I walked aimlessly through the empty hall. School must have been out, because there wasn’t a student in sight. I wasn’t sure how long I had been here and I began to worry if I was stuck in one of Melinoe’s dreams again. I don’t think anyone would be stupid enough to put me back into her realm. Not after she crossed me, not after I got my revenge- as small as it was.
I walked up the stairs looking for anyone.
Where in the Hades is everyone?
I circled the corner and came up to a room that looked like it belonged to a school paper. Newspapers were strewn about each desk, and an ancient looking computer sat in the corner. I entered the room, checking things out. I had seen this room before; something was familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Someone coughed from the doorway and I turned around.
“I’ve been looking for you.” The girl with the spikey blonde hair stood in the doorway. Her jeans so ripped I could see the pockets hanging out from the insides. Her black leather jacket slung over her shoulder.
I gulped unintentionally. “Me?”
Her sultry voice echoed in my head. “Yes, you. Aren’t you going to say hello?”
“Hi.” I was a tad confused.
She walked into the room, throwing her jacket over the back of a chair. “Is that any way to greet me? You can do better than that!”
She pushed herself up against my body, wrapping her arms around my neck, her eyes stared at my lips, waiting for me to meet her halfway.
“I’ve missed you, Erebus.”
I didn’t have time to react before her mouth was on mine.
*Annoying buzzer sounding*
The alarm jarred me to life, my dream gone, but not forgotten. I rolled over, slapping it off pulling the pillow back over my head. Not now. I could hear someone yelling from outside. I didn’t realize the walls at the OA building were that thin. Grumbling, I rolled over, realizing I wasn’t in the OA building. I wasn’t lying in my own bed; I wasn’t even lying in one of my caves. Sitting up, I realized I had been in this room before. I jumped up, grabbing my jeans and shoes. I could feel the bile rising in my throat. Oh, hell no! Racing out of the room, I ran down the stairs, passing the familiar family pictures that hung on the wall. Nyx smiling back at me in every single picture, one child’s school picture after the other. This can’t be happening. I could feel the panic ready to erupt. A car horn honked from outside. No! It can’t be. I opened up the door and there in the driveway was Tartarus, the brother I no longer had, and Ares sitting in the same classic beige mustang with the top down.
“Erebus, move your ass!”
I slowly walked over to the car. The two idiots in the front seat were bickering.
“You are going to make us late again, Erebus! You know Principal Zeus does not accept tardiness, move it!” Ares was glaring at me.
No, no no. I’ve been here before, I’ve done this. What the hell. Zeus is not a principal, Hades is not a detention teacher. I do not go to high school!
“Get in, bro.”
It hurt to see my brother; he had mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard from again after Zeus tightened up on how many primoridals were allowed in Olympus.
“Did you call Mom? She was looking for you.”
Everything played out like it had before. I didn’t even have to answer and the conversation would repeat as it had months before when I was trapped in the dream realm. I jumped into the back seat of the car and remained silent, watching everything repeat around me. The car pulled into the parking lot and Ares got out of the car, still in the same pissy mood as before.
“Next time, we won’t wait.” Ares jogged off to high school behind him.
“Yeah, yeah.” I rolled my eyes.
Nyx pulled up seconds later in her little red BMW. I didn’t even wait for her. I’ve been here―
definitely done that, nodding at Nyx. I’m not going through this again. Leaving Nyx and Russ behind, I ran over to the high school. I could still hear Nyx yelling at me from across the quad.
“Don’t forget about my party!”
I could almost hear the pout in her voice, I was so over her. I didn’t even care.
My fists slammed into the front doors, resulting in a loud boom, causing heads to turn in my general direction. I ran down the hallway looking for anything to get me out of this nightmare.
“Erebus.” The familiar voice of Hades boomed behind me.
I turned around running back to him. “Hades,” I grabbed him by the collar of his jacket. “You have to get me out of this hell hole! It’s not funny anymore. I don’t know Melinoe must have me trapped again …” I looked Hades in his red displeased face and slowly let go of his collar.
“How many times have I told you, it’s Mr. Hades, and don’t you have somewhere you should be?”
