Content Warning: Torture
As soon as I hung up with Ares, I was dialing Heph. I felt guilty for reaching out to Ares before my husband, but I needed to obtain Hephaestus’s number, and it was the only thing I hadn’t tried.
I had the phone pressed to my ear before I even considered whether it was a smart thing to do. I couldn’t help my eagerness. I had been waiting for that moment for years and it had taken a lot of hard work to get me there. But as the voice told me to leave a voicemail, I sighed and flopped back onto the bed in defeat.
“Heph, I have returned. I was hoping that we could discuss things. Our marriage, for one. Call me back when you have a moment, please,” I murmured before hanging up the phone. Of course, I assumed he knew my voice and still only had one wife, so I didn’t bother telling him it was me.
There wasn’t much time to mope over the lack of an answer. There were things to be done, and it was getting closer to time to put my plans into motion.
I gave the game back over to Micah, who glared at me for messing up what he had planned, but said nothing. They were used to my random comings and goings, but they did give me strange looks as I left. Did they suspect what I was about to do? For their sake, I hoped not. Plausible deniability was a marvelous thing to have.
My lips curled up into a smile as I heard the key turn in the lock. It may have been meant to keep intruders out, but it did little against me. There was no safety, no hiding. He’d forfeited all of it the night I returned to find Calliope in need of my help. It had been some time since I had given into the wrathful vengeance thing, but it felt like the perfect time to do so. If anyone had earned it, it was him.
Perhaps I was giving in to the dramatics I had come to love from mortal media. But there was something about his startled cry when he saw me sitting in the near dark, playing an athame between my fingers that made me almost giddy.
“Heath, was it?” I asked. His expression proved me right. It was a little over the top to wait for him as I had. Then again, I had lived long enough to earn myself a little entertainment. Tormenting humans was probably frowned upon, but I would never count him amongst the mortals. He was less than nothing in my eyes, just something to tear piece from piece and discard. “I would ask forgiveness and explain that my love of your mortal media has given me a flair for the dramatic. However, you deserve no explanation.”
His lips parted. A part of me would always be curious as to what he was going to say, but I silenced him before he had the chance to speak. No, I didn’t kill him. Over the next few days, he wished for death. I thought about giving it to him, perhaps calling him personally. But that would have been too kind.
A red thumbprint smeared over my screen as I sent Amph another meme. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so amused by the comedic images people had made of our pantheon. It was a weakness, but I knew my best friend well enough to know she would also find them humorous. It was a connection we could maintain until we were able to meet and discuss everything that had happened. We had years of catching up to do, but I refused to do it any way that wasn’t face-to-face.
A grimace pulled at my features as I wiped my poor abused phone clean with his abandoned shirt. Heath had passed out after our most recent session, but we were far from done. I sent a quick text to my mortals’ group chat and then set the device aside.
“You have not earned sleep yet. Wake up,” I growled, my hand connecting with his face again. For all the blood decorating myself and the table I had strapped him to, I knew he wasn’t close to being finished.
I washed the blood from my hands, watching the diluted pink liquid swirl around the drain with a sigh. He cried too much. It wasn’t fun in the least. Okay, there was some fun had at first, but then he bored me. So he could rest while I sent a few more memes to Amph. As I backed out of my text messages, I paused, seeing Heph’s number. I’d sent him countless texts telling him I had returned and wanted to talk to him, that I wanted to get together with him when he was free. I never thought he’d be quiet for this long. I’d been cutting and hacking away at Heath for the better part of a week, so what was going on with my husband? My trepidation about our possible reunion was being overwhelmed by my worry for him. What could one more voicemail hurt?
My finger hit his number before I had a chance to talk myself out of it. Yet again, there was no answer. When the beep sounded, I sighed and shushed the screaming male strapped to the table behind me. “Quiet! I am on the phone! Sorry, I was just worried about you, Heph. If you are angry with me, I understand. I just want to know that you are alright. When you are ready, we can talk. I hope.”
That was all I could do. Hope. My current one was that he was okay. All I wanted at that moment was for him to be alright, just angry with me and refusing to answer me. I’d earned that over the years. I would take silence from him as long as he was safe and whole.
Another scream from Heath had me nearly breaking my phone as I slammed it down. “I told you to be quiet. My husband has had every reason not to trust me. If your screaming has damaged what I am trying to repair, not even Tartarus will keep you safe from my wrath.”
My hand had wrapped around his throat and squeezed before I thought about my actions. Perhaps another session with Dr. Frost wasn’t a bad idea. I released the still male’s neck and wondered how I would explain my most recent fumble. And maybe my referring to killing a man as a fumble was telling enough on its own of how much therapy I still needed. Oh, well, baby steps and all that.
At least Micah would get it cleaned up, no questions asked. I headed back to the GC without worrying about the dead mortal, my thoughts on my missing husband. I would take a long soak and some gaming would clear my mind. I needed to prepare myself to deal with more gods because there were at least a few within the GC that I knew I had to see. Maybe it’d be enough to distract me from my search for a while. Just maybe.