Continued from Part IV.
The goddess stood knee-deep in the stormy sea, her flaming hair scorching the clouds. Below her, on the island, only the shepherd remained untouched. The town was gone, the steamship was gone, nothing but embers and scorched earth dotted the land. Nothing; not his people, nor their oppressors.
The shepherd walked down to the beach, along the paths where he ran as a care-free child, across the remains of fields where he once kept his flock, through the town in whose burnt-out husks he had shared happy memories with friends and family. “The goddess is not a saviour,” he realised too late. “She is the end of all things.”
“And yet,” he thought, looking up at the colossus he had summoned, “she does not touch me…”
A book was left untouched in the sand, dropped by the visitor with the largest hat. It was a book of scripture dedicated to the gods of a far-off land, that land of steam and arrogance and murder. The book was named for the king. The shepherd decided where to take his wrath.
While the goddess waded through the waters around the edge of the island, the shepherd built a boat, from what unburnt wood he could find. It took him two weeks, while his chthonic pet grew ever more restless, wandering further out to sea, skewering whales and chewing on their carcasses, dropping them on the beach for the shepherd to eat the scraps.
With the boat complete, he set sail. Together they went, man and his mistress.
To be continued…