“FUCK!” I yelled right in Hades’ face. Before I could get expelled for my outburst, I ran in the opposite direction. I could hear Hades yelling after me, “Detention, 4:00 p.m. sharp.”
I ran down the hall and around the corner, stopping short. I found myself facing Hades again. What the fuck was happening? I hadn’t run in a circle, so how did he get here so fast? Hades stood outside the room tapping his foot and looking at his wrist watch.
“It’s 4:00 p.m. Erebus, do you need me to haul you in here myself?” he asked rhetorically.
I needed to find that door, that’s how I got out the last time, wasn’t it? I opened the door and the spikey blonde walked through, and I was free or was I? How did I wake up and out of Melinoe’s dream realm? My indecision on whether to join the other students in detention seemed to be enough to piss off “Mr.” Hades off. His head snapping up. “Erebus, I don’t know why I even bother with you. Get out of my sight, go see Principal Zeus.”
Just like the last time.
I counted in my head three seconds and Nike rolled around the corner on her shoes. “Well, if it isn’t my―”
I raised a finger in front of her face. “I’m going to stop you right there. I’m not your senior buddy, no, I can’t help you get an invite to Nyx’s party, and I’m not going to Principal Zeus’s office.”
Nike stared at me as if I had slapped her in the face. I grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her as hard as I could. “Where’s the door to get out? I NEED OUT!”
She took a step back, releasing my hold of her shoulders. Nike batted her eyelashes at me like I was a crazy person. Maybe I am. Slowly, she pointed over her shoulder towards a door. The door. My exit.
Leaving Nike in her tracks, I walked over to the door, closing my eyes I leaned on the pressbar.
“You’re not leaving, are you?” I heard a sultry voice from behind me.
My head dropped back and my shoulders slumped. “No, apparently not.” I turned around to face the girl in my dreams.
“We haven’t officially met. I’m Emily,” she said, sticking out her hand.
The blonde spikey-haired girl had a name. I smiled wearily. “Erebus.”
“I know,” she smiled back. “Do you go ever go to class? I only ever see you walking the hallways.” Emily rested her bike helmet on her hip.
“Well―not really. Apparently I just come here to be tortured,” I said, rolling my eyes.
Emily laughed; it was a cute laugh. Nothing over the top, nothing that would draw a room’s attention. I liked her. I stepped away from the door, not so quick to leave this time. I wondered what would happen if I stayed here?
Emily leaned forward and whispered in my ear. “I know how to get you out of here for good,” she said, licking her lips.
“What―how?” I wasn’t sure if she understood that I was trapped in a dream or if she meant the high school.
Emily leaned in wrapping her arms around me seductively and continued to whisper. “Follow me, you’re being watched.”
I pulled back slightly, my brow raised.What the hell was going on?
Emily kissed me on the cheek gently. “This way.” Her hand slipped down into my own as she pulled me away from the door. My only exit. Where was this girl taking me? Was she a figment of my imagination? Why haven’t I woken up yet? We circled the hall a few times before she spoke again.
“Do you know what a trickster is?” she asked me quietly.
Of course I know what a trickster is, how could I not? But one has not dared to mess with me in over a millenia. The last one that tried to play a trick on me was sent into the dark void of a black hole, courtesy of my ring gifted to me from Chaos. I rarely ever used it.
“Obviously.” I rolled my eyes at her. “Are you saying a trickster has trapped me here?”
Emily’s lips curved into a devilish smile.
“That’s impossible.” I shook my head.
“Is it, though?” Emily pulled on my hand, dragging me through one corridor of the school after another. “You have been MIA for a few hours now. Everyone knows how much you like seclusion and long naps, Erebus.”
“For the last time―”
“Melinoë put me in a dream world for three months,” Emily whined, mocking me. “Yeah, yeah, we already know. That’s all you’ve had to say since you were released.”
I dropped her hand. My dark shadows awakening from their dark slumber, I tried to unfurl my wings, but something prevented me. My dark shadows scratched and tore to get out of their shell; they did not like to be sheathed for very long, and I had been here long enough listening to this nonsense.
Emily only nodded, aware that I was struggling to set my anger and darkness free.
“You’re going to have to follow me.”