The Rats

There were more rats than Simon had ever seen or wanted to see. Fat rats, sleek rats. Glossy black rats and pink mangy ones. Rats covered in sores and well-heeled rats from the dumpsters of four-star restaurants. They poured from the storm drains in the street, surrounded and engulfed Simone who screamed. And Simon, his blood in Simone, began screaming in sympathy as he felt the echoes of thousands of bites and nips. He fell to the street and his right leg twisted the wrong way beneath him, leaving him lying on his side.

Simone gathered the strength of a god to her. The strength of a god said “no.” A pain Simon didn’t share ripped through her as Zeus’ soul widened the rents the rats made in Simone’s material self. She managed to get to her feet just once, a five-foot-plus pile of rats with a clawed hand breaking through the top to try to catch the departing storm, lightning and thunder funneling away into the jetstream, and vanishing forever.

The rats fell away, and Simon saw what was left.

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