Chapter 1

Present day

When I was five, I learned how to spell antidisestablishmentarianism because I was bored. I had no brothers to keep me occupied and I learned from an early age, the only way my half sister and me would see eye-to-eye would be if I ripped her eyes out. Tempting, shame it would be illegal with a long prison sentence.

Me being bored happened a lot. At five years old I also figured out the only contribution my dad had to my life is his DNA. I’ve got –my mum- Diana’s blonde hair but I’m pretty sure I got my brown eyes from him. In the name blaming game, apparently my mum chose my first name; Alexa and he chose the unmentionable middle name. I wasn’t sure if my mum was angry with, ‘invisi dad,’ that day, another story is my middle name came from one of the mutual likes both my parents had.

People bond over TV programmes, food, technology. My parents bonded over Greek mythology. Out of all the Greek Mythology names they could have picked, they picked the name of a Goddess who got kidnapped to the land of the dead. I envy kids who grew up with fairy tales as bedtime stories and girls who got to dress as princesses. I got the adventures of Zeus and got sent in a toga for fancy dress day.

On top of that, shortly after I was five, it was announced to me Father Christmas didn’t exist. By the age of six, I figured men and fathers were trouble.

The past almost thirteen years after that realisation, the male gender have done nothing to make up for themselves. Except occasionally throwing me the odd chocolate on Valentines Day. However, when I was thirteen Valentines Day chocolates did more damage. The current boyfriend at the time gave me a packet of Revels. Toffee Revels do not mix with braces. I spent my time in the orthodontist chair, thinking how I was going to dump that boyfriend. Due to my interest in science, I was split between using gravity: dropping a rock with the message on him, or burning the message on his registration table using PH1 acid. I swayed more to the first option, as I wouldn’t have to face a reminder of that relationship for the rest of my time at school.

My lack of faith in men has sort of left a large gap, when it comes to my tolerance in them. Enough to say the guy who stole my first kiss, ended up with a broken nose and I ran away screaming. Any confrontations with boys, my friends ultimately dealt with them for me. This means the first boyfriend got saved from being hit by a rock.

Fate had it; I was born in the summer. I could spend the last few days of my year staring up at the sky behind sunglasses, sipping ice-cold cola. Thankful, that the braces went before I turned fourteen; therefore, I can drink those kind of, “Bad for your teeth,” Drinks. The orthodontist, who lived down the road from me, wouldn’t catch me and tell me off with a lecture on braces rules. I know dentists don’t live in their surgeries, but why does mine have to live down the road? Or did he offer some sort of same postcode discount? Apart from the orthodontist living near me, another thing was bad about summer. I was born on the wrong side of summer.

My mother gave birth to me in the middle of July. Meaning I have to spend my birthdays in school. Visions of me sunbathing down by the creek or the back garden, turned into sunbathing on the school field listening to screaming school kids. On this occasion, my birthday is on the final exam of my sixth form life. At least this gave two things to celebrate. My eighteenth and the end of sixth form and I can start my gap year then get off to university.

It is due to my mum I’m taking a gap year, she hinted at things I could be doing. Not one of the hints put me out of fifty miles radius of our, ‘busy when it wants to be,’ town. I put it down to she didn’t want to be left alone in the oversized house and she has a desire to keep me from the outside world. Me? Let’s say there’s a reason I tried applying to universities overseas.

Annoyingly, from the age of eighteen she let, Sarah, my half-sister go travelling. Sarah disappears at the end of spring then reappears at the end of winter. She brings with her blossom for the trees, warmer weather and my desperate want to shoot her. My mum makes up the story that she is with her dad. That isn’t proven in the Facebook photos Sarah posts. Pretty sure I’ve seen Sarah’s dad, he doesn’t look like any of the men in the photos.

Growing up, my mum did the thing of smothering me, I’m nearly eighteen and I still have a curfew. I’m expected to spend the next year working in a travel agent… I’m still waiting for my mother to see the irony. The only good things coming my way this year: My two friends have decided to stay, and I get to stay in a clean house with my garden obsessed mother who will feed me.

Hopefully, my mind won’t be damaged too much; chances are my mum’s friend Athena will be over on her weekly visits making sure I’m not glued to the TV.

“I cannot believe it is our final few days here.” A blur of white and black wheeled past, me in the student council room. The blur girl is being the monster of distraction. I’ve been trying to do some revision for the biology exam, which is sometime after lunch, or fifth period according to the timetable. I say sometime after lunch as the exam hall or gym is across the field, down a hill and past the smokers. I might as well start making my way there early, in case the hill decides to hate me. Or the smokers are puffing on something more illegal than cigarettes in a school environment, and on their high they try to get me involved.

