The clearing was crowded with people, their visages highlighted by moonlight. It would have been poetic were it not for the screams and growls swirling among the many cheers and calls for, end them. Olympus National Park, at least the little southern corner I had commandeered, was teeming with life, trials, decisions, combat, and potential death, if Rakeem didn’t stop pulling his punches.
With a little help and a lot of godly transport, I’d managed to orchestrate what I believed would be a good offering to the God of Chaos. I’d eventually found the main gathering spot on the GC grounds and left a note to get their attention. I was hoping the party would be enough to keep them around and curry some favor.
Eris and I had never crossed paths. I was about balance, and they were not. True balance was required to maintain the scales and bring forth real justice. Though honesty forced me to acknowledge that there was a level of beauty and order that flourished within true chaos. So much so that I believed it was the only thing that could save me.
Or damn you. One taste of true chaos, and you just might not want to be helped. You may want to keep returning for a bite of that apple.
I ignored the voice, forcefully pushing it away from the forefront of my thoughts. I leaned against the lush downy oak tree and watched the building argument before me. Rakeem and Charlie Stanz were going at it one section over, each battling for land and territory neither would ever own. Their true fight was for pride, and Rakeem was still pulling his punches.
At first, the brutality of their squaring off had been thrilling. The build-up of rage and judgment commingled within. They had all willingly and consistently been purveyors of unjust acts and were due judgment. Their darkness couldn’t escape the light or might of the universe’s scales. But, after a while, it had become tedious and boring to watch. So, I’d come to view the next offering-experiment.
There was a mini-meeting area set up. A tent, its coverings pulled back, held a podium and approximately thirty chairs. The chairs were filled with PTA moms discussing funding for their district. Two schools, specifically, were being represented. The moms were known to be ruthless, backbiting, and averse to listening.
The discussion was heated, and men from the construction union had filed into the back of the tent. There were a few clusters of them on either side, and they’d taken up fake support through mocking taunts and catcalls. The anger quotient of the women had increased twenty-fold since the men had entered. It was a sight to behold.
That tingle in your belly, that’s how you know you and Eris, Goddess of Chaos, are more alike than you’d like to believe. You want to see how this plays out. You’re damn near high from it. And not for a second have you thought to pull any of their truths to see—
A chair sailed through the room from the back. One of the construction workers had lobbed the folded metal and plastic bomb. While he aimed it away from the actual center, it had hit the target he wanted.
The pressure point.
There was madness everywhere. The moms began screeching and yelling as fists and purses were thrown. My eyes widened as the mortals savagely went after one another. Some of them were so in the moment they were swinging on other moms from their districts, their own team.
The tingle in my belly grew, wrapping around my spine, and I turned just in time to view the other tent explode in horror. Rakeem had fallen.
Across the way, the tent holding the delegations of Vegans United Against Hunger and Universal Meat Staples United, the largest meat conglomerate in the world, burst forward at the sounds from the other battling tents. Several members ran off toward the boxing battle, others made their way toward the school moms. Others stood confused, gazing around, looking between the two tents, arguing amongst themselves about whether they should intervene.
I felt their arrival like a trickle of awareness down my spine and a forced heightening of my senses.
“Well, what do we have here?” they asked from beside me. I didn’t turn or acknowledge them, my mind momentarily frozen. I really hadn’t considered what to do next. “I’m almost full, and I just got here.”
I grunted, nodding like a language barren child instead of a millennia-old goddess. I swiped a hand out toward the mayhem of screams, curses, and violence that had surely turned bloody within the tents. “An offering, of sorts.”
You realize that for the sake of your own interests, you’ve essentially offered up the mortals you should be protecting? Tsk, tsk, Justice. Your plan seems even more unbalanced than I first thought…said…whatever.
Eris doubled over, cackling loudly, their energy and hunger pulsing out and dancing along my spine. I shivered for a moment, wondering if they’d heard the voice. Accepting that wasn’t possible, I allowed my mind to wonder…what would it taste like to pull their truth? What would I see? What would I learn?
How much more unbalanced would you become with a little more Chaos inside of you?
“I like offerings.” Their tone had sobered as they pulled me back from my thoughts. They were now on the other side of me, their hand on my shoulder, standing partially behind me and still out of my direct line of sight unless I turned of my own accord. “Thing is, sweet Justice, I do not require my buffets to have violence or brutality.” They leaned closer, their breath tickling along my skin. “Kind of means this might’ve been more for you than me.”
I turned then, my silver eyes shining as I stared into their gorgeous kaleidoscope ones. The urge to drag them closer and kiss them was stronger than any I’d had up to that moment. Their words washed over me in a delayed swell, and I turned away, taking in the battling mortals instead.
What had I done?
They titled their head back, laughing again. “Ah, there, she’s realized it.” They were back again, leaning close, lips almost on my tingling skin as they whispered, “You do taste good, Dikê. Maybe we’ll count this as an offering after all.”
The tingles trailing up my spine and my body’s traitorous response had me doubting my plan for the very first time. What the actual fuck was I doing? Was I trying to reclaim my balance by chasing Chaos, or was I just chasing Chaos?
I didn’t stand a chance until I knew the answer. I turned swiftly, my tongue sliding out to trail across their lips. One brief taste, I’d take one taste with me.
Then, in a flurry of stardust, I popped away. I’d try again when I had more answers than questions.