Sitting up gasping for air back in my bed, I faced the realisation my mum had been trying to wake me up. Reactively, I clung onto her, still sensing the angry Hades I had left.
“What happened?” Knowing I had another nightmare only she didn’t catch on how bad it is.
“Pomegranate,” The only thing I managed to exhale.
“He got to you?” She sounded more horrified than I am. I’m not sure why she is balancing on petrified territory; she isn’t the one who has been playing pomegranate mouth tennis in a dream world with a real man.
“I didn’t eat anything,” I breathed suddenly feeling a surge of blood to my head and I began feeling dizzy again.
“He talked to you?” Why she found this surprising that Hades talked to me, I have no idea. I nodded my reply.
“I’ll have to get your fathers brother involved.”
“Who?” I knew little of my mother’s family before this whole news was dropped on me. Any news about father connections I got interested. I’ve found out that my dad may possibly be the God of Death, family history on that side looked pretty dark and slightly more interesting.
“Solomon is your fathers brother. He’s normally known as Hypnos.”
“My uncle has been treating me for night terrors? Hades is right. This is stressful.” I groaned falling back onto my pillows.
“He said what?” She protested.
“Mum really I’m too tired.” I wanted nothing more than to throw the quilt over my head, hoping I could get some decent sleep. Deep down I knew it is Hades wanting to finish our pomegranate session. The part of me, which still didn’t believe in this stuff, is telling me I’m tired due to lack of sleep. More irritatingly, there is also a growing part of me that wants to go to sleep just for another lip locking session.
“You cannot go back to sleep!”
“Fine, I’ll go to school and see uncle Hypno after.” I grumbled pulling myself up again.
“You can’t go outside. There will be at least two of Hades slaves waiting to kidnap you.”
“Are you sure that’s not paranoia?” I groaned. I am not willing to spend the rest of my days in this house. I’ll accept being off today because of Yuuki’s goodie bag packing, but more than 48 hours stopping in this house? I’ll become annoyed. The whole Goddess thing makes it worse, turns out I’m immortal! I guess I could start my tidying out my wardrobe, looking at it. It’s a mess.
“He’s trying to get to you through your dreams, chances are he has someone waiting for you to leave the house in this world too.”
“Can’t they storm the house?”
“The house is protected.” I didn’t even want to ask her to explain that. I sighed, sliding to the floor to dig through the pile of clothes at the bottom of my closet, while my mum disappeared. Half of the clothes, I didn’t even remember owning.
It couldn’t have been that long since I dug through this. Unless Yuuki had been buying clothes, she would never wear, then throwing them in here on her multiple visits. Worryingly, most of them didn’t seem like things she would buy. They were too plain and delicate; they were more like things I’d buy for myself than she’d buy.
Then I found the dress. Silky white chiffon. I fell back, nearly hitting my head on the bedpost, in horror, not letting the dress leave my sight. The chill struck through me. I scampered back pressing my back on the wooden board at the foot of my bed. This had to have happened before this protection or whatever they call it right?
I plucked up the courage, telling myself there is no reason to be afraid of clothes. With the first hit of the courage I went to check the bag I threw in my wardrobe. At the bottom of the purse, I found the silver and diamond necklace. A sense of dread hit me; the diamond being pink wasn’t an aspect of my nightmare. I doubted I imagined the diamond being a normal colour. I’m kidding myself, still part if me wouldn’t admit it.
In a way, the chain looked more like a choker. I’m not sure if it’s Hades being sweet or trying to be funny. I wanted to test out if the chain is shorter outside the nightmare; this is when I knew I needed to occupy myself. I’m not sure what to do with all this, especially the necklace.
I decided on taking a break. I wanted time to stop for a few moments. My mind is too full and jumbled. I kept the necklace in the pocket of my hooded top, holding it in my fist while walking down the stairs. I didn’t want it falling out and somehow getting damaged. It felt stupid worrying about something, that didn’t mean anything to me. In fact, I should probably be trying to get rid of it.
The necklace came from him. It would remind me of Hades, and get my head even more screwed up.
