I was frozen. I stood there, staring at the exact likeness of my Iason, not believing my eyes or ears. The young man tilted his head to one side with concern. “Mother?” he asked. “Are you okay?
“Um, yea…yes. I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to remember your name.”
The young man laughed hardily. “Wow, really? I feel so much better. First, my mother all but abandons the rest of my siblings and me, except for her precious baby, then breaks into my house only to tell me she’s forgotten me completely. Thanks, Mom. We must have these family reunions more often.”
I cringed at the sheer hatred in his voice. “Please, son, I can explain. Someone, or something, stole most of my memories. I’m trying to get them back so I can figure out what happened to me.”
“Sure, Mom,” he said with pure contempt. “Someone came along and stole a goddess’s memories. I’m sure that happens all the time.”
“Listen to me!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. “I’ve never been more serious in my life. My last real memory happened a little over two years ago. Most of my long-term memories are gone as well. I’ve managed to piece bits of my life together here and there, but most of it’s still a mystery. It wasn’t until I found a book in the Complex Library that I realized I had more than one child. Knowing that I had forgotten most of my children was devastating.”
I couldn’t hide the sadness in my voice. My son’s face softened as he uttered, “Philomelus.”
I looked back at him in confusion, and then it hit me. “Philo, my little plough boy.” The tears streamed down my cheeks.
My son reached out and wrapped his arms around me. I cried into his chest, hoping this wasn’t one of my hallucinations. Finally, I took a step back and looked up at him to find a trail of tears running down his face as well.
He offered me a seat, then made us both a cup of tea. I was surprised to find it was my special blend. “You remembered,” I said, inhaling the aroma.
“I always keep some on hand,” he replied. “I still drink a cup in your honor before the harvest.”
He took a seat across from me as I told him everything. He listened intently, but I could tell he was having a hard time believing me. When I had finished, he simply hung his head and asked, “What do you need from me?”
“Honestly, I don’t know,” I replied as I stood up and walked around the room. “I was hoping that if I found this place, all the answers would be laid out in front of me. I thought if I could find my way home, everything would fix itself. I guess I was wrong.” I felt a weight crush my soul.
“Well, don’t give up yet,” Philo chimed in. “Maybe there’s something I can do. After all, I am pretty good at digging stuff up.” His mischievous smirk helped lighten the mood in the room. Instantly, all felt right in the world.
“Okay,” he chirped as he stood, “where do we begin?”
“I don’t know,” I sighed heavily. My mind raced in all directions, unable to focus on any one thing. “Maybe we should gather the rest of your siblings. Perhaps if I were to be surrounded by all of my children, something would come to me.”
Without hesitation, Phil took a step back and threw his hands in the air. “No, no, no. Hell no. I don’t talk to them, and they don’t talk to me, and we’re all good with that.”
Curiosity screamed in my head. “Why? What happened? How long has this been going on?”
“Look, Mom. You’ve had a long trip. Maybe you should head back to the hotel and get some sleep.”
“Philomelus Arktos tou Samothrace!” I bellowed in defiance as it dawned on me that I remembered my son. The look of shock on my face must have been more than noticeable. Philo seemed pleased that I’d called out his entire name.
“Thought you said you didn’t remember me.” The twinkle in his eye rendered me almost helpless.
“I…I,” the words seemed stuck in my throat. “I can’t explain it. It just came to me.”
“Okay, so maybe that’s telling you something right there.” My son seemed genuinely happy for the first time since I’d arrived.
“What?” I cried. “I don’t get it.”
Philo reached out and took me by the hands. “Slow down. Stop trying to force the memories and let them come on their own.” His smile lit up the room.
He led me back to the table so I could finish my cup of tea. I inhaled the fragrance, feeling its effects in my soul. I held a sip in my mouth, tasting each ingredient as I had all those years ago. Finally, I felt myself relax.
I looked up at my son, who had been watching me enjoy my tea. I felt the blush run across my face and looked away. When I looked back, I could have sworn my Iason was sitting across from me.
“What?” he asked
“I can’t believe how much you look like your father.” My mind wandered as I thought about my love. “He always had a way of getting me to calm down too. He’d just look me in the eye…” My thoughts trailed off as something came to mind.
“Mom?” Philo asked in an alarmed tone. “Mom, what’s wrong?”
“The eye,” I whispered. I looked up at my son in a panic. “I need to find the eye. I lost the Ethereal Eye.”
“Your necklace?” he asked in shock. His eyes shot around the room, then a look of concern crossed his face. “That son-of-a-bitch,” I heard him whisper.
“Philo?” I didn’t know what, but he knew something.
“Mom, I think I might know where the eye’s at.”
I just stared at him, waiting for an answer. “Well?”
He let out a rough sigh. “I don’t know for sure, but I think Plutus might have it.”
I sat silently for a moment before realizing that Plutus was my other son from Iason. “Your brother? Wait, I remember him, kind of. Money. He always had money. Yes, I remember him. The god of wealth. Where is he?” I could hear my voice raise with every passing moment.
“I don’t know, and I don’t care,” Philo barked. “He’s a greedy fuck who never did anything to deserve the life handed him at birth. As far as I’m concerned, he can burn in the pit for eternity.” Hatred echoed from Philo’s words.
“Philo, stop. He’s still your brother. Why do you think he has the eye?”
“Something he said the last time we talked,” he replied. “A couple of years ago, he showed up on the island, said he was looking for you. Apparently, Ares had contacted him, saying you were missing. He asked me if I’d seen you or knew where you were at, which, of course, I didn’t. Anyway, just before we parted ways, he said something that just struck me as odd. I said I’d keep an eye out for you, and he found it funny. Then he said, ‘Ironic that her eye is the only thing I inherited from her.’ Not her eyes, he said her eye.”
As I listened, a dark fear crept over me. My mind went back to the night of my last real memory. I remembered sitting in that dark cabin, feeling like someone was holding me. Could my son Plutus have something to do with this?
As we sat there, a loud knock came at the door. Philo opened the door to find two police officers. They told him my entourage was searching for me and wondered if he’d seen me. He opened the door wider to show that I was standing right there.
“Lady Demeter,” the first officer began, “are you alright? Do you require assistance?”
Before I had a chance to answer, another car pulled in behind the police car. Lana jumped out and ran to the door. “Lady Demeter. Oh, thank the gods, you’re okay. I was worried something happened to you.”
“What the hell are you doing here?” Philo asked my assistant with disdain.
Lana turned to Philo, her face turning white as she murmured, “Oh, shit.”
She shot a look at me, then back to Philo. Finally, she smiled and said, “Hey, Philly. Long time, no see.”