This story is a lot darker than the others I’ve posted. The main characters are depraved followers of Dionysus, and I don’t use the word “depraved” lightly. The three women are Maenads. Bringers of chaos, savagery, and destruction, and they glory in their acts. I’d considered putting it in The Godshead, but decided not to. Not only does it not help the loose plot move forward, but also doesn’t suit the tone in the rest of the stories.
“…and fires rivaling those following the earthquake in 1906 are still burning tonight in parts of San Francisco, as peaceful protesters…”
A guffaw drowned out the newscaster as three women pelted the television with popcorn, disturbing the quietly pretty patterns of patchouli incense smoke. The brunet in the tie-dyed peasant blouse and skirt snorted, “Peaceful, my round Greek ass.”
“Indeed, sister,” a blond that might have been pretty had her hair been brushed and her face clean agreed. “That was one of the least challenging riots to start since that last slave rebellion in Sparta.”
The brunette smirked. “I think there was more forcible sodomy in this ‘peaceful protest’ than there was in Sparta’s entire history even before we got involved.”
The blond interrupted, “Yeah, smelled worse than the Aegean stables, too.”
“…the ferret that the group put forward as their titular leader when approached by the city’s mayor is still missing…”
The brunette smiled. “True, that. Getting the ‘peaceful protest’ to spill out of its containment was almost too easy.”
A freckled redhead giggled. “Satisfying though,” she mused. “Almost as much fun as that time I rode Francis through Mecca.”
The brunet leaned around the blond to raise an eyebrow at the redhead. “Francis?”
The redhead giggled again. “Yeah. You know. Francis Bacon.”
The blond snorted. “Oh, gods, that’s awful!”
The brunet sighed, rubbing her temple with her left hand. “How many times have you changed his name, now?”
“I’ve lost count,” the redhead confessed. “He seems to find it amusing, and he always knows I’m talking to or about him.” A soft, grumbly grunt from the miniature pig in the redhead’s lap seemed to agree. He rolled over onto his side, and started to snore.
An image of fire creeping up a steep hill, building by building caught their attention. “Authorities are too busy trying to put out the fires to calculate the human toll of this event. Rumor has it that a good many of the peaceful protesters are dead, though there is no confirmation of numbers, nor of identities.”
“And rapes! We can’t forget the rapes!” the blond squealed, bouncing on the couch. The miniature pig on her lap was sent rolling down her outstretched legs and onto the floor. He heaved a sigh and stretched, before moving over to the television to eat the popcorn on the floor. He slowly swelled to his full size, crowding the living room. “Oi! Down in front, piggy!” The giant, six and a half foot tall, two ton boar lifted his head, grunted once, and shrank back to lap size. She pouted at the television when the image flashed back to the professionally grave newscaster. “Phooey. I know there were rapes. Even on camera. I made sure of that.”
“Sister, they’re too busy trying to put out the fires to figure out the individual crimes, yet,” the brunette sighed, rolling her pig onto his back to scratch his chest. He groaned in contentment, stretching all four legs into the air before going limp again. “They’ll get there. But these jokers won’t ever admit that it was their ‘peaceful protesters’ squatting in the parks that started the riot, the fires, or have been murdering, raping, and pillaging. ”
“…representatives have stated that the rates of forcible rape are far less than other refugee camps around the world…”
All three women stared at the screen in slack-jawed amazement that that statement was actually uttered with a straight face, then sputtered into incredulous laughter. “They have got to be kidding!” the brunette snorted. “There are so many rapes in this riot that they’re going after the corpses because there’s not enough fresh meat.”
The redhead snorted. “And of course, they got it in the wrong order. It’s pillage, loot, rape, kill, then burn. This bunch is dumber than the perverts and prudes in Mecca. At least they raped the live ones.”
“Ooh, look,” the blond squealed, pointing at the television screen and bouncing some more. “They’re actually showing some of the violence!”
“…panicked protesters fleeing the fires overran the tents set up to treat the tuberculosis victims…”
The brunette grabbed the television remote and muted the volume, while all three stared intently at the images on the screen. All three sighed when the picture cut back to the newscaster without the sign they were waiting for. Finally, the redhead broke the silence. “Do you think the rumors were true?”
“No,” the brunette replied swiftly. “They can’t be.”
“But what if they are?” The blond sniffled. “What if our lord is…”
“Don’t say it. At worst, he’s bored with us. He isn’t gone,” the brunette hissed. “If it were true, we would no longer be able to affect the emotional states of those around us. We wouldn’t be able to create such transitory majesty and glory like that,” she finished, waving her hand at the screen. She took a deep breath, unwilling to voice the last truth that kept their hopes alive.
The newscast flipped from images of the riot to a newscaster standing in front of a megachurch. The caption across the bottom described a drunken orgy at a singles bible study. The brunette Maenad sighed and turned the television off—with no more coverage of their riot, they’d never see if their lord sent them a sign of approval or not.
We would no longer exist.