“Really?” I asked him, completely shocked. “Now?” I motioned around at the shadow that was so close we could smell it—if you could smell shadows, of course. “My taste in decor can wait. Besides, this is the Underworld where dead people live. What do you expect?
“Daddy, Daddy!” Charlie came running into the room, tears streaming down her face. Her cute little blonde curls stuck to her flustered cheeks. She was my sun in this cold, dark world, the constant glow in my life, and the only reason that I stayed in this shit hole.
In the meantime, I’d stopped restraining my shadows. They’d been wreaking havoc. Imagine kids loose in a candy store. Now you know what my shadows could do. The news had been riddled with mysterious power outages and car lights having mechanical failure, all of which led to car accidents on the highways. But that was just child’s play.
One glimpse of my reflection, and I barely recognized myself. My usual carefully manicured coiffe was disheveled. Bags were under my eyes that had never been there before, and my clothes were rumpled. I lifted my arm and smelled. I was vile and looked like shit. Who asked you? I rolled my eyes and staggered away.
The beast inside me came to life. I roared as I tore the house apart in a rampage. My shadows swirled in black streaks across each room, blowing out every window. Glass scattered everywhere. Behind me, I left a path of destruction so big it looked like a small bomb had gone off. When I was finished, I went to her room and lay down on her bed, which was devoid of any bedding.
I looked at what little remained of the orb and frowned. “Yeah…Oh well.” I shrugged. “It was a nice thought. But it’s just a material possession.” I tried concealing how bummed I was, but I knew Clio could tell. “But do you know how hard it is to find good friends?” I winked at Clio.
I smiled in admiration. There was a strength to Melpomene. Something different from the last time I had spoken to her. Her innocence seemed to have slipped from her heart and allowed her darkness to take over.
Closing my book, I tuck my writing utensil behind my ear. I think I have gotten everything I need from this. I look up at the stage and feel my eyes widen. The next animal is a little piglet, and my heart instantly melts. I have a weakness for animals, and I know that this little one doesn’t stand a chance with a bunch of hungry mortals.
I decide to plant my feet, force my blood to pump and pound, my muscles to constrict and contract. There is an ache in my knees and weight in my head, throbbing pains. My physical body has not been used in some time, and it howls for me to continue to drift amongst the shadows.
How hard could this really be? I know I wanted to pick the right one. It had to be perfect, and the right fit for Atë. I walked up and down the display, looking things over. And then I saw it, right in the middle of the pack. It was brilliant. My smile spread from ear to ear. I hoped she would love it.
So many questions ran through my head. The number one being, how did Melisseus always know when my guard was down? Was there a mole within Olympus? Perhaps one of the many Titans that no longer resided in Tartarus? Every god in Olympus was a gossip.
I unfolded a slip of paper and read the note that had been delivered to the house in the middle of the night. It had been signed with a monogram I had come to know as Melisseus’s signature. He was taunting me, trying to lure me out. Not this time. I had learned over the years that demons had many faces. Mine was Melisseus.
“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.
All this lurked down here? How could I not know? I’m the ruler of the deep, and I’m dumbstruck by the creatures before me. I have felt their lives pass through the trident, but I could never see them, they were not immortal. Even the Trident has limits.
It took me the better part of the morning, but I found her. It looked as though she had been on a shopping spree. She was carrying half a dozen bags. Retail therapy, really? Murder spree, epic fight, sex, and shopping. I shrugged to myself. Yeah, that sounded about right. I didn’t want to interrupt what seemed to be a carefree morning for her. Now that she was out, I had all the time in the world to figure out what she was up to.