Excerpt 1: Inclement Gods by Gabriele Russo

Excerpt 1

“LET’S KILL ‘EM ALL!” YELLED MARS, presiding
in lieu of Jupiter.
Ahura-Mazda* sighed wearily. These young gods
were exasperating, and now that the meeting was in its
fiftieth year, there were always a few standing in for their
elders. Mars, always hot under the helmet, was one of the
worst.
He smoothed his long curly beard, rose and rearranged
his silken robes. “How many times must we explain this? We
tried that before. Does the Deluge ring a bell? And now we’re
back to square one. There has got to be a better way.”
“Not to mention how much work it was,” said Vishnu,
playing with his nose ring. “Exhausting! All that rain…and
then having to recreate everything.”
“Well, I for one wouldn’t mind getting a good storm on,”
said Thor. “It would be more interesting than this meeting.”
“You gods do what you want with your humans.” Inti’s
sun-disk crown of feathers was disarrayed from shaking his
head so much. “My believers are still faithful, and no one is
dumping a shitload of water on their heads.

Excerpt 2

“So we’ll kill’em all!” repeated Mars. “They’ll believe in us
then.”
“Who?” Athena’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “The dead
ones?”
Amun stood up before Mars could reply. “Talking of death,
what about Anubis’s proposition the other day? That thing
about us going back to earth to live with the humans.”
“Might not these scientists interpret this move as one of
weakness?” asked Inti.
“Not if we kill them all!” shrilled Mars with mounting
anguish, cheeks now red under his strawberry blond peach fuzz
of a beard.
“Ah yes, good idea,” said Athena. “Live with humans and
piss them off so they revolt.”
Thor twirled his hammer. “How can they revolt? We’re
gods.”
“Perhaps,” said Ahura-Mazda. “But we are few and they
are many. Personally, I preferred Mwari’s idea about creating a
new dimension, even if it does mean leaving what’s left of my
believers without guidance.”
“Both ideas have merit,” said Athena, “and their faults: I
think the disbelief runs too deep here for our presence to do
any good. What if we tried a combination of the two?”
“You mean create a new world AND live with the humans?”
Vishnu’s voice became pensive.
“No!” Mars’s whole face turned vermillion. “Killing them is
the solution! A nice little blood bath…Ah! Come on!”

Excerpt 3

The two men watched him leave. When the sound of his
footsteps died away, they detached themselves from the wall,
unhooked the ladder and lowered it into the pit. As the prisoner
started moaning that he had had enough, the big man hurried
down, made a shushing gesture and clubbed him hard on the head.
Two minutes later the ladder was back on the wall and the
big man, now carrying a black duffel bag across his shoulders,
followed his accomplice out in the maze of corridors. Silently, they
made their way through twists and turns until they reached an
open sewer grate.
The big man dumped the bag down in the hole and sat on the
ledge. “Now get back to your post,” he whispered, “be ready for the
next extraction.” Lithe as a tiger, he jumped in the dark tunnel.
Dragging the grate back in place, his accomplice wondered in
what sort of unholy mess he had gotten himself into.

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