Plugs

“Your wolves have no names,” Cybele remarked.

“That’s true,” agreed Artemis. “They all know each other, you see; it’s not important to them.”

“So how do you call any of them when you want them?” asked Cybele.

“I never feel the need,” replied Artemis, coldly this time.

“Let’s race,” Cybele suggested.

“No, let’s not,” said Artemis. “You know how that sort of thing just gets to be a myth.”

“Oh, come on,” said Cybele.

“All right then,” Artemis sighed, and swung her quiver over her shoulder.

“Go!” cried Cybele.

They shot off like moonbeams, and the wolves (named and unnamed) followed them, down mountainsides cheering with wildflowers and rockslides, through the sudden quiet of pine forests, down to the roar of the sea.

Artemis stopped at the water, but Cybele kept running, and when she saw the other goddess standing on the shore, she called, “Don’t be an idiot!  Are you a moon goddess or what?”

Artemis remembered how lightly the moon walks on the waves.  She looked at Cybele’s slender dancing feet, and then down at her own, high arched and silver-ringed.  (All goddesses have perfect feet, even if they are perfect for different things.)

Artemis took a deep breath and stepped out across the water.  In a moment she began to run, and in another she had caught up with laughing Cybele.  They ran all day, and came back at sunset with a tuna to grill on the beach, together with crabs and oysters they pulled from the pools.  The wolves, not caring for fish, got themselves rabbits in the rocks.

“I think I won the first half of the race, out onto the water,” said Cybele.

“But I beat you to the tuna,” said Artemis. “Thank you for teaching me to walk on water,” she added.

“No problem. Hope you don’t mind if it becomes a myth,” Cybele replied.

“I won’t tell if you won’t,” said Artemis.

“Agreed!” laughed Cybele.  “Pass the aïoli, please.”

Edd Vick

Making Divinity

The Cabbage-Patch God

The Dolls’ Crusade

*A Natural Attraction

A Remarkable Reaction

The Cabbage-Patch God decided to extend Her dominion over humans in order to protect Her future. Gods only exist as long as they have worshipers, and She was afraid that Her plush and painted congregation on the toy shelves didn’t count. Her only human worshiper was Kayla, Her creator. Friday night two of Kayla’s friends were sleeping over. This was a perfect opportunity to win the adoration of Britney and Whitney.

When the doorbell rang, Kayla ran down the stairs, shrieking with delight. She did not carry the Cabbage-Patch God with her, as she had done constantly for the past two weeks. The God felt a pang of worry. It might already be too late.

The three girls burst into the room, clattering past the Cabbage-Patch God where she lay slumped against the wall at the foot of the bed. The girls huddled in front of the desk, and the God could not see what they were looking at.

“He’s SO cute!” Whitney exclaimed, almost dancing in place. There was a faint click.

Britney giggled. “Look at this one! I love his floppy little ears.” More clicks.

Kayla squealed and leaned forward, pointing at something. “This is the cutest puppy ever! I love it SO much!”

The God suddenly felt nauseated and a pulse of weakness passed through Her. She squeezed Her eyes shut and gestured. Giant snowflakes in pastel pink and blue materialized above the girls and began to fall silently. The girls continued to laugh and talk excitedly. They didn’t notice the colored snowflakes because the flakes, which formed just below the ceiling, popped out of existence a few inches above the girls’ heads. The flurry’s intensity diminished. The flakes faded to white, shrank, and finally ceased altogether.

The God rubbed Her eyes vigorously. She needed to do better than that. The Cabbage-Patch God clenched Her fists, gathering Her powers. Let the girls ignore a full-size pink elephant! The wall beside Kayla’s bed acquired a pinkish hue. An irregular bulge suggested tusks, a trunk, and a broad forehead. Kayla’s mother called from downstairs.

“Girls! Lunch time.”

The wall snapped back to vertical and returned to a color that Sherwin-Williams had called “Ivory.”

“I’m starved!” Whitney shouted, and all three ran laughing from the room.

Kayla’s room was silent. The computer monitor on the desk showed a photograph of a dog, which wagged its tail and almost looked ready to jump right out of the screen. Elsewhere in the room, nothing moved.

The End

Nobody expected Lonny Orris to show up at the 20th high school reunion, because we all knew about his time travelling.

Conversations collided and crumbled into murmurs all around him as he walked into the restaurant, his robotic arm waving hello while his human one remained jammed into his pocket. Rick Tate, former president of the drama club and evidently the only one of us with any balls, stepped out and offered his hand.

“Rick?” Lonny said uncertainly. Rick looked different–we all did. There was the extra forty pounds around Rick’s belly, the gray hair at his temples, the glasses. And of course there was the Rider astride his neck, asleep for the moment. Lonny was the only one in the room without one.

“Hey Lonny,” Rick said, grabbing the robotic hand firmly and shaking it.

A Rider across the room kicked its knobby purple heels on its human’s shoulders, it’s flat head turning to one side to glance at Lonny. “Prepare food!” it demanded. Its human–Nadine Turanski, of whom I knew nothing except that she had allegedly once eaten a live cricket at lunch–hesitated, her eyes still fixed on Lonny. The Rider, impatient, jabbed her with its control glove, sending electricity arcing through and around her. She screeched; we looked away; she stumbled toward the Rider food facilities.

Rick hadn’t let go of Lonny’s hand. “You don’t have a Rider.”

Lonny dipped his head, flushing. “It happened when I was traveling back in time. It’s a long story.” He tried to pull his hand out of Rick’s. Rick held on tight.

“So it’s not just a rumor–you really did bring these goddamned Riders down on us!” Rick said.

“Human! Disrespect!” Rick’s Rider said, and jabbed him briefly, sending the shock through both him and Lonny. Rick bore the shock, then abruptly jerked Lonny to the ground and began to kick him. There was a roar, and some people shrieked, and at least a dozen guys and a few women ran up to help kick the crap out of Lonny Orris. Their Riders shocked them, but through screeches of pain most of them kept kicking.

They couldn’t kick long with the shocks, though, and Lonny was still conscious when they had to fall back, exhausted and smelling faintly burned, their Riders scolding them like snippy schoolmarms.

“You sons of bitches,” he said. “Why do you think I did it in the first place? You think you’re so smart. This time it’ll be even worse!” Then he vanished.

“It was worth it. Goddamn Riders,” Rick said. He braced for the shock, but none came: the Riders were gone.

The sky suddenly seemed to darken, and there was a disturbing buzzing noise that grew from one moment to the next. Swarms of insects began to descend from the sky like little tornadoes.

We scattered, leaving the restaurant. The next day, on the Internet, people were planning dark things for Lonny Orris for the 25th.

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