I appeared in front of the God Complex and let out a sigh. Home of the gods. Joy. I get to hang out with everyone again. The glass building rose over a thousand feet into the sky, overlooking the fields of Greece and the Aegean Sea. For better or worse, family was family. I pushed past the doors, entering the reception area. Mortals were queuing behind a metal detector, doing all the normal things they expected.
I walked to a guard at the information desk and smiled at her. “Hi, I’m Hestia. The head of my catering company tells me I have a floor here. Where is it?”
The guard snorted, not looking up from her comic. “Lady, do you know how many people attempt to get in by saying they are a god? There isn’t any line jumping, not since the terrorist attack.”
“Well, good thing I’m not a mortal, Cora, isn’t it?” I said with a slight grin.
Cora looked up and actually looked at me for the first time. She shook her head and blinked a few times. “Oh, I am so sorry, Lady Hestia. So many try to skip the line. Please, go right on up.”
“Take the lift to the eighth floor. It’s been assigned for your personal use. Here, take a directory of the floors,” Cora said as she slid a pamphlet through the glass opening that kept her safe from the other mortals. She grabbed a key box and handed it to me. “Your access keys.”
“Thank you. Now I think I’m going to bed,” I said with a nod.
“One moment, Hestia. I need to register your pet. Is that a Cerberus cat?” Cora asked, grabbing a notepad and a pen.
“No, it’s just a bit of fire I found. I’m taking it to my hearth. If that’s all?”
“It’s not a real cat?” Cora looked a little confused.
“No, dear, she’s just a bit of mental control,” I said as I turned before flipping through the directory as I walked through the milling crowds. There were a few that I needed to talk to, but later. It had been a long week. I’d used a lot of my power to help the community center.
As I entered my apartment, the fire kitty leapt off my shoulder and made a beeline for my hearth. She curled on top of a log with a sigh. I pursed my lips as I glanced around. “Yes, this will do.” Suddenly, the hairs on the back of my neck and arms rose as I took in the kitchen. It looked like a great test kitchen, with several gas stoves, fridges, prep areas, a large pantry, among other requirements for a professional kitchen. “Oh no, no, no, no. That just won’t do. I can feel it. She’s gonna invade my kitchen again.”
I picked up the god phone in the kitchen and called up maintenance. “Yes, this is Hestia. I need fire protection in my kitchen.”
“You control fire. Why do you need protection?” the voice asked.
“Because someone who can’t cook is coming, and she’ll burn down the complex. This is what I need you to do,” I said before explaining exactly what I wanted to be installed.
“That’s going to take a few days to get set up correctly,” the worker said.
“No worries, I’m not leaving for a while. I’ll let you know if I need anything else,” I said before hanging up the phone. “Wiretap device?” I asked as I started to examine how my place had been decorated. “Sorry, Alexa, play Hestia’s playlist from Spotify.”
Seconds later, my tunes started to play throughout the apartment. My hips started to move, and I tossed my hands into the air, jamming like no one was watching. Well, no one should be watching unless that flying delivery man was floating around the windows, but somehow I didn’t think so. I snorted at the posters of bonfires that covered the living room walls. “Who thought I would have a fire fetish? Just because I can control fire doesn’t mean it’s all me.” With a flick of a hand later, they fell as light ash to the ground. My kitty leapt out of the fire and started trying to catch the burnt paper.
I entered the bedroom and gasped. “This place looks like a shrine to fire. Oh, come on, I’m not the Goddess of Fire,” I groaned as I pinched the bridge of my nose. “I am going to need to go shopping.” The words caused a shiver to crawl across my right side. “Not only will she burn my kitchen down, but she’s also sooo going to be pissed if I don’t let her go shopping with me.”
I don’t care, I love it, came the song from the wiretap device.
“I know you love it,” I groaned to the song. “She’s going to go nuts over this chance. Oh god, she’s going to try to get me set up with Hermes again.” I rolled my eyes as I started to strip the bed of anything that looked like fire.
