I pause as I reach the kitchen sink, my attention caught by the view of the city outside the open window. A light breeze flicks past me, cooling my naked body. I continue to stare, the lights dotting the skyline reminding me how alive this place is. Hopefully, soon I will be in charge of all that’s before me.
I looked over at the other side and found Kara’s mother, dressed all in black with a thin, black veil over her face. She raised it slightly and glared at me. My mother cleared her throat, and she looked over at her, her face turning pale when she saw Mother staring at her. She looked away and dropped the veil. I couldn’t help but grin. No one messed with Hera’s children.
“I think you need to look at this from her mother’s point of view, Nike. Ever since she met me, Kara has been kidnapped twice and had to kill a minotaur. Her life has been in almost constant danger. If you were in her mother’s shoes, would you want your daughter to associate with someone like that?”
Dear lords and majestic ladies, I humbly thank you for the bounty I received today. Thank you, that I, a humble servant, may bring honor to you all. Thank you, Nike, for this victorious day. My family will eat and thrive because of you.
“You were so afraid of tarnishing your wings, of going dark.” She stroked my wings. “You have seen too many of the deities fall from grace, failing time and time again. They pit themselves against each other, feuding and divided. You lived in constant fear of being tossed from the mountain, and so you did everything to be the perfect daughter and example of what a goddess should be.
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.
I looked at Mini. Concentrating on her, I could see the joy, the happiness of my youth. I could feel the love that was in our family, and the sheer peacefulness that was childhood. Then a cloud came over Mini, a small sadness. I saw something no child should ever witness.
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.”
All three of us walked on in silence for a while. We were caught up in our thoughts, remembering these horrid things that I couldn’t fix or do over. I felt defeated, even more now that I saw all I could have prevented. It was a shame I would forever carry.
The sun was warm, and the air smelled of the sea. I knew this place. It was the hill above my childhood home. The grasses were green, and the bougainvillea was in full bloom. The air was crisp and a mist of sea salt was on the breeze.
It was only a dream. I turned back to the sea and sat on the ground, bringing my knees to my chest. My wings opened, and I wrapped them around myself. It started to rain, which seemed fitting. I wiped at my face, trying to clear the hurt and sorrow I felt at the loss of something, no, someone so dear to me.
I shared how the party was like most gatherings until the chanting started and the mirrors glowed. Fresh memories flooded my mind, and I told them about him. The one I loved, or she loved, I didn’t know. I explained the passion between us and how it made me feel.