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Mercuria, Rising

the towering mirrored spire of All Souls Church, where the
wedding, and the great test of her powers, awaited her. The
receiver buzzed beside her arm as Sid poured out his
apologies to the dirty red Formica. When the buzzing
stopped, she raised the phone again to her ear. Sid was still
on the line; she could hear his shallow breathing. She
imagined him sitting there in the cluttered apartment, eyes
lowered in submission, awaiting her command.
"I'll be with you next week," she said again, tossing the
treat this time to ensure Sid's loyalty.
"Next week. Okay, Linda. Thanks."
Why were men so sensitive? It was as if in cheating on
Steve, she was cheating on Sid as well. They weren't even
friends, Steve and Sid. Steve the lawyer husband
considered himself above everyone she knew. He trusted
her to spend every Saturday night, all night, with Sid and
the other role-playing boys because he considered them
nerds, computer geeks incapable of offering him any real
competition. In a sense, he was right. Though she led them
on constantly, she would never actually sleep with Sid or
any of the other gamers. They were nerds, all of them, still
pimpled in their twenties, pathetically excited by their nine
to five jobs writing code or repairing PCs for Motorola,
wasting their fat paychecks on pizza and beer and endlessly
complicated games filled with dragons they would never
see, shapely wenches they would never hold, heroic deeds
they would never, ever perform in real life.
But in a very real sense, Steve was wrong, too. Sid and
the boys had led her to the realization of her true powers
and identity. After marrying Steve and moving to
Albuquerque, she'd gone months in a strange city with
nothing but time on her hands. She'd met Sid while