As I tossed the comforter into my hearth another new song came through the speakers. Another one bites the dust, another one bites the dust.
“Welp, it’s a good playlist,” I said as I danced back to my room. I ripped open my closet to find orange and red clothes. “For the love of sin, who set this place up? Fire is not my life,” I groaned as I started to toss the hanging clothes. “Is this sequin done in the shape of flames?” I laughed as I shook the tiny dress, the lighting making it look like it was on fire.” Yeah, no,” I said as the outfit landed on the ever-growing discard pile.
“Life is fire,” I said, reading the writing on a shirt I pulled a shirt out of a drawer. “What does that even mean?” I tossed the shirt aside before grabbing another. “The Fire Festival? I mean, yes, good music and such, but I’m not going to wear shirts like this.” I grabbed the drawer and just dumped it into the growing pile.
The sun had started to set, giving a flaming sky as orange and red replaced the blue when I looked at all the clothes I had gone through. The pile was taller than I was, covering half the living room floor. I started to stuff them into trash bags for delivery to mortal charity drives. I’m sure the drachma counters would like the write-off.
“Maintenance,” said the man at the door after knocking.
“Do come in. You have the changes I asked for?” I asked after answering.
“Should be done in a jiffy,” the man said as he started installing cameras and other parts in my kitchen.
I gave a fierce grin. “Maybe this time she won’t burn down my house.” I laughed as I returned to sorting the pile of fire-themed clothes.
As the sky grew dark, I grabbed a glass of white wine, stepping out onto the enclosed balcony. “You know, as much as I’d like the wind from the building whipping around me, at least we have a view still.” I glanced up at the toenail moon and lifted my glass to the object in the sky. “To old friends,” I said before taking a drink.
I stood there, watching the mortals go about their evening, refilling my glass several times. “Oh, so much pain and suffering out there. That father’s heart is broken and he’s so lost. Oh my, he knows he’s acting wrong, but he has no idea how to be a good father.” I wiped a tear from my cheek as I flicked a finger at a tiny form. “The outlook you’ll need to save your family,” I said softly. “The sins of your mother shall not trickle down to you.”
I turned away from the window, not wanting to feel any more of the mortal’s pain and prayers for help. The maintenance guy was walking up to the sliding door with a wicked grin on his face. “Milady, I’ve made a few more tweaks considering the history you have with your friend,” he said as he handed me a list.
“Oh my,” I said as I glanced over. “This shall be interesting. Are you sure this is right?” I pointed at a line item.
“Totally. The Halon will act exactly as you intended, just I didn’t like the color of the foam,” he said with an evil glint in his eye.
“It’s perfect,” I said as I signed off the work order as completed.
“If that is all?” he asked.
“Well, could you get a cart so I can start getting this mess of clothes to the dock? They are going to the local charity,” I pointed to the several hundred bags of clothes.
“I’ll get a team up here to help,” he said before turning and speaking into a walky-talky. There was a blurred voice that came back. “We’ll have these removed within the hour.”
“Thank you, Clyde,” I said with a smile. “You should take a night off, spend it with your wife and daughter. They miss you.”
“Well, the gods have many demands upon us,” Clyde said.
“There is nothing more important than the bonds of home and hearth. Without them, mankind is lost. For a long time, the balance of the home has been off and made worse with the industrial revolution. A work/home balance is needed. Too much time at either often wrecks both. Take the weekend, take your daughter out to the movies, take her to a concert, or something.”
Clyde rolled his eyes. “We are paid well, but there is no way I can afford a concert two days before.”
“Eh, it’s on me,” I said as I handed him a wad of cash. “Go have fun with your family.”
Clyde laughed before bowing his head. “As you wish.” He turned and left me alone.
“Home at last,” I said, a wide grin across my face. I twirled, taking in everything, My mind’s eye filled with all sorts of design ideas that she would override. All well, that was life. Then again, payback would be all sorts of fun.
“The Prank Wars have begun,” I said in a Yoda voice before cackling like some old school witch.