“It’s like this.” Arnold was sitting in his favorite spot next to the wood stove, Piwi and Bast looking up at him attentively. “Small mammals are what Owl eats. Youse guys are small mammals. If he gets the chance, he’s gonna take you home to feed the owlets, that’s what he does.”
Piwi wasn’t all that concerned; he tended to spend his nights curled up in the comfort of the house. Bast just smiled. She’d had a couple of run-ins with Owl; while the first one had been pretty frightening, she’d learned quickly. Life had been much easier for her as a top predator back when she was a lion, way back when. But she understood, just as Mouse understood that Bast would eat him, given the chance. It was kind of a game for all of them, a deadly serious game. In the end it was one that made them all stronger, or at least it made their kind better adapted to life in the world. In the end, that’s life.
Tante was trying hard to adapt to her channeling of the extremophiles, but it was difficult. She’d developed a serious problem with her intestinal flora and had been farting out noxious sulfuric gasses. She was working really hard to keep the methanogens under control, certain that it would undoubtedly also make her a major contributor to climate change, so reduction of sulfur was it. Being the Auntie Christ was getting difficult enough without smelling like the pits of hell as well.
Apparently a TSA agent at LAX had snuck a camera shot at her passport and the news had gone viral. Auntie Christi Elison had entered the US. To make matters worse, she’d entered with an Iraqi woman and band of foreigners from all over the place. The coming of the Apocalypse was getting to be the main platform for half the candidates running for office, some cheering it on, others declaring war against it. As usual, the crone found herself in a pickle.
Someone had decided that she’d be a good pawn in the game of thrones, and the tone online was getting threatening. To top it all off, the farts were getting really hard to take, even for her. The others had been giving her wide berth.
“Just what is the role of the snottites? Maybe if we find that out, we can help you figure out your raison d’être.” Juno was inquiring from across the room. The nose of perfection did have its limits of toleration.
“Mostly just spewing noxious gasses. They’re not the intellectual giants of the biosphere.” Zeus was not a titan of tact himself.
Tante sobbed, and farted. She was about to head back out to lie in the grass for a while, when Baltha and Yin accompanied Ja and Haile into the room. All of them were smiling.
“We have a surprise for you!” Yin was beaming with it. It had come to her first through Fire in a burst of flame. Once she shared her idea, Wind and Rain concurred immediately. They were confident that Mountain and Sea would agree.
It was Haile who explained. Haile excelled at rational explanation.
“Genetically, biologically, indeed, you are the ancient one. You have code that is present in all of us, code that was of the original Viral ones who met the Proteinaceous and set up housekeeping within the protective embrace of the Phospholipids, where they learned to build with Carbs. When it comes to life, you are very primal.”
Tante farted. Several of the others backed off a little further.
“Even your present condition seems to confirm it.” Yin was holding fast to her position. Her relationship with Alonso had cooled some of the fire that burned within and her more feminine and nurturing aspect, something that Yang had always held for her, had been awakened.
Baltha, of course, had such deep and unconditional love for Tante that it was she who held her breath and embraced her friend as she shared their good news.
“You, my love, are Disturbance. You are fire and earthquake and tsunami and flood. You are the reset button on the evolution of landscapes. You bring change. You are not sweet, nor gentle, nor pretty to look at, but you are absolutely necessary. When you show up you often bring pain and suffering and even death, but in doing so you also bring new life. You are the way of the world that is not always so nice.”
Tante sniffed. A few molecules of H2S attempted to attach themselves to the receptors within her nostrils, which rejected them. They’d had enough of the effervescence of the fiery pits. Disturbance. Perhaps she could find a way to work with that which wouldn’t be so noxious to the others.
She’d just have to be careful about the MTJ.
The End is Near