One humid Saturday evening in Northern California, the godling walked into a Costco Superstore off of Highway 99. He was hungry, and this place had chicken. He had never eaten chicken before, not in this form. Cooked meat would be pleasing. He thirsted for its fat, its essence, to shred it to bits.
The shopgoers hardly noticed a thing. Well, they did, and they didn’t. He stalked through a bog of wandering carts, upset faces, wild little children. Normal things. Mundane things. But the tiredness of commerce, you might notice something further – a shiver, a raised eyebrow, a fearful glance.
No one raised a fuss. But without a single conscious thought, they all understood: the godling was here.
A gentle quiet slipped through the aisles, sinking into the linoleum. Had the lights dimmed? Or maybe it was a trick of the eye. A few shoppers might have felt a quiet ripple of nausea. It was the most regular day in the world, and like nothing they’d ever experienced before.
He knelt before the heated shelf at the back of the store and tore at his chicken like a wild man. Right there in the aisle, grease clotting his beard, the flesh of the beast dripping down his chin and spattering the floor.
Even this didn’t produce a commotion. There’s training none of us needs, and that’s training in how to be polite when a godling is taking his fill. It’s the kind of manners a wolf understands. Hind-brain etiquette.
The godling headed for the exit. On the way something caught his attention – a woman, yelling at her child in a cart. It was an ugly thing to behold. She did not want to be yelling; the child didn’t want to be yelled at. The woman’s feet hurt; the kid was covered in snot. What suffering! The godling marveled, a little horrified, a little mesmerized.
As he departed the scene, the child met his gaze. Though her vision was blurred by tears, she saw his divinity plainly. To the child, the whole world was divine, her mother was divine, the superstore was divine – all of it swirling, unprocessed and disordered, the chaos in which Spirits make their home.
The mother saw nothing. But as she chastised her child, the passing godling grazed her shoulder with the back of his arm. He did not linger, but stalked out into the night, having gotten what he came for.
By the time the mother understood, the godling was gone. She touched her shoulder – she closed her eyes. She realized what she had done. She wept.