That’s when it hits me. I know him. His face, his eyes, his smell, his…taste. It was mine. Wasn’t it? He is mine? No, this is wrong. He is wearing the wrong clothes…the man I know…knew…he wore no shirt. I’d smack him gently, laughing and demanding he wear a shirt. I didn’t want to share what was mine. I continue to search the priest’s face.
I see someone else. Someone with wings, golden hair, piercing blue eyes, a golden bow and quiver in his hands. No one else on the street seems to see this. I tilt my head to the side, and the reflection follows. My hand raises, and his does as well, mimicking me. I glance down at my cassock and then back at my reflection. But he is holding the bow and arrow up, ready to let it go.
I look around me and snort. How can I feel alone when I have two naked men and three naked women in bed with me? Each night I have been inviting a couple of people home with me to see if it can calm this strange dream I am having. It hasn’t been working.
The lights dimming is the only warning we get. My grip on my wife tightens as I prepare to defend her. My eyes lock on the reflections of the mirrors surrounding us. The golden frames of each are carved with languages, runes, and fractures of religions and magic that are supposed to be dead.
“Regroup and expand our search parameters. It will take longer, and we’ll be gone for extended periods. I can’t keep sending crews out. It’s detrimental to the business. If I had concrete evidence that Kara was in one particular area, then I’d take every single person with me. We’d raid the place, rescue her, and then deal with the perpetrators appropriately.”
“You mean go into full God of War mode and kill them all?”
She points to the pillows next to me, and I grind my teeth to keep from snapping at my mother for setting me up. Clio’s face goes red when she sees me, and her gulp is audible even as she takes the seat beside me. Her back is stick straight, every inch of her body on edge. Her voice is frosty. “What is it you’d like me to do, Aphrodite?”
Fire coiled in my belly, burning me. It wasn’t the all-consuming rage that came before a battle, the frenzy of my father. No, this was darker, deeper, patient, and plotting. This…this came from my mother. Most would think it more dangerous to cross my father. After all, who does not fear war? But no. You never, ever, cross my mother. She was a scourge and would wipe the world clean to satisfy her insatiable need.
There was a white satin aisle runner with chairs on either side. Candelabras were set strategically along the path, giving the whole scene a soft glow. Fireflies fluttered over the water, their lights blinking off and on, just as they had done the night I proposed. It was simple and elegant, just like Kara.
“I care!” How did he not get this? “It’s easy for you, Phobos, and Deimos. You three were always Mom or Dad’s favorites. You all barely had to lift a finger, and you were praised. None of you could do anything wrong. I’m not saying I have it as bad as Dinlas, but—”
“You were my favorite.”
“I’m facilitating a connection.” I smile. “Not today, probably not tomorrow, maybe not for years and years. But eventually, two of her little monsters will seek out your two, and they will share a bond only the King of the Underworld could understand.”
Not everyone was in a fursuit. Some were just in graphic t-shirts to show their support for those in the fursuits. But sure enough, our protest area had turned into a furry convention, the biggest furry convention on the planet. There were too many of them to count.
I need more mischief. I need to see the clash of Trojan and Greeks on the ground below us. I need to smell the blood and hear their cries. It’s always been this way around Eris, something I’ve always relished about their presence. They allow you to be your darkest self, the side you hide from the rest of the family.
“Eros!” Clio suddenly called out angrily, sending Alexander into a crying fit.
I froze and carefully looked down at the ground. Sure enough, there was an arrow lying on the ground near my feet, the tip slightly stained with shimmering gold ichor. “No, no, no, no, no.”
“What?” Eros’s voice called from behind me. “I thought she should get it over with.”
“So I’m the only one to live with that burden?” I ask, my shoulders dropping. Usually, I don’t mind knowing everyone’s history, but this…I thought it was going to be something we shared. Eros comes up behind me, sighing again as he wraps his arms around me. I push him away, frustrated and hurt. “Goodnight, Lykos.”
I had loved many women over the centuries, but this one was different. She brought out something in me I hadn’t felt with the others—a sense of being complete. A rather odd statement for the God of War to make, but it was true.