Claiming the Moon

“So what happens to you on a supermoon?”

Sarah looked down at the fox who’d asked the question. They were both in a hotel bar. She’d traveled here on business, staying for a few days in an airport hotel of the sort that seemed identical no matter what city you went to. It was a hell of a long way from where she’d grown up, in every way possible. The red wolfat least, that had become her favorite formwas a half-blood Sidhe who, in her childhood, had survived a werewolf attack. As she’d matured, the lycanthropy had intertwined with her faerie powers in ways she was still trying to understand years later. On the night of a new moon, she had no magic to speak of at all; on the night of a full moon, she had more power than any full-blood fae she’d ever met.

This was not a story she normally shared with people in a bar. But the fox was cute, they’d gotten more than a little tipsy the other night and she’d coerced him into telling her a crazy fantasythat he dreamed of giants. That’s why he’d been talking to a woman a foot taller than he was, after all. She took him to her roomthe biggest suite the hotel had, which wasn’t saying muchand gave him an opportunity to find out what he thought about women who were ten feet taller than he was.

After he got his heart started again, he discovered he liked them.

“What’s a supermoon?”

“You haven’t been looking at the papers, huh? The moon’s like two or three times bigger tonight. Well, I mean, it’s not changing size, but it looks bigger. I think it’s really close to the planet, or something.”

“Huh.” The red wolf sipped her drink and looked thoughtful. “I don’t know. I don’t think it’d do anything extra.”

“So no seeing how big you can actually get?”

She grinned. “I’m my normal size now, so it’d only be like four hundred feet high.”

“‘Only,’ she says. But you’d said you’d been a thousand feet high.”

Sarah nodded, swirling the ice around. “Right. I told you every day after the new moon I can grow by a little more.”

“Yeah, you said grow by factors, right? One day it might be twice as much, the next three, the next five.”

“Right.” She nodded again. “So if it was two times one day and three times the next, if I was my normal size both days, that would mean twelve feet high one day, or eighteen feet the next. But think about the math. If I grew to twelve feet high the first day, and then three times that the next, I’d be thirty-six feet high.”

“Oh.” He took a few moments to digest that. “So a thousand feet is like your maximum,” he said hesitantly, looking up into her stormy green eyes.

She shook her head. “No, it’s just the biggest I’ve been. I don’t know what my maximum is, other than by pure math.” She knocked back the rest of her drink.

“Can I buy you another?”

Sarah grinned. “No, thanks. I’m going to wander off to the woods on my own to watch the moon, super or not.”

“A wolf thing, or a werewolf thing?”

“Maybe a little of both.”

There wasn’t much forest in the heart of the suburbs, of course, but there was a park past the airport. It closed at sunset, but hopping the gate was easy enough. Finding as secluded a spot as she could manage, she sat on the grass and looked up at the full moon. It was considerably larger than normal. She lay back, admiring it, tracing features that she hadn’t been able to make out before.

She was snapped out of her reverie when she felt something in the grass bite her. She jumped, long red hair swirling in disarray, and looked around, then felt another bite. And another. It wasn’t until the fifth “bite” that she realized they weren’t bites at allthey were much sharper versions of the tingles that she felt when she used her magic. And, just as if she were doing size- or shape-shifting, green sparks were running through her fur.

Sarah frowned, more curious than upset. This wasn’t right, but it felt fantastic.

After a few more seconds passed she stood up, taking a deep breath. She wasn’t surprised to find her jeans and t-shirt oddly tight; she’d long ago learned how to make her clothes grow with her when she chose, but this growth wasn’t of her own doing. Or rather, it was, in the way her breathing was: she could choose to hold her breath in for a while, or could choose to breathe faster or slower, but she was going to breathe regardless.

“Well,” she said aloud. She started to strip, but paused, grinning unconsciously, and simply took another deep breath, embracing the magic coursing through her rather than holding it back.

All at once, she washow big? At least a hundred feet tall. She didn’t even feel her clothes rip off her; they were lost in the rush of wind from the displaced wind. She’d never grown instantaneously before. “Shit!” The giantess stumbled and crashed to her knees, then got to all fours. She’d thought this would release the pressure she felt from the magicit was a tension like a steel cable pulled tautbut if anything, it had just added a dozen more cables to the sensation. And while it wasn’t unusual for her to feel a little wild in wolf form at any size close to the full moon, she felt positively feral.

