Erebus walked the halls of the empty high school. Fuck me, this again? He didn’t waste any time. He headed towards the back of the high school in the direction of the “magic door” that would release him. But as he turned the corner in the hall, what should have been the staircase down was instead the office to the school newspaper. No, no, no.
“Looking for me?” Emily’s sultry voice tickled his ear.
Erebus hesitated. Do I stay or should I go? She’s just a figment of your dreams; she’s not real. Emily’s hands wrapped around his waist, hugging him tight as she circled in front of him. Her red lips pouted. “You’re not going to leave, are you?”
“Ahh.” He didn’t know what it was about her that enraptured him so much. His feet stuck to the floor as if encased in glue.
She leaned in so that her cheek brushed against his. “I can’t have you leave―not again. I’ve got to keep my eye on you.” He could feel her hot breath on his neck, followed by a little nibble on his earlobe.
*Phone buzzes with IM*
Erebus sat up, startled from his latest dream of Emily. Looking around with relief, he was still in his flat in the GC building, stretched out on the sofa. He must have dozed off. He looked down at his phone to see dozens of IM messages from Eros, Urania, and Nemesis. The “family” was making sure he wasn’t hiding away again; and he wasn’t, he just needed a few days to recuperate. New Year’s Eve had been eventful. He had played to a sold-out club of mortals and stayed up way past his bedtime enjoying an after-party; he even rode a mechanical bull. You may think those things are easy to ride, but let me tell you, even for an immortal, those buggers are slippery fuckers.
Things had quieted down since Nyx’s North Pole dinner party. It was eerily quiet, considering the two nut jobs that were on the loose, spreading chaos, no doubt. Chronos and Kronos, who would have ever thought those two would pair up?
Staying inside and out of trouble was just what Erebus had in mind; especially since he still didn’t know if his dream of being followed by a trickster was real. His thoughts went to Emily and her spiky blonde hair, her torn jeans and black leather jacket. She was sexy as hell, and that said a lot to him after a millennia of only being attracted to one Goddess.
Erebus took a sip from his Disaronno and lemon on the rocks, a delicious drink he just learned to make. The more he thought about Emily and that friggin’ high school, the more things began to bother him. Not knowing what was real and what resulted from being locked in the dream realm really irritated him. So far, there had been no signs that a trickster had been following him, but his dreams of Emily and the high school had been relentless, which made him wonder if Atë had been up to her old tricks again. If Atë wanted to pick a fight with him, he could certainly go a few rounds; it had been awhile since he had stretched his wings out― a battle of darkness and wits. The longer Erebus sat on the sofa pondering this idea, the more he knew he wanted to get an answer from Atë. What was her problem anyway? Erebus chugged the last of his sweet liqueur and jumped into action. He went to his closet and pulled out a black garment bag.
A smile, more evil than he would care to admit, spread across his face. He remembered the last time he wore this fighting garb; he went a few rounds with a lowly Titan before annihilating him with his mists of blinding fury. Erebus’ shadows had wrapped the Titan so tight he couldn’t move, allowing them to enter his mind and implant the darkest seed. When the Titan woke from the black clouds that had taken over his mind, he had been driven to insanity. Men don’t often like to face their own misgivings, so when Erebus can increase them tenfold, most stayed away.
He pulled on the dark leather form-fitted suit. It still fit like a glove. He didn’t need any other weapons. His shadows were enough. He wasn’t allowed to use his black hole ring on other Gods, so this time it would have to sit out. Erebus could feel the excitement building in his shadows. They so desperately wanted to come out and play, he hoped Atë was up for some sparring. He had enough of her silly games. If she had something to say to him, she could do it face to face, instead of hiding behind some mortal in a dream.
After Erebus asked around, he had heard of a few things that seemed very “Atë like.” Apparently there was a new statue of Zeus that magically appeared as a “gift.” Anyone would be a fool to think that there wasn’t more behind what was going on. What is she up to?
Erebus’ phone blew up at that precise moment. Messages from Olympians, there was something going on at the GC building and every God and Goddess was being asked to return at once. Apparently being out of Olympus wasn’t safe anymore. His shadows whined ―no, begged― for him to ignore the messages flooding his phone. I can ignore it this once, I’m sure no one needs me.
