From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Fiction

rat/god

The rat was a god,

but you had no idea.

You found it snapped in half on the trap you set, dead.

A whole universe oozed from the puncture at the centre of the rat/god, out with its guts and its shit. Stars swirled on your bedroom floor,

planets and their satellites, gas, and dust particles.

“What have I done?” you said to your husband, holding back your hair. “I just didn’t want a rat infestation in our home.”

“How can it be this easy to kill a god?” Your husband sipped coffee from a mug as he toed the creature.

The rat/god lay with its mouth agape, bluish nebula within.

“What’s gonna happen now?”

“Who cares about a dead rat, anyway? Let’s throw away the thing. Clean up the mess.”

You nodded.

You swept up the galaxies and the stars.

But before you could throw away the rodent/celestial, the first god came, knocking like thunder on your door. It was Odin, a raven on each shoulder. “I’m here to pay last respects to the great god who perished here.”

You let him in, and he paid his last respects.

Yemoja came after. She dripped strange black water, messing up your carpet. She wailed on seeing the rat/god and gave the carcass a spirit stone: “Bury it with him, you hear me?” she said, and left for her river again.

Ra, a sun god. He asked you for wine, while he wept tears of lava. The molten fire fell and damaged your new, white leather chairs.

And Isis, and Mimir, and Osun, and Ngewo.

And Zhinu. “Do you even know who you’ve killed?” she grunted.

“We didn’t mean to kill a god,” your husband said.

“Yeah, right,” Zhinu replied.

The deities wouldn’t stop coming.

How many gods roamed the world?

Vishnu. Krishna.

Aphrodite.

Ngai, who shouted:

“You made me leave Mount Kenya!”

“We’re actually so sorry.”

Thor also came.

And on

and

On. And.

A thousand gods and goddesses later, breathless, “They’re gonna keep coming,” you said to your husband.

“I think this is our curse, for killing a rat.”

“To open doors to gods forever? Look at what Ra did to the chairs, how much did they cost? Was it Thor’s lightning that took out the WiFi? I just didn’t want a rat problem, for fuck’s sake. We just got married, got a new home, and a rat problem?”

“Well, babe, now we’ve got a goddamn god problem on our hands!”

Victor Forna

Victor Forna. A young Black man in glasses, wearing a pink shirt, standing in front of green leaves, nearly but not quite smiling.

Victor Forna is a Sierra Leonean writer based in his country’s capital, Freetown. He currently works as an environmentalist. His short fiction and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in homes such as Lolwe, Short Story Day Africa Anthology: Disruption, Brittle Paper, and elsewhere. He is an alumnus of the 2022 AKO Caine Prize Writing Workshop. You can find him on Twitter @vforna12.