[image description: A jackal-headed being sits in a room of large sandstone pillars writing runes at their desk with a quill pen. Is that blood being used as ink? They wear gold and lapis and look to the viewer resentfully. Text reads, “28, Shy Amalan Ubis, The Small God of Wishful Obituaries”. Note: Many worshippers believe him related to SG#2 Herman Ubis.]
He visits most of his faithful for the first time somewhere around the second grade. That’s when they fully come to understand that they are individual creatures, not bound to their parents through unseen channels, able to want things the adults around them think unwantable. That’s also when most of them have experienced death in some form—a great-grandparent or a goldfish, it makes little difference to the second grader—and understand that it can change their lives.
“I wish you were dead” doesn’t cross the mind of every small child, but it finds enough of them to grant Shy access.
He lives in the fleeting fantasy and in the carefully honed dream of revenge, and distinguishes little between the two. Someone who wishes someone else were dead and someone who dreams of a great inheritance are basically the same, in prayer. His stock in trade was once mysterious relatives and unknown patrons; now it has become strangers on the internet, people with different political views or who don’t want to get naked for the enjoyment of his worshippers.
He is starting to get uncomfortable with the people who choose him over all other gods, concerned that perhaps they have some emotional problems. But he is not the small god of effective therapy, or the small god of good moral choices, and he must continue to make do with what he has.
Still, sometimes he misses the high schoolers dreaming of their eventual deaths leading to specials on PBS about the impact of their lives, and the middle schoolers who don’t exactly want their rich uncle to die, but would really like to own a flying car. Sometimes he wonders if the internet might not have been a mistake.
And then another million of his faithful send another million emails wishing death on a stranger, and he has to get back to work. It’s not much, but it’s a living, and not all gods have that.
Shy is the small god of the wishful obituary, but he’s still a long way from composing his own.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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: