previous Arabic version of The Tales of Sinbad, a late addition to One Thousand and One Nights

Driving fastidiously, I retraced our path from this morning. Even driving slowly, we went twice as quick as we might stroll.

“Slow! Here it is, to the left,” Omar mentioned all of the sudden.

I might see nothing, however he stepped out confidently. I adopted.

“Here.” In a gully, I noticed a small bush maybe three ft excessive. Inspecting the leaves with my flashlight, I noticed they have been gray-green on high, white beneath.

“How much do you think we need, Omar?”

He shrugged. “My mother only used a few branches to make medicine.”

I took a bundle of recent and a bundle of previous branches. I didn’t know which might have the essence extra strongly.

We made it again, the place we found Hassan drowsing. I additionally noticed the jar of sid and cannabis had leaked! It tipped on its facet, and solely about half the liquid was nonetheless there.

“Crap!”

“Perhaps this is good,” Omar mentioned.

“How?”

“Perhaps it will make the hashish more concentrated.”

“Hmmm. Good idea. Let me try something.” I mashed the wormwood branches and leaves right into a paste after which put them within the jar.

I took a cooking pot and poured water from my canteen into it. Then I positioned the pot on the cookstove. As soon as it was boiling, I put the sid-hashish-wormwood combination into the boiling water. I knew alcohol boiled at a decrease temperature than water. Quickly it was boiling vigorously.

I watched the combination fastidiously, and when it was lower than a cup, I took it out.

“I’ll let this steep overnight. Let’s get some sleep. We’ll have to get up well before light.” I set my small, leather-covered traveler alarm clock and left the world of waking like a falling plinth.

I dreamed of a fire-alarm drill in my highschool. Everybody was yelling, “Get out! Get out!”

“Get up!” Omar yelled, shaking me.

“Ah!” I rubbed my sleep-filled eyes and noticed the japanese horizon was barely lighter, whereas the celebs blazed above within the indigo desert sky. Hassan snored, oblivious to all.

As I crammed a tranquilizer dart with the cannabis and absinthe tincture, I mentioned, “I’d better use the tarp for cover. I don’t want the phoenix to see me and fly away.”

“I will hide by the pool and take pictures,” Omar mentioned.

We rapidly moved into place. Lower than an hour later, whoosh, and a blinding yellow-and-scarlet hen lighted within the nest. It had two lengthy blue feathers in its tail. It rapidly packed the egg with ashes after which started to seal the myrrh ball with its beak and clawed foot. I shot it from underneath the tarp.

It screamed “Kee-ah!” and flew away, as Omar had mentioned, like lightning. I blinked, making an attempt to course of what I had seen. One on the spot it had been there with the dart protruding of its scarlet breast. Then with a flicker of motion, it and the egg vanished up the tunnel.

The one comparable acceleration I had ever seen was a hummingbird zipping out of sight from a standstill at a feeder in an eye fixed blink. The dart fell off throughout that sudden motion and clicked on the stone beneath.

I sighed. We’d misplaced it for good. It had merely ignored the dart’s impact. It had no cause to return for 5 hundred years. In response to the phoenix legend, it builds a pyre each 5 hundred years, burns itself, and leaves an egg behind. The egg then hatches.

On this cave, it regarded just like the egg hadn’t hatched after the fireplace. Maybe a flood had quenched the fireplace?

“I got some good pictures,” Omar mentioned. “Did you shoot it?”

“Yes. It didn’t seem to do any good.”

“Inshallah. Perhaps it is for the best.”

Popping out of the cave, Hassan greeted us. “Good news, Mr. Zach! I got some good pictures of the phoenix as it left the cave.”

“I’m surprised. It moved faster than my eye could track.”

“Perhaps it was slowed by the drug. It moved no faster than a normal eagle or heron. It vanished over that ridge to the east.”

“Was it climbing?”

“No, it was level.”

“Hmmm. I’ve come this far. Let me see if it came down in the wadi over the ridge.”

“I will stay behind and prepare tea,” Hassan mentioned.

“I will come with you,” Omar mentioned.

“Thank you, both.”

To the highest of the hill, I trudged, carrying my binoculars.

