‘It is really not my fault.’ He struggled as they pulled him out from under the hay.
It was not a good hiding place. As rural folk, they knew about barns and they knew about hay, and how to find someone hiding inside it. Usually, though they found young – or sometimes not so young – couples getting to know each other in the old familiar way.
This time, though, it was different.
‘It is not my fault,’ he repeated trying to pull himself free. These were rural folk, quite used to restraining wild beasts, though, and this one was not only wild, but livid. ‘Unhand me. Don’t you know who I am?’
One of the peasants, Plunk, stood in front of the struggling being. ‘But it is your job.’ He looked into the eyes of the one in front of him, still half-heartedly struggling against the two labourers who held him. ‘And yes, we do know who you are. Otherwise,’ Plunk pointed behind him to the pitchfork-carrying mob squeezed into the barn, ‘why else would we do this?’
‘You!’ The captive glanced wildly around, looking for help or escape. There was neither. ‘You are peasants, forming a mob is what you do.’
There was a collective gasp from the crowd.
‘That’s not very nice,’ a woman called from the mob, stepping forward. ‘Treat us like dirt, you do you all do. To think of all the sacrifices I’ve made to you… you ungrateful shi….’ She strode forward and slapped the prisoner around the face. The noise was loud in the sudden silence. ‘To think how I’ve worshipped you.’ She turned striding back into the mob.
Some patted her on the back; others stepped nervously away from her. After all, you could never be too sure. They, those like the captive, were known for their capriciousness. The crowd eyed the prisoner warily.
‘But I am a god.’ The prisoner’s voice was weary.
‘Yes, and what a god.’ Plunk signalled and the two villagers dragged their captive to the door of the barn. ‘Look at it.’
The weary defeated god peered outside. ‘What about it?’
‘It is always raining. It hasn’t stopped raining since last autumn.’ Plunk glared at him. ‘After all, you are the weather god. It is all your fault.’
‘I… er… I’ll have someone look into it. I promise.’ He looked around at the mob, pleading, yet hopeful. ‘It must be some kind of administrative error… or something.’
‘We’ve heard your promises before. It is not good enough.’
‘So… wh… what are you going to do with me?’
‘We are putting you on trial. Come on.’ With that, Plunk led the way out of the barn towards the village meeting hall. Behind him, the two guards, followed by the eager mob, dragged their prisoner through the rain and mud.
The weather god began to cry. He didn’t know much about mortals, but he did know that in trials like this, trials by the mob, no prisoner was ever found innocent and the punishment was always death. Very painful death, which was something, as an immortal, he’d always thought he’d never have to face… not until now.