The Artifact, Part I

The barrette begins to glow, and I feel a strange energy pull at my soul. I try to fight against it, to stay in reality, but this power is stronger than I am. My eyes slowly close, and I slip into the darkness.

I am preparing a new exhibit for the museum. When we finally reopen, I will need something new to attract an audience. This is the first idea that popped into my head. The focus is the Titanic. To honour those who did not survive. I want to remind mortals of what went wrong. This is the reason I created the museum. To create a brighter future for themselves where the mistakes of the past are not repeated.

I continue to unpack the artifacts sent to me by my dear friend, Layla, who works at the Smithsonian Archives in Washington, DC. It only took one letter and a handful of cash before she sent the items my way. I smile to myself as I unwrap a porcelain doll,  a personal item to one of the passengers on the ship. It reminds me of… 

“Miteras?” Hedone comes to my side, holding out a glass of water. “How are you feeling? Do you need to rest? You’ve been working all day.”

I kiss my daughter’s cheek. She has been such a big help since her father has been busy dealing with the increase of ghosts. Eros is hardly home, and she has taken on the task of making sure I am okay. Since when did my daughter become this wonderful young goddess?

“I am okay, Kori,” I say, putting the doll on the table. “How about you grab yourself something for us to eat? My treat.”

Las huffs, and I jump in surprise. I keep forgetting the animals follow Hedone everywhere she goes. The three animals, Las, Din, and Duck, are all by Hedone’s legs, looking up at me expectantly.

“Okay, okay. You can grab them something to eat as well, but don’t tell your Pater.”

Hedone giggles, kissing my head. “I won’t! Would you like a sandwich? Maybe a pizza?”

My stomach twists at the idea of pizza and all the grease it provides. I gag.

“Right, no pizza. A sandwich it is!” Hedone puts her kitty cat headphones on before exiting the office, the animals following her. I shake my head. Those two tigers better turn into kittens while they are on the streets. 

Getting up from my chair, I walk over to my mail bin. One of the twins presses their foot against my stomach, and I rest my hand on it.

“Hello, little one.” I smile to myself, picking up one of the packages and heading back to my chair. It is a little brown box with a green ribbon tied into a perfect bow. There is no information about the sender. Odd. I should probably wait for Eros to arrive before opening this, just in case. After everything that has happened over the past year, this could be another trap. Then again, it is probably nothing, and I’m overreacting. I gently pull at the ribbon, the lid pops open, and I peek inside. There is a note sitting on an object. Scrunching my nose, I pick it up to read.

It’s time to dig up the past and remember what you’ve done.

  • L

 Gasping, I let go of the note and watch it as it slowly falls to the floor. Was this the same person who donated to the museum? What does he mean by remembering what I’ve done? I don’t even want to look at the contents of the box. I should call my husband and tell him what is going on, but I can’t do that. Eros would freak out. After all, someone might be threatening his pregnant wife. Maybe Dinlas will know what to do.

Picking up my phone, I search through my contacts, stopping when I glance at the box and recognize the contents. I stand from my chair, my eyes widening as my phone drops to the floor.

How did this get here? I thought it sank to the bottom of the ocean. Hesitantly, I reach for the box. A blue and silver barrette rests inside. This barrette. It belonged to her. I gently pick it up, cradling it in my hands. How did L get this?

The barrette begins to glow, and I feel a strange energy pull at my soul. I try to fight against it, to stay in reality, but this power is stronger than I am. My eyes slowly close, and I slip into the darkness.

The sound of a loud ship whistle snaps me to my senses. It’s 1912, and something historic is about to take place. The RMS Titanic is about to set sail across the North Atlantic Ocean from Queenstown Harbor to New York. So, of course, I am going to be one of its many passengers. Why wouldn’t I be? Being the Muse of History, I take the responsibility to record all major historical events, and this will definitely be one. Usually, I do not participate, only record. But someone a long time ago told me I need to start living through history. The only trouble is, I don’t remember who said it. I furrow my brow, trying to remember, but my thoughts are interrupted as the horn goes off again.