Erebus arrived in Italy to find the villa that Atë had been calling home. A black motorcycle was parked outside. A vision of Emily with her biker helmet crossed his mind, all the more reason to believe Atë was the one behind locking him in the dream realm again. His shadows danced with excitement, ready to pounce on her as soon as he walked through the door. Needing a cover for them, Erebus snapped his fingers. Instantly the sky grew dark, covering the town with storm clouds. Rain poured on the cobblestone streets, hammering against the roofs of the villas. He anticipated her moves; she would try to get a hold of him with her own black mist. But he was a primordial. Her powers were nothing in comparison to his own. His shadows drained out of him, inching up the walk to the villa, slowly preparing for a battle should she be waiting for him. Raising his fist, he knocked calmly on the door. Knock, knock, come out to play, Atë.
Tilting my head under the beat of the shower, I washed the remnants of the day out of my hair. Dirt, debris, and blood turned my water from clear to dark brown as I showered. Destroying another mausoleum with people inside would do that. My mind raced through the events of the last few days. My resolve grew colder with every malicious act I performed. The water pelted my back as I turned against it to finish washing my hair. A strange tingle ran up my spine, causing me to pause. I shook my head, thinking I must be tired since I hadn’t been home for long. I quickly rinsed the rest of the shampoo out of my hair before turning to shut off the water.
I stepped out of the shower, and used a single hand to wipe off the steamed-filled mirror. My eyes seemed heavy. I was tired; using too much power with no rest in between. I sighed to myself, it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was what I had to finish. I could rest when I was dead.
Turning away, I grabbed a small silk robe that hung from the door and wrapped it around me tightly, leaving the bathroom. Heading to the living room I paused, looking out the large window facing the back patio. Was it raining? Strange, it wasn’t supposed to. A knock at the door snapped my head towards it.
Who the fuck knocks?
I swear, if it’s another old lady trying to sell me last week’s homemade recipe, I’ll rip her head off. Sighing, I stormed towards the entrance, ready to tell her where she could shove her food recommendations when I stopped, my hand seconds away from the door. A rush of sensations passed through me, causing my entire being to shiver for a second from the power behind the door. Only one person ever made me react in such a manner. Recognition flared inside me, causing my stomach to sink. I knew that the person behind the door was no old woman at all. No, it was a primordial, and not just any primordial. It was Erebus.
I jerked my hand back as another knock soon followed, causing me to step back a few paces. My eyes lit up from the emotions racing through my brain. My breathing hitched. There was no way I had enough strength to lock him away again. He’s too strong. Besides, I had used so much in the last few days.
Fine, running it would be. Turning on my heel, I made a break for it when the door exploded inward, sending shards of wood in every direction. Dropping to the floor, I covered my face for a moment before straightening and turning to him.
He didn’t speak at first as his eyes scanned mine and then the room. He walked in without a care in the world, as if he didn’t just blow a hole in the front of my villa. He wore a form-fitted black leather suit. The shadows he commanded danced up the neighboring walls of my villa and spread in front of him when he entered, stepping over the debris he created. The display of power he just used didnt even mess up his annoyingly perfect hair. He was beautiful in the I could kill you with my pinky finger kind of way. A square-set jaw with a little scruff and deep brown eyes with flecks of green and yellow that you could get lost in. I heard of many that had been driven almost insane by the shadows that consumed them. Their deepest fears eating them from the inside out. He might be gorgeous, but he was dangerous, deadly, and he looked beyond pissed.
“How?” I hissed, staring at him. “How did you get out? It’s impossible. I locked you away.”
“You mean you tried,” he responded, one brow ticking upwards, his voice holding a slight edge. “You caught me off guard once. You won’t again.”
Narrowing my eyes at his words, I cocked my hip to the side and folded my arms in front of me “While your macho power display and barvado is super hot, I’m afraid I just don’t have time for a reunion, E. How about a rain check?”
I smirked as I willed my form to turn into a smoke-like mist. Closing my eyes, I prepared to go out through the ceiling vent, but nothing happened. No tingle. No free-floating feeling. I peered through one eye and saw I was still stuck in the same room with Erebus. Impossible. I shut my eyes tighter, willing myself to change. My skin tingled this time, as I forced my power, but still nothing. What the fuck!
“Something wrong, Atë?” he asked, raising his brows, humor lacing his words.
