I tossed and turned on my bed.
The echo of our mother’s voice through the room made us leave in a hurry. There she stood, with her arms crossed and a look so stern that it could only belong to a mother. She was Styx, Mother and Goddess of the godly promise. The three of us emerged from the room, Warrior closing the door behind us.
“How many times must I say this?” Mother scolded. “You are to never go through these doors.” She directed her attention to Mini and Warrior. “I told both of you to keep her out of here.”
“We know, Mother. We’re sorry,” Mini said.
“You know how she…well, how stubborn she is,” Warrior replied.
“Yes, I do,” Her gaze fell on me. I lowered my head, as I never wished to be the cause of my mother’s wrath. “Nike, look at me. What were you thinking, girl? How many times must we go through this?”
I looked up at her. “I’m sorry, Mother. It’s just that the door was open and I—”
She cut me off. “I know, you got curious.” She tossed her hands up and moved closer to me. With one hand on her hip and the other finger-wagging at me, she said, “I am tired of this disobedience from you, Nike. I’ve a good mind—”
“Please, Mother,” Mini piped in, “please don’t be cross with the big one. She really didn’t remember.”
“Mini is right, Mother, this one was an unfamiliar situation,” Warrior added.
The three of us stood together, awaiting our mother’s response. Mini held my hand, squeezing it tightly.
“What am I to do?”
I trembled at my mother’s gaze. “Mother, why does such a room exist If I’m not to go there?” I asked.
Mother, seeing that I was trembling, wrapped her arms around me. Her anger dissipated and the warmth of her love surrounded me. “Come sit with me in the garden.” She led me, Mini in tow, through another door that led to the grand estate gardens of Aralieous. The bench we sat on was warm from the midday sun. The marble of the gods was flawless white, with veins of gold running throughout.
“Sit, Daughter.” I sat while Mini and Warrior stood behind me. Mother sat across from me and took my hand. “What more do you want to know, Nike?”
Not fully understanding why I was even here, I asked, “How did I get here?”
She sighed deeply. “Nike, the others, what did they tell you?”
“They said I’ve been here before, as many times as there are doors here.” I looked over at Mini, and she was mouthing the same words as me.
“And what else did they say?”
“That this is my safe place, but I can’t remember.”
“My sweet, you wouldn’t. I have to tell you something, something you will not like to hear, but I must tell you.” She squeezed my hand before releasing it. She stood and walked away from me then turned. “Nike, I helped you create these rooms so you could control your powers. Your ability could be overrun by your emotions, and then your powers are out of control.”
“My powers? What are you talking about, Mother? I am the Goddess of Victory. Winning is my greatest—”
“No, my sweet. There is another power that we do not talk about that you have used and it has caused a crack in you.”
I looked at her, more confused. “What are you talking about? I give a feather to help people. I use my influence to aid them in victories.”
“Yes, my sweet, that is what you do now, but not before.”
“Before? What do you mean?”
“Nike, there is also a reason there are three of you.”
“Mother, I don’t understand. What are you telling me?”
“My sweet child.” She opened her arms for Mini to approach her. “Do you remember yourself as being this young?”
“Why? Why is she a strong memory for you?”
“I don’t know. Doesn’t everyone think about being a child?”
“Some, yes, but why do you have her here? Think,” Mother quizzed me.
I looked at Mini. Concentrating on her, I could see the joy, the happiness of my youth. I could feel the love that was in our family, and the sheer peacefulness that was childhood. Then a cloud came over Mini, a small sadness. I saw something no child should ever witness. I witnessed the taking of another against their will. I saw her running to hide from the bad image she saw. I tried to shake it from my mind and closed my eyes. No, no, this didn’t happen.
Mother said, “But what did you do? Nike, what did you really do?”
I looked again and saw Mini grab a stick and run as fast as she could toward the assailant. She thrust the stick through the back of the one choking her…her sister. I didn’t just kill him. I tore him apart, ripping his body in half. Blood rained over my sister and me. I ran across the field beating his bits into the ground until he was only smashed flesh. I remembered my sister coming after me when I was done destroying the body. She approached me slowly. My eyes glowed red like flames until she touched my shoulder and calmed me. That was the first time I used my vengeful victory, the darkest side of me.
“Mother?” I said as I opened my eyes. “How can that be? Who was that? Did that really happen?” I looked down at my hands and saw the blood, then I looked at Mini and she was on her knees, tears rolling down her face.
“Who that was is unimportant. When you and your sister returned, your father and I knew we needed to keep a closer watch on you. Mini represents the innocence taken from you and how you protected your sister from further harm.”
I watched Mother as she knelt beside Mini to wipe away the tears falling down her cheek.
“This was the first time you did something so explosive,” Mother said. I stood there, not fully understanding. ”And then there is your warrior self. Can you guess why she is here?”
“Yes, she is a part of me that fought in all the battles, every war and debate. She is my braver self, strong, courageous, and powerful. She is the truest of victories.”
“In part, yes, but this is where the darkness that lives in you became the strongest.”
“Darkness? I have no dark side, Mother. I am the Goddess of Kindness and Protection.”
“Not all of the time, my sweet child. There is darkness in all of us.
“No, Mother there is not.” I stood and turned away from her.
“Deny this if you will, but…” Mother pointed at my warrior self. Warrior me stepped forward, and I stared at her, looking deep into her eyes. I saw the scene where I was leaving the dead from the Great War between the gods. How I treated everyone as If I were superior to them. I was the winning aspect of war and nothing or no one could stop me. It was Kratos’s face I saw. I could see his disappointment in me that I no longer cared about the people and that my arrogance was devoid of charitable feeling.
The breaking point was seeing my father murdered and feeling nothing. It wasn’t until Zeus himself was captured by Typhon, that the loss of my father flooded my emotions. I charged at Typhon without mercy, to save Zeus.
The four of us fought relentlessly to free Zeus, but it was Hermes who got the credit for putting him back together. We only did our jobs, what was expected of us. The blind rage I felt combined with my ability was a lot to deal with after the fight. With the loss of control, I could have died, and I put my siblings in danger. Seeing all of this play out on the jumbotron in my head, my stomach felt queasy. Warrior me fell to her knees as tears flowed from her. My heart ached at those memories.
“Nike, I helped you create these rooms to keep you from those bitter memories, your shame, and guilt. You thought there were lines you wouldn’t cross, things you wouldn’t do, taking lives of innocent people, children even.”
I looked up at my mother with wide eyes. “Children?” I whispered.
“You tried to control your impulses to destroy any that betrayed you or didn’t adhere to Zeus’s rule. It is here that we created the rooms to hide what you had done.”
I looked at her and the others, unable to believe I would do such a thing. “How? How could I?”
“You were a good little girl. By leaving it here, I helped you make it all go away. I said you won’t remember any of this ever happening, no guilt or torment. Once we closed the door, it remained there. No one needed to know.”
I leaned against the garden wall, shaking my head in disbelief.