The walls were white and featureless, emitting a soft glow to faintly light the interior. There were no marks, no scratches, nor windows or a door. This square room with its endless floor was clearly a prison in kind. But one designed to be opulent. A bastion of pure white, smooth like the walls, was thrust out over the chasm of night. A shelf that contained a rich sofa, brightly coloured and rimmed with gold. Reposing atop it, her eyes fixed not on the scene before her, instead on a smooth grey rectangle in her hand, lay Rhea. They shone a silver grey, flecked with green, dancing with amber. Some of the speckled stars reflected in them like a mirror. Her body long and lithe, yet muscular, and a fountain of gold that swept up from her temples, bound in silver, and ran like a frozen fiery fall down her back. There was almost a glow about her, something strange. Contained power in this room.
But she was intent on that minute box in her hand. Tapping the glowing screen to type out one message then another, before laying it down across her thigh. She stared at it a long while, her hair furling around her face, lit by the bluish glow of the screen, giving her an almost sinister appearance. Then a sigh and, at last her glimmering eyes turn to the spread blackness beneath her feet.
Something to do while she waits.
Her hand extended before her, fingertips splayed out, her hand palm down over the void. She lifted it, and the blackness rose with it, the sparkling orbs filling the room, adding starlight to the unearthly glow. Those eyes flicked from star to star, an expression of mild interest on her face. Rhea reached out, her fingertips dancing mere inches from the broiling hellish surface of one, merely feeling the warmth on her fingers before drawing them back..
The room dimmed, and Rhea looked on with an expression of boredom, stroking a finger lazily along the line of her jaw. An image formed, moving slowly across a lush landscape, green and dotted with towns. The sky was a pretty turquoise blue, a few faint high wisps of cloud framing a white-bright sun.
Or? momentarily bright. Vast stripes seemed to cross over the brightness. The landscape dipping and darkening as they stole the light from it. People yelled or stood in shock at this strange apparition. Something sweeping across in front of their star.. the blackness was almost instant. The air chilling noticeably. The sky turning pitch black bar stars. Except where there was a patch swept clear. A stripe of emptiness running from horizon to hidden star.
Just as quickly it withdrew, and light returned to the world, momentarily. For the first time Rhea showed amusement, watching the first idle bits of grit and dust caught in the flow of her arm impact the planet. The ground rising in a crown of earth.. and then it was no more.
The phone rang.
The sound cut through the silent devastation, echoing eerily in the confines of this room. The pillars of flesh that had just eclipsed a star, now lifted the simple device. Her lips formed the first true smile, they beamed, and she answered without preamble
?Are you at home??
She remained silent, the phone tucked in against her cheek, her fingers effortlessly swiping across the display. Stars and worlds, galaxies and nebulae, until she settled on an image. Her hand opened and the image rushed inwards, zooming in on the focus of her attention. An orb of green blue, seeming to spin at her touch, zooming in on a particular place. A particular patch of colour.
The floor was crisscrossed with a grey grid work of lines, divvying up a town into little sectors of homes and offices. Dark green trees ran between brick red rooftops, multi coloured flecks of cars or people rushing along their minute lives beneath her gaze. Her toes curled and a smile adorned her lips. Her unseen body spanned the length of their town, a single touch would bring chaos down on the scurrying mites below. There was a home that glowed red.
Rhea turned back to the phone, switching it to loudspeaker so she could hear. Her fingertip traced a line over her lips, turned and pointed out that highlighted home, singling out the thriving town. Not thriving for long.
They never saw her sit up, nor her face leaning over, covering the sky with an immense smile, breathing in the scent of so many lives. What they did see, though, was her extended foot. Five toes curled playfully, the sunlight glinting through the gaps between them. The light obscured by the curl before sparkling back into existence. She rotated it, tensed the multi-mile long muscles in her calf and grinned with satisfaction at the shocked exclamation from the phone. A male?s voice, breathless and awestruck, trembling from somewhere beneath that blurred shadow.
?What are you doing??
If there was a response, it was lost in the roar as Rhea brought down that foot and powdered the scenery beneath delicate toes. Entire neighbourhoods became one with the earth from which they had risen. It felt like the finest of sands. Districts ground down to particles beneath her tread, dirtying her pristine skin and darkening the rims of her nails and creases of her toes with their remains. Hundreds were spilled across the endless plain of her, scrabbling before they vanished with the debris over the precipice that formed her toes.
The voice on the phone yelled, and the line reverberated with the sound of her tread. A crunching, rumbling grind as though the very earth had roused and were trying to rid itself of these parasites infesting it. She placed a finger to her lips, though he couldn't see it.
?Shh. I can't hear.?
The voice grew soft, compliant with her. Fear or awe she couldn't tell. Perhaps he wished to hear it too. Rhea nodded approval, closed her eyes and removed the limb. She could hear the thunder of a thousand structures in their death throes, propped by her foot and now spilling into the brown wound she left smeared across the crosshatch of green and grey. Immense folds of earth that ranged between where her toes had pressed. There was the sound of thuds and booms, and close to, a pattering like hail over a roof. Rhea smirked, knowing that was the most insignificant of particles dislodged from her sole and making their fall to earth once more.
