Now

  • Snails of God by Gabrielle Griffis

    Knotweed grew through the asphalt. Duck weed choked the fish tank. The snails in the aquarium glided through the filter hole. They worshiped the woman that cared for them. They watched her from across the room, at the desk in the blurred shades of her tears, but she was long gone and they sought revenge for their caretaker. They needed to find their God.

    They crawled along the shelves. They absorbed the stories of ages through their slime. They wept over tales of kitchens and boiling pots of water. Venom formed in their veins and vessels, cursing the absence of their Lord. They sensed shadows with their bodies. Skylights speckled their coiled shells in periwinkle and anomiidae hues.

    Their God used to sing to them. The vibrations transported them to other dimensions. Their spirits surfed the soundwaves into nebulae. There was no time for them, just air bubbles and algae, the feel of aquarium gravel beneath their feet.

    Ivy grew along the walls and mold blanketed the carpets of the great room. Rocks had broken through the windows. The snails crawled over a waterlogged couch, over panes of glass, and through the open wall.

    They asked the birds at the feeder if they had seen their God.

    “She gave us seed,” a junco said.

    “Where did she go?” the snails asked.

    “We don’t know,” the junco replied. “Climb on our backs.”

    The juncos ascended into the clouds.

    As they flew over canopies and rivers, the snails and birds talked about life before their God disappeared. 

    There were other deities that worked alongside their God. The snails were entertainment to the deities, but not loved by them. They didn’t care if they were hungry or too cold. They didn’t know about the nitrogen in the water. The other deities shunned God.

    “She expressed too many colors,” the birds said. The others didn’t like that.

    “What is color?” the snails asked.

    The birds tried to explain colors to the snails. They talked about feelings being like different vibrations.

    The snails said no one seemed to be aware of their feelings.

    The juncos described the landscape to the snails, the saltmarshes and lakes, the abandoned roads and rooftops.

    “Will we ever find her?” they asked, until the birds saw their God standing alone in a field.

    The murmuration descended around her.

    “My friends,” God said, staring at the flock.

    “God!” the snails exclaimed.

    “They banished me,” God replied.

    “We know,” the juncos said.

    “They can do that?!” the snails asked.

    God nodded.

    “What have you been doing?” 

    “Dreaming,” God said. 

    “We wanted revenge,” the snails exclaimed.

    “They’re all gone,” God replied, explaining the earthquake that destroyed the town.

    “Is that why it’s been so cold?” the snails asked.

    God nodded. “Everything goes away,” she said.

    “But not us?” the snails asked, their tentacles expectant.

    “No, not us,” God said. “You can’t die if you don’t throw others away. We might become something else, but we will always be.”

    ________


    Gabrielle Griffis is a musician, writer, and multimedia artist. Her fiction has been published in WigleafSplit Lip, The Rumpus, MonkeybicycleCHEAP POPXRAY, Okay Donkey, matchbook and elsewhere. Her work has been selected for Best Microfiction 2022 and has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize. Read more at http://gabriellegriffis.com or follow at @ggriffiss.