Rain pelted the Tooth Fairy’s face.
The storm, at its height, billowed out of control. Lucifer lay exhausted on the beach. His antlers blushed pale pink from the abuse he had suffered since Christmas. Gripping his penis, she waited for signs of renewal.
As the wind whipped up her hair, the teeth of her necklace rattled upon her breasts. She forced her eyelids not to blink. Sheets of rain beat against the whites of her eyes and washed across her irises, flowing like sorrow down her cheeks. Squatting beside the blasted cedar, she awaited with relish the final showdown.
Where wails of typhoon fury had filled her ears, there now abruptly sounded the Sanctus Dominus! of angel choirs. The roiling sky turned blue and filled with billows. Angel faces beamed upon them, psalms of heavenly praise blasting in triumph from their throats.
Then God parted the clouds, sitting in state upon His golden throne, and glowered down at her. Lucifer’s feeble head rose from the sand to stare in wonder. Letting go of his limp lovehandle, she stood defiant before the Lord.
“Call off your minions!” she shouted. “You’re not about to overwhelm me with your heavenly bullshit!”
A flick of God’s hand and the angels vanished. Pointing at Lucifer, He gestured north. Instantly, the reindeer sprang into the air and flew off, his antlers as bright, his gait as sure, as ever.
“Santa and I had a bargain—!” she protested.
“Do you want to continue to be the Tooth Fairy?” He asked quietly, resting His hands upon His throne and fixing her with His worst glower.
“Listen, just cut the—”
“Do you want to continue to be the Tooth Fairy?” If anything, the question came at her lower and more simply inflected than before. It chilled her to the marrow.
“Fuck you, all right? All right? You and the other shitheads of this world want to call me the Tooth Fairy, that’s your lookout. My real name, as you well know, is Adrasteia. If I harvest molars and bicuspids and canines, it’s because I damn well choose to.”
“It’s the position I gave you.”
“Sure, okay sure, I pretended to kowtow to you back then. But I never lost myself. I never forgot who I was. An ash nymph I was from the beginning—proud sister to the Furies, born from the blood spilled when Kronos castrated Ouranos—and an ash nymph I remain. That gives me an integrity that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and you, you big blowhard, lost long ago.”
“Let’s not stray from the point. You’ve engaged in practices which—”
“And what makes you so high and mighty? Where do you get off sitting in judgment? You trying to come on like some deus ex machina and bring me to heel, you holier-than-thou son of a bitch?”
“I warn you. Don’t provoke Me.”
Something flared about His head. The sharp sting of ozone filled her nostrils. “You remember who you used to be, don’t you?” she taunted. “When your mother Rhea gave birth to you and spirited you away from your child-eating father, your care fell to me and my sister Io and the goat-nymph Amaltheia, whose milk you shared with baby Pan and from whose horn you fashioned Cornucopia, the horn of plenty. Don’t you recall how I pressed your infant lips to these nipples and let the maddening suck of your gums moisten me below?”
“You will cease this idle—”
“How I toyed with your baby penis, how I licked you down there and made you break out in a smile provoked by something other than gas? And when you matured beyond boyhood, how all three of us taught you lust? Look here, little fellow, long before you violated your mother and went on your libidinous rampage through the likes of Leda and Io and Europa, I was your first lover as well as the nurse of your babyhood. But when the old ways died and the Christers came in, you caved in with the rest of them, took on the Grand Persona they demanded of you, and forgot your true godhood, your triumph over Kronos, forgot, by God, that you were none other than almighty Zeus!”
“Enough!” He said. His fingers fastened upon her throat, though He remained where He was. “If Zeus you crave, foolish nymph, then Zeus you shall have!”
As He rose to His feet, the Tooth Fairy felt His other hand pin her to the gritty sand and splay her legs wide. The placidity of God’s visage split apart and out peered the face of old: Zeus’s face, with its full salt-and-pepper beard, its wild corona of curly hair, and its ruddy-cheeked rage.