The, ‘Druggies,’ at this school socialising with someone outside their clique has happened before. Not to me, the person they talked to has recently initiated into their gang. I think it’s safe to say their future is currently bleak.

“Really? You have a calendar that has counted down to these very days since September!” I sighed, pointing over to Yuuki’s vibrant wall in the student council room. How Yuuki got on the student council I have no idea, blackmail possibly comes to mind. The calendar is pinned in the corner and is in fact the only thing that hasn’t changed on her wall since September. Yuuki covered the walls in her latest Hollywood crush. This month it’s Clark Gable.

“Well I needed to put something in the calendar! Really Alexa, not everyone takes these exams seriously.” She’s probably hinting at the fact my calendar had counted down to these exams since the beginning of the year. “Besides I like the cute kittens on my calendar.” She smirked, revealing blue teeth and the fact she had been on the blue raspberry Popsicles again. At least her white shirt isn’t Popsicle tie-dyed, like last time.

“Yuuki, shouldn’t you either be revising or finalising student council things? Follow the rules on what we should, be doing in here.” Sophia called buried under paper at the other side of the room. Sophia made me glad I’m not a part of this council. It looked too much work, even if you did have Yuuki proving you could do this work with little effort, but then she normally did nothing. However, I felt part of their pain. My luck my two close friends dragged me to wait outside every fortnightly meeting.

“If we are playing by rules. I’m kicking Alexa out, she isn’t a member of the council!” Yuuki argued.

“Please do that. I might get some work done.” I groaned tempted to bash my head on the wooden desk. I only come in here because they decide to do work every so often, or Sophia does work, Yuuki messes about. Sophia’s auburn hair poked out of the paper after that.

“Alexa isn’t going anywhere.” Sophia replied bluntly, pushing her reading glasses up.

“Actually, I might as well get some air. This exam might kill me. Or at least make me kill the person in front of me, that way I can examine their lungs to get the respiration questions right.”

“This is why I was against you taking biology.” Sophia stated.

“To be honest Soph. You were against her taking nearly all the subjects here. What was it? Textiles, she would stick pins into people’s eyes… Not that she has the imagination for the arts-.”

“Yuuki. Shut up.” I said. I didn’t need this a short time away from the exam. Like usual, Yuuki is too persistent and continued talking about me to Sophia.

“Geography, you were worried she would learn where to plant explosives or bury bodies. Sociology and psychology, we didn’t need her to find out more things wrong with society or find out exactly how the mind works. You were pretty sure, that if she took those two subjects we would be looking at a real life psychological horror film.”

“Ok Yuuki, we get it.” Sophia interrupted. “I complained a lot two years ago, I get it.”

“Complained?” Yuuki coughed with sarcasm, dragging out another melted ice pop, from God knows where.

“I’m going out.” I sighed. I’m used to the words that came with how my mind worked, hence I’m used to the isolation. I’m the seventeen year old girl who is uncomfortable around people especially men, but I am also the girl who understood people to the point it became freaky.

“Alexa!” Sophia called. I walked out of the modern decorated room to the pale corridor. Sophia will tell me to get back inside, if I obeyed her and stopped in the stuffy room, my headache would worsen.

Anyone else would have to add in time to figure out how to get through the labyrinth of corridors and one-way system this school has. Luckily after a few hit and miss tries here when I first started this school about seven years ago. I got the navigation down to an art.

I felt like running out of the gates and throw myself on the long grass near the pond in the middle of the woods. If only, ‘Want,’ Turned out to be an appropriate excuse to get out of an A-level exam. Maybe I should do that. Thanks to my mum my life isn’t going anywhere. She might as well chain me to the side of a cliff like they do in Greek Mythology.

“Persephone. Why did they have to pick Persephone?” I almost screamed it out loud to stop myself from hitting my head against something hard or going back to my habit of pulling my hair. As if knowing Greek Mythology stories weren’t enough. I get reminded of it every time someone says my full name. “Why not let the ground swallow me up and take me to the Underworld like in the story?” I groaned, kicking a stone by the tree near the broken fence.

I rested my forehead on the tree trunk closing my eyes tight. Wishing for change. Something light land on my head, I opened my eyes and stepped back to find a dozen leaves floating to the ground.

“I’ve lost it.” I muttered.

“Persephone Kora.” I jumped. Turning to find the man who had sang that, he sounded proud of himself. This is the reason I’m not allowed to carry any sort of weapon on me.

“That is not my name.” I hissed, curling my fists at my sides.