Looking up from my hands, I take my first steps onto the magnificent ship. I managed to obtain tickets for first class. Excitement bubbles in the pit of my stomach as I walk into the main hall. My heels click on the freshly shined marble floor. The grand staircase stretches out in front of me. The wood is made of English Oak, and red carpet trails up the stairs. At the top, it splits into two separate staircases, leading to the upper floor. I start up the steps, running my fingers along the railing. The ship itself smells fresh, new with a hint of seawater. I look up and see the grandfather clock. In front of it is a little bronze cherub statue. It reminds me of the God of Love. I never understood why mortals pictured the god as a young baby. 

There is a slight tug on my heart as my mind wonders about the god himself. There is something I’m forgetting, but I can’t put my finger on it. The ship’s whistle brings me back from my thoughts once more, and I sigh. I can figure this out later. I absorb the beauty of the ship as I make my way to stateroom B 55. I open the door, walking into the room. I am greeted by the warmth of reds and oranges. There is a couch and two chairs with a floral print. The bed looks soft, and the sheets are made of red satin. A bright smile tugs at my lips as I fall back onto the bed. This is nice. I am on my way to America, and I get to experience this historic event first hand. 

Exiting my room, I decide that I want to explore the ship more. A thought comes to my mind. How fun would it be to record the excitement of the mortals? Ask them what they are most looking forward to when they arrive at the big apple and what it is like to be the first passengers on the Titanic. This is the unsinkable ship that has had the media crazy for weeks now. It is an experience of a lifetime. 

I make my way to the deck, breathing in the salty air. The area is crowded with multiple mortals waving to the crowd below, so I head to one of the benches. Pulling out my notebook, I start taking notes. 

“Hello, miss. Traveling alone?” A lady asks. I take a moment to study her. She has raven hair tied back, little wisps blowing in the wind. A blue barrette with small silver flowers is clipped beside her bun. Her face is round with a few wrinkles beside her eyes. A bright smile deepening them.

I nod, closing my book. “Yes, I am, and you?”

“I am traveling with my two children,” she says, pointing at them. A little girl and young boy are running around the deck, giggling. They are kicking a ball back and forth, avoiding the people around them. “My husband is waiting for us in New York.”

I smile at her. “That sounds very exciting.”

“Yes, it is. I haven’t seen him in a few years. It will be nice to see him again,” she says, her eyes glistening in the sunlight. I have an itch to write this down, but I don’t. Not yet, at least. The lady finally looks back at me, shaking her head. “How rude of me. I did not introduce myself. I am Dorothy.”

“Chloe,” I lie. I prefer to use an alias when interacting with mortals.

The woman’s eyes start to water again. “What a beautiful name. That is my little sister’s name, you know. She had the most beautiful voice. She passed away a few years ago, so young. Death is a cruel thing.”

I nod in agreement. 

For the next few days, I interview the other passengers and get to know Dorothy and her children. It is nice to spend time with the family. Dorothy told me how much I reminded her or her sister. I can tell it makes her happy to talk to me about things. In a way, it is closure for her. I decided I would stay in touch with them once we arrive in New York. 

It has been four days since we set sail. I just finished dinner with Dorothy and the kids. The children are becoming more excited the closer we draw to our destination. It is adorable. I love children. My sister Terpsichore, Thalia, and I would put on little shows for the children back in Greece. Gods, I miss them.

I arrive on the deck, breathing in the cool salty air. Wrapping a blanket around myself, I head down to the bow of the ship. My fingers trail the railing as I think about everything that has occurred over the past few days. Although I am still working, it has been some of the more peaceful days in my life. I should have started doing this a long time ago.

Suddenly, a loud bell rings, and I look up at the crow’s nest.

“Iceberg! Straight ahead!” a man yells.

Clio (Alice Callisto)
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