“Do you think the phoenix will be there?” Omar mentioned.

“I hope so, but I also don’t want to hope too much.”

“I think it will. I think the hashish got to it. What will you do when you get it?”

“I plan to take a blood sample and let it go. If it’s there.”

“I’m sure you’ll get it. Inshallah.”

We bought to the highest and regarded into the subsequent wadi. Dry, grey stone greeted us. I scanned up the wadi to the height of the mountain and all the way down to the bottom. No signal of the phoenix.

“Should we climb the next ridge too?” Omar requested.

“Let’s do it.”

Down into the wadi, we clambered. Again up the subsequent, steeper ridge, crawling on our palms and knees within the sliding scree. I paused to tug my leather-based gloves on to guard my palms from the sharp rocks.

On the high, the dazzling rising solar greeted us. There was no wadi, only a broad, sloping shoulder of the mountain. Trying down the slope, I noticed nothing. Trying up, I noticed nothing.

“What’s that?” Omar requested, pointing towards the highest of the mountain.

“What’s what?” I mentioned in English, too drained and discouraged to translate in my head. I regarded the place he pointed however noticed nothing.

“I see something!” He ran up the slope like a goat.

I adopted him clumsily, feeling like a draft horse chasing a thoroughbred Arabian.

Close to the height, Omar knelt by a bush of myrrh. I noticed it had its high branches damaged off. That should have been what he noticed. In a darkish, sharp shadow, in a gully on the base, lay the phoenix.

“Is it alive?” I panted.

“Yes, but soundly asleep.”

Even in repose, within the shade, the plumage dazzled. Iridescent scarlet, metallic gold, and shimmery blue feathers clothed a hen nobler than an eagle. I took an empty tranquilizer dart and caught the hen within the breast. I had an eyedropper from my drugs equipment, which I used to coax drops of that valuable blood from the world’s solely phoenix into my capsule, by the hole dart.

It took over ten minutes to fill it. I seen the phoenix was exceedingly hot-blooded, sufficient that the blood’s warmth harm my fingers by the capsule. I wrapped my shirt round it to guard them.

“There. I’m done. Let’s take it back to the cave and place it and its egg in its nest.”

As we climbed down, we took turns carrying the phoenix in our arms. It was too sizzling to carry for lengthy.

“Omar, you’d better take it now. It’s burning me.”

He wrapped it within the backside of his gown. Then turning his midnight-brown eyes to me, he mentioned in excellent English, “I haven’t been honest with you.”

“Ah. I see. Why did you hide your beautiful English?”

“To disguise me from Hassan.”

“Why would you do that?”

“If he knew who I was, he’d return me home, and I wouldn’t get to go on this adventure.”

“So who are you?”

“Do you promise not to tell?”

“Have you committed a crime?”

He laughed. “No, except in running from my father.”

“It’s good for a teenaged boy to have adventures. I won’t tell your secret.”

“How about a teenaged girl?”

“Them too. What are you saying?” A suspicion arose in my ideas.

“I am a girl,” he—no—she mentioned merely.

“Oh! I see the issue.”

“You only see part of it. My father is Muhammed al-Jeddah. I am Myriam.”

Rocked by this revelation, I stared frankly at her. Was this soiled little urchin the dark-eyed lady smelling of jasmine? “Won’t he worry about you?”

“Extremely. He worries all the time as it is. He needs to see I am growing and need freedom and that he can trust me.”

“He may try to marry you off.”

“I hope so. I have someone in mind.”

“Doesn’t he select your husband?”

“Theoretically, yes. Practically, he’ll be so relieved to have me back, I believe he’ll go along with my idea.”

“I hope he does, for your sake. I’ve grown to like you, Omar or Myriam, dirty or clean.”

She laughed and skipped away down the slope to our camp, whereas I trudged on, carrying the recent and heavy phoenix.

We positioned the phoenix and its egg fastidiously in its nest within the cave. We packed our Land Rover and headed residence with our valuable cargo. I ended in Mahd adh Dhahab and purchased a cooler and dry ice and packed the blood capsule.

“Omar” slipped away as quickly as we returned to Jeddah. “I must go and see how Abdullah is feeling.” I smiled at him/her.

