It was midnight on a Friday. The Moon hung low in the sky, shining down on the Golden Bough Shopping Center, a beautiful example of urban decay. Jordan Moss squatted by a chain link fence, taking deep, even breaths. She desperately wanted to put on some music, some Brian Eno or something else just to calm her down, but she knew that she needed to save battery life in case of an emergency. Why, though? What kind of emergency? What, really, did she need her battery life for? The cops would probably just shoot her if she called them. And if she had anyone else she felt safe turning to she wouldn't be breaking into an abandoned mall. But it was still an emergency flashlight and she could still use Google Maps and things. There were numerous uses to a phone. She couldn't waste battery playing calming music.
But didn't she need to calm herself? She was in a panic. This came to her in a flash. Her heart was racing, she was breathing manually, her legs were shaking, she was sweating, etc. What the fuck was she doing? She should just find a homeless shelter. Or off herself. Or call a hotline because she was even thinking about offing herself. But all of that felt like too much effort. She felt like she had no idea what to do. She felt like she would rather just collapse in on herself rather than do anything. Even continuing on into the abandoned mall to have shelter for the night, which in itself was like a non-choice, seemed impossible.
Jordan fell back, wrapping her arms around her legs. She was shaking. This wasn't possible. This wasn't real. She'd gone to a good school, she'd done well, she'd had prospects, she'd had a plan, etc. Why was this happening? Why did it all just fizzle out? How did she let it fizzle out? What was happening? Why was she even running away from home? Because she couldn't take it anymore. But why? She felt trapped–trapped by expectations, by the alien dreams forced upon her. But weren't they her dreams, too? No. They were his dreams. But he hadn't questioned anything. He'd been a naive fool. Who was she then? Who was she supposed to be? Wasn't she him? Or rather, wasn't he her?
It broke her brain. She lost all control of her breathing–just full hyperventilating. Tears were running down her face, but that was good, that was comforting, that was incredible, that was proof that the pills were doing something and it made her smile for a second, but that just made her wonder again why she was doing such an asinine thing as running away from home at the age of 22 (as if there was such a thing, surely she was too old for the concept to apply?).
Lying there, in the light of the moon, tears trickling, body shaking, Jordan felt something wet and soft against her skin, lapping at her face. Involuntarily, she let out a little giggle. The shock of recognition at this expression of girlishness, a kind of deep sense of identification with herself, sent a shiver through her and she found her breathing immediately slowed, her body immediately still (or as close to still as her body got).
She wiped the tears from her face, immediately cursing herself when she realized she'd probably just ruined her eye shadow. Another lick though and another giggle and she felt that warm tingling sensation run through her body. Turning over, she found herself face to face with a large, black dog, wolflike with intelligent, yellow eyes. Though unaccompanied, the dog was well-groomed and–Jordan blinked–wore a gold pentacle around their neck, a circular talisman with a pentagram inscribed upon it. The dog panted happily, seemingly oblivious to any sinister connotations to their appearance.
"Cute little doggo," Jordan sniffed, sitting up and reaching over to scratch behind the dog's ears.
They whimpered appreciatively.
Jordan's look of consternation softened into a smile. She pressed her legs together happily. "Good little pupper." God, she was cringe.
The dog shut their eyes as she kept scratching more vigorously. Jordan lost track of time for a moment, just concentrating on this strange wolfdog and enjoying how much they were enjoying being scratched.
Finally leaning back–to an annoyed whine by the dog–Jordan decided in her classic impulsive way to make it her life's work to reunite this dog with their owner. Because of course this dog had an owner. Pentacles don't just grow on trees, do they?
She stood up, keeping one hand on the dog's collar in case they tried to run off. It couldn't have been long since this dog had been lost, given how well-groomed they were. She supposed the first thing a dog would do when separated from their owner would be to roll around in some muck. But then again, she had only had one dog in her life, so maybe she was just a particularly mucky dog.
A few seconds passed before Jordan decided that her precious battery life, though more important than protecting her fragile mental health, wasn't as important as her new quest, which had quickly become the only thing that mattered to her since the alternative was facing up to the consequences of her own actions. She waited for her phone to power up and was immediately sent reeling back to the ground by a flood of missed messages and calls from her parents, telling her how worried they were, asking where she was, just saying that they loved her, that they weren't mad, etc. It was a veritable flood of passive aggressive shaming and deadnaming.
The dog, seemingly instinctually, began lapping at her hand. The regular sensory stimulation seemed to calm her slightly and she redoubled her efforts. Jordan's own problems could wait, she had a dog to save! Quickly, she installed a well-known neighborhood networking app and started a post in all caps (reasonable looking posts probably got ignored–people only went on these apps to gawk at weirdos, or so she assumed). She went over to snap a pic and finish off the post, but what she saw in her phone made her recoil in horror.
It was a middle-aged man, semi-erect, on all fours, naked, bald (completely hairless, in fact), tongue lolling out and eyes staring right at her.
Her entire body froze. Breathing seemed impossible. She dropped her phone to the ground, leaving him to pick it up with his mouth.
