A scream of outrage echoed past suits of armor and paintings created by men long forgotten by mortal minds. It continued on until the last breath of power slipped from its grasp. The scream died in front of a glass case holding the mummified remains of a pharaoh’s cat. Fitting place to meet one’s demise.
“If one of you pisses on my bed again, so help me I will skin you all and make a hat!”
Back down the hall where the scream was given birth, a woman, no a goddess stood. Hands set on hips. Hair snaking around her shoulders in homage to Medusa, Brigid fumed. Steam pushed out of her very pores with the force of her anger. Eyes the color of the night sky locked on the puddle soaking into her silk sheets.
At her feet a trio of small man-like creatures stood huddled together. All three had once again removed their pants, much to the chagrin of the goddess. The gremlins trembled. Knowing Brigid at they did, she would skin them alive. She may even devise a way to keep them alive and in eternal agony.
Goddesses were mighty creative when in a foul mood.
“Which one of you did it?” Her normally lyrical brogue rumbled with thunder.
The gremlins hunched in on themselves. One of them, the youngest, became so frightened that he pissed right then and there. Most of it splashed down on his hairy little feet. Obviously he was not the one to wet the bed.
“It… it was Cocoa-Tuft!” The taller gremlin blurted out. One snarled finger pointed back out into the hall. His compatriots nodded and pointed as well. They had their scapegoat, who was strangely missing.
Brigid ran her hands over her raven curls, smoothing them back into order. Disbelief written across her face, she peeked out to where the trio pointed. Cocoa-Tuft was there, fast asleep under an antique cradle. The deep rhythm of his breaths and relaxation in his muscles dug a gigantic hole in their plot. No creature could feign that deep of sleep. Not even mischievous gremlins.
“Come now, Gum-Grin. Tell us the truth,” Brigid cooed. Her patience with the ankle-high creatures was wearing thin.
“The dragons!” The smaller gremlin interjected. “They’ve done this foul deed.”
The goddess felt a nervous twitch starting behind her right eye. “Is that right, Tea-Sot?” Marbles rattled in his little head as he nodded. “A dragon has a bladder larger than the three of you put together. The entire room would drip dragon water if they’d pissed in here.”
“Really?” Little Tea-Sot’s eyes were saucers as his pea-brain processed the information.
The twitch in Brigid’s eye shot down her body, causing her foot to punt the furry annoyance across the bedroom. The gremlin splatted against the far wall, tiny brains decorating the bouquet of flowers on the wallpaper. It added an air of sophistication that had been missing before. Maybe the new pattern could be worked into the rest of the room. There were certainly enough gremlin brains in the temple to do the job and it looked far better than a gremlin-skin hat. Probably smelled better as well.
Midnight eyes measured the trajectory necessary to add the other gremlins to the décor in a pleasing way. “Have I jogged your memory yet? What say you, Wheat-Fray? You’ve been awfully quiet.”
Gunmetal grey eyes peeked out from under bushy brows. The half naked gremlin released its grip on his friend and took a couple steps away. The goddess watched, perplexed. Gremlins ran in packs, ate in packs, destroyed in packs. They were usually always within touching distance of one-another.
“Gum-Grin did it, mum. He was upset that we couldn’t go out tonight on account of the storm you sent out.” Wheat-Fray’s features dropped. It took a lot of stupidity or courage to rat out a friend. The jury is still out on which category he fell into.
“The truth at last. Thank you.”
With a snap of fingers the bed, along with its rather fragrant puddle of gremlin urine, disappeared. In its place sat the goddess’ Autumn bed. Made of fallen leaves and dressed in reds and oranges, the bed was stunning, though still weeks out of season. Guests would have to be kept clear to avoid any embarrassments.
Gods could be rather petty when it came to things like that. Though they were sure to delight in the new use for gremlin brains.
The accused stood stock-still. Gremlins, when presented with danger often froze into place and adopted the likeness of their surroundings. Unless, of course they were in a temple where only the goddess’ magic was allowed. Then they simply looked silly.
Gum-Grin looked really silly at that moment.
Another snap of fingers found the gremlin, his companion, and the perturbed goddess standing in her garden. All along the walls crows squawked. Their wings flapped in excitement. Perhaps they’d been brought a treat. The goddess was always so kind to give them chewy bits to enjoy. Yes, that was all explained in their squawking and flapping. You don’t speak crow?
Brigid smiled at her feathery pets. Quick as lightening her features turned to ice. She snatched up the foul little gremlin. A knife appeared in her free hand. It’s point sunk home in the Gum-Grin’s shoulder and kept going until it bit into the trunk of a nearby tree. Another knife joined its friend, pinning the screaming half-nude creature in place.
“Snack time, precious babies,” Brigid called.
By that time Wheat-Fray was about ready to wet himself. For sure he’d be next. But when the goddess offered him a kind smile and a nice hunk of steel to munch on, he realized his mistake. Sometimes the gods weren’t all torture, blood, and dragon piss. Sometimes they were just regular folk with a few thousand crows as pets.
Wheat-Fray gnawed on his snack. The grinding of steel easily drowned out the sound of Gum-Grin’s death screams.