The lion-headed warrior was a ten year-old boy wearing the mask of a house cat. Still, I was told I had to slay him for the honor of my people and our magic god. I had never known I had a people, but on the front lawn the chieftain handed me a rusty mace and an old woman said, "His holy spirit is inside you, my son."
It was a hot day, even hotter in the suit of iron. The boy licked his plastic lips and nestled a rock in his sling. I felt nauseated and asked for a medical delay. The chieftain and the old woman murmured to each other in an ancient tongue. Finally they agreed good health was essential and the little boy flipped off his mask and ran hollering down the street.
I had never subscribed to any religion, but it turned out this god was inhabiting a mole on my left shoulder that I'd always been worried about but hadn't quite gotten around to removing.
"The thing shot little lightning bolts at my face when I examined it!" the doctor said later at the hospital.
I had the mole removed and placed in a jar of vodka. I thought the whole room would fill with light, but the mole just drifted to the bottom like an old raisin, all its holiness gone. On the way home I saw the little boy. "We don't need to fight anymore," I said holding up the jar.
But he already knew. He was digging in the park sandbox with a green shovel. His look of righteousness pained me. His arms were sheathed in light and white diamonds sparkled in his eyes. When he stuck out his holy pink tongue, I came crashing to my knees.
Lincoln Michel's fiction and criticism appear in journals such as The Oxford American, Bookforum, Esquire.com and Mid-American Review. He is a co-editor of Gigantic magazine and can be found online at www.lincolnmichel.com.