Demeter’s eyes flashed open from the sound of thunder. The dream began to dissipate, the details of the figure in the bright red coat fading from her memory. She inhaled deeply as the aroma of petrichor permeated her nostrils.
Not again, she thought as she exhaled slowly.
She brought her fingertips to her temple, touching the beads of cold sweat. She knew she wasn’t there anymore, but where there was, she wasn’t really sure…yet, she felt a desire to go back.
Demeter sighed heavily as another eye-piercing bolt of lightning illuminated her bedroom. She could hear the heavy cascade of rain drumming against the roof of the house.
The thunder rattled the rustic window frames, and she could hear her horses neighing and stomping wildly in the stables.
Could he just not be dramatic for once? Her eyes flickered irritatedly. He better not flood my garden again.
Demeter sat up in her bed, and out of habit reached for her phone. She started to check her emails, and even from the dim light of the screen, she could make out the dark bags under her eyes. She sighed again as she scrolled through the hundreds of unread emails from the law office.
“Oh, Aegis,” Demeter murmured as she noticed at least a dozen emails from her assistant. “He works too hard, poor kid.”
As that last word left her lips, her body suddenly felt limp, and the color drained from her face. The phone fumbled through her trembling fingertips and fell onto the wooden floor. Demeter took in a sharp breath.
Kid…It was a child…A child in a red coat.
Demeter pushed the loose strands of her auburn hair to the side and slowly slid her fingers down her face. She took another deep breath.
“Think!” Demeter’s usual commanding voice cracked as she tried to collect herself. She clenched her teeth and focused.
How do I know this child?
After a few moments of listening to the rhythmic pattering of rain and trying to remember, Demeter exasperatedly leaned over the side of the bed and grabbed her phone from the floor. Hastily, she searched her email for any past cases regarding a child.
The thudding of rain against the window lessened, and beams of sunlight started to creep through into the bedroom.
“No….no…..no….YES!” Demeter shouted and began to read through the case.
Missing boy. 8 years old. Last seen wearing a red coat.
After a few minutes, Demeter let out a deep sigh and tilted her head back to rest against the headboard. “How did I forget about this case from last fall?”
Even as the question left her lips, she knew the answer. She had been extremely busy. The past few months were absolutely chaotic at the God Complex, especially with the titans rising, but she had also taken on a lot of cases to build up the clientele for the law office.
It was absolutely necessary for her sanity to stay busy during the Fall. The season was never an easy time for Demeter. She tried to keep herself occupied with numerous tasks until the Spring Equinox. It helped her to deal with the grief of not seeing her daughter, Persephone, for half the year.
Demeter felt a little less guilty for having forgotten about the missing boy after thinking back on all of her accomplishments these past few months. She unlocked her phone and went back to reading more about the case.
…Vermont? …Bennington Triangle? There is something strange going on there. But why did that area’s name sound familiar?
Demeter’s brows furrowed as she read. Too many questions plagued her mind, and then she remembered the James Tedford case. He had gone missing in that same general area as he was riding on a bus. Witnesses reported that he somehow vanished between the bus stops, all of his belongings still at his seat.
Two people vanishing without a trace in the same area? How could this be?
After some deeper research on her phone, Demeter became more concerned with each new piece of information.
This isn’t just two people that have gone missing. There are five people missing! How could five mortals just vanish??
She abruptly threw the down comforter to the side and got out of bed. Demeter stretched, opened up the curtains fully, and started to get dressed.
I need to go to Vermont, but first…
“I need to get to the office,” Demeter smiled as she brushed her hair and pulled it into a ponytail.
She patted on some makeup to cover the dark circles beneath her eyes and stepped back to view herself in the full-length mirror. She had on her normal business attire: tailor-fitted black pants and a matching blazer, a white blouse, and black Christian Louboutin peep-toe pumps.
She shook her head, realizing she had defaulted to her office attire.
I am only stopping into the office briefly, she firmly reminded herself. I am going to the Bennington Triangle.
She slipped off her heels and grabbed her running shoes, trading the business clothes for yoga pants and a knitted sweatshirt. She grabbed her leather tote bag and threw in some more comfortable, warm clothes.
As she headed out, she grabbed her favorite red wool coat but hesitated to grab her favorite scarf.
It could get ruined in the woods, she thought as she reached for the door handle instead.
Demeter parked and smiled as she spotted Aegis’ car.
Oh, that man needs a raise.
Approaching the office, Demeter smelled the coffee and knew that Aegis prepared for her arrival. She unlocked the office door and could hear his footsteps hurrying towards the coffee pot.
“Good morning! I am so sorry, Ms. Demeter,” Aegis said, his back turned while pouring the fresh coffee into a cup. “I didn’t hear you coming.”
He is used to hearing you in heels.
Demeter smiled. “It isn’t a problem, Aegis. However, I do need you to reschedule my appointments today.”
“Not a problem, ma’am. Your Thursday has some openings.” Aegis started stirring in the cream and turned around hastily. The coffee splashed onto his wrist as he stopped his steps abruptly. He gaped at seeing her in yoga pants and tried to collect himself while dealing with the burn of hot coffee on his wrist.
“Ms. Demeter, are you okay?” Aegis had dropped his professional tone, and his voice cracked a little from the concern.
“Oh yes, Aegis, I am. However, Thursday will not work out for rescheduling. I need you to cancel my appointments for the next month. I am going to Vermont,” Demeter replied casually.
Aegis gathered himself, straightening his posture as he approached Demeter. He handed her the coffee he had made and quickly returned to his desk.
“Yes, Ms. Demeter, not a problem.” He started typing rapidly on the keyboard, and Demeter could hear the swooping sound of emails being sent off from his computer. Technology was great, but she appreciated the handwritten notes more.
Demeter closed the door as she went into her office. She grabbed a pen and paper, and crafted a letter to her favorite nephew, Ares. She knew he would come looking for her and needed to make sure he knew everything she did in case she didn’t return in a timely manner. She also put together a travel itinerary to give to Aegis.
After a half-hour, Demeter signed the letter to the Ares with love. She stood up and headed towards the door. She was feeling more determined to get to Vermont.
“Aegis,” Demeter called out as she opened the door.
He stood up at once, buttoned his suit jacket, and answered, “Yes, Ms. Demeter?”
“Here is my itinerary for the trip, and this,” she handed over a sealed letter, “is for Ares. If I am not back in a month, please give this to him.”
Aegis looked disheartened and replied, “So…I am not going with you?”
He is just so loyal.
“No, I will need you here to keep business and appearances going, and to keep people from asking questions,” Demeter said calmly.
She opened her arms and went in for a hug with Aegis, to comfort him. He easily accepted and firmly threw his arms around her. She could feel his muscles loosen as the hug lingered.
“It will be fine, just a short trip to Vermont,” Demeter said, patting her assistant’s back. She pulled back, and he turned his face from her, but not quick enough to conceal his watery eyes.
“Safe travels, Ms. Demeter,” Aegis said, and gave her a firm nod.
“Thank you, Aegis,” Demeter said, waving a goodbye as she walked out of the office.
And now, off to Vermont. Demeter put on her battle face as she rolled out of the parking lot.