It had been a tense few days since Orpheus’ attack on Dad. Mother and Dinlas had done their best to patch him up, but he was still unconscious. She refused to leave his side, no matter how much we tried to convince her she needed to rest. Hestia said that it was best to just leave her be, so we reluctantly left them and went about our business.
Unfortunately, things didn’t get better after that; they got worse. The Titans had been released from the deepest, darkest depths of Tartarus. We weren’t sure who had done it, although there were suspicions. With Dad out of commission and Mother unwilling to leave him, it fell to the rest of us to do what we can to build our defenses.
My crew worked for several days to repair the damages to the OA building after Mother’s cry of anguish. While they did that, Dinlas and I made sure to reinforce the security measures of the complex, particularly Dad’s office and Mother’s penthouse. By the time we were done, it was safer than Fort Knox. I just prayed that it would be enough.
I was standing in my personal weapons room, sharpening a dagger, when there was a knock on the door. Turning around, I was surprised to see Eleni standing there. “What’s happened to Dinlas?” I asked, saying the first thing that popped into my head.
“Nothing, he’s fine,” she assured me.
“Thank the Gods,” I muttered.
“I need you to come back to the penthouse with me.”
“Don’t tell me Dad…”
“No, no…he’s still the same. No change.”
“You’re killing me here,” I growled. “Just spit it out.”
“It’s your mother. She’s…well…”
“I’m not sure how to explain it,” Eleni said. “She’s not acting like herself. You just need to see it for yourself.”
Just then, Reginald came bursting into the room. “Ares, you need to get out front right now!”
“What is going on?”
Reginald came over, grabbed my arm, and dragged me out of the room. Eleni followed us as he led me down the hall, through the lobby and out the front door. As we got outside, I tripped over something just outside the door. Looking down, I was shocked to see a body. “What the hell?” I glanced at Reginald. “Did you do this?”
He looked offended. “Please, do you think I’d bother to kill someone when I’ve got you around to do it for me?”
I knelt down next to the body as Eleni moved to the other side and did the same. “There’s a scorch mark on his back,” I noted.
“He definitely has that charred smell to him,” Eleni agreed.
A flash of light flew past, almost hitting Reginald. He yelped and ran back inside. The dagger I had been sharpening was still in my hand, and I gripped it tightly as I scanned the area. “See anything?”
“Oh, yeah,” she said, pointing up at a forty-five-degree angle. “Right there.”
I looked toward the place she was pointing, and my eyes widened in surprise. There was a carpet hovering in the air, tassels fluttering in the breeze. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“It’s your mother,” Eleni said.
The carpet swooped down and flew past us. I got a glimpse of someone, hair blowing around in the wind as they streaked past. They flew up, turned around and went past us again. Another flash of light streaked past my head. “Son of a…” I turned to Eleni. “What is she doing?”
“I don’t know! One minute she was fine, the next thing I know, she knelt on top of the carpet, whooped a couple of times, and the carpet lifted off the floor. She blasted the windows open and out she flew. She’s been trying to smite people all over the city.”
I pointed to the body next to us. “Apparently, she was successful at least one time.”
Glancing up again, I spotted her watching us. “Mother! Get down here this minute!”
The carpet jumped in the air, swooped and came to a stop in front of us. I gasped when I got a look at her. It was definitely my mother, but she looked like she was about fifteen or sixteen years old. “I am not your mother,” she said, looking me over, “but you are cute. Gimme a kiss!”
Eleni snorted. I glared at her before looking at Mother again. “This is not funny, Mother. Quit playing around, change back to normal, and go home. Someone needs to stay with Pops and protect him.”
“No way!” she exclaimed. “I’m having way too much fun on this awesome carpet! I don’t like the way people have been yelling at me while I’ve been flying around, though. That’s why I’ve been smiting them.”
“You can’t go around doing that,” I told her. “They’re not used to seeing a flying carpet in person.”
“Well, they’ll just have to get over it,” she replied haughtily. “I’m going to do what I want to do.”
Grabbing the edge of the carpet, I pulled it closer to me. “Mother, the Titans are loose. Pops is not in any condition to defend himself. We need you to be the calm voice of reason right now, and help us make a battle plan.”
“Pft, that’s grown-up stuff. It sounds boring. I’m going to do what I want to do. Let go of my carpet.”
Eleni also grabbed an edge, refusing to let go. “M’lady, we are in need of your guidance,” she said gently. “Please come back to the penthouse with us.”
Mother glared at both of us. “You two are a couple of party poopers,” she said. “But if you really need my help, I’ll go with you.”
Sighing, I said, “Thank you. We greatly appreciate it.”
The mistake we made was believing her. We let go of the carpet, and she took off, laughing gleefully. She whizzed by a woman who was walking her dog. The woman yelled a few choice words at Mother, who pulled a U-turn in mid-air, flew right at the woman, and smote her on the spot. The dog, a Chihuahua, yipped in terror and ran off in one direction while Mother flew off in another direction.
We had a serious problem on our hands.
This was not good.