The statue of the goat-queen Blee’ash was built to precise instructions. As was demanded in the scriptures, eighty talents of silver were used for her body, which from neck to tail was exactly forty cubits long. Her hind legs were fifteen cubits tall, while her forelegs reared up, held in towards her body, raising her horns a full thirty cubits off the ground. The expression on her face, for which a further sixteen talents were allotted, was also prescribed: it was to be a look of fierce and warlike pride, "that our people may take courage and annihilate their fear, and that our enemies may tremble."
But who these people were, and what enemies they had, we do not know. The followers of Blee’ash left no trace of themselves, save only in the bones that littered the floor her ruined temple. Theories as to what befell the cult abound: a massacre by hostile tribes, an earthquake or volcano, the murderous allure of two-legged gods. Whatever it was, only Blee’ash seems to have survived, gleaming undamaged through a rubble of fallen blocks and pillars, towering above the smashed remains of the people who honoured her form so far above their own.
It took fifty people, three helicopters and a cargo ship to bring her back to Europe.
In the museum, she created an immediate sensation. The red velvet ropes, strung between polished brass posts, were not enough to keep the tourists at bay. When the guard turned his back, distracted by improvised questions, they would leap the barrier to pose for pictures. They would cower, sometimes two or three of them, with mock fear beneath her hooves; or else they would stand under her belly and reach up to tweak her silver teats. It was blasphemous and demeaning, and yet Blee’ash, who saw everything through her colourless eyes, was not ashamed. No blush reddened her silver cheeks when the doctored photographs - smooth faces superimposed on her shaggy body, naked humans suckling beneath her, luridly endowed world leaders penetrating her from behind - began to appear on the tee-shirts and baseball caps bustling beneath her.
She knew it was the humans, not her, who should be embarrassed.
She knew they thought themselves tall, above the beasts that crawl or burrow or slide. She knew as well that they thought themselves clever and creative, powerful and cruel, complex and mysterious, when in fact they were nothing but weak. With their two long legs, their stacked-up backs, they were like the pillars in her ill-fated church: they looked imposing but they were weak, vulnerable to attacks from the side, easily butted down...
The archaeologists, the historical meteorologists, the forensic geologists, who examined every inch of the temple, could not work out what had flattened it; nor could the anthropologists agree with the cultural historians on what became of her tribe. And even if they had, they would never have agreed on this: that on the holiest day of the thirteen month year, when a bleating virgin was being lead on all fours to the sacrificial altar, when the goat-skin drums of the hundred high-priests and the goat bone flutes of their two thousand acolytes were blaring in unison, their idol came to life and destroyed them.
At first Blee’ash’s front legs collapsed to the ground, shaking the temple, crushing the king and his plump boy-bride. And though the congregation was horrified, they believed they had witnessed a tragedy of engineering and not the wrath of a god: they were convinced that the counterweight beneath the statue’s back legs had broken loose. They remained convinced until one of them looked up and noticed that Blee’ash was smiling. As they fled screaming in all directions, she killed them the way their children killed ants, selfish and vertical ants. She brought down their temple by ramming its pillars, then flattened the rest of their holy city - the city that filled them with such foolish, material pride. Finally, when her genocide was complete, she returned to the ruined temple and buried herself beneath a landslide of wreckage. But not completely: she left just enough uncovered, just one silver eye, to lure the pale explorers who would one day shine torches and poke around the ruins, wide-eyed and open mouthed, full of what they would later called awe, though in fact it was nothing but hubris and greed.
And now she was in a different city. From the back of the flatbed truck that had carried her to the museum, she caught glimpses of tall buildings and flimsy cars, giant shop windows and crowds of people - pointing, stupid, bleating people. She had seen that her work was not done. One day, when a tourist’s tongue stretched up towards her nipples, waiting for a camera flash, he would get such a spurt of warm goat’s milk that he’d never taste air or water again. One day the couple crouching beneath her feet, man pretending to fend off their doom, woman parodying a B movie scream, would be trampled like brittle and bleeding grapes. Then the cars would be heaped up in mounds, their inferior metals chewed in half, the remains of their occupants found in balls of goat’s dung. The shops where women and vacuous men looked in mirrors, tried on clothes, turned sideways and looked again; all these would be brought to the ground. The skyscrapers would fall, she knew they could fall, and in the wreckage of churches and parliaments and scientist’s labs, there would be no more speeches, no more arrogance, or cruelty or lies.
So Blee’ash was waiting. But every now and then, undetected by the visitors, the skin on one of her eyelids would tighten. She was plagued by one nagging doubt: that after she had killed all the humans, there would be nothing left for her to hate.