At first he didn’t notice but it was the air around that made him feel so good. That and watching the little girl, of course, but the air…thousands of years of slumber, trapped in a cold tomb under the ocean. Perfectly preserved. The sleeping mummy. At least gods didn’t require oxygen.
He remembered another smell. It was back in his old life, when he was worshiped, before the temple and the entire island, his world, were submerged. The altar chamber was filled with the smell of incense but there was a subtle hint of blood beneath it. How many had died there? Maybe one every month, for hundreds of years. One body could sate his hunger for as long as he’d want it, as long as the sacrifice was properly staged. Oh, how they ran! Oh, how he chased them through the room, how they hid behind the stone columns, how they would run till their feet bled!
But not her.
When the priests brought her, she just stood there, looking him in the eyes. He had forgotten how defiance looks like.
He invited her to sit down. Who was she, who was her mother, who was her father where did she live? And especially, why was she not afraid? Her answers? He had forgotten them. When he realized who she was, nothing else mattered.
A blond girl with blue eyes who knew no fear. His last mortal descendant.
“You know my name, and you know my ancestor was a slave in your harem, God-king”
He was proud of her. She was the descendant of a deity and she acted accordingly. But the hunger, it had to be tempered. The priests were under explicit orders not to disturb him for the next month and the room could not be opened from the inside.
“Oh, my beloved, you sat there with me for days, holding me in your arms, as I craved for your fear. But there was no fear in you. I was alone on a raft in the middle of the ocean and you were my salt water. And I remembered the days of torture when I waited for death to come and save me from the pain and she wouldn’t…When you walked through the room I could see only the flow of your body moving, that flesh… It was supposed to be as young and delicious as this child I am looking at right now, but you were like a hard piece of meat for an old man with no teeth left. Yet I tried. I plunged my mouth into you and you fell on the cold stone floor, bleeding, dying. That was the day I knew I am condemned to loneliness. That was the day of my mistake”
He was a god. He could see through the illusion of the world, right into the core of reality. What made it function. Space, time, creation, death, all the other aspects, a raging river that was the stream of Universe itself.
And he turned into a dam, stopping time and her blood from flowing. The dying girl on the floor smiled and held his hand. In that moment, he remembered what happiness felt like.
One moment, yet he could remember it better than anything else.
Then the dam broke.
Like the waves of the ocean in times of storm, reality broke through him. And although he could hear the distant sound of the island, ripping itself apart around him, all he could notice was the girl smiling. That night, his empire collapsed to the bottom of the sea, with him trapped in the chamber and that moment of happiness turned into a millennia long sleep, for Death could no longer take him.