I attempt to answer, but I pass out. When I wake, I am in my bed, in my cabin in the Underworld. My mother busies herself in my kitchen, Nem sits at the foot of my bed, and Ky’Elli, the small beast, lays across my legs asleep and snoring. Nem is holding a silver canister with Mrs. Hestia’s handwriting on it.
I run my fingers through my hair and give it a little pull as I cry out my frustrations. This piece has been hard enough to write as is without distractions. I am having trouble connecting with Thanatos lately. Where the hell was he, anyway? Wasn’t I still his scribe? Didn’t he pick me to create his new-age mythology?
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.
“What have I done?” I whispered to myself. “It’s ruined. I’ve destroyed the archives. What the hell is wrong with me?” I stared down at the sickle in my hand, that feeling of insanity crawling back into my mind.
It takes a while, but finally, the crate is dug up and eased out of the hole. The workers shift back as one of them wrenches off the lid. It looks past the box’s top and then turns to me. It can’t speak, but there’s something in its features, something I don’t think I like. I step past it, every fibre in my body jangling. I think I’m ready for what I’ll see.
I made my way to my office, feeling a stiff drink might help calm my nerves. I turned on a small lamp that sat on my desk and noticed something lying on the carpet. It was an envelope that had been slipped under the door.
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.
The brisk air greets me, lifting parts of my hair as I grip the edge of the balcony with both hands and look over. Clouds form, spreading out beneath the mountain as sunlight dances on my far left. Closing my eyes, I lift myself upward and place my feet on the rails to steady myself. It only hurts for a second, and then I’m free.
I would not hurt Thanatos, and yet I did. I could not close my eyes, but I could look away. And as cowardly as it felt, I did. I could not see the act I was committing. I could not watch, and shame filled me as I left Thano in the one way that I could stay with him.