“You said it was a moment ago.” The dark haired man grinned.

“No I didn’t.” I answered, trying to remember exactly what I said in that rant. I know for certain I did not say, ‘I’m Persephone,’ I’d rather pull my hair out, which is what I might end up doing if I don’t stop pulling my hair at the roots, thanks to stress.

“Do you know what sort of reward I’d get, if I took you back?”

“A special padded cell?” I think I have found someone crazier than my mum, at least she didn’t show any signs of being deluded into thinking I am Persephone from the stories. “Plus you’re on school grounds.” I pointed out, hoping he won’t need to be told that is a rule he is currently breaking.

His smug look turned into one of anger. I tried running towards the school he grabbed me by the arm pulling me in the opposite direction, muttering something about, Hades.

“Who the hell are you?” I yelled trying to kick him, missing every time. “I am not who you think I am!” There has to be other females out there whose actual name is Persephone!

“You need to come with me!” He commanded. If he thought I’m going to go with him by saying that, he is 100% wrong. I tried pulling myself away; forcing him to move slightly forward in the direction I’m going, causing him to tighten his grip. Making my arm at he’s holding hurt more.

“I’m not going with anyone!” I shrieked. Where is everyone when you need them?

“Fine.” He said stopping suddenly. No part of me took that, as he is about to give up.

Of course he didn’t.

He seized me and threw me on his shoulder. Then I began screaming blue murder, while kicking and watching the school grow further away as he walked across the field outside of the fence. My whole body warned me to get away as soon as possible and I believe my stomach is threatening to throw up.

“If you don’t shut up and stop moving I’ll make you.” He sneered. I coughed back a laugh. I’m the one at fault here?

“I’ll make you put me down!” I snapped. I knew however, I’d probably never be able to do that. This has never happened to me before! I never expected to be kidnapped. I tried living a quiet life where I blended in, not causing too much attention, ignoring the slight hiccup that happened every so often. I never learned how to get out of these situations!

Oh no. He’ll kill me then throw my body in a ditch.

“Let me go!” I shrieked.

I’m on the edge of screaming, ‘I don’t want to die,’ my emotions started to turn, slowly giving up as I felt the tears gather.

In our small town, there is a secluded area. Although, I’m not facing the direction we are going, I had a suspicion that we are heading to that area.

In the middle of this small private area is a large stone temple. As far as I knew, no one had been in it. There’s a town law that stated you needed special permission to even walk on the steps around the building. The town council were probably over cautious, thinking someone is going to vandalise the white stone, or the worn statues around the perimeter of the walls.

“Please, let me go.” I pleaded; hoping for the millionth time it would make some kind of difference. I definitely knew we are in the private area. The old trees surrounding the temple proved it. My fear heightened once hearing the creek of the metal gate that kept people out. He had to kick the black iron door a few times, while twisting the golden door handle in the middle of it. A cloud of dust exited the dimly lit hall before he dragged me in.

“Stay still.” He threw me off his shoulder. My spine slammed against one of the inner stonewalls. I shrank back thinking how to get away. I booted him; he grabbed my wrists harsh enough I’m sure they would be bruise.

He tied my hands together with a loose bit of rough hanging rope that he got from one of the spikes sticking out from the wall.

He walked through a wooden door into another room with a window dome, which to be honest needed to be cleaned, on the ceiling.

“I’m not who you think I am!” I cried collapsing further by the wall; I curled up in an entrance, or porch like area. I hid myself from the main hall. He had locked the front door, unless I became the master of knocking down sturdy looking doors, I’m stuck.

I tried to quieten my breathing when talking in the next room started. I began panicking more inside. He is going to kill me. I’m going to be a sacrifice to whatever God he worshiped.

“My lord. I found her.” He muttered, over and over again, sometimes mentioning the name, ‘Persephone,’ Sometimes other unmentionable things.

There’s no reply. I calmed a bit. He was busy preoccupying himself in a fictional belief. I leaped at the door.

“Get back here!” The man in the next room commanded, hearing me trying to open the door; the clunking of the gold door handle is obvious. He marched forward grabbing the sides of my shirt and dragging me back into the dusty, light room. I started to scream for help, when it he decided he’d be able to drag me back better if he held me by my waist and not my shirt. Panic and pain began to intensify the longer he touched me.

There’s a shiny marble alter in the middle of the room. Once there, he used the chains, which I guessed were used for actual sacrifices, and linked them to the rope that is chaffing my wrists. I couldn’t see what he is doing due to being on the wrong side of the table.

His mutterings commenced again. This time they didn’t last for long.

“You had better have a good reason for this!” Another voice sneered.

