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Let’s get one thing clear from the start, everyone:

Your god did not want to leave you.

Nothing any of you did made it mad or made it sad or was so sacrilegious that it shook the heavens and offended your god to death.

That void in the sky? That hungry empty space where light and sound and love go to rot? That void in your heart where you used to dream? I did that, not you. That’s my fault. I stole your god. I ripped it from your world, tendril by tendril. It didn’t want to go. I took it anyway.

My fault. Not yours, not any of yours. No matter who they start pointing fingers at. All right? We clear?

Good.

Onto the important stuff.

You’re going to realise pretty quickly that you do need a god. Not to worship, not to judge from on high—that’s not what gods are for, don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise—but as part of your ecosystem. The dead need somewhere to go. The living need something to believe in. You need a god, because otherwise, everything will hurt just that little bit more, will be just that little bit sharper, a dull scrape-scrape-scrape making gristle of your insides. Until one day, you realise you’re hungry, you have been hungry, and that hunger will probably never go away.

So, I’m doing the lot of you a courtesy no one ever did me and mine and I’m telling you plain: you’re going to need to hunt yourself a new god. Here’s how you do it.

Step one is finding a world with its original god intact.

There’s as many ways to hunt for worlds as there are hunters. Some do space travel, some do dimension-hopping, some just slip into people’s bodies as they dream and are with them when they wake—whichever technology you develop first, the important thing is to remember you need a world with its original god. Transplanting a god once is already risky, between the time it takes to transport it and the shock of changing worlds. Twice? I’ve not heard of many that have survived the process, gods or worlds.

Luckily, telling whether you’re dealing with the original god is easy.

Is the world aware of the god? Is the god aware of the world? Can you see the god stretching over the horizon like a bloated, beautiful, hateful insect? If not—and it’s possible, some stolen gods last long enough to blend into the sky at last, become the horizon—does it feel like the world has twisted to accommodate its new shape? Does it burn when you land there? Does it hurt to breathe? Do you feel its attention swarming you, crushing you, peeling you out of your skin?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, that’s a transplanted god. Cut your losses and move on.

If you’re unsure how to respond to any of those questions, chances are good you have the original god of that world. Too ever-present to be felt, too massive to notice. You can proceed.

Step two is infiltration.

You’re going to need to live in this world for a while. Get to know it, get to know its god, but most importantly, let the god get to know you. Don’t think worship. Think befriending a curious wild animal. Let it sniff your hand, lick the salt from your skin. Let it worm into your mind and anchor into your soul. It will shy away at first from the hunger where your god used to live, so you have to be patient. Eventually, it’ll come around.

Now, this is where you need to be careful. The hunger where your god used to live will tell you to glut yourself, gorge on the ambient divinity, sink into the living-soil warmth of it. It will feel so good and so bad and so easy, until the next thing you know, you’ve slowed yourself to a stupor, and another hunting team from your world has to come and cut the divinity out of you again.

Know what’s worse than losing one god? Losing two. None of you want that, so pace yourself.

And from the roots the god starts to grow in you, from the roots you start to grow in the world, you’ll start to weave your net. Make it as big as you can handle. As long as you can take. When you think it’s big enough to contain a god, double it.

Step three is catching the god.

The hard part is smuggling the net where you need it to be without anyone noticing. You need to take it where the god lives. After that, it’s as simple and as absurd as throwing a net over it and dragging it off.

Wear earplugs. You don’t want to hear the tearing.

Step four is getting out of there before the world that used to have a god realises what you’ve done to them.

Don’t pause in the atmosphere with a still-thrashing god in your cargo hold to fucking soliloquise like it will make anything better. It won’t. I’ve seen your bureaucracies and your space-faring tech. By the time you cobble something together to send up to where my ship is now, I’ll be long gone, and that’s even assuming you get that far. Assuming you don’t eat each other first to try and fill the empty void I just blasted through you.

That’s why we chose you, after all.

Young world. Slow tech, slow people. Easy prey.

Fuck, you’re so fucked.

And I’m still leaving. I’m tightening the net I have lashed around your god so it settles down and I’m leaving, so I can put your god in the empty void where ours once lived. Because we’re fucked too, because better you than us, because I can’t go home empty-handed again.

I’m sorry you’ll understand now that you have a void of your own. But I’m not sorry I did it. I’d do it again. I probably will when this god runs out.

I hope at least some of you listen to this.

I hope you manage to get up here before it’s too late.

I understand if you hunt us down first.

Good luck.

 


 

This is the transcript of the Seed of Divinity—or, as it’s perhaps better known by the youths online, Four Steps to Hunt a God (And Accidentally Make One In the Process)—as preserved by the Sect of the Hunter’s Regret. The original global broadcast has, of course, been consumed by the Void in the process of Rebirth, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, this transcript remains the largely accepted text for the words that birthed our Godling. 

There is hope that once the Godling has reached maturity, It will be able to recall what happened and offer more details as to the identity of the speaker or what may have become of them since it is unclear when It will reach maturity or what maturity looks like for a Godling, but already It has begun to burble the first of the speaker’s words, assuring us from Its cradle in the Void above: 

Your god did not want to leave you.


Editor: Aigner Loren Wilson

First Reader: Catherine Krahe

Copy Editors: Copy Editing Department

Accessibility: Accessibility Editors



Athar Fikry is a writer of weird fun nonsense, most recently a behemoth interactive novel, The Dragon and the Djinn, released by Choice of Games. They live in Cairo, Egypt, with their dog, their menacingly high TBR pile, and their many opinions on old Egyptian musicals. You can find them on Twitter and Tumblr @atharfi.
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