I was sunning myself at the edge of a pool, reclining on a rock that jutted out over the water; all around me, forest and the sound of birds. My long, golden curls hung down over my bronze, powerful body. I was getting some rest after destroying the monster that had been plaguing the nearby village. The gold coins I received as reward I returned; I was awaiting my prize in the Sun.

It wasn’t long before a young woman called my name. I sleepily opened my eyes as she called again. “Gilgaboron, is that you I see upon that rock.” It wasn’t a question; everybody knows who I am. I straightened up, scanning the shore, trying to find the body the voice belonged to. She called my name again; this time, her voice came from right behind me. I spun around in shock as I realised who the voice belonged to. It was her; she had come to find me.

She was standing with the Sun behind her. The gentle breeze was pushing her thin cotton dress against her body; I could clearly see the form of her breasts, the roundness of her thighs, and the V below her navel. I ached for her then, my fear turning into pure desire. My Gods, did she ever wear undergarments.

“Gilgaboron,” her voice filled my body like warm smoke, stiffening the part of me that ached for her the most. “It has been two years, my betrothed,” she continued. “Two years you have had the Golden Serpent in your possession. Two years you have been amongst the mortals, protecting them from the monsters and thralls of the Elder Gods. As you promised.”

“Aye, my lady,” I said, standing up to reveal my proud member and raise my sword, the Golden Serpent, into the air.

“Your exploits have reached us all on the higher plane, but there is, unfortunately, to be a change of plan.”

A change of plan? This didn’t sound good; my member lost a bit of its pride. The original plan was better: I, a normal mortal, was betrothed to the beautiful Lady of the Suns and given magical strength and this magical sword. I would then spend my natural life as a demi-god hero and protector of the Sun people, and on my death, join the most beautiful of Goddesses in the heavens and rule with her the land of the Suns. A pretty good deal. Although aware of her caprice—she wanted a young husband, the problem being Gods just didn’t die young—she had broken off the engagement with all her other suitors once they reached old age. This didn’t bother me; I intended to enjoy my mortal life, the higher planes be damned. “You know the rules. I don’t care what you get up to down here, as long as you don’t interfere with anything other than mortal affairs.” I stood there, dazed, puzzled, and for the first time in a very long time, uncertain. “I had such high hopes for you. I had hoped that you’d be the one to get a knife between the shoulders from a jealous husband while you slept, or eventually one of your disaffected progeny would seek revenge. But no…” The wind blew harder and colder then, the Sun disappearing behind a cloud. My perfect, bronzed body was covered in goose flesh. This was not good. An angry God-woman is not to be taken lightly. I tightened my grip on the hilt of my sword.

“My sister Gilgaboron! Of all the stupid things you could do, why did you have to do her! That…that little, dark, scheming, greedy upstart…that power-hungry, meddling little bitch. She has always wanted more than her share, not willing to stay in the dark, be content with the night. And now, you stupid, prancing fool, there is a golden-haired menace, born of the seed of my betrothed, causing all sorts of mayhem in the lands beyond. She has very nearly got the upper hand on us. So I have come to set things right!”

The wind started howling around me, whipping my hair against my bare back. I stood there in confusion. Her sister? I attract women like gambling houses attract moneylenders; how would I know? Then I remembered the flaxen-haired beauty who insisted upon making love in the light of the full moon. She had said some mumbo jumbo about conception and light and darkness and blood, but I wasn’t listening and really didn’t care; it was an unforgettable night of ravenous sex, and one the few times I tried to find a woman again. “I have come to put things right,” she said. There was vengeance in her voice. My only hope lay with the sword; it was golden, in the shape of two intertwined serpents, and invincible. In one swift movement, I swung around, the sword arcing after me lightning-fast; I was, after all, half God. I caught her right between the shoulder and head, her neck, with practiced precision, was exactly in one of the curves of the blade. It would have been perfect, a masterful precise removal of the head, warrior poetry. But my sword sliced through nothing; it sliced through dust dancing in the sunlight. I lost my balance and stumbled ungracefully. I stood there, embarrassed. She turned around and smiled. In her left hand, she held half the blade; the other half was still attached to the hilt. She raised the blade with both hands above her head; it burned fiercely in the Sun. It stretched out to the sky, a golden shaft to heaven, and with a flash, was gone. My eyes blinded white; of her, all I could see was a black shadow.  She said: “I have returned what I could. The power that was in that blade will restore the balance your dark bastard son has threatened to overturn and ensure that the Sun remains shining on this World. You can keep what is left. There is still a little magic in it. You are going to need it.” With another flash, she was gone.

There was a loud metallic CHING! as my blade fell to the rock. I opened my eyes, as my sight slowly returned and I was sick to my stomach. I fell to my knees, retching a putrid liquid in the sunshine. My nose filled with the vile smell of rotten carrion, I vomited again when I realised the smell was my own body. My beautiful, bronze limbs were now thin, twisted, green, and hairy. I needed both hands just to lift my sword, and when I walked down towards the water in a vain attempt to wash myself, I could no longer walk upright, but loped like a wounded animal. When I saw my reflection in the water—my long twisted nose and bright yellow eyes—I was filled with despair, but no matter how hard I tried or whatever actions I took, I could not end my life. This was a lifetime punishment. And then a hunger came over me, a desire to eat and feast on the world’s innocents, on the wind I had picked up the scent of a young woman and child as they walked towards the pool. I loped away and came upon them on the shore; they were dressed for bathing. I killed the mother to silence her screams and devoured the child, ripping into its soft flesh with my sharp canine teeth. I left nothing behind except the bloody clothes; sweetest of all on my tongue was its hair.

I live in this cave now and survive on unwary children; nothing else will satiate me. Every so often, one of the brave ones will come to rid the world of me and take vengeance on all the grief and despair that I cause. It brings me no joy to kill them, but afterwards, I sit and smell their hair to cover my stink, even for just a little while. I know that one day one of them will have golden hair and bronze skin. I know one day one of them will rid me of this curse, drive their sunshine through my heart.