I kept quiet.

If I gave myself up, the more likely these people would kill me. They had to be insane; the one who had just talked must live here.

“I-I,” He stuttered, almost sounding as if he’s in shock. “She-.” It is if he can’t get out more than one word.

I wanted to go home. Forget the exam I have. Chances are it would be starting any minute. I wanted the new English accented man to give up go away and then I might be able to get out of here.

“Over there.” The kidnapper squeaked. I would probably have had he same reaction, if it weren’t caught in my throat, after hearing footsteps begin walking this way. I wished for once in my life the unrealistic thing would happen and I would become invisible.

I shrank back again, shuffling, far away from the sound of footsteps.

The man who the footsteps belonged to suddenly appeared.

I could see him… And he could see me. A smile grew on his pale face.

I feel like I’m caught in headlights.

Another first, I am speechless in a man’s presence and not running away. There’s something about him that made my eyes lock onto him and even approach him, which for me, it’s the weirdest feeling ever.

“You are an idiot.” He abruptly said turning back to the kidnapper. His longish dark hair, shifted with the air at his quick movement before walking away.

“What?” He shrieked in a reply. The kidnapper seemed to be the one about to have the panic attack. My respiratory system is still frozen from shock of the, Dark and Mysterious mans stare.

“As much as I wanted to know she existed, there were rules put in place!”

I climbed up, still shaking from fear but my want to get out of here is slowly eating away at me, and possibly my sanity. I’m putting me wanting to get cosy and getting to know pale, dark and mysterious guy over there to I’m becoming insane.

“Can I go home please?” I breathed.

“No.” Dark and mysterious said, without even thinking.

“I really need to go.” I trembled. I’m not a people person or a person who went well with stress.

“Idiots.” He muttered shaking his head, making his way back to me.

My back is against the pillar next to the altar I’m stood next to.

“Are you going to kill me?” I worried. He then looked at me like he’s shocked that I would think of that.

“No. No. I’d never…”

“Then let me go. I won’t say anything.” I don’t know if anyone would believe me that there is a Greek cult here.

“I’m not letting you go.” He answered angry with me.

“Will you untie these then please?” I questioned quietly, gesturing my hands. He sighed, before carefully unwrapping my hands.

I should have run. My mind wouldn’t let me, this time. I’m stuck in his gaze.

“You and me need to talk.” He then said looking away from me to the other man in the room, which in the past moment, I had forgotten he’s there. I finally could breathe, and I took that moment to run. If there’s a small chance I could get out, I’m going to take it.

“Persephone!” Dark and mysterious shouted.

“I am not Persephone!” I argued, trying the door again.

I soon froze. Feeling him behind me before I got caged when he put his arms beside my head. I could sense his movements behind me, even though I am stuck staring at wood.

“I know who you are.” He whispered in my ear, making me involuntarily shiver.

“You don’t know me.” I muttered.

“I know you better than, you know yourself.” He hissed.

“You’ve never met me before, so how?”

“Let’s say me and your parents have a deal.”

I’m even more desperate to get out of here.

“I’m not part of any deal.” I stated. Dark and Mysterious wrapped his arms around my middle pulling me towards his body like he’s saying he didn’t care or yes I am part of a deal. He laughed lightly once my body, regrettably, relaxed into his. My mind got more confused; my boy tolerance means that any male came near this distance I reactively hit them. Why am I acting like this to a complete and even dangerous stranger?

“You only have to believe in me, and it can be like this forever.” He hushed. He wanted me to believe in his craziness? Shouldn’t he be in therapy?

“Who are you?”

“You know who I am.” If I’m right, I think he believes that he’s Hades.

Before I could answer with anything there’s a loud bang on the door.

“Hades. Honour the agreement!” Oh great more crazy people. Someone, possibly people, is outside. I am proved right when the door actually opened.

“Brother.” ‘Hades,’ Said bluntly.

“Let the girl go.” The auburn haired man ordered stepping further into the room. “You understand the agreement you had with her mother.” He continued.

“The agreement stated she would tell me when she had a daughter called Persephone. She didn’t. Therefore, the agreement is void.” He sulked.

“I’m not some part of an agreement!’ I shrieked. His hold moved from my waist to my arms to stop me fighting.

“Stay still!” ‘Hades,’ Ordered.

“Hades, for once in your existence. Shut up.” I wanted to give this other guy a round of applause. The shorthaired man then started to approach us. I had no idea which way to try and move. Majority of me wanted to move backwards, closer to him.

“You. What’s your full name?” The smarter dressed man demanded.