The thought that if I stepped outside, I may end up being caught by one of Hades’ cronies didn’t really bother me. My mum is probably over exaggerating anyway.
When opening the door, I wasn’t exactly faced with a monster. She has been known to turn into one but the smile on her face said different.
“Yuuki? What are you doing sitting on my doorstep?” I knew Yuuki had a strange working mind but this must be in her top ten weird things she has done. She still has her hands she could have easily knocked. Actually, I wouldn’t have put it past her to bang her head on the door.
“I was bored.” She shrugged. I stared at her blankly.
“School?” I hinted. More to remind here she should be there, in an exam.
“Yeah, I was bored of school.” Again, my mind went blank.
“I’ve been fed up of school plenty of times. Loads of people have! They don’t just walk out! Wait. Why did you choose to camp out here?” There are plenty of places she could have gone. Probably less suspecting places she could have hidden. Chances are this is the first place the school would look if they were on a Yuuki hunt.
“I’m on a mission!” She sang. I was about the slam the door on her then. The last time she said that in such an optimistic tone, I ended up being tied to a fence.
“No. I didn’t come up with this one!” Yuuki hurriedly said, shooting to her feet.
“Yeah. Because that will make me have more faith in your plan.” Some stranger might be telling her what to do. Knowing her she might be doing this for some cartoon character thing.
“Come with me!” She reacted tugging me out of the house.
“Yuuki!” I hollered falling out of the door.
I didn’t step out into the front garden.
There’s no warm sun or green grass. Instead my slipper covered feet took steps on inches’ deep snow and into the cold. Even with the winter environment, there were pale albino children playing in the playground we were in.
One child stood out. On the swing is a tanned skin; black haired girl, looking amused at all the kids running around laughing.
“Yuuki. Where are we?” I asked, wondering if I should be demanding rather than being polite.
“I’m not entirely sure. I came here as a kid. Come on Clotho, wants to see you.” Yuuki tried to pull me by the wrist further into the playground. I still had question that needed answering before we went anywhere.
“What do you mean you used to come here?”
“It’s a weird thing. At times when I wanted to escape, I came here. Clotho, is in charge…”
“Clotho. You mean The Fate?” I asked peeking over to the girl dressed in red. She made no effort to blend in. Everything about her stood out in the snow, whereas the rest of the children almost blended into it.
It made sense. The shorthaired girl is Clotho. There’s no other reason, I could think of, why a child stood out from all the norms here. Although what didn’t make sense, Yuuki came here and her dark hair and dress sense didn’t fit in with Clotho’s apparent style for this, whatever it is.
Clotho is one of the three Fates and if I remembered is right, she is the one responsible for creating life.
“Yes. Err watch out. She has a bit of a temper.” Yuuki coughed, attempting to take me to the girl. While we walked none of the other kids took any notice. I doubted visitors here were a common thing… Especially visitors wearing slippers and pink and black pyjamas.
“You can leave us Yuuki.” Clotho dictated, waving her off. Clotho stopped rocking on her swing. “I know you have enough intelligence in you, so we can skip the introductions. I know who you are. You should have guessed who I am.”
“Where are we?” I muttered, glancing about again.
“We are in between places. In this place nothing changes, my sisters call it my sandbox. It’s the place I can create the strands of life and preserve them. These children carry the immortal life lines of future Gods and Goddesses.” So, technically we are standing in a massive cryogenic freezer.
“I came from one of these?” I pointed at the kids with a blank look on my face. If this is true, I have a feeling the only time some of the Gods and Goddesses did as they were told was before they were born in the real world.
“No. Like the first six, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Aphrodite and Hera, your lifeline wasn’t created years in advance. For us Fates you were unplanned. We can’t give someone with immortal blood a human strand. Before you ask, humans come from a template that always changes. Their strands can be created in an instant without any second thought. Immortals need templates what don’t change. We use these, picking off the immortal strands, add certain aspects to their fates.” Clotho will give me a headache. Everything she said could have deeper meaning. It’s like decoding a Bronte novel in English Literature. What’s wrong with saying immortals hate change?