My eyes shot open. I snapped, “What did you do?!”
He stared at me, his head slightly tilted. He relaxed with his arms folded, mimicking my stance from earlier. “I’m the Primordial of Darkness, Atë. The shadows belong to me, and now so do you.”
I don’t know if I had another coherent thought after what he said. I launched myself at him full force. He must have anticipated my attack, because as soon as my razor-like nails reached him, I was thrown into the wall behind. I burst through a layer of brick, landing on my back as I coughed up the debris around me. Ok, Erebus, you want to play? I’ll play.
I used my hands to flip onto my feet and stepped over the rubble, dusting myself off. He could control the part that allowed me to bend shadows, so there was no point in trying to escape. Fine, if he wanted a fight, I’d give him one.
I walked over, anger fueling my thoughts. Reaching him, I jumped up on one leg as I shot out the other, sending it towards his sternum. He anticipated that move, blocking my kick, but not before I swung my other leg around and connected with his jaw. He stumbled for a second, which was impressive to say the least. Usually a move like that would send mortal or God sailing across the room.
He straightened, rubbing his jaw for a split second as he ran his tongue over his bottom lip. “Cute, Atë. Are you quite finished?”
I didn’t have time to react as he shot his hand out. The shadows that surrounded him suddenly darted toward me, hitting me in the midsection before slamming me into the ceiling. The impact alone knocked the wind out of me. He held me there for a second as I started cursing him. It only seemed to amuse him. As he moved his hand once more, I was dragged from one end to the other before slamming to the floor once more.
“Come on, Atë. I figured you’d be more of a challenge,” he taunted, before slamming me into another wall.
“Says the one hiding behind shadows!” I yelled back before the wind was knocked out of me once more.
He repeated this a few times before he finally let me rest on the floor. His power held me in place. It didn’t matter how much I struggled to break free, he was stronger than me and he knew it. It only pissed me off more. I was trying so hard to control my powers, to conserve my energy. I needed to save it for when I met my father, but if I couldn’t get past Erebus, it wouldn’t matter. All my planning and plotting would be useless.
I was panting as I struggled once more to break free. He started to walk toward me. The sound of broken glass and debris crunched under his boots as he reached me. He kneeled next to me, folding his hands in front of himself. He reached with one hand, moving a piece of my hair that clung to my face near the gash on my head.
I snapped my head away from his touch, hissing. “Go to Hell,” I snarled through gritted teeth.
He sighed. “What’s your game, Atë? The statue, the tricks, locking me away like a child…I don’t appreciate that.”
“Want to know what I’m up to? Let me go, and I’ll show you.” I struggled again, but it was no use. It felt like the shadows were getting tighter, keeping me in place.
“Whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish won’t work. Besides, this isn’t you.”
“You don’t know a damn thing about me,” I spat back.
He scoffed. “Zeus’s oldest child: the mischief maker. I remember everything, and you’ve never been this cold. Sure a trick or two, but nothing like this.”
A stab of pain hit me at his words. He’s right, he did remember. He, like the rest of the Gods, did nothing when I fell. They didn’t care. No one did. And it only fueled my rage.
My breath came out ragged as I looked at him, forgetting why I needed to control myself. I gave in and unleashed. Waves of power coursed through me, and the shadows that held me began to shift. I raised my head and slammed it into the floor beneath me, causing the entire foundation to rupture.
I landed on my feet as the shadows that once held me wrapped around to protect him. As soon as I was free, I lifted my arms, and the world around us trembled. Water burst from pipes as slabs of concrete and rubble fell, crashing around us. The intensity from my eyes lit up the darkened basement.
“You forget who I am, Primordial. Let me remind you.”
I clapped my hands together as the earth encased him and the basement we were in with it. With him incapacitated for a moment, it allowed me to change into my black mist and escape. I shot through the cracks of rubble and formed outside my once-lovely villa.
People stood, their mouths agape at the giant hole where a house used to be, and with surprise at my sudden appearance. The rain that had once poured subsided, since Erebus was probably unconscious for a minute. I brushed the dirt off the once cream-colored robe as I adjusted the front, tying it tighter.
I let power seep from my vision as I addressed the growing crowd. “Nothing to see here, people. Move it along,” I finished, waving my hands.
Their eyes glazed over, as they usually do, and they began to turn and walk the other way.