Stolen Power

by Anima Grey

The river was still, but for the humans who crept along the banks in the darkness. They came every full moon in summer. They had day lives as shopkeepers, teachers, mechanics and parents, but when the moon came, the only labels that mattered were man and woman. No one knows when it started, because no one spoke about it. These were upstanding citizens in a dull river town. Gossip was the town's favorite pastime, but not about the summer full moons at the river. On these nights, what their bodies did was never acknowledged, even to themselves.

He had no money and no future, but on the summer nights at the river, He became a god. All the good wives and shy waitresses came to the river hoping to stumble upon Him, knowing that if chosen that He would haunt their fantasies for the rest of their lives. He had never had to seduce a woman. His broad shoulders and icy blue eyes were already in their dreams. He swam in the cool water, His muscles shimmering in the moonlight. He was waiting for the Goddess.

The faceless woman who spent her days at the library watched him with lust and disdain from her place at the river bank. Her ill-fitting clothes were piled in the grass with her glasses carefully laid on top. She let the moonlight bathe her tiny gymnast's body as she took her hair down. He couldn't see her. No man ever saw her, except on these nights. She decided to choose him. She crept to the water's edge and submerged her body. She dug her toes into the mud at the river bottom and waited.

He saw her enter the water and swam slowly to her. He could see the outlines of other shadows disrobing and entering the water farther down the banks, but He knew that they were alone. The only sounds were water and wind. He approached as her head emerged, long hair slicked back by the river. He didn't recognize the dark eyes, though He had seen them hundreds of times. They stared into His own, holding His gaze as if magnetized. Was He swimming, or was He being pulled? He felt strange and confused.

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