Storm-grey clouds appeared above him, warping into long arms that scooped up Skiron and Khione. They disappeared as the clouds twisted into a small tornado. The roar of the storm and the rush of wind down the tunnel of the cave kept me from hearing anything.
The harpy’s shrieks pierced our minds, and the echo bounced around in our heads. I hate fighting with anything that addles my senses, and I’d had enough of that recently. I shook my head and pushed on.
I tried to rise but crumpled. The blisters burst where the flames had touched, the air stinging the open wounds. My charred, dry skin was taut, pulling against itself, flaking off. I pushed through the physical pain. It was something I had lived through for years, tormented by the monster I had been. I tried again. The tears were tiny ice pellets, cutting my skin as I rose.
She landed in front of him, her talons scratching the walls as she neared him, the keys dancing in front of her feathered chest. She reached for one and made the unlocking motion. Skiron’s face twisted in agony, and his hair greyed as she drained him.
As soon as the child hit the ground, arrows flew, each hitting its target. As the maidens surrounding it got ready to ose another volley, the monster ran. I started to pursue, but lost concentration quickly, stumbling in the thick cloud of putrid perfume.
The bar was darker than the woods and filled with beards. Mostly they are long and grey with one lonely goatee. Clearly, it belongs to a hiker from the south, judging from the rolled-up skinny jeans and tech pad things scattered on the table. He does seem a bit on guard around the grizzled old men. Honestly, it is cute. I will make sure they do not play with him like cats with their prey.
“The snow does what I tell it to do. If I wanted to bury you in snow, I would have. If I wanted to grow a wall of ice and trap you in it for 100 years, I would have. I let you find me. Now take me to him before I change my mind and keep this staff,” I said, my tone icy and filled with warning.
While I bristled at his words, he had hit the nail on the head. This little secluded memorial was a far distance from anyone or anything. It allowed me to cry and grieve and lose control without fear of endangering mortals. The ice statue inside was in his image. The mortal man I had loved. Love. Still love. I stood my ground and looked back at my childhood friend, one who had grown so callous, so cunning, so sly.
Whoever did this to me did it to them, too. If it’s true, that is, which I’m still not entirely sure it is. Suppose I am the Primordial Eris, if there was only one Eris all along. It won’t just affect me, and it means that all this time, Atë has been…my child. Eros and Clio don’t even really know the real me, either. No one does. This could destroy every bond I’ve fought tooth and nail to establish.
I grip its handle as the song of the cosmos sings to me, the blade taking on its many colors. I raise it and begin to cut the mirrors down like foes on a battlefield. The sounds of exploding and shattering glass echo in the empty warehouse, clinking as it hits the floor and scatters. The heavy frames reverberate loudly as they hit the ground, cracking the concrete when it impacts, sending small fragments up into the air.
I’d loved it, lost for a time in a world of intangible fantasy and never too deep emotions, until inevitably, I’d craved more. I’d let my guard down, enjoying him way too much, and despite my best efforts, I realized I was falling in love. So naturally, I ruined everything.
“The only thing I can control is myself,” I whisper once more. My words continue on, bouncing around me and pinging off the cave walls. The words come quicker, rolling over each other. Sound travels faster and more efficiently through water, and here in the depths, an echo can last a lifetime.
It looks like a firefly, and it pings around the cave like a pinball machine, and then flies straight at me and disappears into my abdomen. Fire burns inside of me. It runs through my veins like lava. The pain is excruciating, and I’m sure I must explode. My eyes bulge, my muscles tense, and my bones strain as my body fights against the invasion.