The world seemed to close in around her. It wasn't just that she had seen a middle-aged man through her phone when her eyes saw a dog, it was that the man looked strangely familiar. Almost like her father. Almost like her mother. A lot like her grandfather. Almost like…
She collapsed, arms once again wrapped around her legs, hyperventilating, shaking uncontrollably. She heard her voice murmuring. It sounded deep. So deep. So monotone. So…
The dog kept licking her. But its tongue, its wet, smooth tongue, she knew that it was his tongue, which of course meant that it was her tongue, and some disgusting part of her brain was trying to decide what made a tongue "feminine" or "masculine" and the fact that that was ridiculous didn't make it any less painful because Jesus fucking Christ she would find any excuse to hurt herself, wouldn't she?!
"Sit, boy," came a smooth, commanding voice. The horrible licking stopped.
Jordan blinked. She started to breathe normally again. Then it struck her that she had understood "boy" as addressed to her and that made her start shaking all over again.
"Stop that!" the voice shouted and snapped their fingers.
Jordan's body shut down. The noise seemed to reverberate through her, drowning out everything. Immediately, her attention started to dissipate. Her mind started fading.
The voice laughed maniacally. "Oh, you're a natural, girl! Now sit up!"
A wave of tingles went down Jordan's spine at the praise. And "sit up" was less of a command and more of a statement. She simply was sitting up.
Breathing deeply now, eyes wide open, Jordan saw a tall woman standing in the moonlight, wearing a long black dress which showed off her ample cleavage. Her head, she saw, was round and her face full but with deep set, dark red eyes which seemed to sparkle. Black spikes extended from beneath her curly red hair. In each hand she held a torch and from her waist a set of keys hung from a cord. The dog sat patiently at her feet.
Jordan felt her head seem to lighten and if it wasn't an immutable fact that she was sitting then she probably would've swooned. Or at least she imagined that she would, a thought that gave her great joy, the lightness in her head at being caught in this magnificent creature's gaze making her usual shame at her "stereotypical girlish hyperfemininity" wither and die before it could be consciously recognized.
The girl heard herself blabbering, a procession of sounds only occasionally approaching rational speech, and somehow this just made her smile and giggle more. The mere presence of this woman had reduced her to a babbling simpleton.
The woman's soft smile turned to an angry frown. "Shut up!"
Jordan's mouth slammed shut.
"How dare you claim to speak before me! Not that you can, of course. I exist in a realm outside language."
Jordan blinked. Something screamed in her brain, shouting at her to call out the obvious contradiction, but in a realm outside language how could she speak, even to herself? How could she recognize a contradiction? The internal logic of the situation fizzled out and sputtered and she found herself melting even more, her head swaying slightly as she continued to lose control of her body.
The woman reached down and dropped one of her torches on the ground. "Here you go, my sweet." She began scratching Jordan's chin, seeming to grow even larger as she approached. The girl whined happily, tapping her foot rhythmically along with the now giant woman's touches.
"That's my girl, that's my good girl…" the woman lilted, causing Jordan to whimper more loudly, stretching her neck up, enjoying the wave of pleasure as it ran through her body…
"Good girl. Good girl. Good girl. Good girl…" the woman repeated as she kept scratching, her hand gradually lowering until she was scratching at Jordan's sensitive breast tissue, gently rubbing her erect nipple, the words and still new sensations causing the girl to shake and convulse in a kind of ecstasy. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she moaned for what seemed like an eternity.
Jordan seemed to return to something approximating normal awareness after some time, her consciousness finding itself already fixated on the strange woman's shimmering eyes. The Moon shone from behind her and the woman's gaze seemed to merge with the moonlight, forming a single concentrated beam that entered through Jordan's eyes and penetrated her mind, leaving her attention locked, unable to wander as it usually did, unable to distract her.
"You are calm now, girl." It was stated as a fact and it was one.
Jordan nodded, unsure if she could now speak.
The woman's face curled into a smile. "You can speak now. I've reconstructed the language center of your brain."
The girl went cold. "How did you know-"
"Everything that you are right now, is because I created you that way. You are nothing but what I want you to be."
Jordan was stunned. "I- You-"
"I have recreated you the way you were, a kind of simulation, in order to talk to you, to guide you, but understand that you have disintegrated. You have passed out of your reality and so became my subject. Subject to my will, that is."
She felt her legs clench. "So, you could make me do anything?"
The woman laughed again. "Of course I could. You are currently passing a great threshold. You have ceased to be what you were, but you are not yet what you will be. This puts you in my domain, under my power. And under it absolutely because you are no-longer and not-yet. You are nothing."
Jordan blinked. "I'm a girl."
The woman scoffed. As she did so, her gaze broke for a moment and it occurred to Jordan that there was nothing around them, that they were alone in the universe save for the Moon shining behind her and the dog at her feet which she knew now was not a dog.
Returning her attention to Jordan, the woman said, "Your body, your mind, your spirit, is all in flux. What you were, what you will be, as you move through them… Nothing remains constant. Even what remains the same changes. You are too tied down to linguistic pseudo-realities. That sentence was true, and it always would've been true, whenever you would've said it, and it will be true, and always will be true, whenever you happen to say it, but its meaning shifts. Right now it is indeterminate, as you are indeterminate."
