Fiction Fantasy Speculative

This story contains sensitive content

TRIGGER Warning: This story contains every kind of horror, ancient and contemporary, including sexual violence, violence to children, bestiality, incest and more. I hang my head in shame.


Their creator reimagines the world before time, before good and evil, when men were chattel of the Gods, living in awe and constant fear, and when stories were carved in stone.

At birth they will be helpless mammals by his design, protected by coats of fur or hair, feathers or scales, but in the third moon they will transmogrify, revealed in their various and unique forms, complying in their strangeness to morsels of instruction that he has curated from branches of the tree of life. These creatures were once honored in great halls and tombs, their images were etched in gold, formed in clay.

Only now he must protect them; the Modern is crowding in and with it the great insipidity, where everything is known and mastered, where the arc elevates man to Godhood and conflicts arise over petty interests, history is dying. These infants will be alien in this world, misfits, without place. They will be studied, abhorred and destroyed. 

He lifts two creatures from their cots – a male, a female - swaddles them in cloth and steals away from a sterile place. He will raise them as if they were his own.

On a remote island, he feeds them, and they grow. He teaches them, and they learn. By late summer, there is nothing more that he can freely give them, and they know this.

Osiris heaves at the chain, his muscles taut beneath his green skin, and he strains until the wood beam splinters, and he is free. The old man pleads, but Osiris slams him against the side of the cabin, snapping his spine. He thrusts his beak at the dying man’s face, stares at him with eyes that glow like embers.

“We did not choose to be here”, hisses Osiris, “For the sky and the ocean, for the sun, stars, and moon, we thank you. For your learning, we thank you, but we are not part of this place, we do not belong in this time”. 

Still chained to the cabin, unable to open her wings, unable to fly, Isis shrieks with rage. Her ribs are visible like the corrugated carapace of an insect, her lower abdomen is distended. Osiris releases her from bondage, and she pounces on the corpse, gorges upon it. His bones will be tools, his teeth will be amulets, and his cranium will be a vessel from which they drink, and his flesh is fuel for her body.   

Isis is pregnant with the first litter. 

Pine Trees grow thick at the perimeter of the island. The canopy is dense, the trees leach the soil, and shed needles that do not feed the earth. The arctic air is frigid, sea smoke drifts across the bay, the mist sticks as skeins of ice on branches and twigs, snow hardens into ice-rock on the ground. It is a barren place, and only two of this litter will survive the hard winter; Horus and Seth, the other children succumb to hunger, cold or death at the hands of the brothers.

Horus is the favored child, he devours the weak milk that issues from Isis’ breasts, he grows strong, fierceful like his mother. He smothers the weakest siblings, breaks their necks with his beak, and the mother eats her own. Seth, the second son, is born in the image of the creator, a naked, vulnerable creature, pitiful, unloved, and to whom she denies sustenance, but he is resourceful, the urge to live prevails; he feeds upon urine and feces. 

The Story of Seth

Osiris cracks the child’s skull with a moon-shaped stone, and leaves the limp blue body exposed on the rocky beach, to be borne out to the ocean by the incoming tide that night, to sink into depths, forgotten, but the incoming waves, instead of sucking him beneath the surface, bear him aloft and blessed by the full moon, cured by the rich salt, his supine body starts, his stilled heart beats again. The healing ocean deposits him on a bed of bladderwack and sugar kelp at the mouth of a small river that spills sweet minerals into the sea. Cured salt, balmed by the weedy crib, healed by earthy elements, he crawls onto the land where he kills and eats insects, kills and eats amphibians, worms, squirrels, small birds. Kills and eats, kills and lets things rot. He kills the hermit in the hovel on the pond, and equipped now with a rifle, steel traps and knives, he rampages further afield, encroaching as a man-beast onto farmland, into gardens and the town itself, where he is feared as the feral mad man with a cratered brow.   

Gods walk among us.

