Alpha, the First Murderer, sits on his throne, contemplating the death of his brother and the persistence of his corpse. This betrayal marked the second Celestial War, and though not as severe as the first, has been going on for eons. Alpha’s children are born into this conflict, cursed to fight against Omega and his forces. There is no foreseeable end; Alpha considers the second Celestial War a punishment given by the All Creator, but an inconsequential one at best. As long as his children continue to give their all, Omega will never usurp him. Some of them have died, but died knowing it was a sacrifice they had to make for the First Universe, for Alpha.
A Nulleq woman with red hair and fiery eyes stumbles into his abode, holding the Eye of the Universe close to her chest, a circular mirror that gives its chosen keeper omniscience. She is nervous, her glasses crooked, gasping for air—she must have run all the way here. Alpha arches a brow, but remains indifferent to her labored breaths. He wants her to explain herself, nothing more, nothing less.
“Yes, Wednesday?” Alpha is a master of emotion, majestic in manner and appearance. His charisma is enormous. Of imposing dignity, he rises from his throne and towers over the much shorter woman, his long, lustrous, silver hair carried gently by a mysterious, all-present current. Wednesday has to crane her neck to look up at him. “This must be important, I imagine. Have you news of Omega to share?” He is only responding as he thinks a mildly-concerned leader should, but he could not be more uninterested in matters concerning his brother. As it stands Omega is unfellable, whatever his people do to oppose him will not matter.
Even in death does Omega have the All Creator’s explicit blessing. It’s not fair. It should be him.
“My Lord!” Wednesday adjusts herself the moment she hears the rich baritones of Alpha’s voice, but in doing so she almost drops the Eye, struggling to catch it. She was always a clumsy girl; Alpha does not know why the Eye of the Universe chose her as its bearer when she nearly drops it every hour, on the hour. “We have guests from beyond the stars. Shall I let them in?”
About her lips there plays an eager trembling. It is not often Alpha has guests, as he is not the most… ‘friendliest’ man. He is someone to admire, someone to worship, someone to protect until the bitter end. When he meets with others it is strictly business, he has neither the time nor the want to make friends. There are those he deems worthy—like Ozymandias, the King of the Draegon, or Ragnarøkkr, the Doom of the Gods—but the former rarely meets Alpha in person, and the latter does not visit at all. “The mirror tells me they are not of the First, but has nothing else to offer. It would seem its omniscience is not enough to tell us who these people are.”
Alpha looks sharply at her, a twinge of fear surging through him. He is both angry at Wednesday for being so careless, and anxious concerning the identity of his guests. “Who are they?” he demands, his voice commanding. Wednesday almost drops the Eye again. “What do they look like?” She squeaks beneath the weight of his gaze. Alpha is not one to give into the turbulence of strong emotions, he prides himself on being unflappable even in the most chaotic circumstances, known for how he stays calm in a crisis. This is not the Lord she has served for millennia. “Well? Do you know anything, girl? Come, out with it, the very fate of our world hinges on your words!” He has never been one to exaggerate and there is urgency in his tone. She holds the Eye tighter as she struggles to find the words to describe his guests.
“I am sorry, My Lord. I do not think I can.” …But how does one describe the indescribable? Of there being two figures Wednesday is certain, but one of them was blindly radiant, as if she would explode just looking at them. Infinite holiness pervaded their entire being and shaped all their attributes. She does not remember how they look, only how she felt in their presence. It was terrifying, their holiness an uncompromising purity, a disturbing dedication to what is good and right, a violent sacredness. They were breathtakingly abhorrent, divinely horrifying; Wednesday was reminded of all her imperfections the moment they met. “Light… There was so much light, My Lord,” she adds quietly, her words coloured by awe. “They illuminated all. They were life itself. They were light. The ultimate light. Never had I felt so… so warm.”
A frown tugs at Alpha’s lips. “…Go on.”
“And how wonderful they were! How good! The source of goodness! They are separate from the rest of creation. Eternally incorruptible.” Her last words trigger his fight-or-flight response. “And their voice was like angels making love, ah, so soft, so ethereal. Like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It was feathered. And they were invariably courteous and soft-spoken. They called you ‘Alphie’ when they requested to see you.”
“Silly girl, that was the Echonianetic! Do you have any idea of what you have done? What you have wrought upon our world! Did you at least bow? Did you show even a modicum of respect?!”
