It’s not like they weren’t warned.
She could feel bad for the first few, almost. The ones who’d found her in the wreckage of her chiton, clutching the fabric to her breast and sobbing into her own fallen locks of hair, not yet fully aware of what had happened to her, what she had become—or what she was becoming. She’d known the gods could be cruel. She’d known that when Poseidon pressed himself upon her, there would be consequences.
She hadn’t expected those consequences to include rejection by her own goddess, or transformation into something terrible and new…or godhood. But when the gods slung their powers around without thought of the cost to those they chose to target, sometimes there were unintended side effects.
She thought the snakes might have been Athena’s attempt at an apology, even though her pride and place in the pantheon had made it impossible for her to offer one aloud. They were company, always, and they kept the spiders from walking across her face at night, swallowing them whole with little legs waving. They had horrified her in the beginning. Now she couldn’t imagine her eternity without them.
The invention of the internet had been a blessing no god could have predicted, but it wasn’t her salvation. The snakes were her salvation. The snakes and herself, for she had grown to be all the company she would ever need over the centuries of hiding herself away and staying as far as she could from the fragile mortals she posed such a danger to.
But they had forgotten the dangers of sickness. They had forgotten the days of ten children born in the hopes that two might see adulthood. They had grown soft in the paradise they’d crafted with their own hands, forming their own Olympus one day and one dream at a time.
If it had been up to her, she would have sheltered them. But for all that she was a divinity in her own right, it had never been up to her. Even as they began to call on her to preserve them through terrible times, all she could do was repeat the prayer that would protect them:
“Stay in your homes. Wash your hands. Be careful. Stay safe. Be careful.”
And then: “And STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE.”
[image description: A woman with green snakes for hair sits at a desk in front of a laptop. Next to her there is a mug with a pegasus on it and behind her there are several humans turned to stone. Text reads, “#1 Medusa, The Small God of Social Distancing.”]
Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: