from The Viper with the Human Tongue
all became aware that the surrounding forest was beginning to glow. Every leaf, twig, and branch started shining a profound rich golden-red. The jungle was turning blood and amber. From every direction the earth itself wriggled, coalesced, and concentered upon the communal clearing. Snakes slithered out of the bush. Vipers, serpents, all manner of venomous ophidians swarmed towards the standing figure of the sukya mayrin. They twined up her legs and torso, looped over her arms, encircled neck and head. Amidst the hellish light of flaming forest, Mayani had become robed in living death. Her mien became even calmer, detached in grandeur as might a divinity’s. Her voice resonated not unearthly but rather precisely earthly, knelling autochthonously from planet’s pit and penetralia.

“As for Van-sont, you have been named. You be caught fast. Await not death for yourself but marked torment. On viscid stink spewed from putrid crop you’ll gulp and choke. You will sink into never-ending knowing, seeing and unable to cease seeing through the obdurate impiety you crow on. Lamenting your sacrilege which be you defiled for, bewailing your blasphemy reviled for. Retching everlastingly on the vomit of your own headstrong profanations.”

Sin had not flinched when the serpents crawled forth from the jungle. Now she stepped boldly towards the viper-writhed sukya and placing mouth and nose next to Mayani’s cheek, inhaled deeply.

“A good tune, Mayani, but I’ve heard it before. I was told years ago when I ventured into the jungle that the dead would eat me. I would die on the goddess’s strangle-song, they said. But neither came true. Now you with the same old doom. You claim I’ll choke everlastingly regretting my presumptuousness. But your blabber’s the only thing I’m choking on, and wasting my time here’s my only regret. You better take your song-and-dance elsewhere. It’s lost its resonance.”

With a snarl Mayani flung vipers straight at Sin’s face. But quick as lightning, Sin seized them coiling and spitting, held them high for all the gathered villagers to see, before deliberately holding the serpents to her own bare forearms. Fangs buried themselves in flesh even as a collective gasp was expelled, for Sin grasped mapeer, amongst the most deadly of reptiles.

And Sin laughed!


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