She jumped off the swing, while I’m secretly trying to figure out why she is telling me this.
“Anyway, that’s the book of answers on background.” Out of nowhere, she grabbed the end of my hair and yanked me down so I am face to face with her. “Your questions are more aimed on the present and the past.” She mused studying my face. “I could tell you the things that are planned for you. What we planned and what Hades is planning. And the possible effects of those plans.”
“But what would be the point in telling me them? You won’t let me change them.”
“So, you will know what will be expected. Every God and Goddess gets told their power; they are expected to use it wisely. We tell those what may happen to their lifespan if they don’t. Which reminds me. I have to give you something before you leave”
“But what am I expected to do? I have no intention of becoming Hades’ prisoner. I’m not even sure if I am the person you are all after!”
Clotho harshly pulled me to the ground. In the normal world, I’d be embarrassed about getting my butt kicked by someone nearly a foot smaller than me.
“Look, whether you want to or not. Your life is intertwined with his. He has chosen you to be Queen of the Underworld, not some prisoner.”
“What?” I coughed. Queen? I run away from people, I can hardly say I like most people I just tolerate them!
How am I supposed to be queen?
I feel like hyperventilating. Someone had served me, possibly even employed me, to do the worse possible job they could give someone like me.
Clotho, allowed me to sit up. I should be rocking backwards and forwards. The fact that I am sitting in snow doesn’t bother me as much.
“Queen.” She nodded.
“I can’t be Queen of the Underworld! I’m an accepted socially difficult person and I’m happy with that! I can’t even defend myself, what if something happens?” That’s how Hades is going to make me suffer isn’t he? Going to get other power hungry people to pick on the newbie.
“That’s up to you. So, I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, there will be people who may get in your way for the title. You’re expected to change a lot of things.”
The world began to spin again.
“He can find someone else to do the job!” I screamed. The only thing that stopped my quick breathing is Clotho slapping me around the head.
“Do you think we would let you choose that? Do you think he would let you choose? Even if you choose to run for the next few centuries, he’s not going to give up. And if you do run, I won’t hesitate to intervene.” She threatened. I came up with the theory that this place would be flooded; the water molecules were frozen with fear at Clotho’s attitude.
It felt selfish to think of it, but didn’t anyone care what I wanted? I don’t want to spend the rest of eternity in the Underworld. Same as I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in the town I was born in. Being told to stop in both places for certain amounts of the year doesn’t sound attractive either. Clotho, suggested immortals hated change. I wonder if anyone I know took that fact into consideration when they were planning the, “Let’s keep everything a secret from Alexa,” Idea.
That’s when I started to feel sorry for Hades. He did have to live in the Underworld. Ok, he could travel, come to the living world but he’d always have to go back the Underworld. The rest of the Gods and Goddesses could choose where they lived.
“Now, I have one last thing to do.” Clotho, declared as she clicked her fingers. One of the children ran quietly over, showing no pain as she allowed Clotho to pull some of the girl’s hair. I stared at Clotho, the white hair transformed into sharp gold needle in her hand.
Speechless. Please tell me she is going to start some embroidery. It is clear as she held it closer it isn’t a sewing needle. Clotho, shooed the girl away before commencing to scare me further.
I thought she was about to stab my eye out; she instead pulled strands of my hair out. Unlike albino girl, I did flinch at Clotho’s brutal action. If anyone is going to pull my hair out, I’d rather it be myself. And I’m probably heading that way due to stress.
I decided not to say anything. I watched as she pulled out a glass goblet, which somewhere appeared with the silver liquid still in it. Clotho dropped the gold pin with a strand of my hair wrapped around it into the glass, where the liquid slowly began to turn gold. Metallic gold not whiskey amber gold, talking of whiskey, I may consider drugs.
“You need to drink this.” She said handing me the stuff.
“It’s gold.” I stated.
