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Episode Nine: Creation.

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Episode Nine: Creation

So you want to know: and then what.

You think you may know already, that you're on to the narrator of our little tale this time; you think that the ending may be fraught with danger but predictable--our hero and his newly remade gay lover in their fight against what they have at this particular juncture chosen to consider a world-threatening evil.

Can you blame them?

Just look at her. At Mother, the swaggering bulbous wreckage of what was once an attractive, if somewhat trashy human being. Look at the way she stands, her sagging breasts, the cap hiding what could be a human brain, or something even more disgusting.

Maybe it's the last remaining trace of Envelope Girl. Or maybe Mother's returned her to sender. Does it matter? Are you through staring at the monster with the bloodstained hospital sheet crafted to her engorged, deformed spine? Once she wanted to be a fashion designer. Seems like she's changed her mind about the merits of clothing somewhere along the way.

The way it is: they're coming for her, the three of them, arm in arm, the march of the gay crusaders. The Enigma--his name, his purpose, his super-hero alter-ego all rolled up in one, how very meta it all is--has left his mask behind. She hasn't seen him up close, standing still, since the moment she held him, held him up, out, over.

Does she remember? Does she remember the end? She held him out and let him fall, straight down into the new world. She became god and murderer and queen-mother to a god. To the New Messiah, Titus said.

Look at him. He's learned how to kiss, how to fuck, how to love. How to make a boy into a real man in a very short time.

It's been a busy week for him, our Messiah.

Or is he the Antichrist?

Is she?

Does she think about the years in-between, the years in between her last sight of his face, her transformation into this new, post-modern goddess? All those years spent waiting, feeling herself change, feeling her madness take root deep within and transform her body into something immutable and strange--does she feel them now? Does she feel his influence shifting and rooting around within her--

does she feel him searching for a way in, a way to change her, make her go through all the gooey changes, as they come together for the first time since she left him to die at the bottom of a well?

This isn't The Ring. There is no terror here. Look at them. They're practically preparing for a joyous reunion. His face has gone expressionless and firm. She's interested. Amused.

Hopefully he won't call her mother again.

It's so Biblical. Is your mind blown yet? Are you searching for the symbolism, or are you still convinced you've already found it?

You never listen. You never learn.

She's waiting, patiently. She has all the time in the world--all his time. Michael stops halfway down the hill, tugs the other two of them to a halt. She doesn't even flinch.

Michael shakes his grimy hair out of his eyes, says, "Wait. You can remake things in your own image."

Titus is still looking warily at Mother out of the corner of his eye. "I don't think it works that way with her." But Michael is staring at The Enigma.

"Enigma," he says. "You changed my feelings. Can you--"

"No, Michael," the Enigma responds. Listen to the way he talks, as if he's spent his whole life at the bottom of a well thinking about how to respond to the question before he's even been asked it. "I can only influence things that aren't a part of me, things that are outside of me. Things that have feelings." He paused. "Our only chance lies in the hope that She is still human. Somewhere inside of her."

Michael casts him a long look. "I'm a part of you," he says softly, after a moment.

The Enigma looks like he would kiss him, except that too much PDA would distract from the ensuing climactic battle against the forces of evil.

Aren't they just too sweet.

Titus' eyes grow wider as they approach her. He's seen her up close and personal. Maybe she's smirking at him in recognition. Maybe she's envisioning what he'll look like as a shish kabob garnish for one of her razorblade fingers.

"Aren't you going to introduce me to your friends?" she says.

Michael's jaw drops. Because of course despite the fact that he knows he's in a real-life comic book, he hasn't expected her to sound so normal.

Like she's scolding her son for not picking up his socks.

The Enigma says, "Mother, I'd like you to meet my lover, Michael."

She tenses at the sound of that word.

It looks less like tensing and more like a sudden ripple through the undernourished, sagging weight of her skin. Her breasts are limp and dry, twat drooping like a wilted flower, baseball cap not-quite shadowing a face not even a mother could love.

You're thinking: Ironic, isn't it?

She sways on her feet like she is about to casually slice Michael in half. Michael's lips tighten, but he stays standing, feet planted in the grass.

I guess taking it up the ass really improves a guy's ability to handle himself in a crisis.

All this is happening, and the Enigma just keeps talking without taking a break. "He's made me very happy," he says. He smiles at her when he says this, and now she's thinking, what the hell is he trying? Is that his mind reaching for hers, trying to slide inside and engage, or is it merely the fact that he won't shut up?

"Michael is responsible for me," he says, sliding his hand into Michael's. "He takes care of me, and he gave me my identity in a way. You gave me life, but a life without meaning. He filled in the gaps you left."

She hisses, a low, sulfuric hiss that is far more monster than human, and all of them flinch where they stand. She lumbers forward.

The Enigma squeezes Michael's hand and steps forward too. Michael says, "No!" like the good, brave boy he is.

But the Enigma has already placed himself well within range of her exquisitely manicured fingers. They are outstretched now like wings, waiting.

"Michael," says the Enigma. "Michael is the reason I came to you."

Oh, yes. She feels him now, slipping, probing in between the layers of her madness, searching for the woman who was once far more fond of Louis Vuitton than sex in Arizona. The woman at the top of the well.

He spreads his hands.

Around them, the earth shifts.

The earth makes a sound, like the sound of a well cover being removed for the first time in twenty years.

Mother screams and closes her eyes against it.

The Enigma says: "Can you see?"