I form outside a bar in downtown Athens. Motorcycles line the far right as music from the bar yells to the passersby to take a peak. It is a nice bar. I have been a few times, but the place I want tonight is located underneath it. I stride inside and head towards the back. My short, white skin-tight dress is an off-putting color to the leather jackets and spiked clothes of the other patrons. Two large men with tattoos and beards block my entrance, folding their arms.
“I think you are in the wrong place, sweetie,” one says as the other nods along.
I smirk briefly before leaning forward and whispering, “I think if you don’t move, I am going to rip your arm off and shove it up your friend’s ass.”
The one to the right starts to say something but stops, and I can tell my eyes have lit up to their golden shine by the expression on his face. The one to his left clears his throat as he uses his foot to kick twice on the door behind him. A small metal slit opens and someone peeks out, looks at me, then opens the door. The men move out of my way and I push pass them, heading for the underground club below.
Techno music blasts my ears as red, blue, and pink lights dance across the narrow hall from a doorway further down. I take the steps down two at a time and enter the club scene. People bounce around dancing, half-dressed in different color body paint as others wear glow sticks around their necks, arms, and waists. The area is even more massive than upstairs. It is closed off because of the crowd it caters to. A far corner has a couple sniffing lines off a glass table. Mortals closer to the bar exchange pills, and half the liquor here could knock even a god on their ass.
Sighing, I know this isn’t even close to enough chaos to summon the one I need, so as I walk through the crowd, I spread my hands to my sides, allowing more mischief to roll from me. It is almost intoxicating, being somewhere I can release my energy. So long it had been contained, trapped, like I was. What starts as a high-end techno party soon loses control. People begin to dance and grind on each other at a faster pace than before. The DJ is adding a new playlist that all but screams for more. It is the perfect atmosphere for what I am trying to summon. The one thing I need to help me. The only goddess whose very essence matches the craziness in my brain. There is a reason they are plan C. Plan C is Chaos.
The music is reaching a fever pitch when a strange sound emits from the sound system. At first it is mistaken for feedback, but as it gets louder, it becomes clear. It is laughter.
The flurry of motion gives way to a fog of another kind as a figure seems to form in the air, created from the madness all around them.
An androgynous pale immortal emerges. Neither male nor female, with short hair black as midnight, wearing a black crop top with a white insignia that merged the male and female symbols with the anarchy sign, black-and-white striped suspenders, dark grey skinny jeans, and black leather boots.
They crash to the ground with a thud and even more laughter.
“Atë! My Kallis!!!” Eris screams with impish glee, throwing their arms around me. “I knew I would see you once more. This deserves a celebration!” they say as their arm shoots out, knocking a nearby man to the ground, grabbing his beer in the same fluid motion, and raising the bottle high. “And if this party destroys this world?” They smirk with absolute sadistic excitement before taking a sip. “All the better.”
I laugh, patting Eris on the back as we make our way to the now empty bar. Eris pulls up a stool and takes a seat while I form behind the bar, looking through the alcohol selection. The bartender fled after the place started getting wild. And now we have all the drinks we want to ourselves. I pick up a few bottles and turn to Eris.
“What’s your poison?” I ask, wiggling my eyebrows. “Vodka, rum, gin, or whiskey?”
“Yes.” Eris smirks wickedly, absentmindedly picking up a shard of broken glass and playing with it.
Smirking, I reform into the seat next to them with the bottles. “Okay, mixing it is.”
I reach over and pick up two glasses as the crowd behind us keeps hollering and laughing. I slide one over as I pour them a mix of gin and rum and then for me the same. I take a large sip, shaking my head at the odd flavor before slamming down my glass.
“What a chaotic mixture. Just like you.”
Eris beams at me.
“I missed you, Kallis. Even when I couldn’t remember you…or myself for that matter…I still missed you.” They slam down their own glass before reaching across the counter and placing their hand on mine.
A small smile briefly touches my face. I know Eris. They have been in my immortal life longer than most. They were a part of the old mischief group I had back on old Olympus. We caused trouble together, fought in wars together. I know they mean it, but a part of me just doesn’t feel it. Doesn’t feel anything. Not anymore. Which is another reason why I am here. I slide my hand away before meeting their gaze. Something is wrong with me. Off with me.
“I’m sure you know I summoned you for a reason?” I ask as the sound of a chair breaking echoes in the distance.
“Same as always?” They laugh. “You summon one who is beyond reason.” Eris snorts. “But you were always so crafty at aiming me in a particular direction nonetheless.”
I nod slowly, closing my eyes before opening them once more to meet theirs. “I trust you. I always have, and something has happened. I…” I stop and swallow hard. “Something is different with me since Tartarus. My thoughts, my feelings. I feel like they aren’t my own any longer.”
Eris takes a good long look at me, their eyes narrowing. They raise their hand, black nail polish shimmering in the wild lights, hovering near my head.