Car alarms sounded off in the distance, no doubt set off by two hundred-odd tons of wolf girl crashing to the ground. Swearing, she stood up to her full height. Almost instantly, she was rewarded with another car soundan accident happening somewhere off to her left. Surely you’ve seen a nude giantess before, she thought wryly, looking over at the car. It hadn’t quite wrapped itself around the telephone pole it had hit, but it wasn’t going anywhere, either. The driver, a young rabbit, had gotten out of the car. He looked a little hurt.

Hurt rabbit. Go. Prey.

She blinked away the thought, and took a few cautious steps in his direction, intending to ask if he was okay. This wasn’t a land used to giantsthe chances are she’d be the first nearly anyone had seenbut if she was polite he might not panic.

He didn’t give her that chance, though. He stared up with eyes seemingly bigger than his head, at a huge red wolf woman with a wild tangle of mane around her head, teeth bigger than his arms and green magical sparks running through her fur, and did what any sane person wouldscreamed and ran for his life.

Unfortunately for him, the sane reaction was the worst possible one he could have had to a giant werewolf teetering on the edge of going wild. Without thinking about it, Sarah snarled and closed the distance between herself and the rabbit in four steps, leaning forward, scooping him up in a hand and tossing his screaming body between her jaws all in the same motion. By the time her conscious mind had caught up with her she’d already chewed.

Sarah blinked, swallowing her tiny bit of food, and shuddered violently. Oh, crap. Abstractly, she was aware she’d just killed someonebut her concrete thoughts were on how to avoid killing anyone else. While she’d played some classic “rampaging monster” games in the past they’d been games, in other lands with magically-created areas set aside that simulated lands for such adventures. She had killed in the past, sometimes deliberately, sometimes because she’d let her feral nature get the best of her; it was an unavoidable hazard of lycanthropy. But she didn’t think of herself as a killer.

Except tonight. Tonight, it didn’t feel like it mattered. That was a troubling feeling.

Other cars had screeched to a halt; the road wasn’t well-traveled, but it was close to the airport’s grounds. She stepped back off into the park, looking to see if there was anything that resembled cover. Nothing, not to someone on her scale. All right, maybe she could end this now. She concentrated, trying to return to her normal size; she felt the electric charge of magic, but the more she tried to force what usually came easily the more genuine pain she felt. When she gave up with a frustrated snarl, her size snapped the other way, at least doubling in height, the noise almost like a bomb, park benches and even trees blown backward in a fifty-foot radius.

Lovely, she thought, crouching down. Now she could hear sirens approaching, saw a swarm of flashing lights in the distance. A scan of the rest of the area around her confirmed that no place within line of sight could hide her, although she wasn’t sure just what place could hide a wolf woman now two hundred feet high. No, two-hundred forty-three feet. She frowned slightly, wondering how she knew that so precisely. And how she knew that twenty-eight miles south by southwest of here was a canyon in which she could hide, even were she considerably larger.

And how she knew, with absolute certainty, that she would be much larger before the night was through.

Sighing inwardly, she stretched out on her stomach, as flat as possible. The bushes were about a foot highuh, the oak trees were about forty feet highso as the police cars raced up she was as hard to see as she was likely to get. The way in which uniformed officers were scrambling out and pointing weapons of all shapes and sizes in her direction suggested this was as ineffective as she’d thought it was going to be, though.

“Hold your fire until the count of three!” She didn’t see who the speaker was, but she stiffened, knocking over a couple trees in the process. “One!”

“I don’t even get a chance to surrender?”

“Twowhat?”

“I’m going to move, slowly,” Sarah said. “Please don’t shoot.” She began to push up with her arms, lifting her torso up.

“Holy shit!”

She didn’t see who that speaker was, either. Then she frowned slightly again. She knew who it was: that lynx with the rifle three cars to the left. With a moment’s concentration, she knew who the first speaker was, too. And exactly how many people were there (twenty-three), and how many were frightened out of their minds (sixteen), and how many figured this must be a hoax (five), and how many were kicking themselves for not having wide-angle digital cameras (eight).

