The bellies of the beasts with the sickness and the death mated from each other’s navel gazing.
“Look how beautiful we are,” said the first to the second.
She was long and sleek with the coat of a fox. She had a head like that of a peacock. Tall feathers sprouted from her scalp like bright ideas pointed high. They were out of reach. All she could think of was the beauty of herself and the ideas, like her feathers, moved beyond her.
“It’s almost too much.” The second stared at his expansive chest made entirely of beating hearts. Thumping in unison, he was a strong and steady rhythm. His body marched only for himself. With the blood of a thousand sons, his energy spiked mountains. His body was a gift from the Gods. He stared at his stomach, swollen from a feast, but suddenly noticed a hole.
“What is that?” The first said to the second. She pointed at her own belly in shame. She, too, had a tiny hole and it was tunneling to the center of her core. She was sure she would have noticed had it been there before, but absent of its memory, she gazed. A dark emptiness went straight through her gut. Coldness was hiding.
The second stared at himself. His worry was starting to grow. Poking their eyes as far inside themselves as possible, each beast could not find what they were looking for.
“Do you see anything?” The first asked the second.
“I see nothing.” The second said to the first.
The idea of a vast emptiness in the pit of such perfection was enough to make a grown beast cry. They curled their claws, reaching and prying into the depths of the nothingness. They reached for themselves and when they couldn’t hold on, they reached for each other in vain.
“I think I feel something.” The second said to the first.
After digging into the crevices further against her flesh, he felt the sudden movement of acid. Unlike possible organs nourished in the blood of a belly, this was a wetness that was cold.
Frantic with a mix of repulsion and curiosity, the second beast tried to melt her.
“What are you doing?” She asked with no answer. He was finding himself inside.
The acid crept closer to the ridges of her body, but it never once warmed to his touch. When it stung the sides of his clawed and gnarled fingers, he immediately retracted in pain.
The acid was out. Trailing against his skin, it tunneled through his stomach for the safety of an easy spot. His own body was contaminated. Like a hollowed out fish with a lifeless disposition, he could feel the clearing of his hearts.
One heart stopped beating. And then another. His strength began to fade.
“What have you done?” He said to the first, but she had no answer to give him. “You’ve infected me. You’ve made me sick. You’ve given me your own disease.”
She stared at the beast, now scrawny and deflated and shook her head side to side. “I’ve got nothing of my own. I’ve got nothing to give. What are we without our disease?”