“Typhon’s backside! You do have some piping hot chaos going on up here, don’t yah?” Eris says in mixed shock, concern, and bewilderment. Their eyes widen once more as they lean in close. “Are you…alright?”
I shake my head slowly. “No. I don’t think so.” I turn away from them, pouring another drink as the party-goers behind us seem to be getting into fights. “That’s the other fun part. I don’t think I have control over my powers as much as I did before.” I stop, turning to look behind us, waving my hand at the increasingly violent crowd. “I only poured out enough mischief for a little disruption, and now it’s like a slow gas leak with no plug.”
I grabbed the drink behind me, bypassing the glass and going straight for the bottle, taking a drink as I watch the crowd.
Eris shakes it off. “Don’t blame yourself for all this. It’s probably my fault, too. I tend to bring it out in people. Plus, the two of us in the same room? Come on, they didn’t stand a chance.” Eris snickers.
I smile into my bottle. “Is it always like this in your head? A constant battle?” I turn back to them, almost pleading for an answer. “Do you ever know peace?”
“No,” they say flatly. The first thing they’d said since entering the club without a hint of mania to it. “I never do.”
I can tell by the way Eris’ expression softens, that my face has fallen at their answer.
“But that’s me. You have known peace, Kallis, known certainty. Which means you can get that back. I know you can.”
My head jerks to the side as a glass flies by, crashing against the back wall of the bar. I straighten, glancing back at Eris. “What if I can’t?”
“Well…” Eris turns, glancing back at the mayhem with a smile, before turning back and taking my hand once more, “at least you know you’ll never be alone in that howling void, you’ll always have me.”
I nod slowly at Eris’ words, squeezing their hand once as I turn back to the insane party crowd. I still felt off, even surrounded by the mischief and chaos. The only time I even felt like my old self, felt normal was when… My thoughts trail off as I remember the slight pain in my arm from the dagger, the moment of absolute clarity, and then his lips on mine. I stop, not wanting to think about that, not wanting to think about him again. I remove my hand from Eris’ once more and smile weakly. Turning back to the bar, I shove my memories down with a few liters of whiskey. I thought, at least at a high-end club, the music would drown out my thoughts. But no.
I clear my throat. “So tell me. How has your trip back home been? It’s been what, a few centuries for us?”
Eris laughs, throwing their head back. As they do so, their form subtly shifts to that of a woman, long hair, and all but the same clothing.
“It’s been…mixed, to say the least.” Eris chuckles darkly. “Met with Dad, he’s mellowed a bit surprisingly. Hermes and I almost banged, but then I switched gears and beat his ass into the carpet. They made the mistake of inviting me to a party and I went. You know, same old stuff.” She shrugs, playing with the shard of glass still in her hand.
I nod along, forgetting that it was only a month for them and way longer for me. The stuff Eris remembers seems to have happened so recently to them, but to me, it was years ago. I shake my head once more, the familiar ache starting to form as I force a smile.
“Sounds like I haven’t missed too much. However, I don’t remember Hermes being so forceful. Maybe a visit would help him remember what happens when he tries to put things where they don’t belong.”
Eris cackles like the villain of a cartoon musical before leaning over the bar and grabbing the nearest bottle, seeming to have no care of what was in it.
“I have missed you, Kallis. All these gods… they’re so concerned with how things should be and duty and making sure everyone is respected, it’s all so exhausting,” she says with a smirk as she bites into the stopper, ripping it out with her teeth before downing most of it in one swallow.
“Well, they don’t feed off the same things we do, but it is exhausting. Also, between us girls, I don’t think I’ll ever fit into what they want me to be. I’m not good or this cosmic being of perpetual bliss. And I don’t think I ever will be.” I stop, slamming my bottle down hard on the bar, watching as it shatters into a million pieces. “Also, fuck it. Why should we be anything but what we are?”
“Exactly,” Eris says with a look of absolute manic glee. “I mean come on, some of us need to hold out against the tide of character development.” She laughs. “Represent the wild abandon of yore…the screaming chaos that is the wellspring of our existence…” As she says this bit, her eyes haze over briefly with a far off look, holding her gaze into the distance for a moment before shaking her head and breaking into a grin.
I laugh against the back of my hand at Eris’s words. She’s right, though. The old days were chaotic, fun, wild. But those days were gone, long gone. The gods had recently returned to the mortal plane. A plane I had existed on for years. They had to adapt, change with the mortals. Where I had blended in. Used what I had to to survive here among them. Granted, it was fun, but a part of me had always missed my family, longed for it, and I could sense that even in my little chaotic goddess. We may be cruel at times, unforgiving, but we still longed for a place to belong. To fit in. To be loved. A home.
Shaking my head, I stand up abruptly. “Okay, enough emotional bullshit for one night. Let’s do belly shots.”
“Great!” Eris squeals. “Let’s see if any of these bastards are still conscious,” she says with a wink.