Jordan didn't know if she was being made to believe this. Certainly she was being mesmerized (she was being influenced into accepting this story), but she didn't know if this was in a mundane or a supernatural sense. Was this woman rewriting the fabric of her being to make her believe it or had she simply been overwhelmed and rendered suggestible by being in the presence of a beautiful woman with a seductive voice and incredible tits?
Ultimately it didn't really matter. She was just starving for attention.
"What are you going to do to me?" Jordan asked suddenly.
The woman smiled softly. "I can do nothing to you, girl. Though I have absolute power here, in this place which is no place, where form recedes, I am myself both forming and formed, subject to higher powers. I am here only to keep you from dissolving, from becoming permanently stuck in between and leaving a hole in the universe where the order of reality could come apart."
Jordan could feel herself starting to panic, saved only by the calming influence of the woman's stare, which kept her concentration fixed. At the same time, there was a perverse sense of satisfaction at her own importance.
The woman's eyes narrowed. Jordan felt herself shrink. She realized how many people there were who found themselves at a crossroads, unstuck in life, and how often they must find themselves here. It struck her how fragile reality was. But she felt a certain peace, knowing this beautiful woman was there to keep things in line.
"I must forget this afterwards, right? Other people don't go around talking about a sexy witch lady coming to them when they feel directionless."
The woman smirked. "You flatter me, girl. And yes, most return to where they came from, their lives reformed. The memory becomes a dream and then a glimmer, a vague sense of something magical, before it fades to nothing.."
Jordan nodded. She knew she didn't want this memory to ever go away, which meant the woman knew it, too, because Jordan was a construct of her will. She knew she didn't want it to become a memory. She thought of going back to that other world–the real world, the mundane world, whatever it was–and began shaking, despite the woman's calming gaze.
Her face softened. "I am sorry, girl, but you must leave. In truth, there is no 'here' to leave from. My realm is between places, between states. Anywhere that you can stay, anywhere fixed, is no longer my realm, but a new place, one that you would have to maintain by your own will. This would surely break you."
She nodded, eyes tearing up. "But what am I supposed to do? I can't go back there."
"Stupid girl." This shook her. "There is no going back. All is change. It will not be the same place you go back to and you will not be the same you. You will dissolve and be reborn in my flesh. What you will be, no one can say, not even I."
A kind of smirk came over Jordan's face, interrupting the flow of tears. "In your flesh?"
The woman nodded. "Yes." She lowered her gaze, allowing Jordan's attention to waver and refocus on the woman's heaving chest, which seemed to call to some deep part of her brain.
Jordan started to crawl forward. Shivering, she felt smooth fabric glide against her skin as she moved. Blinking, she found herself clothed in a flowing white nightgown, mirroring the black nightgown the goddess now wore. The black gown opened to reveal her hanging breasts, which the goddess idly played with, causing them to contort and jiggle fleshly, entrancing Jordan further. Automatically, she began to match the goddess' movements, feeling her erect nipple on her budding breast.
The girl felt that familiar fog fall over her. She rose slowly to her feet. The goddess smiled lovingly, moaning softly as she enjoyed herself. Jordan took a step forward. The goddess let her hand hover, allowing the girl to caress her full breast. She sensed its warm firmness. It sent a chill through her and she felt her legs struggle to keep her up.
Looking down for a moment, catching her breath, Jordan felt the goddess' hand running through her hair. It made her whine and then she shook and compressed into herself and almost fell, but the goddess caught her, holding her close, pulling her further into her chest.
"Wait!" the girl whined desperately.
"I know," the woman said.
Being reminded of this was already calming enough, but Jordan felt her leg still vibrating in terror.
"I don't want to go! I can't go, if it means-" The vision of the hound's true face, her face, his face, impressed itself upon her. She imagined it would haunt her forever.
"Shh…" The goddess continued stroking her hair. This calmed Jordan slightly, but it also reminded her of the dog–being treated like the dog who was also the person she feared to become. "Though I cannot shape the future, I can only hold it together at the limits, I have some tricks, my baby girl."
She whimpered. "What the fuck even was that?! What was that thing with the dog? What was the point of it?"
"Oh, I am sorry, baby. I did not mean for you to see its true face. But the beast you saw… It is a possible future, yes, but one that will not be. I have trapped it in the form of a faithful hound, made it nice and obedient, compliant."
She felt the dog's tongue lapping against her leg and tensed up.
"You do not have to fear it anymore. That is not your path, girl."
Jordan whined and shook and hyperventilated, but as the dog kept licking and the goddess kept stroking her hair, she gradually softened. She gradually weakened. She gradually fell into the goddess, tears streaming down her face.
"Thank you, goddess, oh, thank you, goddess, thank you, goddess, thank you, oh, thank you, goddess, thank you…"
The goddess kept patting her. The dog, gratefully, retreated. With her other arm, the goddess held the girl, rocking her softly, pulling her in closer, towards her chest, letting her face rest in the beautiful fullness.
Head rattling, fog descending, Jordan released herself into the goddess' embrace and dissolved into what she would become.