Avalanche – Snippet 20
So, there are things in this chronicle that it’s obvious I would have had no way of knowing about. That’ll be Eight. I’m not sure how much he’s going to put in, or where it will be, but there is one entity on this planet that’s better at that part of my job than I am–and that’s him. Oh, Reader, I hope you are actually around to enjoy it.
There was no Poseidon. Amphitrite ruled the oceans alone, which, given Poseidon’s constant tantrums, frequent illicit affairs and the fact that he had the general emotional maturity of a toddler, was exactly as she preferred things. Thus she had done for decades. There had been a life before she became a goddess…but she preferred not to remember any of it.
It was a peaceful life, for the most part. She did not trouble mortals unless they took too much of the ocean’s bounty, or poisoned it. Then she made herself known, and generally that was enough. The sight of a woman nearly a thousand feet tall rising up out of the depths, surrounded by her creatures, with a frown that reminded them that she, and not they, ruled the waters, was generally enough to elicit an “OhGodPleaseDon’tKillUs!” and better behavior.
Though….she would have preferred them to scream “OhGODDESS” rather than “God,” but then, perhaps they weren’t referring to her. She generally let them off with a warning, because she was a benevolent goddess, and retreated back to the waters without even demanding that any temples be built to her.
After all, it wasn’t as if she needed worship to be what she was. The creatures of the sea, the water itself, obeyed her without the need for worship.
When it came right down to it, did she really want to be worshipped? No. Worshippers wanted things from you. Miracles. Blessings. Special favors. I would rather be feared than worshipped. People who feared you demanded nothing from you, and mostly hoped not to attract your attention.
She was content, really. Or at least…she had been.
She was, of course, aware of everything that happened in all of the oceans of the world. What happened on land mattered to her not at all. That is, until recently.
Because there was an interloper in her waters. Now…there were interlopers all the time, of course, in the form of underwater craft, but these came and went, and as long as they left her and her creatures in peace, she allowed them to travel unmolested. But this interloper came…and sank into the depths…and stayed. Stayed, radiating such emotional anguish that the great whales came to her and complained that he was “harshing their mellow.’
Where do they get these phrases?
So, when he had stayed, and stayed, and stayed, and showed no signs of leaving, she went to him, where he was sunk, in the dark, quiet depths off the place called Tybee Island. She sank down effortlessly to rest beside him, and contemplated him. A man of stone, a little taller than she, radiating emotional pain. After a while she grew tired of contemplating him, since he showed no signs of noticing her, and was she not a goddess?
So she prodded him, sending her thoughts forcefully into his mind. Who are you, and what are you doing here? she demanded.
The seabed roiled a little as he started. Eyes which had been squeezed shut, opened, and looked around, finally settling on her. The mouth came open in a gape of surprise, and thankfully the emotional anguish stopped.
You–the thoughts came deep and a little slow, as if it had been a long time since he had thought of anything but his own pain. You’re–underwater–you’re beautiful–
Of course I’m beautiful, she thought, irritated, and yet irrationally pleased. I am a goddess. I am Amphitrite, Queen of the Seas. You are in my realm. You are troubling my creatures! Who are you, and what are you doing here?
To her dismay, the being hung its head and sagged with despair. Trying…to die, she heard with disbelief. And I can’t even do that right….
Irritation warred with compassion. Compassion won, and gave way to determination. This will never do, she thought. I am a goddess. I shall put this right.
Doctor Arthur Pense, PhD, MD, formerly Chief Psychologist to the Atlanta Stress Therapy Center and currently hoping his plan of escaping the Thulian Menace by hiding on a converted fishing boat was going to work, was congratulating himself on the effectiveness of his plan and celebrating by trying to catch dinner. Was, being the operative word. Because just as he thought he had a bite, the upper half of a thousand-foot-tall woman erupted out of the water next to the Rusty Hope, sending seawater over his deck and scaring the crap out of him almost literally.
He knew what it was immediately. There were just not that many thousand-foot-tall women around, especially stark naked thousand-foot-tall women wearing a shell crown and holding a thousand-foot-tall trident.
“OhGodPleaseDon’tKillMe!” he screamed, throwing himself down on the wet deck. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, his analytical side was noting that after having two naked breasts each twice the size of his whole boat looming over him was certainly going to trigger some sort of neurosis. And that same analytical side was just relieved she was submerged from the waist down.
The boat stopped moving. He peeked through his hands and saw she’d caught the stern in her left, her right still holding the trident. He looked up, past nipples the size of tractor tires, and saw her gazing down at him, enigmatically.
He couldn’t imagine what he could have done to offend her, but then, she was the highest level metahuman there was, Op 4 or 5, and everyone knew they weren’t sane. Look what had happened with The Mountain!
So he was taken completely aback when a pleasant, calm, quiet voice spoke in his mind.
I have no intention of harming you, follower of Asclepius. I wish to know how to cure Melancholia.
He took his hands away from his face and got himself to his knees. But no further. This woman thought she was a goddess, after all, and she was powerful enough to enforce that perception, by all accounts. “Uh–depression?” he hazarded. “That’s…that’s a tall order. No insult intended.”