When the music dropped, the crowd in front screamed for more. I looked backstage to see Amy beaming at me. She may be a cheap knock off, but she looked so happy. I owed it to her. I owed it to Atë. I owed it to myself to make the past the past.
I placed my hands on the smooth scales of Sayeh’s back and took a deep breath. As I let it out, I tried to call back the stone that ran over her body, but it resisted. I pulled harder, fighting against an unseen force. Her body had been wrapped in the stone for too long, and it didn’t want to let go.
Quietly, I walked through the graveyard and looked at the old and crumbling headstones. Leave it to the pirates to have the most interesting names. Honestly, I was surprised that there weren’t any Seymore-Butts…oh, wait, nevermind. There it is.
They still saw the illusion, and I had a feeling no matter how many times they walked across the bridge, they’d end up at the beginning. “You have to trust me. I think this is part of a test. We have to trust each other and have enough faith to get through each challenge.”
I looked into the pool at the reflected moon and caught my face looking back at me. Darkened over and cold, I realized what must change…me. I closed my eyes and exhaled, a cold breath of air rushed out in a cloud. I have a home, a family. They are here with me.
“Oh, but I am. I am you. The real you. What would your precious family say if they saw the real you? Do you think they would still love you? Would they love the Athena we both know you really are? Take a good look! This is who you really are. Who WE are.”
I stepped away from the group and gathered a few large leaves along with a coconut shell filled with moon water. When I returned, Morpheus moved to allow me access to Persephone. I washed the dried blood from her arms and legs, sending her positive energy and stroking her skin with the damp leaves.
I grew until I loomed over the villagers like the mountain behind us, my eyes glowing and seething like its volcanic heart. The shadows roiled around me, their matte darkness contrasting the bright sheen of my obsidian skin. A necklace of pale claws fanned around my neck like violent petals, still tipped with blood.
I strained, seeking the barest shift in the fabric of the Dream that would indicate that she heard me. But nothing moved. So, I said her name again, louder this time, and was rewarded with more stillness. Panic climbed my spine. As it did, the Darkness stirred again, rolling over, muttering words to twist me.
“I fear the mortals have met with untimely ends.” I cupped Selene’s elbow in my hand, gently guiding her down to the wet shoreline where the footing was firm. “I do not look forward to the red tide that will wash these shores later.”