“Let me to get to a place where I’m near as little as possible,” Sarah said, looking down at them. “Off in the valley southwest of here, maybe.”

“There are farms there,” someone called up.

“There’s a city here,” Sarah pointed out. “And I’m only going to get bigger.”

A lot of excited murmuring broke out. Someonethe first speakergrabbed a megaphone and delivered the classic police line: “We can’t let you do that.”

The giantess sighed deeply. “You can’t stop me. I’m trying much harder than you understand to keep myself in check in right now, and you want me to stay in check.”

More murmuring, with pointed arguing and an undercurrent of panic. Sarah tensed. She could taste the panic, somehow. She liked it.

“All right,” Officer With Megaphone said. “Stand up. Slowly.”

She did so.

“Arms at your sides.”

She complied.

“Open fire!”

Sarah had enough time to look startled before the officers complied. The pistol shotspistol shots!she barely registered, but the rifle shots hurt, and the rocket launcher staggered her backward. She screamed and put a hand over the wound in her gut; it felt serious. Giants liked to imagine that even at merely a hundred feet tall they were nearly invulnerable, but in practice any group of “littles” that had heavy armament could do fatal damage alarmingly easily. The wolf dropped to a crouch, snarling, putting an arm up over her head to protect her eyes.

The firing continued. Sarah whimpered, squeezing her eyes shut, then concentrated. She felt the wound in her body with her mind; it was serious, but she could repair it. She didn’t know how she was doing itshe just did it. All the faerie powers she’d seen others of her kind do but could never replicate herself were coming naturally tonight.

Then, with a shuddering intake of breath, she embraced the moon rather than rejecting it.

When she opened her eyes, she’d doubled in size again. The giantess, over five hundred feet tall now, had flattened the closest police vehicleand two officersunder her left hand. The rest of the police were firing haphazardly as they dropped back. The very, very foolish police. And tiny. And helpless.

“I warned you,” she snarled, baring her huge teeth. “Die remembering that I warned you.”

Then she simply swept her hand through the crowd. Tiny people, barely the size of her claws, went flying, along with their little toy cars and little toy rocket launchers.

Sarah rose up to her full height, looking down at the remains of the crowd that had tried to stop her, then snarled again and stomped her footnow eighty feet longdown on them, hard. It didn’t just flatten what was under it, it drove it a dozen feet into the ground.

Taking another deep breath, she walked northeast, straight onto the airfield. What was she looking for? Food. Yes. That plane, there, just stopping at the gate. She didn’t know enough about jets to recognize it as a 757; she just recognized it as about a hundred-fifty feet longcompared to her, small. She didn’t even process how she slowly grew as she approached it; the jetliner simply seemed like a toybut a toy she could sense was full of food.

The eight hundred foot high wolf picked it up dispassionately. The plane was full, all but three of the two hundred eight seats occupied. Without even concentrating, she could sense everything about the passengers: their genders, species, ages, their dreams and their fears. And their panic.

Sarah bit off the plane’s nose, spitting it out, then tilted her head back and let the passengers tumble out onto her tongue in a screaming, terrified torrent. It took her nearly a half-minute to get through all of them. Every little person tasted different. She could taste their horror, their disbelief at their fate, as they went down her throat, whole and alive.

They are yours, the moon seemed to say. Anyone who cannot stop you is yours.

“I’m waiting for someone who can stop me,” she murmured aloud. “I really should be stopped.” She tossed the plane aside, ignoring the dozen or so people who’d managed to avoid her throat by still being belted in.

She walked on more casually now, stepping through the airport terminal building, amusing herself by flattening the hallways. It was on one of those steps, with the front half of a food court and another two dozen hapless people crushed under her pawpad, that it occurred to her thatby the way her magic had always worked beforeshe was bigger than she should have been able to be. The biggest she should be able to get on the night of a full moon was seventy-something times what she’d been the previous daystarting from six feet high, as she had, she shouldn’t be able to hit even five hundred. Yet here she was at eight hundredno, now precisely nine hundred thirteenfeet high and she was unable to shake the feeling that she was…short.

