Jornada del Muerto desert, New Mexico
July 16, 1945
I found her on a night of fire and noise
Wild bells rang in a wild sky
I knew from that moment on
That I'd love her till the day that I died
And I kissed away a thousand tears
My Lady of the Various Sorrows
Some begged, some borrowed, some stolen
Some kept safe for tomorrow
On an endless night, silver star spangled
The bells from the chapel went jingle-jangle
It was neither the splitting of the atom nor the casting of the ritual which drew Her into that world, but the occurrence of both together. The Trinity test weakened a boundary between two worlds, and the Babalon Working pulled Her up against it, and the two of them together dragged Her into a place where She did not belong and She never wanted to be.
She came from beyond the material omniverse, but when She ripped through the thin spot between the worlds, the nature of her destination’s reality demanded that She take a form. Until then, She had been a negative, a less-than-nothing in that place beyond the beyond, and now as She knew physical sensation for the first time, She gave a wordless, soundless scream. Being, existing hurt.
She had no words because She had never needed them before. She had thought within Her depths but had no cause to express her thoughts. Likewise, She knew Herself but had no need to name Herself. Yet this hateful, binding new world also demanded of Her a name, and She thought, everything must be named—conscribed—labeled and classified and known because they cannot stand not to know it, not to place a name upon it so they can control it
Someone had tried to name Her, and that was partly how he had bound Her and drawn Her there. All those names. When She kept still and listened, She could hear his names for Her, although most of them were concepts for which She had no reference and could not understand: Scarlet Woman. Sacred Whore. Lady of the Night. Mother of Abominations. Babalon.
She rejected them all because they revolted Her. They all were wrong, as wrong as the means by which he had used them to call Her. So instead, Her name became Jowday. Because time could have no meaning for an eternal negative, as soon as She entered the omniverse, She had always existed there and always would. She had always been Jowday, and She always would.
Her body, at once newly-formed and ancient, had taken the shape of that world’s dominant species yet lacked most of its sense organs: no eyes, no ears, no nose, only a huge and gaping mouth through which to give Her anguished cry. Yet She saw and heard and smelt with the delicate antennae upon Her ponderous and faceless head; She tasted the poison of the Gadget whose detonation a few milliseconds before had shattered the reality of the world forever. It sickened Her.
Floating in the void of dark space above the world, She shuddered, and nausea racked Her hateful new body. She was a negative, yet She could feel something new being formed inside Her.
how? She wondered. The conception sickened Her further. The caster of the Babalon Working had called Her Whore and Mother, and now Life was growing inside Her. The ritual had been more than calling of false names, however; it had involved something fluid and hateful, as poisonous and sickening as the Gadget’s broken atoms, and the sickness had come from the caster.
When She kept still and listened, She could hear him:
Envision thyself as a cloaked radiance desirable to the Goddess, beloved. Envision Her approaching thee. Embrace Her, cover Her with kisses. Think upon the lewd lascivious things thou couldst do. All is good to BABALON. All.
Now She understood the names the caster had called Her. She could feel the parts of Her that he desired, the parts to which he would do things lewd and lascivious, but the Life squirming inside Her had nothing to do with those. The caster had tried to make Her into his Sacred Whore with his toxic sexual ritual, but She had absorbed that other toxin too: the toxin of the atom bomb. The toxin of the evil that men do.
Even with the distraction of nausea and the gorge rising in Her narrow, delicate throat, She was able to concentrate Her thoughts into language and swear an oath to he who had summoned Her:
Babalon might be your Whore, but Jowday is not
Jowday will approach you as the Mother of Abominations, and you will embrace Her
and you will burn
and Her children will catch your world in their death bag
Then Her slender body was overwhelmed with the sickness, and She retched. Her bony shoulders heaved as She vomited a miasma of cloudy fluid, silent save for a slight gasp. She felt no relief, only the urge to vomit again. Arms outstretched, legs drifting behind Her, antennae quivering against Her skull, She birthed the abominations of men’s evil in four spasms—not from the female organs the caster fetishized but from Her retching mouth. Then, finally, the feeling of sickness passed, and She was left weak and quivering with relief.
With Her antennae, She sensed Her children. . . Her abominable children, mothered by Jowday, fathered by the man who fancied himself a magician and by the evil of his world. Most of them were embryonic, sleeping within eggs which floated in the fluid She had expelled. But one of them had emerged fully formed, swathed in a darkness that was more than Her own negative force, more even than the ritual caster’s obsession. She did not know what else had shaped that child of Hers, nor did She care to know. She cast it away from Her with all the others and turned them loose upon the world that had sired them.
She was vaguely aware of something—some things—scurrying between the worlds, flickering in and out, always arranging and gathering and preparing. agents of the Black Lodge, She thought without knowing quite what that meant. They were aware of Her too, and they were already moving to use Her children for their own purposes. She let them have their way and then put them out of Her mind.
Until She found the one who had cast the Babalon Working and used it to trap Her in this world, Her only concern lay with Her revenge. She drifted and waited, knowing that he would summon Her again, for he could not be satisfied yet. Having brought Her to his world would not be enough for him; he would demand to possess Her with his body as well. She had only to wait until his impatience overwhelmed him, and he revealed himself.
He would call out for Babalon.
And Jowday would answer.
To be continued