After checking again into my resort and cleansing up, I went to Muhammed’s stall within the bazaar. It was closed. I knocked on the door to his residence behind the stall.

“Who is it?” got here a weary voice.

“Andy Zach.”

“I’m sorry, Andy. I cannot see you today. I am in grief over my daughter, Myriam. She has disappeared, and I cannot find her.”

“I have good news for you, my friend! I saw her when I returned to Jeddah. She should be home soon!” There. That skirted the reality very properly.

Muhammed’s tear-stained face brightened. “Are you sure?”

“Absolutely! I last saw her near my hotel, and she waved at me!” Once more, true.

“Oh, now you must come in. I must prepare for her!”

“Allow me to help you, my friend. And I have more good news.”

“I cannot be any happier than to see my daughter again. I can’t imagine what happened to her. She disappeared the day you and Hassan left.”

“I’m sure she’ll have an interesting story. The other good news is, we captured the phoenix, the Simurgh!”

“Wonder upon wonder! Still, it pales to nothing compared to my daughter coming home. But tell me anyway.”

As we cleaned the home, I informed him the story of the phoenix, its nest, its egg hatching, and its escape. I informed him of it shrugging off the tranquilizer after which succumbing to the cannabis, absinthe, and siddiq combination.

“Siddiq! Of the three drugs, that is the most potent!” He smiled. “Not that I’ve ever tasted it.”

“Perhaps you used some for disinfecting a wound?”

“The very thing! How prescient you are! Yes, I cleaned my wound and grew dizzy from the fumes. How wise is Mohammed to forbid it!”

“Inshallah,” I mentioned piously.

After he bathed, Muhammed wearing his best white thob, or gown, along with his red-and-white keffiyeh.

“Now I will open my shop in my finest garb so I may watch for my daughter.”

I helped him roll the bookshelves from the storage closet and arrange the cover. He beamed and known as at passersby within the bazaar and shortly attracted appreciable enterprise. Even when he was seated at espresso with clients, his eyes roamed the crowded alley outdoors the shop.

Muhammed had simply made a giant sale when his neck jerked round. Following his gaze, I noticed a girl in a black hajib approaching.

“Myriam!” he yelled. Heedless of his dignity and formal put on, he ran to her.

They embraced, and he lifted her off her ft after which virtually carried her to his store.

“I will close for the rest of the day. I must celebrate my daughter’s return!”

I closed up the store, after which Muhammed known as from the door, “Andy! You must celebrate with me! You brought me the news and my daughter!”

I got here into their residence. The caterers had arrived, and so they had laid out a feast of goat, lamb, rice, dates, ripe figs from Muhammed’s personal tree, and freshly baked pita bread.

“Sit! Sit!” Muhammed insisted. “My joy overflows, and I must spill it on you. I will serve you and my daughter today. For too many years she has served me, an old man, with no thanks.”

Myriam eliminated her hajib, exhibiting her glowing eyes. “Father, thank you. I have a great story to tell you.”

“Please, let it wait. First, let us feast and rejoice!”

A gaggle of musicians started enjoying softly.

After the feast, Muhammed turned to me and mentioned, “First, let Andy tell the tale of the phoenix. Leave out no detail, for Myriam has not heard it, and I know you only gave me a cursory account.”

I spent the subsequent hour recounting the entire story, interrupted by questions from each Muhammed and Myriam. She normally queried about Omar, asking me for my opinion and think about of him, and normally with a sly smile.

Muhammed commented, “I had not met this Omar before and was doubtful of him. But from your account, he seems to be a fine young man.”

“I am so jealous of him, to be able to go on such an adventure!” Myriam complained.

“You have been on your own adventure. It is time for you to tell of it.”

“Thank you, Father. I am eager to speak of it. But I must have your promise that you will not punish me for running away without telling you.”

“Myriam, I am hurt that you would think I would punish you when I am full of joy at your return. If I intended to punish you, would I throw a feast?”

“No.”

“Would I run in the marketplace in my best clothing to carry you to our home?”

“No.”

“There is your promise.”

