“It’s your whole demeanor. You look like you haven’t slept well for a while, your left leg is twitching like you’ve had too much Dark Sparks coffee, and you aren’t flirting outrageously with me, which you normally do. So what gives?”
He reaches out with lightning speed, grabbing the side of my head and squeezing. Black ooze rains down on my face, then springs to life, crawling like worms pulled from the dirt as it moves over my face. It leaves cold slimy trails on my skin as it forces its way into my eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. I let out a gargled scream to the blue sky as the blackness of the ooze pulls me down into new nightmares.
I got up and took my time to make myself another tea, giving everyone a break to chat or stretch or absorb the story. I turned and looked around the room at the gathering of gods and goddesses and felt a sense of pride.
Everyone laughed. Why would a goddess take anything a mortal does seriously? “At one point, fairly early on, Alcaeus fashioned a net of sorts to try and catch the hind. It was only out of sheer dumb luck that one night, while he slept, the hind stumbled across the net and got trapped. Its cries woke Alcaeus.”
“The name is Moxie, you arrogant ass, and I’m going to show you what good girls can do!” she said and threw herself into him, sending them both crashing through the window. The glass shattered, and the pair tumbled through the air, racing toward the ground.
Maxine watched him scramble out of the room, smiling placidly, then spoke in a slow southern drawl, “Gerard, darlin’, you simply must learn to mind your manners. When a lady says no, she means no. I could do with a nice cup of tea, however.”
“Unfortunately, the sight of him covered in the lion’s skin scared everyone and the stories of his heroics grew even grander, which caused him to get a bigger head and become more insufferable. And of course, every time Alcaeus did something amazing, Zeus wouldn’t shut his big mouth about it for years!”
“It was around this time that Zeus and I started going through a particularly good period. I don’t know if he was distracting me on purpose, but I wasn’t paying much attention to the mortal world. Not long after the snake incident, Alcaeus’s mother set him in the woods, apparently hoping to avoid my wrath. Had I known about it, I would have taken his life and been done with him.”
Now it is just the three of us, and I make my way to the kitchen. She has taken care of me my entire life, and now it is my turn to take care of her. I believe it is time to break some bread and a nice meal is in order.
I picked it up, blew away the dust, and wiped at the front of it. Dang it, I forgot I was wearing white. Well, there goes that jacket. No worries. I looked at the disc again, realizing it was a shield. I rubbed more of the dirt off, and I could faintly see a name: Acropolis.
I opened the folder. On top was a contract. I scanned it and a few words stood out. Proprietary…holder…board voted…Nike of Olympus will now be the legal blah blah blah of Dark Sparks. My eyes grew wide as I scanned the document again before looking up at him. “Dad, seriously? You’re giving me the company?”
It is obvious what killed him. I know of only one beast that can sear the earth and a body in this manner. This was the work of a dragon, but why? They don’t usually go on the attack, plus they are so well camouflaged most humans pass by them without ever noticing.