Unreal! I can’t believe that after everything I went through, everything I did to get over the past, for finally allowing myself to be happy for Nyx, this was the thanks I got for moving on. Thankfully, she removed the black matter handcuffs; those chafe. The metal bars in front of me were just a formality, they knew it and so did I. If I wanted to get out I could probably try, but then I would look guilty, and I wasn’t guilty. You think you know an immortal; you have a family with them, see them year after year, share the same toothbrush, share your deepest secrets with them, and this is what it came down to. She couldn’t get over her own ego to see that maybe, just maybe I moved past her. Why would I lie? What would I have to possibly gain by lying about getting over her? Or for that matter what could I possibly gain by letting those two idiots out? It’s not like I want the Titans running amok.
Let me back up. I was arguing with Ate in the middle of the street―arguing might be too strong of a word. Either way, to any outsider, things appeared to be hostile between us. Then before I knew what was happening, Ate’s got her arms wrapped around me and was kissing me; Nyx and Dinlas showed up out of nowhere, throwing out accusations of all kinds. Nyx pulled out the black-matter handcuffs I gifted her in our first decade of marriage. Never thought I’d see the likes of those again, especially not when they were being used for means rather than pleasure. All I knew was the look of hurt and distrust towards me had reappeared on her face. It was a look I was determined not to encounter ever again after seeing it the night I traveled with the spirit, Arty, reliving my past and all the mistakes I made when it came to my last marriage.
Dinlas threw those stupid handcuffs around my wrists, which was, in and of itself, enough to dismantle me. Ate really pulled the wool over my eyes, I didn’t even realize she’d lured me into one of her schemes. Now I sit here, in this mortal cell, waiting for the questioning to resume. Dinlas was pretty pissed. I don’t blame him. He thought I was coming after them, but I wasn’t.
“How come you decided to come to the Yule Celebration?” he asked.
Underneath a single fluorescent light, Dinlas looked more menacing than usual. I sat across the table from him, while Nyx loomed in the dark shadows of the room. It was completely comical, this whole good cop, bad cop routine that he and Nyx had going on. Neither of them wanted to listen to the truth.
“I had a change of heart,” I said nonchalantly.
“Change of heart, my ass,” Nyx hissed underneath her breath.
I looked past Dinlas to her. “Nyx, I never wanted to hurt you.”
“So you admit it then? You let those two out. What about the rest of the Titans? Did you release them, too?” Nyx jumped at the opportunity to drill me with questions.
“What are you talking about?” I was confused.
“Don’t play dumb, Erebus, it’s beneath even you.”
Dinlas put his hand over top of Nyx’s. “I’ve got this.”
Nyx took a step back.
“You say you never wanted to hurt Nyx, but what about the rest of us…me perhaps?” Dinlas cocked an eyebrow at me. I definitely wasn’t going to take that bait. I sat quietly waiting for the next line of questions.
“Would you hurt Zeus?”
“Zeus? Why on earth would I want to do that?”
Dinlas ignored my question. “Seems to me that you hadn’t replied that you were coming to the Yule celebration. In fact, no one heard from you for several days leading up to the dinner. Another mysterious disappearance while you were doing who knows what.”
“Well, that’s a lie. I told Eros I wasn’t coming. Besides, are you really surprised that I didn’t reach out to everyone to let them know I was hesitant about joining your little festivities?” The anger I had been holding back in regards to their new love started to bubble.
“You’ve gone ‘missing’ before, months at a time, how do we know you weren’t off cohorting with Ate back then?”
I snorted. “You mean back when you so smoothly came to Nyx’s side while I was conveniently out of the way for you?”
“First of all, enough, Erebus. Nyx came to me. I suppose she got tired of sleeping alone. Secondly, you blamed Ate for your disappearance back then. That’s becoming quite a useful excuse.”
“It’s the truth.”
“Maybe you two were planning this all along,” Dinlas pushed.
“Get over yourself, Din, for all I know, you could have orchestrated my disappearance to get closer to Nyx.” Crossing my arms, I rested my forearms on my chest and leaned back in the chair.
Dinlas smiled, looked down, then back up and replied, “Sorry, Erebus. There is zero evidence I orchestrated anything. You did this on your own, and the way you constantly keep harping on the fact that I’m keeping your side of her bed warm only reinforces your instability and jealousy.”
“Would the two of you stop this ego bullshit!” Nyx stepped forward, resting her hands on Dinlas’ shoulders. “Let me speak to my ex-husband alone.”
