For the Love of the God

by Megan Auffart

The stream was right where the God said it would be. I was relieved. I was worried that if I didn't correctly follow his directions, he would be angry with me. It was hard to tell, sometimes, how he would react. Sometimes I would do something that I thought would please him and he would glower and glare once the deed was done. Other times, the opposite would happen. A mission would fail and yet, he would be thrilled at the consequence.

It was a hard life, to be a chosen servant of the God.

Recently, he'd sent me on a mission to retrieve a hair from this woman's hairbrush. She lived in my hometown, which was a relief since I didn't think I would be able to travel too far of a distance. She was also the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. She had a friendly face with big eyes and an easy smile, and her hair was blond and extremely long. It reached her lower back in flowing waves and shimmered whenever she was outside on a sunny day.

Just looking at her made me jealous.

The God, however, was in love with her.

In the depths of the forest, the stream flowed with rushing abandon. The God had many locations that were sacred to him, and occasionally he would reveal them to me. This was the first time I had ever been to the stream, but I hoped I would return there again, even if he didn't order me to. This place was one of the most sacred of locations I had ever seen, the holiness permeating the air like burning incense in a sealed room.

Three mossy stones stood on either side of the water, each one bigger than a refrigerator. Together, they made a triangle around the stream. In the center of the triangle stood the God and he was holding out his hand for my offering.

To describe the God! Oh, there are so many words out there that I could use to explain how astonishing, how perfect he is, but none of them would do him justice. Just to look at him makes my heart feel painful, like acid is eating away at it. It hurts my soul see him. It is a wonderful sort of pain.

Imagine a multi-tiered necklace made of perfectly cut diamonds. Each diamond is connected to the other by a string of pure silver wrought so finely that it is invisible to the naked eye. All together, it would seem like the diamonds are held up solely by the power of their own beauty. Can you picture it?

Now, imagine those strings of diamonds held up to the sunlight, so that bright shining light reflects off every single facet of each jewel.

Now imagine the diamonds disappearing, but the white light reflections remaining in the air, ever sparkling.

This is the God. This is how he appears to me. To look upon him is to fall in love and every time I see him, it is heaven.

I take off my shoes and roll up my jeans before I step out into the water. It is a cold day and temperature makes my bones ache, even without wet feet. To walk back in wet shoes would be inviting sickness to take hold of me. Thankfully, the God doesn't mind waiting. So as long as I complete his missions, he is absolute patience.

As I step into the water and walk towards him, his reflections seem to shine even brighter. He is excited about this mission. I can understand why, although I don't like it.

Possession magic is one of the simplest forms of enchantment. If someone has a piece of something, they can use that piece to control the entire organism. Thus, if the God obtained a hair from the head of the beautiful woman, he would gain possession of her entire being. He would own her, heart and soul, just as profoundly as he owned me.

The God falls in love very frequently, by his standards. By mortal stands, it happens once or twice a lifetime. It is reasonable, really, for a divine creature who represents such pure love to fall prey to the pitfalls of romance. So when my lord had happened upon the woman as she worked in her garden, he had fallen hard.

It was understandable, of course. But that didn't mean I had to like it.

Holding out one hand to keep my balance on the slippery pebbles lining the bottom of the stream, I reached where the God stood, floating just above the surface of the water.

"You have come, my Hannah."

"Yes, Lord," I breathed. His voice was like icicles, sending prickling shivers of pleasure through my body. I loved to hear him talk. If he would let me, I would sit by his side and just listen to him without speaking for as long as I could stay alive.

"You have the hair." This wasn't a question. The God expected success on a mission, never conceiving of the possibility of failure.

"Yes, my Lord," I said again and pulled out the folded paper packet from my coat pocket. The reflecting lights swarmed to my outstretched hand, eager for the prize and I felt the paper lift from my fingers.

"At last..." the God said, letting the fold of paper fall to the stream below. A single blond hair stayed floating with the God, hovering three feet above the water supported by the light.

"Are you happy?" I asked, watching his reflections carefully. They were glimmering faster than usual, but in an excited way, not an angry way.

"Yes, sweet Hannah," the God answered, sending his light to stroke my hair. I closed my eyes and sighed, leaning into his caress. It felt so wonderful, like warm sunlight and the cool prickles of falling snow onto bare skin, all at the same time.

He withdrew his touch, but continued to speak to me. "With this hair, she will be my willing servant, just as loyal and true as you are to me. She will love me. She will reciprocate."