“N-no My Lord. Should I have?”
“You do not understand. The one that called me ‘Alphie’ is the multiversal manifestation of life! The creator and sustainer of all that exists! Everything owes itself to her. Whatsoever is, is in Clotho, and without Clotho nothing can be conceived!”
“But that’s…” Blasphemy, she wants to say. “You created our universe, My Lord. Not this… Clotho.”
“Clotho allowed me to create our universe. She is more the All Creator than our universe can bear!” Alpha paces around before coming to an abrupt stop in front of Wednesday, whom he startles into almost dropping the Eye. He then begins to count down on three fingers. “Listen closely, Wednesday. There are three multiversal manifestations, the Umbrakinetic, the Echonianetic, and the Anti-Type. They are the strongest beings in the multiverse! And Clotho is the strongest among them!”
Wednesday cannot fathom anyone being more powerful than her Lord. He is the Almighty, the Glorious Sword, her King and God. To see him admit his inferiority so frankly, to not just one person but three—it is completely baffling. “You let Clotho win you over with her ‘goodness,’ but she is indifferent to life and even the multiverse itself!” He is shaking now. In an attempt to steady himself, he leans into a wall and hangs his head down low. “Clotho is much older than I, but she approaches things in much the same manner a child would. She cannot understand how horrible it is to erase trillions of lives in a single universe.”
Wednesday, concerned for Alpha, quietly makes her way over to him. Her first instinct is to give him a hug, but she does not know if that will send him into further hysterics. Instead, she holds the Eye with one hand and pats him on the back. “The way you talk about her, this Clotho, makes it sound like she could destroy our universe in an instant.”
“Because she can!” comes his quick reply, turning passionately on his heel to face her. “And there is nothing we can do about it! She is the purest form of the All Creator pre-split. She can annihilate anything on all levels just by thinking about it. I watched her not only destroy multiple universes, but an entire timeline as well, just because she could.”
Wednesday gulps, pressing the Eye of the Universe closer to her chest. “I understand now. She is beyond you, beyond our universe, but… How did you come to be acquainted with such an individual?”
He falls silent recalling the moment he met Clotho. He sensed her before he saw her, and mistook her for the All Creator. Finally, he thought, the All Creator has at last noticed me and has grown tired of my brother. His heart swelled, and an inexplicable weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He was ready to leave his life in the First behind—his children, his wife, his subjects—to join what he assumed to be a whole All Creator that pieced itself together, signaling the end of the multiverse. He wanted to live the rest of his days in Zero–One as the All Creator’s most favored. He had been ready to receive Clotho with open arms. One cannot imagine his sadness when he realized she was not who he thought. But she was close. Too close. An aspect of the All Creator, but one that would not be ignored or cast aside as part of the whole.
“Clotho is attracted to powerful people,” he begins, regaining his composure. That Clotho thought him strong enough to reveal herself to him always makes him feel better. “Her omniscience extends far beyond that of your mirror. Your Eye is bound to the First. Clotho’s omniscience spans the multiverse.” Wednesday struggles to comprehend his words. As if pacifying the Eye of the Universe, she gives it a few loving strokes along its rim. “There are things even she cannot see, however. My fate is one of them. It is the same for my brother. I assume we are the only two in the multiverse that pose this problem for her.” But she chose me instead of Omega.
From Wednesday comes a cheerful hum. “Clotho adores you, then. We have no need to worry, My Lord.”
“Hush. Clotho has a temper. Love does not exempt anyone from it.”
Clotho’s all-powerful holiness pours from her like an energy when she and her companion appear in front of Alpha and Wednesday with no warning whatsoever. She is immaculate, clad in black with a halo atop her hydrangea-adorned head and an even bigger one at her feet. She comes to them in the form of a svelte woman shorter than even Wednesday herself. Everything about her glows, her eyes, her horns; her fingers are fitted with jewelry that make her nails appear much longer than they are, her cheeks adorned with glittering stars. She is holy thrice over.