Sarah started laughing. Even though she was at a height bigger than any movie monster she knew, had just eaten two hundred people and flattened at least as many under her feet, it wasn’t a cruel laugh. It was a delighted laugh.

By now the laughing giantess was being shown live on television networks, filmed by helicopters a mile or more away. The helicopters belonged to local TV stations, but cable channels were picking up the feeds as she started to move again. And, of course, these were being echoed on law enforcement and military video feeds around the region. Sarah had crossed from impossible curiosity to impending disaster, and far more capable units than local police squadrons were being scrambled.

Sarah looked around. Logicallyno, there was no logic to this. Logically, she shouldn’t even be able to stand up, something she’d always known but long ago given up trying to explain. It wasn’t as if physics stopped working when she became giant: she still had weight and mass and inertia, was still subject to gravity. The laws of the universe bent for her, but they didn’t entirely shatter. That was part of why she’d never been any bigger thanwell, this big before, and she did that experiment far away from any place civilized. She didn’t know at what point the square-cube law might reassert itself. And at what points her mere movements might be devastating earthquakes.

She glanced up at the moon, seeming so close she could touch it. Tonight it didn’t matter. Tonight she was the law of the universe. So no logic. Emotionally, the place for a giantess to be was towering over a city.

Sarah began to walk.

Abstractly, she suspected all her movements were a little slower; at a hundred feet high she didn’t notice that, but now she did. There was a lot of wolf to move. With that curious sense of precision she’d had all this evening, she knew she was exactly twelve hundred and forty-nine feet high, and that she weighed a mere three hundred ninety-six tons shy of an even eight hundred thousand. She watched the ground as she approached the city; the plane she’d emptied of passengers just a few minutes ago now would have fit under one of her paws, and passenger cars were smaller than her claws. She followed the path of a freeway, but her feet rarely hit the thin ribbon of pavement the six lanes represented, instead flattening the tiny buildings along the highway’s sides. Even so, the impact of her footsteps caused the freeway to shake and crack, cars literally bouncing. People streamed out of the buildings in front of her to escape, only to find themselves tossed to the ground by the vibration of the footstep before the one that came down on them.

If she concentrated, she could sense every one of the people around and beneath her, even though to her they were barely a third of an inch high. Her relationship to them had changed in some way beyond mere size, but she couldn’t form words to describe it. She looked ahead at the city, which she’d almost reached; the tallest few buildingsperhaps sixty storieswere barely chest-high to her.

A cloud of helicopters followed her now, civilian and military and a few mysterious ones. One of the news copters was daring to be in front of her, at what the pilot surely imagined to be a safe distance. “Do you understand me?” an amplified voicea female reporter, presumablycame.

“Yes,” she replied, speaking as softly as she could.

“What do you want?”

She held back a laugh at the question. “I don’t know yet,” she answered truthfully.

“What are you?”

Sarah grinned, showing teeth that were each bigger than the helicopter. “I’m a predator,” she answered. Then she opened her mouth more widely. The helicopter kept bravely filming the building-sized jaws coming forward until the camera’s field of vision was only lips and teeth. Then the pilot lost his or her nerve and tried to zoom back.

Sarah took one quick, hard step forwardnot merely crushing but pulverizing everything under that paw and bringing down buildings for fifty yards in each directionand snapped her jaws over the helicopter. The pilot managed to avoid crashing into the back of her teeth, but lost control, the craft tumbling to her tongue, rotor blades stilled. She tilted her head back and let gravity slide it down the long runway of her throat, lubricated by her thick saliva, until she felt it hit the back and she swallowed. The video camera sent the dark, wet image to a million live viewers before going out somewhere on the trip down her throat.

She’d barely taken another step before explosions began to sound around herand then, suddenly, on her. The military craft were firing anti-aircraft missiles, and she made a big target. She was too huge to be staggered, but they hurt nonetheless, flowers of blood appearing with each hit. Snarling, she dropped into a crouch, a movement which levelled a full city block.

More missiles came, ripping into buildings nearby, into her foot, into her shoulder. The giantess began to panicthey might hit her faster than she could heal herself. She rose up enough just enough to start running.