"What if she doesn't want to?" I asked him.

The lights glared at me. "She will have to. I would have it so."

"But what about me? Aren't I enough for you?"

The God flashed a smile. I knew the answer even before he said it. He had mentioned the proverb before. "You forget, Hannah. The gods may have many followers, but the follower may only have one god."

"So I've heard," I said, crossing my arms.

He merely chuckled indulgently and focused back on the hair. Now that he had his new prize, he was through with me.

Carefully, guarding my balance, I made my way back over to the bank of the stream and put back on my shoes. Still hovering in the center between the three boulders, I watched as the hair slowly disintegrated into the God's light beams. Eventually, there was nothing left but the God. Finished with his task, he floated towards me, away from his sacred space.

"Come with me, Hannah, so we may greet my new servant."

"Your new love," I shot back, but the God didn't take offense.

"Yes." Flowing with grace, he reached around both of my shoulders and encompassed me.

A shower of light, and we were at the woman's house.

She was kneeling outside in her backyard, working in her flower garden. Even with her cheek streaked with dirt and her golden hair tied up into a knot, she was still breathtakingly beautiful. The jealousy ate at my heart, warring with the burning acid of my love of the God for total control. I didn't know what to do anymore.

She hadn't heard us arrive, and the God seemed content to silently watch her while she gardened, but I was more impatient. Adjusting my weight, a small stick underneath my foot broke apart with an audible snap.

"Oh!" The woman cried out and turned around, her eyes wide and her mouth opened so that I could see the redness of her tongue.

"Who are you? What are you? Oh my god, do I need a gun?"

The light of the God tinted silver around the edges. He was confused. Good. The tinge in my heart grew softer.

He moved towards the cringing woman, who immediately backed away, much to his uncertainty. "I am your God, woman. Why do you withdraw from me?" He shined brighter at her, as though to entice her with his glamour.

The woman shook her head and then reached the back door of her house. Still facing away from it, she scrabbled for the handle. "Stay back! Stay away from me!"

"But," the God said, stopping his approach. "I am your god, the only god you will ever know! Do you not love me?"

The woman managed to grasp the handle and, with a quick twist, opened the door to her house. Before she could slam it shut, an arm of the God's power caught the side and held it open. Yelling, the woman yanked on the handle harder, using all her strength to force it closed.

"Don't you love me?" the God repeated and the woman, giving up on the door, looked up at him where he shone endless sparkles in the light.

"I don't love you," she whispered, her voice almost muted with obvious terror. "You need to leave me alone. I'm calling the police."

Turning, she ran from the back entrance into the shadows of her house.

The God let go of the door and it fell shut with a resounding thud. With the woman gone inside the house, we were alone in her yard.

"Come on, Lord. Let's go back."

"She doesn't love me," the God said. He sounded shocked and rejected, but even still I rejoiced at the sound of his voice.

"I know, Lord. But perhaps it's better this way. She was unworthy of you."

"She was worthy! I chose her out of all mortal women to perform the spell –" suddenly, he cut himself off.

"Lord?" I asked, quietly cringing on the inside. I'd hoped it would not happen this soon.

"You did something...something with the hair. That is the only explanation." He was angry now, each facet of light sparking gold as the deceit became clearer.

I considered lying, albeit briefly. No, it would do no good. I had failed him before on his missions and had received my punishment squarely enough, but never had I actually defied him. I would not try to lie my way out of this. I would tell the truth.

I took a deep breath. "Yes, my Lord. I took one of my own hairs and dyed it yellow to resemble the one from the woman," I admitted, admiring how beautiful he looked in his rage, like pure golden energy, even while on the inside I was afraid.

"Why?" roared the God, sparks flying farther and farther.

I fell to my knees, afraid. "Because you love me! Me alone! I will not share you, Lord! You are mine! Punish me how you like, but while I still live, I will not share your love!"

The God gave a echoing scream and rushed at me, the golden sparks coming off of him cutting at my skin, making me bleed.

Even as he reached me and my blood fell to the grass, I did not take my eyes off of his beauty. He had first come to me when I was fourteen years old and I had followed him willingly. I had been his servant for 60 long years, through trials and suffering. Through it all, I had been the only one. I had been his loyal servant.

As the pain racked my body and I felt my burning heart seem to burst from the love of him, I smiled. While I was still alive on the earth, I would not share his love.

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