She leant forward and swept her hand over it, dusting the grime of civilisation away. The crackling thuds grew louder and more intense. A torrential downpour even, fading only when she refolded the limb beneath her.
She chose not to answer the hoarse voice from the line and pinched the image. Her hand drawing the scenery towards her, zooming in until she could inspect the print. Streaks of grime still floated downwards like the stripes of a cloudburst, colouring the scene grey beneath her. The print itself was a rolling, softly curved plain of compacted brown earth, decorated with rectangles of red or blue or silver. Half buried cars compressed and submerged in that dense soil. Tile and brick, or whole sunken foundations lay across the surface, smooth against it. There was little sign of people or habitation. It looked merely as though a handful of minute litter had been cast into the print. Smaller than glitter.
She pinched the image again, moving along to admire the pointed ridges and piled up scenery that framed it. Then the great cracks that ran from it into the homes beyond, those that hadn't been blasted by the shock and dust. She pulled back, turning once more to smirk down at the glowing red structure, wondering if he could see that towering ridge from there, miles away as he was, or whether that print would mar the earth for years to come. Forcing them to tunnel through the newly formed mountains. Perhaps a national park. That would be nice. Or a fresh town. The most honoured of accommodation.
It was way too easy to get distracted, and Rhea tapped the phone, her voice amused. Completely at odds with her actions.
?Are you still there??
?Yes.. what did you do??
?I can see your house from up here.?
Silence. She could practically hear him swallowing his words, regretting things he might have done to wrong her? Or not.
?Where?? His response was breathless.
Rhea extended a finger. A finger the length of towns, and lowered it to the sundered landscape, emerging from nowhere to darken his district. Air roared as it was displaced, the tip hovering a mere mile from the surface.
The air parted around the finger, the spiralling pattern a plain of sunken channels and winding plateaus overshadowing a microscopic civilisation. Light vanished, and street lights flickered on, their sensors confused by the sudden advance of night. The horizon glowed with brightness, a narrow strip between earth and digit that rapidly vanished. It was just them and her. A goddess and a world of microbes. Cowering and praying. Fear, defiance, despair and faith, all contained in the span of a fingertip.
All destroyed by the span of a fingertip.
Homes and trees barely registered as grit. The living soil naught but a speckling of dirt. The patchwork of civilisation obliterated beneath the tip. The ground itself crackled like sheet ice, panels of bedrock lifting and shuddering in an almighty roar before they, too, broke. A ring of dust surged from the impact, befouling the air and smothering homes, marking her fingertip like a bullseye. Rhea was relentless. Before the shuddering stopped, she started to drag her finger through the scenery, carving through it and cleaving a fresh valley through what was.
The tumultuous thunder of it translated through the phone, accompanied by swearing and clattering. Was that cups shattering? It didn't matter. The living pillar moved. Unstoppable, mowing down the scattering motes, smashing their delicate towers, sweeping away roads and schools, hospitals and shops, places of business or recreation, forests, fields reduced to mulch. She lifted up a towering mound of landscape, the boiling earth swallowing all in its path.
To Rhea though, all the chaos was only a rough square groove, scraped along over the surface of green and grey. The finest textured particles framing the pattern she made.
Remnants of them trailed her hand skywards, drawn away beyond the reach of atmosphere and once more taking the warmth from her room. In the same movement, she flicked her wrist and the landscape rose, lifting until the impassible valley lined up her walls. For the first time, she saw people. Their homes ankle height, set in a rough grid of lanes and gardens and fogged with debris.
They couldn't see her yet. But she beamed down at them, now trapped in the same space she was. Confused and panicking. Their lives overturned in an instant. Rhea cut the call, she had no need of it now, and stepped out into the world of mortals.
This was far different to her previous excursions. Then she was a force of nature, incomprehensible and uncaring. Now, she was a monster, a woman beyond all women descending to bestow punishment or favour on the people below. This time, her step merely demolished homes, pressing tile and timber to pulp. People scattered. She had no eyes for them. Only one, particular house.
She reached down, darkening the scenery with her body, immune to the inconsequential yells around her. Fingers drove into the ground. Lawn and driveway splitting apart and crumbling between them. His car tilted and vanished beneath two digits. Never to be seen again. Roof and walls shook and protested, the palm sized home stripped from the ground, shedding it's earthly bonds as it lifted hundreds of feet towards her face.
Such a rough action, yet her next were gentle, peeling away the walls and floors to expose the precious cargo within.
He lay on his back, gazing up at a face that obscured the sky. His phone discarded beside him and, despite all the chaos around him, a smile on his face. Rhea, too, offered a smile.
?Found you.? She said softly, bathing him in the warmth of her breath. His reply was lost to the wind. She didn't need it. Towering over the scenery she had just ravaged, the dust of ages settling against the destroyer of worlds, Rhea bent her head, brought her lips down to that miniscule figure, and pressed them to his body in a kiss. Her lips hovered a foot over him, curved in a fond smile, her words soft. Meant for him and him alone.
?I have so much to show you..?
The universe trembled, and awaited her caress.