I have only been in the mortal realm for a few days, but in that short time, I have identified that the way to secure this thing called employment—what the mortals sometimes also refer to as a job—is by accessing some type of advanced magical artifact called a computer. Blessed be the Fates, because there is an entire collection of computers in the building I’ve been sleeping behind.
Today, I walk into the scholar’s keep, the walls of which were lined with hundreds of books and tomes I have never before seen. Admittedly, I am tempted to browse them, to learn of the literature that these mortals delude themselves with, but perhaps that will come another day.
For now, I go to a computer and, with the assistant of one of the scholars with spectacles, I begin to search for a job.
But where does one start?
The mortal scholar—who seems like she might be nearing her own passage through the Underworld—uses the computer to show me hundreds of types of employment, all requiring varying levels of expertise. None of them seem all that fascinating to someone like me, who revels in casting illusions and nightmares and watching people writhe in terror.
So, how does that skill translate to employment? How do I, Melionë, Goddess of nightmares and insanity, explain to strangers that have no greater perception of life and meaning than that of a mealworm, that I am the candidate that they seek? Truthfully, I can perform any one of these jobs with my eyes closed, and I shall prove it to them.
“What’s this one?” I ask, a particular title jumping out to me. “The one about the children.”
I have never had the opportunity to have children of my own, but I have always been fascinated by their souls. Children pass through the halls of the Underworld quite often, but whereas the spirits of most mortal adults are fractured and tormented, those of the children seem to be the purest form of humanity there is. And what better place to start spreading my terror on this mortal plane than in their innocence?
The scholar shifts her glasses down the ridge of her nose, peering at me from over their rims. “Don’t you think you might…scare children?”
I cock my head. Isn’t scaring them the point? To learn from them so that I can finally crack the code of how to turn even their purity into darkness?
Never moving my eyes from hers, I cast out a massive void, one that sucks her inside its imagery, an invisible scene that only she and I can see.
Inside, I not only show her the thing she fears the most, but I breathe it to life, give it fangs, and let it sink its teeth into her.
She’s laying in a bed, coughing into a thin piece of fabric in her hand. The cancer she tried avoiding by quitting smoking a decade ago has caught up to her anyways. Her lungs start to burn, not just from the coughing, but truly they ignite, like they are permanently singed from the flames she had ingested for a lifetime prior.
She can’t stop coughing, each burst bringing on another more painful than the last. She starts to panic, unable to breathe between the chain of coughs. Smoke starts slithering out from her mouth like she is a chimney in human form. Her eyes bulge at the sight and she looks down at her chest to find that it is on fire, smoldering like an ember.
That’s when this mortal woman screams. Everyone turns to look at us as she clambers away, and just as she makes it out of the building, she collapses to the concrete in shock.
As the others tend to her, I turn back to the computer. I read the words over again, Childcare Provider.
A wicked grin spreads as I click on the word apply.Oh, this shall be fun!
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