The Bottled Gods of 2016

By Liz Awesome

“They harvest dreams and turn them into gods, individually bought and sold. The 2016 vintage is rich in cthonic nightmares, all nervous and dark.” @cntrlcreep, Twitter user, 21st century

The boy gathered the change he’d earned pickpocketing drunk miners and stepped out into the scorching afternoon sun. He never took money from a man with a woman in his protection, but he knew which of those other fuckers would just end up giving it to a woman like his mother after slapping her around anyway. This way saved a lot of trouble.

When the god had arrived in his neighborhood of cardboard and tin lean-tos, he followed its passage with some interest. The village boss had it first. The owner of the mine took an interest, and a trade was made. Next anyone knew, it was in the hands of that sexy slut who just came from the city, bleach blonde and silicone without a scar on her. Her luck faded, and she wound up in the hands of the greasy pimp, just like all the rest. He took the bottle next, and learned about its curse in his own way. The boy was not sad when he found his body drained of blood near the old train tracks. It sold and sold, until it was ultimately pressed into the hands of a lowly dice man, a croney of the boss who first brought the thing to town. The croney was desperate, he hadn’t wanted the damned thing anyway, and now his woman was threatening to leave if he didn’t get rid of it. This was the boy’s moment.

He pushed open the door of the croney’s filthy hovel. Bright light burst into the darkened room where the god was screeching vile hate. The man slumped on a crate, the only chair in the room, with his head in his hands. He looked up and muttered, “is she leaving me? I’d give it away if I could but someone has to buy it.”

“I wouldn’t take her against her will,” he said, shooting a questioning look at the woman through the door to the kitchen, “but I do want the bottle.”

“Madness,” the older man hissed.

“I’ll give you two coppers.”

“I paid five silver!” the man cried.

The woman moved so she could lock eyes with the man. Seeing her, he conceded, “two coppers.”

The boy carefully counted out twenty chips and handed them over. As he grasped the bottle, red and blue lightning bolts crashed around the room and a large silverback gorilla charged between them and disappeared. The woman took the copper chips in the confusion and hid them in her skirts. The boy saw, but he was already holding the bottle above his head and chanting.

He had heard the rumors about the nightmare god of 2016, but there was nothing left to fear from the nightmares of that bygone era, nothing left because the world’s worst nightmares had already come true. But there was everything to gain. After all, that was the year the Cubs won the World Series, and that would be a thing to see.

He opened the bottle and drank.


Find Liz Awesome on Twitter @crockerthoughts.