I ran to my desk and started to prepare a plan to find Thanatos. The truth was that I had no idea where to start. I wasn’t even sure he needed found. For all I knew, he had run off to see what it was like to have some fun. It was doubtful but possible.
My mind raced as I tried to think of all the things I was going to need. Maps, intel, weapons, the list went on. I was spinning out of control when Lana walked into the room.
“Miss Demeter,” she sputtered from the door, “are you alright? I could hear you talking to yourself from the outer office. Is there anything I can do?”
“I don’t know,” I blurted without looking in her direction. “I need to find Thanatos. I know he’s the key to remembering my missing time. It has something to do with my father and his cousin, but I don’t know what.”
“Stop!” Lana yelled.
I stopped dead in my tracks and shot a glare at the brash young woman. “What did you just say to me?”
“Forgive me, goddess, but you were buzzing around here like a madwoman. You need to slow down and focus. Come on, let me help you.”
She took me by the arm and led me to my desk. I sat down and took a deep breath. She was right. I was running in circles without any idea where it would lead. I needed to get my head straight before I did anything else.
“What can I get for you?” Lana asked with a tilt of her head.
“I need some of my tea,” I replied with my eyes closed. I needed to find my inner peace.
Lana ran off and came back a few minutes later with a cup of hot tea. She tried to hand it to me, but it wasn’t what I wanted. “Not that tea,” I growled, eyes still closed.
“Um, but this is…um, the only tea you have.” I could hear the quivering in her voice.
I let out a deep sigh and went to the kitchen myself. I pulled my special blend out of its hiding spot and handed it to my assistant, who had followed along. She opened the jar and inhaled deeply, looking at me with wide eyes.
“I don’t recommend you try any,” I said, watching the look on her face. “It has an adverse effect on the mortal mind.” She gave me a concerned look, then set about making me a cup.
I went back into the office and sat back down. I grabbed a notepad and pen then started jotting down ideas as to what I’d need to find Thanatos. I’d need to find out who saw him last, mortal or god. I’d also need to know if he had anyone with him when he left.
Lana brought me my tea, holding it out in front of her as though it were toxic waste. “Here, Miss Demeter. I tried not to breathe in any of the fumes, but I don’t think I succeeded. I’m feeling a little woozy.”
I took the tea from her just as she lost her balance and landed on the floor. She tried to push herself up on one hand, only to fall once again. I tried not to giggle, but it was rather fun to watch.
“What’s in that stuff?” she asked, trying to get her eyes to focus.
“Just some herbs found around the Mediterranean,” I quipped with a slight grin on my face. “It’s called Kykeon, or anyway it used to be. Now I just refer to it as my special blend. It’s not something that has any true recipe, just a little of this and a little of that.”
Lana was finally able to get herself up but quickly found a place to sit down. “Well, I don’t know what it is, but I sure know I don’t want any. I’m pretty sure I can smell colors right now.”
“That would be the blood,” I said without thinking.
“Blood!” Lana screamed. “There’s blood in there? Who’s blood? Oh, my gods, you drink blood?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “It’s called the Blood of Mekon, and it’s a hallucinogenic. It’s a syrup made from the sap of the poppy that is then allowed to dry and ground into powder form. A little bit can go a long way.”
The color in Lana’s face started to come back as I took a sip from my cup. I could feel the effects come over me, and I began to calm down. My assistant watched me intently.
“What?” I asked suspiciously.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I just wondered what it was like to see a god tripping balls. Do you, like, see shit? I mean, I ate a mushroom once and stared at a car ad in a magazine for, like, three hours. Does this do the same thing to you?”
“Lana,” I replied, shaking my head, “please stop talking. The blood doesn’t have the same effect on the immortal mind. It just helps calm my nerves and slows my brain down.”
I threw the paper and pen at my assistant. “Now, we need to make a list of the things I’m going to have to do in order to find Thanatos. I’m going to need some information, but not sure about what. I need to know who the last person was to actually see him.”
