“You would be correct in saying that I do not deserve him. I spurned him, and worse. But do you think that attempting to kill his wife in his own temple would endear him to you?” I kept my voice calm, hoping to bring her down some. I knew her bullets would do little more than hurt and piss me off, but why risk her accidentally hitting someone else?
I snort derisively and see her face change. I quickly explain myself lest I awake in a pigsty. “I mean you no disrespect.” In fact, I suspect that she is more than capable of doing what is required if the need arises. “But this business of sword fighting, it is something beloved of those like Ares. I have never been convinced of its utility.”
I think about that as I walk among my family, who have always hated me, betraying me at every opportunity. I think about all the memories I have of their behaviour. The memories I now know are true and that I will never speak of with them. I think about whether I will have to take action regarding this matter at some point. If I do, will I need help? Is there anyone who might support me?
Perhaps I was giving in to the dramatics I had come to love from mortal media. But there was something about his startled cry when he saw me sitting in the near dark, playing an athame between my fingers that made me almost giddy.
Though I plotted and planned, I knew it was too soon to put those things into motion. I had considered resuming my search for Hephaestus. It had taken years to destroy our relationship, and I knew it could take just as long to fix things between us. However, no one wanted to tell me where he was, and I still had to figure out who had his number. Then I had to convince them I only had the best intentions, so they would let me have it.
Ares is stunned. He has not yet had time to be angry as the barrel of the tank’s main gun begins to droop, and he is serenaded by the screaming of the men inside. He may have spoken again, but I would not have heard him over the sound of the shells in the tank detonating, sending huge yellow lumps of molten steel flying in all directions. The turret flies high into the air, losing its shape as I continue to heat it. It crashes to the ground as boiling liquid.
The pain troubles me, reminding me of what I am and that I am not what I should have been. Have I not suffered enough? My wife does not think so, and nobody speaks to guide her or to restrain my recalcitrant brother and his grievous behaviour. They would do well to remember that I could deal with the matter if I so chose, as I have been forced to act before. The day may come when I am left with no option.
As I enter, the world stops. For one brief moment, bright light is everywhere, but I am unsure whether I truly see it or whether it is some other type of experience. It seems the light is behind my eyes, as if all of my body, and all that there is, is composed of it. Then it disappears, and the world begins again.
What is this? Sorcery? Am I dead? This is not the Underworld. This is not what death should be. Why am I here? How long have I been here? I wonder if this is the first morning I have awoken in this room. Would I remember if it was not? Someone built this for a purpose. But what purpose? To confine me? Why? I have many questions but no answers.
And who shall I be then? I will still be ugly, still not like other gods. I presume I will still have this feeling of apprehension, still feeling something is waiting for me. But I will have made some progress. I will have evolved while they wallow in their petty squabbles and pursuit of pleasure. What else shall I become? What limits are there to my improvement? Perhaps I will outgrow my family if I have not already.
It is unfair. Why must I be the one to endure this? Why must I live in pain, alone, ugly, and unloved? Why do others get to enjoy existence? I am so tired, in every sense. So very tired. At last, I feel the pills take effect unless it is my imagination. The pain still seems to be there, but I find I care less. Perhaps I can sleep.
The mortals understand that everything, ultimately, can be understood. Once that is achieved, any issue simply becomes an engineering problem. If they could understand what was wrong with my leg, if they could divine the source of my pain, then they could perhaps treat it. While the mortals are limited in some ways, those limitations force them to think deeply about problems, and their solutions can often be ingenious.