Running. Imagine a woman whose weight now topped one million tons in motion was like: every quarter-mile a paw the side of a city block slammed against the earth hard enough to drive everything under it dozens of feet down, leaving behind clouds of rubble and plumes of steam, smoking gas and electrical fires. Buildings nearby collapsed from the impact. Vehicles skittered through the street and wreckage like pebbles. Imagine one of those impacts every three seconds.

Sarah ran for just under a minute, covering three miles of distance, coming to rest almost in the heart of the city’s downtown. The missiles had stopped. Of course, she thought after a moment. They don’t want to be responsible for damage to the city themselves. Panting, she rose to her full heightnow closer to fifteen hundred feetand surveyed her would-be attackers warily, then concentrated on her remaining wounds, healing them.

Taking a deep breath, she announced, “Stop firing at me and I won’t do much more damage.” She used what was, to her, her normal speaking voice. Normal-sized people could understand it only if they concentrated, like a slowed-down record played at a volume that eclipsed air sirens, echoing off buildings and vibrating windows for miles. “Then maybe we can call it a night.”

The wolf crouched slowly, looking around by her feet. The city looked like a tiny diorama of a disaster area to her now; it was hard to believe it was real, let alone that she’d been the cause of it. There weren’t many people left on the street, but…ah. Right…there. She drove her fingers down through the street, ripping through the concrete and asphalt like cardboard, and pulled up, exposing a subway station packed full of city dwellers trying to escape.

Lowering her great muzzle down over the screaming crowd, she began to lap them up. The coating of saliva on the massive tongue was too sticky to escape once it touched them; a few drowned in drool before going down her throat. If she concentrated, she could hear them allnot with her ears, but with her mind.

Then she heardsomething. She lifted her head quickly, several dozen people sliding away from her black lips as if they were mere crumbs (they were mere crumbs). Whatever it was buzzed past her left ear at a speed that hurt, and more explosions blossomed against her back.

Snarling, she rolled over, just to be greeted by more explosions. They didn’t hurt as much as the missilesthey weren’t wounding herbut they were creating big, sticky…somethings on her fur, splotches that looked like webs, quickly growing to meet one another. Sarah pulled frantically at them, but another round hit her, this time pinning her arms to her front. Then her legs. Astounded, she watched herself be cocooned, haphazardly but effectively, over the next ten seconds, a sixteen-hundred-foot tall wolf woman lying, helpless, across the wreckage of the country’s tenth largest city.

She could barely hear the ragged cheer coming up from people around here as a plane landed, Harrier-style, by her head. As the engine whine died down, three people, all wearing spandex, climbed out, to even stronger cheers.

“Superheroes?” she murmured dazedly.

The leader approached her. “I’m Legendary Lion, and you’re bound thanks to Silkworm.” He indicated a feline woman beside him. “And this is Captain Amazing.” A ferret tipped his hat to her. The lion narrowed his eyes. “And you are?”

“A hungry wolf.” She bared her teeth at him. All of the superheroes flinched, which gave her some mild satisfaction. The ferret and cat both had their hands over their ears when she spoke, too. “I told them I’d stop when I finished eating.”

“I don’t think any of us want to wait to see when that is,” Captain Amazing yelled, rubbing his ears. “And holy hand grenades, Enormo was the biggest supervillain the world has ever seen and he wouldn’t have even come up to your knee!”

“I’m not a supervillain,” Sarah snarled, struggling against the silk. Her movements only seemed to pull it tighter. “I’m a Sidhe and I’m a werewolf and I think tonight I’m a goddess.”

“Oh, is that all,” the ferret muttered. He turned to the Lion. “Okay, we’ve stopped her, but how the hell do we get her out of the city?”

The lion crouched, and then leapt into the air, landing on Sarah’s stomach and grabbing the silk with both hands. Then, with visible strain, heand the giantessslowly lifted up into the air.

Sarah snarled again, then closed her eyes. All right, if they wanted to play, she would play. Deep breath. Calm. Another deep breath. And

The blast of displaced air from when she doubled in size again blew the lion straight up into the air, past the point where even her eyes could pick him up. Everything on the ground under her that wasn’t tied downthe crowd, the other two superheroes and their planewas swept away before she came crashing down the several hundred feet she’d been lifted.