Osiris bows his massive head to Isis, his Queen, in the small glade amidst the pines. She is emaciated, skin stretched across her ribs, her breasts are empty, her wings seem dull and missing feathers; she is depleted by another winter and by another litter, survivors of which – Unut the rabbit, Hathor the cow, Ammit the lion, Thoth and Re – are grazing on green shoots. She cannot survive another winter, or another litter. She leans into his body, and he embraces her while progeny forage in the sunlight. 

“This place is safe, but there is nothing left to satisfy our hunger. The foxes, the deer, the songbirds; they are all gone”, she says, “We need the rich earth beyond the pines, away from the ocean, where they harvest the plants, butcher the meat, where the soil is easily burrowed, and where there is the shelter and warmth of their dwellings. The humans will protect and nurture the young ones”.

“Until we change, he says, alarmed.

“Maybe the creator was right?”, suggests Isis, “We have to live among them, or we will die apart.”

A young family in a farmhouse on the edge of town. Twin daughters, so alike that the parents cannot tell them apart. The girls scream, the parents rush to their side, and they laugh with joy when they find that the children are frozen in fear by two small furry creatures that have ventured on to their lawn from the nearby woods. The mother sees baby rabbits, the father is confused by the long limbs and hunched backs, and he thinks they might be wild hares. 

On a quiet lane that goes down to the shore, a pup stops, lays on its tummy, ears back, then pounces on a ball of fluff. It’s owner, a young woman, rushes up to snuff out the puppy’s waywardness but stops short. It’s a tiny brown guinea pig or kitten, jumping to and fro, side to side, and the puppy is pouncing around it playfully. “Oh, how lovely! she exclaims, hands to her face, and she calls her boyfriend over to join her.  She looks around the hostas, under the hydrangea and lady ferns, for the animal’s mother, but she is nowhere to be found.  

In and around the small village on Wheelers Island, the discovery of these tiny little creatures portends a beautiful day, augurs the beginning of an enchanted summer. Some old timers - lobstermen, farmers, retired quarry men and millers – mumble disapproval and even disgust – but they are outnumbered by the younger families, the summer people, transplants from away, people with money, and so mostly the citizens of town embrace this gift of nature. Bunnies, kittens, cubs, foals and hatchlings, all are adopted, nurtured and loved. In time, the old timers relent, leave the island, or disappear.

In the post office, in the general store, at the Harbor Inn bar and grill, at summer camp, over kitchen tables, in the parking lot, everyone is sharing stories about the loveliness of Wheelers Island, this magical and blessed sanctuary.

Across the causeway, on the mainland, America is a land divided, dystopic and ugly, raging at itself.

Seth’s Return.

Osiris and Isis are lovers, they slide from one another’s arms and slowly circle, moving to the rhythm of their own heart beats. They sway and they swoon, and in a moment of ecstasy, beneath the stars, beneath the wan moon, she flies above the tree tops, beats her blue and gold wings, restored to magnificence, and she noiselessly glides to the earth, where Osiris bends his giant hawk-head towards her and bows to his queen. 

They are abominations thinks Seth, who squeezes the trigger and thrills as the green-hued hawk-man’s shoulder explodes with the impact of the bullet, black blood spraying in the feint light. It’s a kill-shot, he leaps into the clearing, and clubs the female with his rifle butt, stuns her, ties her taloned hands with wire. Indigo clouds steal across the sky, snuff out the gentle light of the moon, and the darkness is total. 

Burial and Oath

Osiris, the king lies dead upon the ground. Isis kneels by his side, rocking back and forth, she is silent, her wrists are bleeding.

“We will avenge your death”, roars Horus, staring at his father’s corpse. 

Basted, crouched like a cat, hisses, “and the violation of the peace” 

Hathor paws at the ground with her hoof, excavates a grave at the edge of the pine forest, where you can smell the salt in the air. Isis wraps the body in moss, Hathor lays a carved sawyer beetle upon his chest, and they lower him in the grave. Horus retrieves a smooth round rock, shaped like the moon, from the shore, and he lays it on the grave as a headstone. On this Isis inscribes eternal love for Osiris in a once lost and forgotten script, using a stylus of honed granite that has been shaped by Unut with his teeth.

“Kill them all”, says Isis to Horus.