Lana looked over the top of the paper at me like I was insane. “Wouldn’t that be Theseus?”
“Excuse me?” I thought I should know the name, but I couldn’t put a face to it for some reason. “Who is Theseus?”
Lana’s eyes went wide. “Wow, that stuff really does mess you up. You remember Theseus, right? Tall, good-looking, full of himself? He works for you in the legal department? He’s your nephew? Any of this ringing a bell?”
I sat in silence for a few moments when it hit me. “Oh, yes. He beat up a bull or something like that. Wait, he works for me?”
“Um, yea. Hello? You gave him an extended leave of absence to go with Thanatos a while back. Right before you left, then came back all weirded out.’
I glared in Lana’s direction. “Little girl, I may not have my baby sister’s mean streak, but if you talk to me like that again, I promise I will give you a permanent home in the Underworld. And for the record, I never gave anyone permission to do anything with Thanatos. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
The roar of my voice sent shock waves through the room. Lana pulled her knees up to her chest in fear. “I’m…I’m sorry, goddess. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful. I just want to help you get your memories back.”
I sat back in my chair, examining Lana’s face. I got the feeling she wanted to say more but didn’t know how. I thought about her words, but they just didn’t add up. “Wait, go back. You said I gave him permission to leave before I left. I remember my last memories before my missing time, and Theseus wasn’t part of it. Start from the beginning.”
Lana licked her lips and began to relax. “Okay, so a few months ago, I came to the complex looking for work. A few of the immortals let me help them, but none of them wanted to keep me around. Then I came to you, and you were…different.”
“Well,” she continued, “you were more professional, for lack of a better word. You had a more modern flair. You wore your hair differently, and you wore a different style of clothing, and you had the office done up in a more modern fashion.”
The hairs on my arms began to rise. This explained why everything in my office and my apartment seemed unfamiliar. I waved my hand at the girl to continue her story.
“Anyway,” she said with a deep sigh, “you had me run some files over to your nephew, Ares, one day. Theseus was there, and the two of you were talking about Thanatos. I didn’t hear the whole thing because you gave me this look that screamed, get the hell out of my office. A few days later, you left. When you came back, you were, well, like you are now.”
I wasn’t sure I liked her tone. “Like I am now?”
Lana froze. “Um, well, yea. You know, like a crazier version of yourself.”
“I am not crazy!” I screamed as I rose to my feet and pounded my desk. Lana cowered in her seat once again. I took a deep breath and sat back down. I’d heard whispers around the complex that I’d gone crazy, but to hear it from her mouth shot flames through my soul.
“I’m sorry, Lana. Maybe I am a little crazy right now, but things just don’t make sense. I never spoke with Theseus, nor do I remember sending Ares any files. Two years of my life are missing, and no one seems to know anything about it.” I slammed back the rest of my tea, hoping the effects would give me some clarity.
“Miss Demeter,” Lana muttered, “you weren’t missing. You were here. Don’t you remember Ares finding you and bringing you home?”
I closed my eyes and shook my head. My last real memory was still on that beach in Crete.
“I’ve got to find Thanatos,” I whispered, a tear running down my cheek. “He’s the key. I just know it. But how do I find a Primordial who may not want to be found? Where do I even start?”
Lana looked at me, a slight smile crossing her lips. “You could always ask Nemesis. If anyone can find a god who doesn’t want to be found, it’s her.”
My eyes shot open as a plan formed in my head. “Nemesis, of course. I wonder if she even knows her brother is missing. Lana, send a message to her and let her know I need to see her. Maybe she can even explain why I was missing, and nobody seemed to know it.”
Lana ran out of the office with a spring in her step. As I sat there alone, the effects of the tea swirled in my head. I closed my eyes once again, focusing on the images in my mind. I could see the edge of the water licking the edge of the beach. The wind whipped my hair across my face. As it did so, I heard a distant voice ring out.
“Hush, little baby, go run and hide.
Daddy’s gonna pay for his selfish pride.
You’ll never know just where or when,
I’ll take my revenge on gods and men.”