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Mercuria, Rising


then rotated, sucking him up on top of her, his body a
shield against the congregation's groping eyes. Look hard,
you bastard! she commanded mouthlessly, See me!
Swisha-bodda-whoosh!, and she was back to herself,
drab and breathless under Steve's weight, but whole again.
She cropped him hard in the testicles, rabbit-kicked his
writhing form under a pew, then sprinted for the side exit
and out into the sightless, black safety of the night.
EPILOGUE
If Paul, the Mayor's son, hadn't meant for her to take the
'68 Mustang, he should never have given her keys. It was
small compensation, really, for all the entertainment she'd
afforded him and the others, never considering that it might
have been at her own expense. She thought of Steve
carousing at the reception, drinking with his friends,
framing her story by conniving story into a careful picture-
box of insanity, painting himself the sympathetic victim,
solidifying his precious reputation in the looking-glass
world now shrinking away behind her in the rear view
mirror. She raised her middle finger to the night and
rammed the gas pedal into the floorboard.
The creatures of Sid's comic book fantasy world, Father
Mike's Virgin, Reggie's sweet swans and belles and endless
permutations of innocence offered up and taken... She'd
wanted power, and she'd gotten it. But had she ever really
been in control? Had she, herself, been so mesmerized by
Mercuria's power that she had written off Linda Herman
from the start, never even considering her own will or
desires, what the singular appearance of Mercuria within
Linda Herman might mean to herself - for herself? She had
allowed herself to be used, had used herself as callously as
had the men she'd lusted to hold power over.
 
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