Scrabbling, Sarah sat up. The depression she was in seemed shallow to her, although it was stories deep to mortals. She sensed around her briefly. Only a few dozen had been caught under her, but the city was levelled for blocks in all directions around her form. She concentrated on finding Silkworm and Captain Amazing, and made sure that as she got to her feet they were under a heel.

She became aware of a gnat buzzing aroundLegendary Lion had returned. He tried grabbing her again, but even were he strong enough to lift thirteen and a half million tons, he simply had no leverage with which to do so. She brushed at him in irritation.

“You can’t” he yelled. “Where areCaptainSilkworm

She lifted up her foot and looked at the pawpads. “That little dot there was Silkworm, I think. Not sure aboutoh, there he is.”

The lion made a choking noise and started slamming against her muzzle with all his strength. Even at the immense scale difference, all his strength was considerable. Sarah pulled her head back and started to inhale through her mouth. Slowly, gently for her, but it was hurricane-strength for the superhero. He resisted, flying backward, but the effect was to hold him in place in front of her for a few seconds.

That was as much time as she needed to slap her hands together.

She stopped breathing and watched dispassionately as the superhero fell to the ground a quarter-mile below. Then she raised one paw up and stomped it down where he lay. “Stain three.”

The missiles were coming at a furious rate now; they’d given up trying to save this citywisely of themand were just trying to take her out at all costs. But the missiles might as well have been toy gun pellets. “It’s too late for that,” she yelled, baring fangs which were now over eighty feet long themselves, her voice indistinguishable from thunder. “Because now, the goddess is hungry again.” She began to walk, watching the way the city simply collapsed with each step now. “And she’s going to eat everything.

She leaned over to bite off the top of the tallest surviving building. Again, she could feel everyone trapped inside it, but all of it tasted strangely good now. She chewed the piece of skyscraper, swallowing, then kept eating it, taking it down to just two stories. There weren’t many survivors around the base of the building to witness this incredible sight, a huge set of wolf jaws chewing their way down a concrete tower. The rest of the wolf woman’s body was almost obscured by the smoke and dust, but one could barely make it out, if one stopped and stared intently. Anyone who did that found themselves licked up before Sarah lifted her head.

A glance around told her that there was very little left of the city. She stretched, arms over her head, and grinned at the moon. Then she walked on, letting herself grow with each step.

By now, the news of the wolf woman attacking a city and responding to all attacks by growing until she could simply brush them off had become international news, cities around the area under evacuation orders, whole military divisions on alert, navies responding. But as slowly as she seemed to move, her casual, slow strideeach foot landing just once every ten secondspropelled her forward at nearly two hundred miles an hour.

At over a mile high and nearly ninety million tons, Sarah paused in her her steps, observing with fascination the effect she was having on the landscape around her. Underground caverns collapsed, plates shifted. Hills and lakes moved. Small towns disappeared entirely under one paw or the other, erased more thoroughly by the press and shift of a single pawpad than any natural disaster could have accomplished.

“All right,” she whispered to herself, slowly lowering herself to her knees, then dropping to all fours. “I know I’m not done yet.”

Then she let herself grow fast again.

As the wolf grew, her knees and legs sank down deeply into the ground, and her hands slid forwardnot from her consciously moving, but from her whole body enlarging. Starting at four hundred feet long, those hands became five hundred, then six. Then a thousand. Then two thousand. She closed her eyes momentarily, feeling what was under them, the grass and trees, the livestock and farms, the villages and then small towns and, eventually, large towns.

When she opened her eyes again, she could see the curvature of the earth in a way that she never had before. The sun was peeking over the horizon to her nowbut she wasn’t worried about losing the moon’s power at this point. She took a deep breath and kept growing, watching towns disappear under her mere fingers. She’d started many miles inland, but she could feel the ocean against her toes now. It felt like the planet itself was threatening to breakbut just by thinking about it, she could hold it together for as long as she needed. Her powers had grown with her size, and now they were, as far as she could tell, limitless.

Finally, she stopped, looking straight down at the largest metro area in this nation, her head miles above it. For hundreds of millions of people, Sarah had become the whole of the horizon in that direction.