“Alphie!” Excitement overtakes Clotho; she goes from being the strongest in the multiverse to squealing like a schoolgirl. “You’re funny, and I like funny.” With her hands behind her back, she smiles sweetly at him. “You carry your loneliness around like an anchor. You look so heavy. Westward ho! Land ho!” With her hands pressed against her stomach she laughs heartily, throwing her head back. “A down-in-th’-dumps first mate will ne’er do when we’ve got plenty o’ adventures t’ go on.” She skips towards Alpha, twirling about and suddenly falling into him. He catches her, not because she could have hurt herself, but because her impact with the floor could have destroyed his planet. Pleased that he catches her, she snuggles against him. “That was close, wasn’t it?”
Alpha’s limbs are quaking. He is engulfed by a wave of gratitude, abasement and fear. He wants to fling himself on his knees and thank Clotho blabberingly for deigning to notice him. The All Creator never did.
It’s been so long since he felt alive in his skin. He can only recall feeling hungry before meeting Clotho. Only empty, and greedy, and insatiable. Vacant and ghostly and content with death. Wronged, ruined, next after the best. But then she puts her hands against the arm that caught her and he feels enveloped by a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, and legs. He feels wanted.
“Most Holy.” He thirsts for her. His whole being longs for her, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. With all his inmost being, he praises her name. Says it in earnest. “I was not expecting you. Are you here to play?”
Clotho taps an index finger against her cheek and thinks hard about his question. “Well…” she begins, taking her blue gaze around his throne room, “I do want to play…” Her voice trails off as she presses her lips into a pout and separates herself from Alpha. As if seeking encouragement, she looks towards the inexpressibly beautiful and voluptuous woman who accompanied her. “But Kohana’s here, so I have to be serious!” He has heard Clotho speak that name before. ‘Kohana’ is her latest obsession, and he is an oh so jealous man. When Clotho would babble on about her, he would only half-listen. “You remember Kohana, don’t you? She’s really really, really really really really powerful.” It takes everything in him not to roll his eyes. Kohana is nothing but measly entertainment to Clotho, a new toy for her to play with that she will soon grow bored of. She will never take a permanent place by Clotho’s side. She is not worthy enough to walk in the All Creator’s light. “She’s Spectra’s General. You remember her, don’t you? Don’t you?” Another look, then. He wants to know what makes her so special.
Solange Salgado is an African American writer and the author of Division by Zero, a science fantasy webnovel about about magical girls met with a terrible fate and the incomprehensibility of the multiverse. A member of the LGBTQ+ community and advocate for mental health awareness—living with several mental illnesses herself—she weaves both topics together to create unforgettable characters and haunting stories. Visit her website to read more from the above samle: http://divisionbyzeros.com/
If Gods and Monsters could convene to solve the problems of the many, they would no doubt create more than they could fix. This was decidedly true of Clothco whose beauty had sunk a million galaxies. Hearts could literally crumble at the sight of her, and for anyone who was lucky enough to be invited to pleasure her, the emotions that she could bestow of them in exchange for one slight touch could start wars that would last a millennia,
All too aware of this, the All Creator would play on this fact repeatedly. Today was no different, and in Wednesday’s weak-kneed and fawning presence, Clothco would reduce the Almighty ‘Alfie’ to the equivalent of Wednesday. Alpha would demonstrate that he too could be nervous, humble, and appear weak in the company of this, the most wonderful creator of Everything.
“What then did you come for?” Alpha hesitantly asked, fearing the opening of a box that he would never be able to close again.
“It is time for this Celestial War of yours to come to an end. Win or lose, it is up to you. But one of you must soon become a victor! Kohana is someone who could help you, and that you may know by reputation…”
Clothco’s words floated on a void as Alpha’s gaze moved from toe to head of Kohana’s frame. Instantly he could see her powers and how worried worlds would fall weak under her spell. He was entranced. But he was not the only one. Wednesday was laid, prostrate and hypnotised by love, lust, and this powerful magic that Kohana wore like perfume.
Alpha knew that Kohana could definitely help to win the war. Her reputation really did proceed her, and with her on side, this long-standing power struggle could be cast into history. If he could only un-tether himself from the sadistic restraints of sexual servitude to her that he had cast himself under inside his mind. To succeed, he would need to move on from the intense and complex desire that had all of a suddenly stolen his clarity and better judgement. Alpha would need to remain focused if he was to work with this amazing being in order to work with her powers. But that was far easier said than done. Hopefully this first encounter was just a blip. But Alpha knew deep down that to get drawn in to Kohana’s web would ultimately be like handing all of his power to her on a plate. His universe would be crushed, and for what? The lack of sexual restraint of a God?