As the city stared up at the vision of the lovely face in the sky, literally over the clouds, hundreds of thousands argued over whether the wolf woman was real, or an elaborate illusion, or some kind of freak atmospheric occurrence. Saida, though, stood outside her company’s headquarters and ran numbers in her head. As impossible as the scale was, she’d felt the tremors, and she knew damn well they weren’t natural earthquakes.
Light and fluffy cumulus clouds sat low for clouds, three or four thousand feet up; the wolf’s head was in their midst. But the angle of her head, the view of her shoulders…
Saida gaped, putting it together. Those last tremors—sending people scrambling for shelter, tumbling the whole of the elevated freeway down in a cloud of still-rising dust—those hadn’t been from the wolf’s footsteps.
Those had been from her lying down.
Skyscrapers blocked line of sight to most of her upper arms, but what she could see dwarfed the city’s tallest buildings. The entire downtown core must be framed—or more aptly, trapped—between her forearms.
The huge, beautiful muzzle tilted, enormous green eyes taking in the city. Long, deep red hair spilled off one shoulder as she shifted. As the strands brushed the ground, buildings crumbled under the force.
Even then, the crowd didn’t seem to fully realize she was real until she licked her lips, tongue running over titanic fangs, black lips left glistening in the sunlight. A few drops of drool fell, a single one landing right in front of Saida, and that single drop was enough to flood the intersection, the splash rising stories into the air. Saida’s whole body was drenched, skirt and blouse abruptly slicked to her fur. She sucked in her breath, running a hand through now sticky hair, staring up agape. She wished she’d stop being caught in impending apocalypses, but damn, this was a hot one.
The wolf began to lower her head. Now the screaming started.
All right: the megawolf’s body lay across what had been uptown. Her arms lay behind buildings a couple of blocks that way and a couple of blocks that way. So directly ahead it was. She sprinted.
A sharp wind tore at her back. She stumbled, and risked a look behind. It was a sniff, a sniff from a dark brown nose bigger than a football field. People were lifted off their paws, awnings ripped, cars rocked. Hopefully, no one was inhaled.
Then the wolf—just call her a goddess, Saida decided—pursed her lips and blew. No doubt lightly for her, seemingly just for her own amusement. For everyone and everything on the ground, though, the wind abruptly went from breeze to beyond hurricane force. This time everything left the ground. Pedestrians, cars, streetlights, building façades. And Saida. She shrieked, tumbling head over paws.
The gale died down as quickly as it had come, but she had no time to recover from the sprawl she’d been left in—the wolf girl’s laugh had enough force to knock the wind out of her. Her vision flickered, and she felt her ears pop as she gasped for breath.
She sat up woozily, dimly aware of buildings collapsing to either side. Maybe the wolf’s arms had moved fractionally, or the ground itself was just sinking under millions of tons of apex predator.
Saida had just staggered to her feet when the first lick started.
The wolf goddess’s tongue was a living tsunami, as wide as a city block, the sound an incredible, wet roar as everything in the lick’s path piled together and slid up toward her teeth. Crowds. Cars. Whole buildings, lifted mostly intact, cushioned by muscle and spit.
She lifted her head, a full city block gathered up in that lick, and tilted her beautiful, immense muzzle back. Transfixed, Saida watched the throat flex with the swallow, feeling her bones vibrate with the deep, eardrum-rattling gulp.
The air in the whole of the city had become warm, humid, and she realized it was all the wolf. The growing floral scent under the city’s asphalt and oil smells was the goddess’s perfume.
As the wolf lowered her head again, Said shook herself back into a last, desperate sprint. She doubted she’d escape the next lick, but if she could make it a few blocks—
The shadows ahead of her changed, and she stopped dead, staring. Buildings a half-block away were collapsing, not just falling but exploding as the wolf’s fingers slid through them. Saida watched dumbly as the goddess’s hand slid across the street in front of her, a padded, fifty-story wall blocking off her last possibility of escape.
The wet roar began behind her, and she turned, taking a deep breath and watching the wolf casually lap up her section of city. Already, most of what she could see was just a wave of cars and buildings and people being forced up the huge, wet muscle. She grimaced, hoping she wouldn’t be buried in a pile—
The roar became the sound of rapids, a firehose. All at once saliva surrounded the Rha, blurring her vision, and she rocketed upward, flailing, desperately trying to avoid drowning in spit. Unable to orient herself as the force drew her along, she bumped off something—someone?—and something else, and something else, and—
The crazy ride slowed, then stopped. She found herself panting, thoroughly soaked, lying on her back. It felt like she’d run aground against a hot, wet hill. She turned her head from side to side, and whimpered. She was plastered to a bump on the wolf’s tongue. She tried to sit up, but couldn’t. The stickiness of the saliva was stronger than she was.
She shivered, feeling flushed, watching teeth overhead bigger than skyscrapers, looking at what she could see of a mass of cars and buildings and thousands of people spread across that vast surface. Could the wolf even taste them? Surely buildings didn’t taste good. But maybe that changed at that scale, too. It wasn’t just that they were merely food, they were less than grains of rice. So many to make a mere—mouthful—
Saida squeezed her eyes shut a moment, whole body tingling.
She realized the tongue was moving, fully withdrawing into the mouth, and she opened her eyes to see the immense jaws closing. Saida’s breath quickened.
Then her ears popped again as the wolf swallowed, her mouthful sucked down with immense force, accelerating in a rush. As she fell into the abyss of the throat, Saida thought she heard the sound of the wolf licking her immense lips. She shuddered one last time, screaming in terror and ecstasy before her voice—her everything—was lost to her goddess.
© 2021 Arilin Thorferra