I call these “Woodles” or word-doodles (though they’re probably akin to drabbles, really!) This tiny story was inspired by the following writing prompt:
They came for wealth. Thousands of them, queuing into my temples, offering me flowers and coins for tribute. They lit candles for me. They fasted and prostrated themselves upon my altar. They wiped the walls with holy water and dribbled honey over my icons.
And I gave. I gave them gold and jewels and power beyond their imagining. Those who offered the most, got the most. Merchants became princes. Princes became kings. I made fortunes out of thin air. And I destroyed the world. I was the god of wealth. I created greed. Greed takes. They took.
They went to war with each other until every home and castle and temple was broken. Until corpses lined the streets like pebbles. They took histories and they took lives, and they took from me. Now I sit, my body broken, my starved limbs turning to dust, and I wait for death. We are only as strong as our believers. There’s no one left to believe.
Then you patter in. Your ribs poke through your red fur, and I see the saliva dripping from your maw. It is a hot day. You are panting. The temple is stone-dark and cold. I think you will ignore me, as they all do. What good is a shrunken god to a hungry beast? But your dark eyes take me in, and you wag your tail. I say nothing.
You lick my cheeks. What do you taste? I do not touch you. I do not move. I have never been greeted like an old friend.
You examine the temple floor, nose to the ground, searching for a meal. You return with a rat in your mouth. I watch you eat, blood and bones and black hair. It turns my stomach. I groan. I have not eaten in decades. And you do the strangest thing.
You share your meal. I get one half, you get the other. Blood is running down both our lips now. Our bellies are halfway full. You grin at me, panting, and scamper away. When you return, it is with a canteen of water, stolen, no doubt from a weary traveller. We both drink until our thirst is quenched.
The sky shifts, the moon changes, and you stay. Every day, we feast together, our meagre meals of rodents and leftovers. Every day, the gaps between your ribs disappear. I grow stronger too. Strong enough to give you a blessing. I was the god of wealth. I give you the only thing you value.
I scratch your belly. You kick your leg back, laughing, and push your body into my arms, demanding affection. You are a strange one. Don’t you want more? More food, perhaps? Some gold? Jewels? You can’t speak, but with time I understand that you do crave things. You hunger, you weep, you shudder in thunderstorms. But there are things you can get for yourself. The only thing you ask for is the one thing you need but cannot find.
We are family now.
I used to be the god of wealth. But gods change. You believe in me. So now, I have become the god of dogs.