Hemera had already shown herself for the day. After the last few nights, all I wanted was to crawl into one of my many dark caves; I couldn’t even be bothered to stop at the OA building, where an extra bed was waiting for me in my office. Sweeping mists curled and unfurled in my fingers, then reflexively wrapping around my head. I drifted into my own darkness and welcomed the very much needed sleep.
I woke to an absurd and annoying buzzing noise by my head.
Rolling over, I discovered I was no longer on the cold, damp floor in my dark cave. Instead, I lay on a mortal’s bed. Where the fuck was I? Surrounded by a quilted duvet and what seemed like a million throw pillows, I tried to remember the night before. Did I not go home after the opening of Nox? I know I was wasted from celebrating, but not so wasted that I would follow some groupie home. Not on Nyx’s big night. I stepped out of the plush bed and grabbed a pair of jeans that lay on the floor. I needed to get out of here before being seen.
I was halfway down the stairs when I realized the pictures on the wall were of Nyx and me like we were a happy mortal family. Babies and toddlers surrounding us. I rubbed my eyes and stared at the pictures, confused by the mortal looking life in front of me. This wasn’t real, it couldn’t be. At the foot of the stairs, I tripped on a baby toy, resulting in me flying through the air; I landed in front of the mirror. I looked at the reflection that stared back at me. It was as if the last two millennia hadn’t even passed. I was young, no more than 1k. I looked good. Seriously, what in Hades was going on? A loud honking noise came from outside followed by someone yelling.
“Erebus, move your ass!”
Opening the door, I saw Tartarus and Ares sitting in a beige classic convertible mustang, waiting patiently for me.
“Uh—hey guys. What’s going—”
“You are going to make us late again, Erebus! You know Principal Zeus does not accept tardiness, move it!” Ares was glaring at me.
“What do you mean Principal Zeus?” I muttered under my breath. I walked over to the car, taking in my surroundings. Something was off. Things felt real, but not quite. I must be dreaming.
Tartarus wasn’t the same retired God who had named the underworld after himself. In front of me, this God was still in his prime and behind the wheel. “Get in, bro.”
I quietly jumped into the car, eyeing Ares. The owner of Wares Security was hanging out with my brother? I’m not sure when they became friends, or even me for that matter. I didn’t have many friends. I had always been a bit of a loner. I had my family and that was enough. I know you would never guess that by my new evening job; being a deejay kind of makes you the center of attention.
“Did you call Mom? She was looking for you.”
“Mom?” I didn’t understand Tartarus.
“Yeah, she’s pissed that you came in so late, you missed curfew again.”
I slid into the backseat of the car, shaking my head, wondering what kind of weird dream Morpheus had put me in to. Maybe I pissed him off or something and he’s getting payback. Kids.
We pulled up to a two-story cement building. Young mortals were walking in and out of the building, circles of them sitting on the grass, converging in small masses. Russ parked the car, Ares hopped out and yelled over his shoulder. “Next time, we won’t wait.” I looked over to Russ and rolled my eyes.
“What is this place?”
“What’s wrong with you this morning? Did you hit yourself on the head?”
I rubbed my head in confusion. I wasn’t even sure.
“You better hurry up, or you’ll be going to detention— again — and you know you’re not one of Mr. Hades’ favourites.”
I mouthed “Mr. Hades.” This was a strange dream. “Detention?”
A red BMW pulled up beside me.
“Hey, good looking.” A hot goddess looked over dark rimmed sunglasses at me.
I smiled, Nyx’s lips were pouty and voluptuous as ever. Damn, my wife was sexy.
“You best mind your thoughts—” Nyx stepped out of the sleek BMW, her stomach was out past her knees. “Or we will get ourselves into even more trouble.”
Nyx was pregnant again? My eyes bulged from my head and I bit down on my tongue. I can’t handle another baby. Another snivelling, whiny God. This is not a dream, it’s a nightmare.
Nyx linked her arm with mine, nodding at Russ. “I’ve got it from here.”
We walked through the masses of young mortals. Nyx talked on and on about some party she was throwing and how it was going to be all the rage among our classmates. That’s when I finally clued in.
“Am I to believe that we are in high school?”
Nyx’s threw her head back and laughed. “Seriously, Erebus, you are acting so strange.” We paused outside a door. “Are you going to be okay while I see Miss Hera?” The door behind Nyx read Guidance Counselor.