“Very properly. I’ll let you know my story. It started the evening you and Andy contacted Hassan to take Andy to the supply of the Pishon. My coronary heart burned inside me to go on that journey with the younger American pupil. However I knew you’ll by no means allow it, Father.

“That night, after you went to bed, I cut my hair like a boy. I dressed in the clothing of a serving boy. I had a dental prosthetic I had previously made for just this type of occasion, to give me crooked teeth. I smudged my face with dirt. And I got Abdullah to let me go in his place.”

Myriam then associated the entire of the phoenix story from her perspective.

She concluded, “I left Andy at his hotel, went back to Abdullah, got my clothing, washed up, and walked home. I have never been so happy in my life, since mother died, to be on this adventure. Now, what do you say, Father?”

Muhammed’s face had been clean since Myriam started her story. He regarded somberly at her, and slowly a tear trickled from his eye.

“My heart is at war with itself. I am proud of your character and accomplishments, and ashamed. Not ashamed of you, but of me. I should have found a husband for you this year. You are now the age your mother was when she married me.”

“Have you considered Abdullah?”

“Have you?” Muhammed’s teary eyes sharpened. He now regarded just like the expert negotiator and salesman he was.

“Y-yes,” she mentioned. “He said he would ask you.”

“He has. Both today and before today. I hesitated because he seemed so young and inexperienced. Yet today I remember. I remember I was no older or more experienced when I married your mother. Bring the phone! I must call him and tell him I grant him the greatest gift of all—the hand of my daughter.”

“Ullu! Ullu! Ullu!” Myriam trilled in pleasure.

Muhammed and Myriam insisted I keep till the marriage. I did, giving them the best digicam I might discover. Take an image of the phoenix, in case you can, I wrote on the cardboard.

After the enjoyment of the marriage and the tears of departure, I flew again to London with my valuable frozen blood pattern in my carry-on baggage. I didn’t want to waste a single drop. I’d plan the right way to use it to revive animals.

After I bought my Ph.D. at Cambridge, I returned to check cloning at Case Western Reserve. I noticed that I might clone the phoenix from the blood pattern. I realized the right way to isolate the phoenix DNA from its blood and place it into an eagle’s egg.

I frightened as I warmed the phoenix/eagle egg. I used to be undecided of the temperature it might take. The eggshell was not rock onerous just like the phoenix egg. I connected a thermocouple and used a laser beam to candle the egg. The embryo was quiescent.

I slowly heated the egg. One twenty. One thirty. One forty. One fifty. The embryo started to maneuver. I saved it at one fifty for a day. Then it burst forth in scarlet-and-gold glory.

I feared it could instinctively fly away. I gathered myrrh and palm ashes for its hatching. The chick was already as giant as a macaw because it emerged. It checked out me with clever curiosity, however no concern.

It ate a gap within the ball of myrrh. It flew to the myrrh bush I saved in a pot, gathered extra, and ate it. It doubled in measurement, to that of a younger eagle.

The subsequent day it gathered the eggshell items, not the ashes, and put them within the gap it had eaten within the ball of myrrh. It closed up the opening, picked up the ball, and positioned it within the potted myrrh bush. The hen flew to the door within the lab, pecked on it, after which checked out me. I opened it.

The phoenix flew down the corridor to the closest window. It pecked at it and checked out me. I opened the exit door with a sigh.

“This is the way out if you wish.”

It flew to my shoulder, rubbed its head on my cheek, after which flew out. I watched it fly across the college, then return and land on my shoulder.

This was my first phoenix. I named it Scheherazade. Later, I cloned the second phoenix and bred the 2. However that’s one other story.

Concerning the Writer

Andy Zach was born Anastasius Zacharias, in Greece. His dad and mom have been each zombies. Rising up, he beloved animals of every kind. After transferring to the US as a baby, in highschool he received a science truthful by bringing toads again from suspended animation. Earlier than turning to fiction, Andy revealed his PhD thesis “Methods of Revivification for Various Species of the Kingdom Animalia” within the prestigious JAPM, Journal of Paranormal Medication. Andy, along with being the foremost knowledgeable on paranormal animals, enjoys breeding phoenixes. He lives in Illinois along with his 5 phoenixes.

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