His white robe he tore asunder. Beneath it lay the old armor it thrilled her to see. His body was muscled and hairy where it emerged from his chiton. Medallions and weapons hung about him everywhere.
Without looking away from her, Zeus shot a hand into the heavens and filled his fist with fire. Heavy bolts of burning light into the swollen wound of her womanhood he hurled. Thirteen times the fire struck. Thirteen times it singed her flesh, burrowing deep inside her womb.
“You shall leave Santa Claus and Anya and Rachel and Wendy and those they love forever in peace. From this day forth, the North Pole is off limits to you.
“You shall avoid the Easter Bunny at all costs. He has been reformed.
“Never again shall you dare to harm one hair on a child’s head. The mere thought of doing so I disallow.
“These my words you shall heed, or I swear by the God I have become, I will return and annihilate you. Slowly. The pain I have visited upon you now shall be, I promise you, as the tenth part of a fleabite when set against the torments I shall mete out on that day!”
Then he vanished from the sky. The sizzle of her flesh filled her nostrils. Her belly was one flaring pit of pain. Healing, when it came, was horrendous and slow. Still, she thought, she would survive it. She would endure the expulsion of mortal hurts and let immortality make her whole again.
A smile, despite her agony, appeared on her lips.
But then something caught inside her, a thing of claws and scales. Her smile rounded into a howl. Her screams split the sky. Through pain immense, she watched her belly stretch and swell like some demon had flexed his thorned fist deep inside her womb. Then, when her flayed insides hung in ribbons and the ribbons frayed to crimson fuzz, he began to pull his invisible arm out of her, the claws delving deep red furrows in the blistered flesh of her birth canal.
But what emerged from the bubbling froth was far worse than a demon’s hand. It was squat and fat, her infant, and when its girth stuck halfway and her straining labia refused to stretch further, it blinked its bloody eyes at her. “Muzzer,” it buzzed with murderous hate. Then it twisted about, teeth flashing like razors, and episiotomized her perineum all the way to her anus and beyond. The fat thing tumbled out, dragged its bloody afterbirth down to where the breakers thudded in, and battened on it.
Thank God that’s over, she thought, lying spent and sweaty on the beach. But then, as one who having vomited feels an instant of well-being but is immediately seized by renewed wrack, she suffered the thrust of the giant’s fist again into the bleeding wreckage of her womb. Her belly ballooned up, as did her agony, redoubling the torment that had gone before.
There on the beach beneath a slate-gray sky, the Tooth Fairy gave birth to thirteen impossible imps, each fatter and uglier than the one before. Thirteen times her belly ballooned. Thirteen times her vulva blurted out a brat. Each dropped goblin took longer than the one before, stretching torment beyond itself. Many times she screamed for death to take her.
When the last one spilled out, the universe was one solid throb. Clotted sand stretched from her sex to the sea. From belly to thighs, she was nothing but bruise and blood. Her lungs hurt from howling.
Then they attacked her breasts. One fat whelp waddled up, sniffed at her torso, and, having found his prize, put two three-fingered hands around her right breast and opened his head about her nipple. His suck staggered her. A second one dragged himself up from the waves and, seeing what his brother was about, took a pull at her left teat. One by one, the others crowded around and reached their heads in, snuffling at the blue-veined bulges that held the stores of milk they craved. “Wait your turn,” she said, and three heads lifted as one and glared.
Then the first one bit her. She whacked him on his large flat head and said, “No!” His eyes rolled toward her. He growled over his meal and bit into her so hard that rivulets of milky blood trickled down the sides of her breast. A tongue came out of the crowd and licked up the spill. Its owner, baring his teeth, sank them into her, seeking milk ducts in the most direct way he could. Then thirteen heads tore into her and made mincemeat of her chest, finding the lactation they demanded in the bloody ruins of her breasts.
Her hands tore helplessly at their hunched backs as they fed. But eventually she gave it up, embracing the pain as her lot. For her baker’s dozen bastards she even felt a mother’s love. No question they were wicked and selfish and nearly impossible to control. But they were hers. Even through the agony of birth and first feeding, part of her understood what wonders she could work with them.
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