Art by Kirsten on PENUP/Snapseed

Arani’s constant, tearful prayers plunged the translucent God of Shadow Mountain into misery and restlessness in her quest for infinite beauty.

Each day she visited the mountain, an ordinary reflection stared back at her through its slick outer layer. She stabbed the mountain to claim chunks of its mystical, black diamond clusters to transform herself, leaving empty-handed every time. The mountain was not one to extend its charm, but knew she’d return.

Taking the shape of a long, flat tongue, the translucent God brushes close, bearing the answer to her prayers.

“A sacrifice. Give to become.” The tongue’s soft voice deposits silver drops of persuasion into her ear.

Without pause, Arani presents a hazy orb of cool magenta, cozy coral, and shimmering gold. The sunset of each day offered on bent knee, placing the orb at the tip of the mountain’s tongue. One gulp was all it took.

“Now that I have given, when will I become?” Arani asks.

“You have it all. I require more, a sacrifice.” The tongue whispers, seizing Arani into a slimy spiral grip, swallowing her whole. Puffs of smoke bellow from the mountain top, lining itself in outstretched cerulean cotton patches. From its inside, diamonds line the puffs, each break into separate, multiple waterfalls. The translucent God rests, coaxed to sleep by the rushing waters of the girl.

… And within the plunge pool, at every sunset, villagers report they can still hear Arani’s voice, praying for more…

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