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Somehow, Mordecai always suspected that his would be an ignoble end.

Feeling frightened and pathetic -- and fatally exposed -- he crouched trembling atop the open gazebo framework, attempting to use his too-small leathery gray wings to hide himself from the chaos and cacophony exploding all around him.

By air, he was embattled by militarized cherubs and screeching harpies; from below and from adjacent structures, bloodthirsty citizens hurled stones and spears at him, some already sharpening their knives in anticipation of his fall.

Worse -- or rather worst -- he was in the bullseye crosshairs of no less a god than Apollo himself, enraged and firing arrows up at him from the sidewalk, half-again the size of the nearby humans, having puffed himself up several feet in order to increase the firing range and accuracy of his death-tipped arrows.

Oh, and now yon approached several armor-bound City Guardians on winged horses, each bearing their flame-throwing spears at the ready to strike him down, apparently the likeminded aim of nearly every living being in the City of the Gods.

“Should not have left my cave this day, no I should not” he whimpered quietly to himself. “None to help me, none to save me. All hate me.”

This was not entirely a revelation to the bat-like creature, known and disliked by most everyone but his dual masters (and perhaps even by them) as a lowly kidnapper, notorious for his (perfectly legal) role in local slave acquisition.

But the bat had never been attacked like this, not in the City, where he was usually allowed unfettered entry and exit, at least around the Slave District, thanks to being vouchsafed by the goddess he served, Lamasthu.

Modecai’s new (and perhaps only) friend Kaman knew the bat would be brought down any moment, and that he held the creature’s only hope of survival. But what about the risk of exposure?

“If only,” Kaman moaned, “it weren’t for that damnable song...."

(Continued in the COTG anthology Mythic Tales)

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