Sarah parted her jaws and lowered them.

Time hadn’t slowed for her, but for those underneath, she moved agonizingly slowly. She started high enough up that they could make out her face, make out all the details, and then see the tongue and the teeth as she revealed them. Just a few drops of thick drool rained down on the city, but to its citizenry they were flash floods.

For those in the city and around it, it took long minutes for the jaws to descend. The freeways had been jammed since before the apocalypse had appeared overhead; hundreds of thousands of commuters watched in their rear view mirrors as the early morning sunlight glinted off the teeth and tongue coming down miles behind. Then they watched the tongue approach, slowly, as Sarah closed her mouth, buildings and cars and everything collecting and sliding up, up, up the surface. And then they were part of the collection. Incredibly, most of them survived the initial bite. No, not so incredibly: that was, simply, what Sarah wanted.

Sarah tilted her head back, and the crumbs raining down from her lips were buildings. She swallowed, savoring it all, tasting every bit of flavor that everything in her mouth had. Then she ate the rest of the metro area, one bite for each city.

The news reports continued, but more sporadically. Many stations across the world were off the air; a lot of the communication was down. The end of the world was here, and everyone still alive knew it. In the final hours, new religions blossomed, all laws and restraint vanished.

Sarah could sense that, could feel that. She rose back to her knees, surveying the ruins of the continent, and drank in the blind, fevered worship. “I’m here,” she said aloud, and everyone left in the world heard it. “I know you all, and you know me. And you know what I have to do next. It’s time for me to finish.”

She drank in the reactions to that, the panic and terror, the fevered euphoria, the bacchanalia. Then, closing her eyes, she simply shut off her own gravity, floating serenely up into space, growing as she did so.

For her it was only another ten seconds. For the planet beneath her, it was days.

Finally, she opened her mouth, and turned gravity back on.

The planet drifted away from the sun and toward the much larger solar bodyher bodyand she parted her jaws widely enough to accept it. It was the size of an apple to her. She kept the planet together, intact as it could be, and to those on its surface it took a week of looking up in the sky to see only the wolf’s mouth instead of the stars, tongue and teeth getting closer. Just as it nearly touched her lips, she bit, her fangs sinking into either pole, and chewed through it. The planet shattered, and she licked up the remaining pieces.

She took another deep breath, even though there was no air here. That didn’t matter to a goddess. But with the realization that she was a goddess tonightno, “tonight” had no meaning nowwas understanding. She had submitted to her power and in turn the entire world had submitted to her. She had to believe that it didn’t matter while it happenedbut now she had to believe that it did matter. She had to move past destruction to reach restoration. She looked at the tiny little moon, now in orbit around her, brilliantly reflecting the sunlight. “I need the rest of your power,” she said to it.

Sarah opened her mouth one last time, bringing it forward, and swallowed the moon.

[CENTER]- - -[/CENTER]

“So did you have a good howl last night?”

Sarah looked down at the fox who’d asked the question. They were both in a hotel bar. This early it served only coffee and juice, with a continental breakfast. She was stacking sausage patties on a plate, while the fox was getting himself a healthier-looking fruit bowl.

“Oh, yes. I’m pretty confident the whole world heard me.” She grinned, showing her teeth.

The fox paused, rubbing the back of his ear. “I kind of had a dream about you eating…everything.”

A feline woman who’d been in line behind them for waffles looked over warily. When she saw Sarah, her eyes widened. Other people began to murmur, glancing surreptitiously at the red wolf.

She speared one of the sausage patties on a fork and tossed it into her mouth, chewed once, and swallowed, flashing everyone in the room a smile.

The fox leaned toward her. “This is a little freaky,” he said in a soft, low voice.

She leaned toward his ear and murmured in return, “Next time I’ll try to give everyone nicer dreams. It was my first try at being a goddess, after all.”

His eyes widened and he stared up at her.

Sarah poured her coffee into a paper cup. “I need to get to the airport now. Would you like to see me again sometime, though?”

He nodded mutely, still staring.

“Just think of me at the next full moon, then.”

He grinned just a little. “Not the next supermoon?”

Sarah kissed his cheek. “From now on they’re all supermoons.”

April 2011