On the Eve of Victory

I pause as I reach the kitchen sink, my attention caught by the view of the city outside the open window. A light breeze flicks past me, cooling my naked body. I continue to stare, the lights dotting the skyline reminding me how alive this place is. Hopefully, soon I will be in charge of all that’s before me.

Kinnesberg rolls off me with a deep gasp of delight. It’s not the first time, and if I have my way, it won’t be the last. My trip to the Goddess of Love did the trick. There is nothing wrong with my performance now. Well, I certainly haven’t had any complaints from the woman who has been sharing my bed for the past few nights. The beautiful brunette leans up, pushing a strand of her hair away from a very sweaty forehead.

“Drink?” she breathes at me.

“What do you want?” I ask, letting my eyes drift down her naked body. I love the soft movement of her chest as she sucks a few more breaths.

“Water and I can get it.”

I’m already on my feet and out into the pokey living space of my apartment. We could have gone to the stunning loft she owns on the other side of town, but here is closer to the office. A taxi ride to my home is just short enough for us to hold out from our desires. Kinnesberg pretended that we had plenty still to do, and I nodded enthusiastically, asking appropriate questions. It’s all work for the drive, then play once we’re alone.

I pause as I reach the kitchen sink, my attention caught by the view of the city outside the open window. A light breeze flicks past me, cooling my naked body. I continue to stare, the lights dotting the skyline reminding me how alive this place is. Hopefully, soon I will be in charge of all that’s before me. 

“I thought you weren’t going to think about it.” She places a delicate hand on my shoulder, and I try not to tense. 

“Did you believe me?” I continue to enjoy the view before me, so many people going about their business. Of course, things will be different for everyone tomorrow. They have to find time to vote, disrupting their usual routines to make their voices heard. For them, it’s a small matter. For me, it is a huge undertaking. Tomorrow will determine my future, and I want to believe I’ve done enough.

I’ve worked so hard, and for once, it hasn’t all been dishonest. Of course, this work is all one big trick. This is what I set out to do all those months ago. I was determined to return to my former glory, and I’d needed a challenge. Something big to prove to myself that I was the great trickster again. I was certain that conning a whole town into believing I was the best person to run it would be my crowning accomplishment, but it has also been more than that. It has been a journey to my redemption. I’d made a mistake and did something terrible. In this place, I have a chance to do something positive. I’ve found it all so different, but I’ve also enjoyed it. The day after tomorrow, I’ll find out if I’m staying or disappearing with my tail between my legs. 

What do I do if I fail? I really haven’t given it any thought. Not because I don’t believe I could lose. I just can’t wrap my head around the idea that I won’t be up at the crack of dawn dealing with the numerous emails Kinnesberg has already sent me. That a quick breakfast won’t be followed by a packed schedule, rolling out rehearsed answers, kissing babies, and the like. If I suddenly find my day wide open, I’m really not sure what I’ll do next or what tricky target I might go after.

As if sensing my uncertainty about the future, Kinnesberg turns my body towards her. I let my gaze drift down. She’s thrown on the silky slip that sends me a little wild. It wraps around her body so wonderfully that every line and each curve is accentuated. I can’t believe it’s a coincidence that she wore it today. Gently, she eases my head up, looking me in the eye.

“I know it’s not easy, the waiting. Trust me when I say we’re going to be okay. You’re going to be elected.”

“What did the latest polls say?” I move past her towards the tiny table.

“Hard to call. You were ahead in about half of them.”

“And the papers?” 

“About the same. The ones in Beagly’s pocket are saying it’s him, while ours do the same for you.” I lift her bra off the tabletop, and my attention’s caught by an envelope that wasn’t there this morning. “You’d think we’d leave at least one of the local media outlets alone, just so we can get a read on what the actual outcome is expected to be.” Kinnesberg jokes over my shoulder, but my focus is still on the letter. Written on it, in a curly script, is Darnell Till, Mayor. That’s it. There’s no address. It must have been left with the building super. He’s not in the habit of dropping post into people’s homes, though. Then I realise there’s something familiar about the writing. But it can’t be. 

“How would she know I’m here?” I ask out loud. I look around the apartment, and my eye falls on the open window again. That explains why there is no address written on this. There was no need. It was hand-delivered. I poke my finger inside the flap of the envelope, tearing at it. Inside is a small piece of paper, neatly folded, and a golden feather.

“What’s that?” Kinnesberg is at my side, but I ignore her. I unfold the sheet and grin at the now very recognisable writing.

Dear Darnell,

I hear through the grapevine that you are running for mayor. That’s a change from the old days. I never would’ve believed you would try something so tricky.

I’m a little disappointed to hear you stopped by to see “The Pretty Princess” but didn’t come to see me. I am always here, though, whenever you feel like catching up. If you are worried about what happened before, especially with your family, don’t be. I can assure you that it was a long time ago. Water under the bridge. I’m sure they would love to see you soon. I don’t think it will be as bad as you might imagine. We are all here for you. Come home to us soon.

Always your friend,


I can’t help but grin. I suppose if any immortal was going to spot me and reach out during this campaign, it would be the Goddess of Victory. We were pretty close, the Little One and I, especially back in the day. I had always figured her as a goody two-shoes, especially the way she hung round looking after her parents and getting on with her siblings. That might have stayed that way if not for the mischief she caused at Mother’s birthday. I don’t think she spotted me there, but I certainly saw how she orchestrated the chaos that day. It made me view her in a different light, even if it did take some time for me to step from the shadows and speak to her. I haven’t thought of her in a long time. Yet, when I need her, she’s here for me.

Nike has provided me with the perfect present. I twiddle the feather between my fingers. I’m not sure if her powers work on us gods or if it’s just a mortal thing. I’m pretty certain it’s whoever she gives it to, but these discussions are all from long ago. Whether it works or not, I can’t help but feel that my victory is now confirmed. 

“Darnell, what is going on?” Kinnesberg looks a bit freaked out as I turn to her. She’s clocked the envelope, the lack of address worrying her.

“It’s nothing,” I lie. “Just someone I used to work with. Must have bribed the building’s super to leave this here for me.”

“But what is it?” She’s wide-eyed as she takes in the feather.

“Just an old joke. It doesn’t mean anything.” It does, though. It means my friend wishes me well, and also that maybe I’ve been wrong about being away all this time. Perhaps I should have gone to see everyone at some point. Maybe they might have helped me when I was at my lowest. But then I wouldn’t be here, and now, with Nike’s blessing, I can’t see myself having time to go and visit anytime soon. Although, perhaps I should make some. Ease an opening into my schedule for a trip.

It’s a problem for another day, though. First, I need to get my new job, and now I can enjoy the waiting. I drop the letter and feather to the floor and pull Kinnesberg to me. I kiss her deeply, passionately. She pulls away from me, suspicion in her eyes.

“Are you okay?” she demands.

“You are going to stay on when we win, aren’t you?” I deflect with a grin and she can’t help but respond.

“I don’t know. Are you going to give me a raise?”

“It’s a raise you want, is it?” I move forward, my hips pressing against hers, my mouth near hers.

She giggles playfully. “I will take one now and then another very soon, Mr. Mayor.”

“You like the sound of that, do you?”

Because I do. 

Dolus (Andrew Harrowell)
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