A Surprise Encounter

“You have not changed, old friend.” I chuckled. “Enjoy your drink. I am sure we will bump into each other again soon.” I drank my scotch and straightened my suit jacket, brushing it down with my hands and patting my hair to make certain it was not messed up. I have to look my best for the big return.

Book of Hades

I never run into any of my old acquaintances these days, except the few that decide to come down for a visit. They are normally trying to cause trouble, break certain individuals. But I have not bumped into anyone up top yet. It is only a matter of time, though.

Most of the other gods, goddesses, Titans, and every other being not of this world have been on this new earth longer than me. Things had changed so quickly, and the day-to-day lives of humans had changed even more. It was difficult to get your head around, even if you watched the changes from a distance. I was like a newborn pup learning to walk, but I learned fast. 

Zeus had recalled all of us, and the time had come for us to return. At some point, I needed to go see him. My anger was still potent, and I resented being left to rot even though it was just luck that I ended up in the Underworld. Or should I say bad luck? I changed my mind about that often. Sometimes I liked it. Others I just felt betrayed. Fear was power, but it was not always connected with respect. Do you respect those you fear? I don’t believe so. 

I required acceptance back into the fold. I did not want to be placed in the back of everyone’s minds and left to deal with the souls that perished. I had no issue with my job. I had issues with being overlooked, an afterthought, and in many cases, considered evil. That Cerberus shit needed to come to a stop. Yes, I could be and have been evil, but no more so than any other. Fear me, yes, but also respect me for who and what I am. Zeus was my brother, and we had not always seen eye to eye, but I knew he respected me. The past was gone, and now were are looking at the future. After all, was that not what Zeus wanted? Was that not the purpose of us showing ourselves again? A meeting with him seemed overdue.

I left the Underworld with the goal of seeing my brother. The Underworld needed me, but I would not be tied to the place. I required freedom and expected to be seen. That was exactly what happened on this day. I wasn’t seen by a human who saw a handsome, rich businessman, but by one of my kin. I saw a few who lived in my realm, of course, but not many.

I had decided to stop off at a bar before going to see Zeus. It had been a while, and I needed a whiskey to help prepare me for whatever reaction I faced when turning up. I hoped for a good one because I was wearing my new suit and really did hate blood. It was a bugger to get out of clothes, and most of the time, you just had to throw them away. Plus, I had no idea whose blood it would be, but probably mine. If I faced someone in the Underworld, then I would win, I am certain, but on Zeus’s turf? I would be at a huge disadvantage. Whiskey helped all situations, even potential ones. I entered the bar and walked up to the counter. I was hoping the service was better than the last time I was in a bar. That had gotten a little bit nasty.

“May I have a whiskey, my good man?” I asked the bartender kindly. He was a big fellow with arms like tree trunks. He was balding, with only a slight ring of hair around his head and a circle of shiny skin in the middle. I tried my best not to stare, but it was quite difficult, and my eyes involuntarily glanced up once or twice. He didn’t seem to notice or care.

“Scotch?” he said casually while chewing gum and blowing a bubble that he sucked back up and popped. A man was sitting at the counter. He was looking down, minding his business, but I noticed a slight shake of his head and his hand tightening around his glass. I imagined the bartender’s fondness for bubble blowing was irritating him. I understood that.

“Yes, make it a double and whatever this fellow is drinking.” I motioned to the irritated man. He was also a big fellow in a nice suit. Something about him felt familiar.

“He is drinking the same as you.” The bartender blew another bubble, which he popped once again as he poured two doubles.

“If you do that again, I will make you eat that bottle,” the man growled. He looked up, and I saw his face. The bartender put up his hands in surrender and backed away. I was surprised to find it was Dinlas. He could be grumpy, but I actually liked him.

“What in the name of Tartarus are you doing here?” I asked him, almost laughing.

“What’s that supposed to—” he looked up at me and never had the chance to finish his sentence. “Hades?” he said, just as surprised as me.

“Who else, my old friend? How the devil are you? No pun intended, now that I understand what a pun is.” I laughed, but he just looked at me unamused.

“We,” he said harshly, “are not friends.” He looked back down at his glass. I picked up my drink and slid the other towards him. He never spoke and continued to ignore me.

“Very well, be that way, Dinlas.” I sipped my drink and ignored him. Then he spoke.

“What are you doing here? I can’t seem to have a drink in peace anymore.” He never touched his drink. I supposed he was in one of his hate moods, which was totally normal for him. He was always in conflict with himself. Something I could relate to, it’s easy to hate. Especially yourself.

“I am on my way to see Zeus,” I replied happily. “Care to join me?” He looked at me like I was crazy.

“I’ll pass,” he answered. A few moments of silence passed before he asked, “What’s Zeus doing here?” He looked away again, back down at his drink. “Never mind, go look for him somewhere else.” He finally downed the remaining liquid in his glass and picked up the one I had bought for him, placing it in the same position as the last and just staring at it.

“You have not changed, old friend.” I chuckled. “Enjoy your drink. I am sure we will bump into each other again soon.” I drank my scotch and straightened my suit jacket, brushing it down with my hands and patting my hair to make certain it was not messed up. I have to look my best for the big return.

“Why are you still here?” A growl escaped Dinlas. I was irritating him, which was not good if I wanted to see my brother in a flawless appearance.

“I am leaving.” I always found his anger entertaining. “Make sure my friend does not go thirsty!” I raised my voice to the bartender, who was hiding around the other side of the bar. I placed down a stack of notes. I walked away, leaving him sitting there, unmoving. My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I sighed tiredly when I saw that it was a camera going offline.

“Bloody dead people,” I complained. It was a fair assumption that some idiot had taken it upon themselves to make trouble. I opened up the other cameras to see what was going on, and I felt the blood drain from my face.

“Oh bloody Tartarus, what the fuck is that?” I didn’t swear often. It was bad manners, but this arising situation called for more than a strong word or two. It was going to be another long day.

Hades (John Decarteret)
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