Realm of the Goddess

Realm of the Goddess by Sabina Khan Read Free Book Online

Book: Realm of the Goddess by Sabina Khan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sabina Khan
opened my eyes carefully. I was still in the armchair. I must have only passed out for a few moments. I tried to sit up, but my head felt heavy and my arms were beginning to throb.
    “Why did you say that my parents were gone?” I said, sitting up straight and looking directly at Nina.
    “Callie...they were taken. That’s why you can’t go back to your house. It’s not safe.” I felt panic rise, but I had to stay in control this time. Something very weird was going on.
    “Who took them?” I asked, my voice sharper than I intended. “And why haven’t you called the police?”
    “The police cannot help in this matter, Callie,” Shiv said. “Look, I know it’s all very confusing to you right now, but if you let us explain, it will make sense.”
    My gut told me that I should listen to what they had to say. Plus it wasn’t as if I had the strength right now to jump, run home and find out what was going on. I only had to look at my arms to know that something had attacked me and that Shiv had saved me from being killed. I decided I was going to trust my instincts and let them say their piece.
    “Okay,” I said, looking around at the three of them. “Tell me what’s going on.”
    Dev spoke first. “Callie, how much do you know about Hindu mythology?”
    “A lot, actually, thanks to my parents. But what does that have to do with anything?”
    “Everything, actually,” Shiv said. But he let his dad continue.
    “You know about Kali, yes?”
    Yes, I knew about Kali. I’d only been named after her. Of course, my parents had picked a Westernized version of the name, but Kali had been the inspiration. They had both wanted a daughter who was strong-willed and fearless. I didn’t know how well that worked out, since I was deathly afraid of spiders and deep water.
    I nodded.
    “There was a time when humanity was overwhelmed by the reign of the Asuras, the demons. The people felt abandoned by the gods and appealed to them to save them from the horrors that they were being subjected to. Mahisha was the king of the Asuras. He could not be defeated...by man or by the gods, many of whom responded to humanity’s cries for help.” I had learned this myth on my grandmother’s lap as a little girl. I could still recall with startling clarity the faraway look on her face as she would regale me with her favorite tales of gods and goddesses. I knew what had happened next. The lesser gods, frustrated by their failures, went to the great Trinity, Indra, Brahma and Shiva and appealed to them for help in destroying Mahisha. The gods grew angry when they heard of the evil doings of Mahisha and from their wrath Kali was created, the ultimate goddess, Destroyer of Evil. My grandmother used to tilt my face up by the chin, look into my eyes and tell me that she knew one day I would go out into the world and destroy evil too, just like Kali. Now I wondered if there was any point to what Shiv and his parents were saying.
    “Why are you telling me about these stories? I heard them all as a child. What does any of this have to do with my parents?” Normally I would never use this tone with adults, but now was not the time for politeness. If they were right and something had happened to my parents, I needed to find out quickly. And my patience was wearing thin. Plus I was afraid I might pass out again at any time.
    “These are not just childhood stories, Callie,” Nina said. “They are real events and everything that you heard was true. Mahisha was real, Kali was real... is real.” Nina’s face was flushed and she began to pace as she continued. “When you heard about the great battle between Kali and Mahisha, you heard that in the end Kali destroyed him. Even though he was a shape-shifter, right?”
    I nodded and tried to recall details my grandmother had told me. According to her, Mahisha escaped every attempt at capture by changing from a bull to a lion and even into a man. But finally Kali managed to cut off his head while he

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