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Little Galaxies

I'd come to kill a god but she was not what I expected. Thousands of universes hung from her neck, each one a precious intaglio charm glittering like a gem. Her eyes mimicked them, lambent little galaxies that were nothing but an illusion.
She lifted a charm and whispered, "Flowers and milk and fruit with blood, maybe oakmoss too," to the ruby glass that looked like a drop of blood in her hand. In that little crystal, a new world bloomed. The act of creation her whimsy.
From the shadows, my body vibrated with raw emotion... confusion, hatred, exhaustion too. I endured rivers of pus and vaulted halls of ice. The heroes of my world conjured magic so deadly that it had consumed us all, save me. I alone escaped and finally made it to the heavens to kill the Capricious One. I'd expected a lofty aerie ruled by a hateful old man or maybe just a haughty magician toying with us for pleasure.
Instead, I crouched in the darkness watching a beautiful monster alone at the heart of nothingness, marveling at her creations like a curious child. One by one she lifted her charms--some expanding, pulsing with beauty as the creatures inside create gods and sciences. Others collapsing upon themselves in convulsions of sinew and bone and longing.
To her, the worlds were nothing more than tiny playthings that grow and die. A garden she tended when it pleased her. I wondered which of the charms was my world.
Uncertain, I stepped from the shadow with my sword and wand. Smears of soot covered my arms. Sweat dripped from my face.
I lifted my hand and a tangle of grass rose to bind her bare ankles. The blades grew around her flesh like silica thin knives.
Visceral sorrow poured from me and I shouted, "Don't you love those of us that you create?" The creator looked down at the beads of blood along her legs, intrigued. Then back at me. "Are all my creations so... forceful?" She smiled with innocent glee.
"My son has been killed by raiders. My mother is blinded. My people suffer in the sand storms. The phoenixes of our world have become so preoccupied with their duties they no longer take flight. I have spent my life making my way here to destroy our heartless creator. Will you give us the care we deserve, Capricious One?" I called, brandishing my weapons.
She tilted her beautiful head and said nothing.
I pictured Wen, my tiny son laughing with joy at the taste of black pear. I remembered him giggling as he showed me a toy of twigs tied together with a red ribbon. Then I saw only his eyes rolling with terror as the raiders pulled him from my arms. His cries for Mama as I watched him die.
Shaking at her cold dismissal, I strode forward and raised my sword.
The galaxy-eyed goddess watched with no fear in her eyes, only simple curiosity. "Will it hurt, do you think?" she asked.
I froze. My arm shook violently as I held my sword aloft over her neck. Was this the right of it? Was I now the raider with no care for those at the end of my sword?
But then she smiled and something in the way she bared her teeth felt like a challenge. A dismissal of all she had done.
I swung my blade with a scream for every death I'd witnessed. With a single stroke, I lopped off her dainty head. From the gore, I carefully pulled out the delicate necklace.
"After so long." Tears blurred my vision as I searched for the charm where the remains of my family lived. As the necklace cascaded over my calloused palms, I fell to my knees. A million cries of injustice, sorrow, joy, ecstasy, fear, and need flooded my mind. My eyes collapsed into galaxies. My mind became the very synapses connecting the crystalline charms.
Now, thousands of universes hang from my neck, each one a precious intaglio charm, glittering like gems. My eyes mimic them, lambent little galaxies, though they are nothing but an illusion.
One by one, I lift a charm and speak. "Flowers, wine, and song with a longing for the sun," I say to the blue glass that looks like a drop of water in my hand.
In that little drop, wonder blooms.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
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