I look back at the water and see the skeletal remains of other merpeople, sea creatures, fish, turtles, sharks, and humans, all floating lazily around in the tank. Then there is movement from the bottom of the tank, something huge and black. Large bubbles rise from the depths as we all take an instinctive step back.
I made my way to my office, feeling a stiff drink might help calm my nerves. I turned on a small lamp that sat on my desk and noticed something lying on the carpet. It was an envelope that had been slipped under the door.
All three of us walked on in silence for a while. We were caught up in our thoughts, remembering these horrid things that I couldn’t fix or do over. I felt defeated, even more now that I saw all I could have prevented. It was a shame I would forever carry.
The message was to take these folders to his ungrateful son. I wasn’t sure who he was talking about until the messenger mentioned that Zeus’s portrait had a hole in it again, and I realized he was referring to you.
“Yep, I am. Now I am going to take care of the community center, and I am going to make sure Antwan will get the best treatment possible. He’ll get all the therapy that he needs to finish growing up as a functional adult, so I swear on the river Styx,” I said with a warm smile. I felt the bonds of my oath wrap around me, but it wasn’t a problem. Trust funds go a long way.
The only pull I had felt throughout my existence was from strong feelings of hate, jealousy, rage, and anger. It’s what led me to that liar as he bled to death in the snow. But now, I feel something different and so much stronger. I want to know more about her.
I straighten slightly, my mind’s eye showing me palaces covered in gold, women at my beck and call, and the other gods grovelling at my feet. As quickly as I conjure it, I know it’s not right. That’s not who I am. Not what I want. How can someone so rebellious ever keep others in order? Who wants that sort of life? Not me.
That may even have been the first moment I bought into my own illusion because I wanted to believe it. I’d finally had a version of our relationship that worked for me. One that I could navigate successfully. I was never what you’d call mother/father/non-gendered parent of the millennia, but a partner in crime? That I could do, and so I did, for many years. Now that’s all over.
“The snow does what I tell it to do. If I wanted to bury you in snow, I would have. If I wanted to grow a wall of ice and trap you in it for 100 years, I would have. I let you find me. Now take me to him before I change my mind and keep this staff,” I said, my tone icy and filled with warning.
“What?” I asked him. He looked away and put his hand out. “Bloody Tartarus, are you serious? You want me to pay for the creature to be aboard?” He continued to stare into the distance with his palm outstretched in superior silence. I shook my head and flicked a coin at him, which he caught without even looking. “Take us home, you bloody old swine.”
My breathing was a little broken, and I noticed my shoulders shaking slightly. Was I upset? I didn’t recall ever feeling sadness before, not even after the death of Phaeton. No, this wasn’t sadness. It was more a painful emptiness. No one, male or female, had ever gotten over me. The majority had remained devastated for the rest of their lives. Clymene walking away from me was a new experience. I didn’t like it.
I dropped my bright pink little ball on the fake grass. Surely it couldn’t be that hard. I swung and hit the ball, expecting it to go into the dragon’s mouth as it did for Dianna. I was very, very wrong. Instead, my tiny ball of doom flew through the air and took out the dragon’s right eye.
The sun was warm, and the air smelled of the sea. I knew this place. It was the hill above my childhood home. The grasses were green, and the bougainvillea was in full bloom. The air was crisp and a mist of sea salt was on the breeze.