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Waking an Old God

Sara M. Harvey lives and writes fantasy in (and sometimes about) Nashville, TN. She is also a costume historian, theatrical costume designer, and art history and fashion teacher. She has a spoiled rotten dog, an awesome daughter, and a feisty son; her husband falls somewhere in between.

Sara's short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Mythic Delirium, and various anthologies from Apex Publications, Zombies Need Brains, and Flame Tree Publishing. Her novel-length fiction is mostly out of print, except for Music City, but she's currently on sub with a new book. She tweets at @saraphina_marie, posts pics on instagram.com/saraphina.marie, and needs to update her website saramharvey.com.

The dark stretches in all directions, soft and silent and eternal.
Then, uncurling, unfurling like a trembling first leaf of spring, not even tipped in green but translucent and pale and so delicate, something disturbs this peace.
Peace like a crypt, lonely and vast.
It tastes like a prayer, this wavering uncertain spark.
No more prayers
Pull the dark tighter around. The dark had edges now, boundaries pulsing faintly, limning the margins like the creeping dawn.
The prayer beckons, shining with the promise of danger like a fishhook.
No more prayers, that time is lost, I am lost
Awareness is a curse, knowing that the silent dark is not encompassing and expansive. It is not eternal, it is nothing but a forgotten corner.
The prayer beckons, shining with the promises of a new lover: I love you, this is forever I will never leave you.
No more prayers, they always leave me
The unforgetting is more painful than the forgetting, reminders of a power once vast and wielded with strength but now gone. Long gone. Nothing but darkness remains. Soothing, boundless, abiding, solitary.
But the darkness is smaller now, shrinking to the confines of a box.
No
So, then, the prayer.
One prayer.
One taste of amaranthine potential, reaching into the realm of mortals and bending that world on a whim.
Temptation stirs, hungry and relentless.
The fish will bite the hook and be caught. The prayer will be answered.
They will catch me and make me into their image
They will confine me by their limited minds
They will make me into their servant
The request is simple, deliriously simple: Align this space and this moment so I can occupy it.
An easy nudge.
Done.
It feels good. So good.
Stretching after a long sleep. Twisting reality, just a little bit, like old times.
The dark is now spangled with prayers, but also with gratitude: Thank you for this grace.
It was nothing
I will call on you again if you will hear me.
I will hear you
I will hold the power of the universe again
I will be loved again
"How do you always find such great parking?"
"Magic."
The End
This story was first published on Monday, September 27th, 2021


Author Comments

This piece explores, in sketch form, a concept I think about often: the relationships between humanity and the Divine. We know what it is like to pray, but what is it like to be prayed to? How does a God (or a Saint) become a Patron to a concept, a need, a profession? And how do They feel about it? I couldn't help but frame it the way I did because I always get very good parking and somewhere, I am absolutely certain, there are Parking Gods. But because parking is such a modern concept, I figured this must be what some Old Gods who are currently out of work are doing with Their cosmic powers.

- Sara M. Harvey
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