Dinlas whipped his head around and looked at her. “Excuse me, Nyx? I don’t think that is a good idea.”
Nyx stopped, took in a deep breath then said, “I am sorry. That outburst was unworthy. Amata, please go check on Ate. Make sure she hasn’t escaped…again.”
Dinlas looked me up and down then reluctantly stood from his chair, scraping it slowly back on the floor. Nyx walked her lover to the door. They began whispering.
I sat up straight. What the hell was that? I looked over at Nyx, she was still talking to Dinlas.
“Are you going to answer the questions?”
“I’ve told you, Nyx…”
Nyx closed the door behind Dinlas, then turned to look at me.
“You’ve told me nothing, Erebus.”
“Oh boy, here comes Grumpy.”
I looked at Nyx, confused. I heard the voice, but it hadn’t come from her. “What did you say?”
Nyx rolled her eyes. “Stop playing around.”
“Looks like it’s my turn.”
I looked past Nyx to the door, then around the room. “Ate?”
“Don’t worry about her, she’s in another room,” Nyx replied.
A small giggle came, but not from the woman in front of me. Somehow Ate was in my head. I could hear her voice, clear as day, even though she was being held somewhere else.
“I thought we were in a good place, Erebus. I thought you finally agreed our marriage was over?”
“We are―I do.”
“And I’m just supposed to believe you are telling the truth? I want to believe you, but I have to say Erebus, I’m not sure I trust you.”
“Nyx, you know me. What would I have to gain by releasing the Titans?”
“Judging by the company you are keeping these days, I’m surprised you haven’t figured it out.”
“Company? What…Ate? I only went to see her because I was sick and tired of her games.”
“Aw, you’re not tired of me already, are you?”
“That’s not what it looked like when we came upon the two of you.”
“I can promise you, nothing of the sort was happening.”
“Did you know that I have the only key to Tartarus besides Hades? ” asked Nyx, moving past my answer to the last question.
“Well, that’s certainly not true.”
I ignored Ate’s quick quips.
“You know that as a primordial, the other Olympians don’t necessarily trust me―us. We aren’t like them, Erebus. They think I had something to do with releasing those vagrants, can you believe that? Me.” Nyx began to pace. “We have always been there for them to look up to, and this is how we are thanked. Have you been to Tartarus lately?”
“And when would I have the time to do that?”
She thought she could still sweet talk me, distract me by making me feel sympathy towards her, and then ply me with questions to help further her search for the truth.
Nyx circled the table. “Maybe you’re angry with me? If you released Chronos and the others―”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Nyx.”
“Dinlas has a key.”
This tiny bit of information raised a flag with me. If Dinlas had a key, perhaps he thought to make me look guilty. He had to know that as a primordial I could come and go as I pleased in Tartarus. He could have let them out with the plan to pin it on me. I’d be out of the way forever.
“Maybe Dinlas did it to make me look guilty?”
Saying it out loud made me sound like a jealous ex-husband. I wasn’t helping my case.
“Erebus, release me of your shadows, and I can help you.”
“What was your plan with Ate?”
“Yes, what is your plan with me?”
Hearing Ate in my head was disorienting. I couldn’t trust my own thoughts for fear of them betraying me to her.
“I have no plan with Ate.”
Nyx rolled her shoulders back and twisted her neck side to side.
“Erebus, you know I will always care for you. That’s why I am telling you right now that Ate is up to something. If you don’t want to be pinned as an accomplice, I would stay clear of her.”
“Release me, Erebus.”
“Why do you care what I do? Or who I do anything with?”
“This is not a time to mess around. Zeus―” Nyx hesitated before speaking. “Zeus has fallen, and Hera and the others are out for blood. Ate has been posing as Olympians, and we’re sure she has been scheming to get her way into Tartarus. I have seen a video of her impersonating me to try and further these plans. Erebus, she made this personal, and I am going to find out the truth.
“I need answers, Erebus. Show me you are on our side here. Put away whatever petty feelings you have toward Dinlas, and help us stop this insanity. If you’re not willing to help us, you can stay here and rot.”
I let out an uproarious laugh. “You and I both know I can leave any time I like.”
Nyx cocked an eyebrow at me. “Oh you think so? Your silly little shadows can’t help you now.”
I stood from my chair slowly and walked over to her. Years of arguing with one another, yet not one thing had changed. Nyx knew how to push my buttons. If I called my shadows, they would release Ate and I wasn’t prepared to do that, not just yet.