“You forget who I am.”
My hand rises, and the materials in the room start to melt away, the fabrication, the ruse lifting. I sweep my hand through the house as every bit of wood, cloth, and metal it took to make it shakes and bends to my will.
“I am the Goddess of Ruin.”
That grabbed his attention like a hook. And like a proper catch, he was pulled into my orbit. He blinked. “Dammit, devil woman. No.” He shook himself out of it, giving one of my breasts a squeeze and kissing my forehead before rushing toward the door.
I don’t tell him about how the entire time we cleaned the kitchen it kept changing to some cold dedicated prison. I don’t mention the woman I saw staring back at me as I turned the kitchen lights out. She wore the same red dress, had the same long flowing dark hair, and the same gold eyes and matching jewelry. I don’t tell him about the smile she wore as she pointed to me.
With my other hand, I searched my pockets for my potions, wincing when I realized I’d forgotten to bring anything with me from the Underworld. We needed to get out of there—fast. I was powerless on Earth without my magic, and if there was anything amiss, I was defenseless.
A sharp pain hits me between the eyes, my headache returning tenfold. I squint as I place a hand between my eyes, my nose scrunching. I stand, opening them again as every child stops what they were doing and looks toward me.
“It’s what you like, right? What you are.” Alex stands, holding up the picture. “Ruin.”
His magic brought it to life, giving it an internal red glow that grew stronger, forcing it to shudder out a single beat. Then he dropped it into my gaping chest. It immediately attached, as if grateful to be reunited with its goddess.
The person turns around, a wide grin spreading across a face identical to my own. “Well, well, well. Fancy meeting you here. I think it’s about time for you and me to have a little chat,” my dark alter drawls, causing my heart to drop into my stomach.
I don’t shift, only run. Run as fast as I can as I hold the sides of my dress. Run up the winding stairs toward her room as tears begin to fall. I know what I have to do and what I have to give up. He was right, a heartless bitch I’m not. At least not yet. I’d made enemies, so many enemies, and now they are coming for the ones I hold dear.
He would die a mortal death, and I would let him, drachma on his eyes so he would rest in peace. But the day finally came, and I’d held him in my arms as he took his final breaths. I knew we’d made the right decision, but it took everything in me to allow it to be.
My face flashed between the three aspects the mortals used for me. A beautiful young maiden, the face I wore now, and the sharp weathered angles of a crone. My body stayed the same, dressed in light robes that swayed with the building wind, gore streaking the tops of my breasts and exposed stomach. I wore a crown of human bone, chanting as I lifted a snake into the sky.
“Wait!” I hear him shout after me, but nothing can stop me. Nothing but— I suddenly slam into what feels like an invisible force field. My feet come to a grinding halt as I feel her black tentacles wrap around my subconscious. I try to scream, but it doesn’t meet my lips. Instead, laughter bubbles up from me as she pulls me under.
I was filled with more emotion than I felt comfortable showing, letting the sea churn for me instead. The waves hit the mountainside so hard it kicked spray through the broken windows. “Is there even a Nikolas?” I asked quietly.