Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena
unclehyena

Fiction

On January 26, 2004, in a post called "Pagan Interlude", I speculated about the progress of a certain immortal into the modern age; there follows a piece of short fiction describing the event rather cryptically, in the voice of someone who might well have been there. Spend a moment and try to figure it out before you go back and look up the answer, OK?

Uncle Hyena

//
The Chase

(A Signe Story)

Of course I was there; I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Things like that only happen once in a handful of centuries. And she DID ask me to be a proctor; I have something of a reputation for being comfortable in cross pantheon situations.

It was April 30, 1603; the hunt was scheduled to begin an hour after sunset, and the hunters started to gather as soon as it was dark. The Hunt itself was there, of course, but so was every other demigod and minor deity who thought he had any chance at all. Hell, her own brother would have been running, if he weren't her brother.

He was there, anyway, to try to talk her out of it; he wasn't big on the idea of his twin sister redefining himself, and particularly not in that way. She was adamant, though; how did she put it?

"Virginity as a path to independence is dead; it was never more than a slim hope, and now it has been completely co-opted. But there is a better way, dear brother, as you know full well. And I am going to claim it, and I am going to claim it tonight, and you are going to help me. Just be ready when the sun comes up. Unless, of course, you'd rather be an uncle."

That shut him up. And by that time there were enough hunters gathered that trying to cancel would have set off a superhuman riot. And then the appointed time arrived, and she took her place in front of the crowd.

"I will shoot an arrow into the air, and begin to run. When the arrow hits the ground again, you will be free to chase me. The hunt will end at midnight when I enter the circle, assuming none of you catches me. The great prize, if any of you manages to catch me, is that I will become your chattel. Failing that, the lesser prize goes to the first one to reach the circle after I have entered it. You should be able to figure out the rest of the details." She paused while the coarse laughter died out. "These ladies," she indicated me and the truly terrifying women who stood with me, "Will enforce the rules. This is to be a chase; ambushes and similar stratagems will end badly." And then the arrow was in the air, and the hunt began.

No one won the grand prize, of course, and she would never tell anyone who it was that won the lesser prize. I do know that shortly after sunrise her brother, the Physician, reached inside her and crushed the life out of the newly conceived godling in her womb, and the transformation was over. She's better company now than she was before, but she still needs to develop a sense of humor.

Paul Haynie
January 1, 2005
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