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 don’t shift, only run. Run as fast as I can as I hold the sides of my dress. Run up the winding stairs toward her room as tears begin to fall. I know what I have to do and what I have to give up. He was right, a heartless bitch I’m not. At least not yet. I’d made enemies, so many enemies, and now they are coming for the ones I hold dear.
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.
“That’s probably a good thing,” I muttered as I reflected. “You get married, have kids, and then you get attached to the smallest things.” I rolled my eyes. “Family trips, presents…then the kids grow up and leave, and all that you have left of them are the things they leave behind or gifted to you. Then one day, you may find yourself roaming the streets with a bossy muse looking for said gifts.”
I rush around my kitchen, putting spices on the fresh fish I just cooked. The pig I got from the market squeals at my feet as I chop up the vegetables. I push a few beans over the counter, allowing them to fall to the ground. The pig snorts them up, and I giggle.
“Do you treat all your guests that way, Erebus?” Annoyance bubbling inside of me, I strode toward him, not stopping or slowing down. I threw all my momentum and weight behind it, punching him square in the nose with all my might. “How dare you put me in that position!”
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.
“She told me she loved me.” My actions were almost trance-like. My shadows took over, and darkness washed over me completely. I let myself dive deep into its belly. There was no turning back now. My shadows swept up every last dead bee, swirling them around and around before finally shoving them down Melisseus’s throat, muffling the last of his screams.
I stood calmly, enjoying the view as I felt his indecision ebb and flow. Walking slowly back to my chariot, I pulled the polished wood out, holding it in the air as I returned to the peak where I had been moments before. “I bring you no lies, no reason to distrust me, Melisseus.”
“I was put to task to come up with a way to deal with our brother by Mr. Hades. I have spent months weighing my options as I listen to his victims’ never-ending cries for justice inside my aching, throbbing head. He is beyond Dikê’s touch and yours. So I came up with the final solution,” I confess.
I reached out, drying her tears. “Last year, I felt so alone. I had no family. My house was empty, and my work was my life. I hated everyone and everything. Then you came along. Even though we’ve had many downs, you were there for me when I least expected it. Your friendship, as volatile as it can be, is real and refreshing, and you keep me on my toes. Since you moved in, things have been challenging, but I have never felt more at home than when I am with you.”
Her head bent forward, and our eyes met. I stared deep into them as we both reached our climax. She had taken me from this world and brought me somewhere I didn’t even know existed. For the first time in my life, I felt a little less dark as she brought me into the moonlight.
The image of when he left me plays through my mind. My back was against the cold stone tiles as he stumbled from the cell and out of my life for a thousand years. The silent cries I tried to hide for years afterward. The feeling of being completely alone and knowing he wouldn’t come back, and he hadn’t. I had said damning things there too, and this was just the same. I had pushed and pushed, and it worked. He will no longer be here if I keep this up, and it breaks me. It hurts me more than I want to admit.
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.
Yes, I may be on the hunt for Titans older than literal time, but I also need help. Someone I can trust, but also not tell me how terrible my idea is. Besides, I don’t trust Erebus, especially after how weird he has been recently. Secret phone calls and suddenly having to leave? Nope. I need an assistant of my own, and who better than Chuck?