“It’s pure ambrosia. Normal ambrosia, gives immortality, although in large quantities, it can even kill a God. This is pure ambrosia; even one drop can kill instantly, however for someone such as you it will properly awaken you as a Goddess. A God and Goddess’ can only drink it once in their life. It’s only made for these occasions, albeit, it is usually given to children. By your age, they are properly trained on how to use their abilities.” A girl with the physical appearance of a seven-year-old is talking me down.
“Does that mean I’m human now?” I asked, merely curious of my chances of survival and of a normal life if I can get out of here.
“Both your parents are Gods.” She stated, making it obvious she is thinking I’m stupid. I’m taking that, as I’m not human. “And as I have explained, you weren’t made from a human strand.” I could be an immortal human?
“I don’t want to-,” I muttered shaking my head.
“Do I have to force you? Remember, I am more of a threat than nearly anyone you will meet.”
My hands shook as I took the cup. Keeping my eyes on her.
“What will happen, if I drink this?” I would have issues with anyone who told me to drink some strange drink.
“Your Goddess powers will develop fully. This is how you will find out what you are the Goddess of. Each God, Goddess, will get a mark, on their chest that depicts that.”
Maybe having proper powers wouldn’t be so bad. I might be able to protect myself.
This is supposed to happen. I might not want this but it is apparently in my blood that I had to become this. The Fates would chase me down and make me drink the ambrosia, if not Hades may find a way and make me drink it. Forget chocolate covered strawberries, I’m seeing ambrosia covered pomegranate seeds.
With that thought, I brought the goblet to my lips. One deep breath and the liquid, which tasted like honey, ran down my throat.
I felt burning throughout my body, making me inhale in discomfort. The feeling gradually became a warming feeling. Until, a stabbing pain arose from the left side of my chest.
“What is this?” I coughed clutching my chest able to feel my frantic heart beat.
“I didn’t say it would be a painless process.” She shrugged. “You can go.” She announced going back to her swing. The laughs of the playing children became louder as she walked away, like she had them on low volume. Clotho gestured to Yuuki to go sort me out, while I argued internally if I could be having heart trouble.
I scrambled off the ground grabbing Yuuki’s hand. Like how we got here one blink and I’m back on my doorstep.
“Why did you take me there?” I demanded, throwing off my hooded top, scratching to find out the searing pain scratching into the top of my chest.
“I have to obey her! She basically owns my ass. She probably explained to you about how immortal life strands get kept in those stasis children. What do you think happen to those Stasis Children once they become useless? I am one of those children. If you put a human strand in a stasis child, you get some sort of sprit. Ok 99.9% of sprits aren’t made like that but I am.” As much as I wanted to grill her some more, the scratching on my chest became a more distracting tingle.
I gasped in horror after I pulled down the neck of my top. Noticeably, on the pale skin, is a bronze circle, framed in black swirls that were growing and reached out across my upper chest. Inside the circle, however, is still empty.
“Alexa! You should be inside!” My mum exclaimed throwing open the door. Grabbing my hoodie, I pushed past her.
“What happened?” Mum questioned Yuuki.
I continued into the living room the throwing myself face first on the sofa. They were out of ear shot for the next few moments. I soon heard footsteps then a hand stroke the back of my hair while someone sat down on the edge of the sofa beside me.
“I’m sorry.” Mum muttered softly.
“What did she do to me?” I mumbled pulling my face from the dampening pillow, before wiping my eyes. My mum kept stroking my hair, as she explained.
“She’s activated your Goddess side. It’s always been there, you have seen evidence of it, but now you have your full powers, and gold blood running through your veins.” She said in a calm motherly voice. “You have to understand, this would have to have happened sooner or later, a child born to two gods is born immortal and with some gifts, usually they see the Fates when the child is young so they can be taught. With your birth, I had to keep you hidden. If you had gotten your powers as every other child got them, more of the Gods and Goddesses on Mount Olympus would have known about you. Clotho, because she had already made a special acceptance for creating your life string she also kept you secret.”
“It’s like Poseidon said then? I shouldn’t exist?”
“Persephone, you were specially made, you exist more than any of us.”
We sat; well I laid, in silence. My exhaustion from the shock and burning, I soon found myself falling to sleep.