I really don’t want to do this anymore, so let’s make this quick, shall we? I’m the Goddess of Marriage and the Queen of the Heavens. I am vengeful and unjust and quick to anger. I am also compassionate and hopeful and just a woman who wants to be seen for who she really is and not who she’s been made to be. And I am NOT their fucking babysitter.
I got up and took my time to make myself another tea, giving everyone a break to chat or stretch or absorb the story. I turned and looked around the room at the gathering of gods and goddesses and felt a sense of pride.
Everyone laughed. Why would a goddess take anything a mortal does seriously? “At one point, fairly early on, Alcaeus fashioned a net of sorts to try and catch the hind. It was only out of sheer dumb luck that one night, while he slept, the hind stumbled across the net and got trapped. Its cries woke Alcaeus.”
“Unfortunately, the sight of him covered in the lion’s skin scared everyone and the stories of his heroics grew even grander, which caused him to get a bigger head and become more insufferable. And of course, every time Alcaeus did something amazing, Zeus wouldn’t shut his big mouth about it for years!”
“It was around this time that Zeus and I started going through a particularly good period. I don’t know if he was distracting me on purpose, but I wasn’t paying much attention to the mortal world. Not long after the snake incident, Alcaeus’s mother set him in the woods, apparently hoping to avoid my wrath. Had I known about it, I would have taken his life and been done with him.”
Is Hera alive? Safe? Did my bargaining work? Did Zeus set me free? Am I imagining all of this? Another nightmare? Did I really escape or just trade one prison for another? I have so many questions and no answers.
I groaned in pain as several thousand years of memories rushed back in. I felt nauseous and struggled to put everything into perspective. I felt Zeus kiss my hands, and I opened my eyes, immediately remembering every argument, every laugh, every moment with him.
My grandfather’s eyes crackle with life for the first time since I entered the office, then they narrow. “You’re not suggesting you’re planning to break her out, are you? I’m still dealing with the fallout from the last prison break.”
“You are the reason I am what I am. You are the strength in my heart, the fire in my eyes. You are the most beautiful creature that has ever lived, and every day without you has been worse than death. Something I sadly have experience in,” Zeus said.
“That after everything you did, after everything she did, I watched them take her away, and I actually felt guilty.” I stop, raising my head to look at him. It is the first time I admitted that to anyone. Let alone myself. “So yeah, guess my crimes have earned me eternity.”
The hands were still spinning in lazy, counter-clockwise circles. I looked down at the watch. My eyes glowed in the reflection in the glass, but…nothing. I could feel no power surging through me, no pull into the watch.