I do have a particular weakness for stories of making and unmaking like this from Arkady Martine.
The god Auzh-Aravik spat into her flayed palm and turned the saliva streaked with blood, out onto the earth. Where it struck it sizzled. The god was pleased by how the soil writhed and struggled, enlivened by her fluids; she smiled, skinless lips crawling back from skinless teeth, visible tendons straining.
Before it was stolen, the skin of Auzh-Aravik had been inscribed with all the laws of heaven. Tattooed on her calves were the equations for the orbits of stars; written across her belly was the commandment to increase; her shoulderblades were scalpels of poetry. All rules of obedience and desire made up her right cheek; all commandments of justice and prohibition made up her left. She was the proudest and the most accomplished of the gods. She was envied for her beauty and despised for her rigor; the other gods called her the Ornament of Heaven and did not mean it flatteringly.
Naked to the muscle, she stood at the edge of the world. It was a sheer cliff of uniform slate that encircled both the palaces of heaven and the dwellings on the earth. Before Auzh-Aravik had been flayed, she could have opened the world-outside-the-world with the touch of her left elbow, where all the words ever spoken for opening were recorded in pinpoints of black ink. Skinless, she was without most of her power. She had walked to the world’s edge on her feet like a human would, and left footprints of blood behind her.
Nevertheless, she spat again, and again mixed the spittle with her ever-welling blood. This time instead of watching it squirm in the dirt, she drew a door with it on the face of the cliff. She marked the door with the word for door, and told it what it was. It opened.
The world-outside-the-world roiled, clouds of ink lolling in dark water. Only one god dwelled there: Saam-Firuze, twin sister to Auzh-Aravik. It was not a place of names or words or laws. Auzh-Aravik stepped into it and was swallowed. Behind her the door that knew it was a door glowed red for blood and white for spit.
Auzh-Aravik landed on her hands and knees in darkness only made substantial by her landing on it. She called, “Sister-mine! Saam-Firuze! What have you done with my skin?”
The laughter of the god Saam-Firuze is liquid and enveloping. It welled out of the world-outside-the-world and lapped at the abdominal musculature of Auzh-Aravik. “Sister-mine,” she said, “have you lost yourself? You are much diminished since I saw you last.”
“I have been robbed,” said the god Auzh-Aravik. “Diminishment is not my problem.”
“Where is my skin, sister-mine? Without my skin the laws of heaven will cease to be immutable.”
“Perhaps they should change a little,” mused Saam-Firuze. “They have been perfect for so very long. The scansion on your shoulderblades – ah! lovely. But so old-fashioned.”
For the third time, Auzh-Aravik asked her twin: “Where is my skin? Where have you hidden it? You were never so acquainted with scansion before now; you must have looked quite closely.”
“Oh,” said Saam-Firuze, smugly, “it is around here somewhere. But everything is so very dark. I am never sure exactly where I am, or you are, or anything else.”
Auzh-Aravik, incensed, stood up on the darkness – insisting with all her diminished power that the darkness was a thing on which to stand – and shouted. “You are a liar, Saam-Firuze!”
“Well, yes,” came the reply. “Of course. And – thank you for the door!”
Auzh-Aravik turned around and saw her sister scuttling up the inside wall of the slate cliff like a spider composed of the absence of light. She came to the red and white door and clambered through, folding up all of her many delicate limbs to fit into the mortal world. When she was on the other side, Auzh-Aravik saw the flash of her teeth as she smiled; the shine of the sun on her lips as she pursed them, wetted them with her tongue, and spat.
The door unbecame a door. The god Auzh-Aravik, Ornament of Heaven, keeper of righteousness and order and the orbits of the stars, was surrounded by the unformed dark, skinless, and all alone.