It looked as if “Hades,” had just been disturbed from lounging about, dressed in t-shirt and jeans. The other guy looked as if he had come from work, wearing a blue suit.

“Alexa Kelly.” Hades’ brother glanced up at him before staring at me more.

Full name.” Do I tell the crazy people? I feel like I’m going to regret telling them my first and surname.

“Look, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” He said placing a hand on my shoulder that I reactively shrank back from, landing myself in contact with Hades.

I figured it would be a normal thing to do in this situation, even if that reaction happens to be all the time. I couldn’t miss the look of interest that crossed his face. He tried again this time touching my face. My reaction for that was to react like he is going to slap me

“Poseidon, stop it.” Hades ordered pushing me out of the way slightly, like a child would snatch away his or her new toy from others.

“If she has given us, ‘What she thinks,’ is her real name. I’m putting money on, real name will be, ‘Alexa Persephone Kelly. Or Kora. Isn’t it?” ‘Poseidon,’ said.

“Demeter, has been lying?” Hades asked, or more like concluded.

My fear isn’t because I’m being held against my will, it’s because I’m in this room, with people who believed in the myths that much.

“So, what? It still doesn’t mean I’m part of your delusion!”

“Hades, give her here. I’ll take her home.” Poseidon then sighed.

“No.”

“We aren’t going to get anywhere. You know what will happen if you break the rules.”

I’m quickly forced around to face Hades; he studied my face till it looked as if he had an epiphany

“Fine,” He grumbled, walking way, “I have to see a certain God of Death anyway.” Looks as if someone had a new mission.

“Let’s find your mother.” ‘Poseidon’ grumbled. Why does that make me feel like I am a small child? “Do you know who your father is?” He then asked letting the guy who brought me here out after us. I shook my head, still resisting the urge to run away.

“There’s going to be an issue around that.” He sighed. I didn’t want to know. There were too many apparent issues with my parentage I didn’t need another one.

“I’m okay, walking home, on my own.” As much as I wanted to argue about the fact I should be heading back to school for an exam I almost gave myself a migraine over, I had a feeling that argument would be shot down.

“I need a word with your mother.” He replied stubbornly. Great, I’m officially bringing home a crazy guy. He had some of my respect after helping me get out of that situation.

We walked to my house in silence, it’s my fear that stopped me from talking and I think it’s because he hardly knew me and not exactly bothered about getting to know me that he shut up.

Because we are going the back way, it took less time. As much as thankful, I’m also dreading reactions. I tried to calculate routes I could run. It would be useless. Running isn’t one of my idolised characteristics.

“Here,” I announced, hoping my mum isn’t at home as he walked up the garden path. One knock on the door and that hope is knocked out of me, when she answered.

The look on her face read horrified.

“I believe this young lady may belong to you.” He stated.

“Alexa. Get inside. Now.” My mum breathed almost dragging me in as I stepped forward. Nearly making me trip up. Should I stay and listen to what they say or leave them to it? From the look on my mothers face I’m betting she knows crazy guy number three.

“He’s not having her.” My mum stated. I have a feeling I don’t want to hear this. I hate to say this but I am properly questioning everyone’s sanity. Hello headache.

“I don’t care about that. What I want to know is how she is alive? The Fates don’t take new Gods or Goddesses lightly. Sarah should have been the last one for now.”

I started to head towards the kitchen, before I officially feel like calling an asylum. It’s bad enough when my identity is questioned but my existence?

I appeared a few minutes later carrying half a sandwich in each hand, while they were still talking.

“She belongs in the Underworld! You know that. Yet you brainwashed her anyway!” Poseidon yelled. The word, “Brainwashed,” Made me think of Sarah, unfortunately considering this whole thing has been about me, I knew different. Keeping one headphone in my ear, I decided to ignore them and go through the mail.

One letter stood out more than the rest, it had been one I had waited for since I snuck off for a day, on an apparent, ‘School trip.’ I soon got everyone’s attention by screaming for joy.

“What is it?” Looks like mum is still on red alert.

“I got in to Edinburgh University!” And this is where my mum being on red alert is a bad thing.

“I told you not to!” She shouted.

“Mum, you can’t keep me here forever!”

“Exactly.” Poseidon guy said leaning against the doorframe.

“We will talk about this later.” She answered pointing at me then turning back to the door.

It made me realise however, my plans maybe screwed due to the exam I missed today. Unless I could prove I was kidnapped and the school plus exam board believed me. I sat on the bottom stair with my music player and munching on my lunch, while watching my mum and Poseidon guy interact. Instead of listening to whatever they were arguing about, I plugged my ears up and flooded my head with music.

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