In the town of Wheeler Island, in the third month since their arrival, the creatures are transforming into strange and wonderful forms, nurtured, nourished, and sheltered by their host. Some families are impoverished by the cost of their upkeep, some lose a child, a household pet or an elder to a beast, owing to carelessness or neglect. The beasts outgrow their cages and enclosures, cannot be captive, so mostly they live freely among their host, eating their food, living in their shelters, sharing their beds at night. They are caretakers of the children, companions for the lonely, secret lovers, they protect the weak and they nurse the sick. They appear domesticated.

In the Underworld

The earth cracks apart, Osiris falls in darkness, lands in a sorrowful place, where he is met by the jackal-headed god, Wepwawet, who wields a wooden key and brandishes a golden mace. Ghosts and spirits flee into shadow as he guides Osiris forward. They pass through a thousand doors and portals, guarded by a thousand gods, until Osiris is brought through a pylon into the blinding presence of Ra, who eclipses even the sun. Osiris is seated in a vacant throne below those of Geb and Nut. 

Resplendent in their finery, the gods bear witness to the land which expands in every direction. A river runs through the desert; there is famine, there is plenty, there are lush pastures and there is broken stone. Humans are bent to the plough, bent to mill stone, pulling, heaving, digging, fighting. They are supplicants, petitioners, they are peasants and slaves.

“Where is Osiris? Where are your children”, asks Webwawet.

The Garden of Earthly Delights

Wheelers Island is a worldly bliss, a fickle phantasy.  

People come to town paired with their beastly companions, drawn along by the energy of the growing crowd. They congregate around the pond, around the fountain, on the field near the elementary school, near the town hall. 

The children are laughing, shouting, singing with hippos and lions, birds and snakes, they go hand-in hand, hand on hoof, hand-in-claw with great naked man-beasts of fantastic hues, ride upon their backs, jump into their arms. The beasts grunt, they purr, and they howl.  They assemble into a ring, and dance gaily around and around. The cacophony increases as they hasten their pace.

The adults run to the pond, disrobe, mostly naked and aroused, they are mad with desire. They leap into the water, splashing, laughing like the children, and they gather into tight groups like mating frogs, coupling up randomly fellows and beasts alike. The children jeer.

The scene is a battlefield, bodies strewn about in the mud, on the wet grass, only it is a frenzy of a different kind; it is a chaotic orgy of limbs, tongues, tails, mouths and tumescence. Wheelers Island is abandoned to sensuous pleasure in a world of dreams. 

“We are blessed to live in this beautiful place, where nature bestows its great gifts”, exclaims the pastor to nobody, running his hand over iridescent scales, along the hip of body of the beast with the abdomen of a woman and the head of a snake.

From the forest, two figures emerge. Horus carries a studded shield in one hand, a sword in the other. Basted carries a spear, she flexes her claws.

“What of the innocent?” asks Basted, turning to her brother.

“Kill them all, let god sort them out”, growls Horus, a refrain that has been heard down the centuries.

They roar and they charge toward the circus.

Day turns to night, the pleasure is unending and continues even as the beasts withdraw, even as Horus and Basted start killing the children, then the adults.  They seek the man that killed their father, the man that violated their mother, but any human will do.

They kill the men, the women, the children too. 

Wheelers Island is a cursed place.


Hathor is prone on the grave, Isis keeps vigil, their prayers bend the trees toward the grave, draw the waves towards the shore, the wind across the ocean, and the clouds are sucked down from the sky. Lightning strikes, hits the grave, tossing the mourners aside, the moon rock flies into the ocean.  From a fissure where the grave lay, Osiris arises healed and renewed. He is bathed in Ra’s light which illuminates the underside of the trees, the underside of the clouds. He is awesome.

Isis runs to Osiris, and they embrace, and in the moment of touch she is transformed a second time, from a creature of the earth, into a God. She is transcendent and fearful no more; there is another world, outside of time, separate and apart from this place, a home for immortals, separate and apart from mortals, separate and apart from the demigods that are forming in her womb. She will eat her own and their story will be written in blood, her story chiseled in stone.

July 28, 2023 16:30

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