Night Mare's End
The Pythia sits idle in her hall.
The Heart of their false kingdom.
The Dome of the Roc above which she hung and waited.
Released her. Idiots.
Three. Stupid. Innocent. Little. Boys.
Three opportunities for a pleasing dessert, once they pop up again.
A golden cup graces her black oil fingers; she sips from it, applying her lips a third time against the tedium of crawling servants.
The favor-currying rats.
She plucks a black berry from an old ivory dish; the dish is perched on a stand shaped like a malformed, upward-twisting hand, a mere head or two from her new throne.
It is a carved blue bowl, today; her pillows adorn the rim of it, piling. Tomorrow, she thinks, perhaps she will command it to become an eyeball, or perhaps, the roof of an exotic palace? The carved paw of a giant tafelshrew? No. The skull of a biped. Such a changeable, interesting toy, this throne of hers. So amusingly utile.
The Pythia reaches for another stand; there, suspended in dark fluid, rests the living, severed head of a former guard.
Another stand, a council member. An older gentleman, with short grey hair that straggles limply in the back and along the sides of the forehead. The iron nameplate spells out RASKELIN. Some enterprising crafter must have tacked it on. She will find them and eat them, later. There will be no snakes in her basket of eggs.
“Thoughtful.” she brags, as she reaches into the cup of Raskelin’s exposed skull and digs, making slop slop noises with her fingers.
“INSUFFERABLE WITCH-WHORE!” Raskelin quails without voice, his throat and tongue having long since departed down her ravenous gullet as a snack after yesterday’s breakfast. “THE THREE WILL RISE! REMEMBER THE SEPULCHASM! REMEMBER THE...!”
She squeezes the reddish grey lump, mere leavings of his brain stuck to the bottom of the skull cup, in her curled long blue nails, delicately pressing here and there, crushing. Her eyes glow radiant red, beaming down at him; soon, he is soup, before he can wail and disrupt her luncheon any further. She then grasps the cup, lifts it to her lips, and...
A buzz erupts behind her ear.
A little fly.
But flies are her creatures.
She glances around, looking for her tiny pets.
At her belt and ankles, the skulls dangle merrily, knocking each other.
The Pythia’s head lolls from side to side.
She opens her mouth, her fangs gleaming bloody and thick with stringy bits of Raskelin as she cries, “MY FLIES? WHERE ARE MY FLIES?”
A silver gleam shudders into life behind her; a gasp locks the throng to the walls, undulating like a wave from the apex of the spectacle- the place just behind her pillowed throne.
None of her little pets seem to be about today; they usually irritate her slaves, crawling up their noses and...
The plodding of small feet rapes her ears.
Tod, tod tod.
Tod tod tod tod.
Tod tod, tod tod tod.
A swoosh of breeze at her feet, perhaps?
The slaves are staring, all former council members and students with their eyes wide and black on whatever is behind her, their shaved heads dripping the plink plink plink of anticipating sweat.
“They are down here, Mehgudi,” murmurs a young voice, spear-sharp and alarming. “With Me.”
The Pythia looks down, and sees...
Two naked feet, sweet, succulent toes. A violet-eyed child of six. Long hair the color of fresh cut creamy onions. A violent-eyed child of six. Long hands for her age, clean knees.
A strange delight expounds upon itself within the tortured confines of the Pythia’s face, recalling wrinkles and brown skin and yellow silks pleasing to the touch of the needy young.
Two little feet, and no flies.
“Are you one of the day workers?” she mumbles half to herself, taking in the heart-face of this young slip of girl. “I... I was served by such a girl once... you remind me of her. You may... you may stay here, in my palace with me, eat my food. Here.” She waves her arm over Raskelin’s open mouthed head then swipes her arm across her teeth, almost distractedly.
“I want you to meet my advisors, Mehgudi.” The little girl breathes, swaying her own arms out in a sweep toward the silvery things standing behind the blue bowl throne. “The Master, the Soldier, and the Threefold Man.”
Men come then, tromping softly behind the girl child.
From the right, a blonde man in a hooded coat; stubble pricks his chin. He bends to embrace the child, his hands enfolding her protectively. He scowls at the Pythia, then shivs the air with his finger, in the direction of the throne.
“The bitch stole my chair. Go and get her my darling.”
From the left, a man with black hair, a smooth carved face; icy eyes that tingle the blood.
They step forward a fraction, passing between her twin posts decorated with wet heads.
She cannot see from whence the third is coming, and that bothers her.
Sinking now into the pool of her pillows, she does not seem to recall how she came to sit down again.
Further and further down into the blue.
And she can see him.
She remembers what he did to her.
The very words.
“Into the Void with you, Mehgudi!”
With mussed rabbit hair, he appears like lightning, a half-naked demon wrapped from the waist in a sheet, around his shoulders, a shimmering deep red robe marked with the points of a thousand stars, his fingers grasping a rainbow-colored rose. As he surges forward between the other men, he thrusts the rose at her feet and her throne melts from under her, shifting down and out as if growing legs and crawling away.
Rabbit hair cries out, his fevered green eyes imploring the throne, of all things. “Right Hand of Omega, you must remember me, and I bid you now... transform the Eye into the Egg and let us be done with her!”
The black-haired man thrusts up his hand and the throne swirls around his fingers into the shape of a heavy gauntlet, just as the strange red-violet jewel begins shining; soon it burns with a bright snowy light- such is the strength of that light that it turns the moisture in the air around him to fog; he averts his eyes.
“That bauble will not stop me, Rassilon! You three will DIE, and your little PET with you!”
The Pythia plants her feet. She smiles, opening her eyes widely so as to take in the method of the upstart’s defeat. Then she throws a black bolt of the Dark toward the girl, lashing herself wildly to the hope that it will strike; but her eyes do not lengthen their gaze and afford her their passage. Instead, the girl catches the black dart of light in her hands, like a butterfly and, with a smile, stuffs it down her throat.
“I am Flamina, who was Tzipporah, who was Lilea, Mehgudi,” the girl tells her as she begins to grow taller beneath the Master’s fingers, her toes lengthening, leg bones rising, torso stretching until her long arms and subtle breasts are safely beneath his grasp. He straightens, then backs away as her back muscles split into two white fluffy wings the length and breadth of three men. “... I am the Pythia.”
Even as his hand massages her tender new skin, he screams it.
Mehgudi stumbles back into the void of her absent throne, unable to find footing on the slick stone of the Panopticon floor.
The metallic gleam plays closer on the walls; she can feel the cold of that glint stretching to eternity behind her. Her fingers clench out for one last bolt, her grasping hand straining for Flamina and her lover.
But then someone’s pale, dark-veined hand wearing charred gold ring tosses a silver-tipped cane out from the left like a thrown dagger. The spinning stick strikes with violent force across the backs of Mehgudi’s skull-ringed ankles, shocking those delicate tendons and sending her tumbling over herself, open mouthed and backward into the silvery slabs of the standing Mirrors.