I leaned over and kissed Nyx on the cheek.
Nyx smiled. “I don’t know why they insist on me attending these family planning meetings. It’s not like I don’t already have five kids. I know what I’m doing.”
Hera stepped out from behind the door. But it wasn’t the Hera as I came to know her. This Hera was again younger like the rest of us. “We insist you attend the meetings because you keep getting yourself into these situations. Come now.”
Nyx rolled her eyes. “Don’t forget we’re meeting everyone at The Coconut Hut after school today for more party planning.” Nyx rubbed her growing belly. “I’ve been craving one of Matt’s famous Mighty Burgers. Oooh, and a milkshake, and maybe some coconut pie!”
Nyx disappeared behind counselor Hera’s door, still listing food she wanted to eat, leaving me to stand alone in the hallway. The bell had rung and I didn’t have the slightest idea where I was supposed to be.
“Erebus.” A familiar voice boomed behind me. He sounded displeased, which wasn’t much different from the usual.
“Hades,” I said as I turned around to face him.
His face turned red in anger.
“How many times have I told you, it’s Mr. Hades, and don’t you have somewhere you should be?”
“Umm …” I shrugged; it was my only defence.
“‘Umm’ isn’t going to cut it this time! Detention, 4:00 p.m. sharp.” And with that, Hades turned and exited from where he came.
He doesn’t change much ─ always locking people up ─ even in my dreams.
Four o’clock came and I was sitting in detention. I wasn’t even sure how I got there, the dream must have jumped. I looked around at the riff raff that surrounded me. What a bunch of slackers; I’m surprised I didn’t see Dion in here. I needed to come up with an excuse to get out of here, I had better things to do with my time then sit here and be scolded like an errant mortal. I needed to wake up. If I could only figure out how. I heard if you could find the proper door ─ or even tell yourself to wake up while in a dream, it would happen. At least that’s what the mortals believed. “Wake up.” Nothing happened. I put my head down on the desk and tried to think of a plan.
“Mr.” Hades came into the room and sat down behind a desk, pulling out some papers and began shuffling them. Hmmm, I wonder…I dropped a pencil on the ground knowing just what buttons to press.
Hades head snapped up. “Erebus, I don’t know why I even bother with you. Get out of my sight, go see Principal Zeus.”
I smirked. Perfect. Now to make an exit. I ducked into the hall and started for the closest door to the outside world. That should be enough to release me from this ridiculous nightmare. A blur of colour whizzed by me. Nike skated over to me on her sneakers, coming to a stop in front of me. I could see the exit door just over her shoulder. Nike, if possible, looked like she was born of this century, she even looked like the mortals.
“Well, if it isn’t my senior buddy,” she said, her eyebrows raised.
“Where are you off to in such a hurry?”
“I was just leaving. Nyx is waiting for me.”
“But aren’t you supposed to be heading to Principal Zeus’ office?”
“How did you know that?” I had just left the room two seconds before, how does Nike always know what’s going on? I should have known she would still be attached to her daddy even in a dream. I’d have to outsmart her. I took a chance and guessed; not waiting for her to answer, I asked her another question, “Nike my freshman buddy, you wouldn’t rat me out now, would you? I hear you’re still looking for an invite to Nyx’s party. I can always put in a good word for you.”
Nike stood back on her heels and crossed her arms while looking me over. “Do you think I was born yesterday? Nyx isn’t inviting freshmen to her party.”
“You’ll have to trust me then, won’t you?”
Nike gave a huff. “Just this once, and only because you covered for me when I accidentally damaged Principal Zeus’ car.”
I still had no clue what Nike was talking about. “Right, that. Let me leave now and I’ll make sure you have an invite in your hands by tomorrow morning.”
Empty promises were my thing; hopefully, dream Nike was none the wiser.
“Oh, I can’t wait!” And with that Nike rolled away beaming because she was included.
I quickly looked between to the room where I had come and to the door that held my possible escape. Just a few steps more. This has to wake me up. Walking the last few steps, I leaned on the door hard, flinging it open, only to be greeted by a mortal dressed in a black leather jacket and torn jeans. Her short bleached hair was strewn about her perfect face. She was carrying a motorcycle helmet. Badass and just my type. I was headed down a dangerous road with that line of thinking. Maybe I wasn’t in such a hurry to leave my dream world after all. What was Morpheus up to by planting this little seed?