The Case of the Missing Dead Man, Part I

It’s been a few weeks since the whole Franklin incident, and things are beginning to get back to normal around here. Well, as normal as can be expected where my family’s concerned. I am happy to announce that my sweet little nephew, Ares, came through and got me an assistant. Imagine my surprise when he came strutting into my office with none other than Zeus’ assistant, Cassandra. I’m a little shocked that my baby brother let her go so easily, but I’m thrilled to have her on board. Why, I haven’t had one unexpected interruption since she arrived. She doesn’t even let Ares just walk in unannounced. I like her.

I’ve been trying to get caught up on a few other issues at hand. I’d finally gotten most of the Franklin mess cleaned up, I’d put the final issues with Ares and Hephestus to rest, and I thought I was going to get to work on some minor things happening around the OA. I was deep in thought when Cassandra buzzed me. “Lady Demeter, Lord Hades is here to see you.” What in the name of Zeus’ poodles was he doing here?

“Thank you, Cassandra. Send him in.” I couldn’t even imagine what he was doing here, but I was intrigued. He sauntered in, looking dapper as always, standing there with that ‘Worship Me’ look on his face. “Hello, Demeter. I am in need of your services.” Though he tried to hide it, I could tell that he all but choked on his words.

“Why Hades, my favorite little son-in-law. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you were to say something like, ‘Oh Mama Dem. I need a favor and only your infinite wisdom can help me’?” I couldn’t help but snicker at my sarcasm. He just stood there with that stoic look on his face. It’s the one thing Hades inherited from Daddy Cronos. Poseidon got Daddy’s salty personality, Zeus got his anger, but Hades got the ability to look you dead in your eye and make you feel as though he were ripping you apart.

“Yea, that’s never going to happen,” he said without averting his gaze. He threw a large manilla folder at me. “I need you to do some digging on one of my newest patrons. He came through the gates a couple days ago, and it was obvious he was in complete shock. I’ve seen confused faces a million times before, but this one was different.”

“Different how?” I asked as I picked up the folder.

“I’ve seen my fair share of faces come through those gates. I know what someone looks like when they don’t know they’ve died. It was worse than that. He was terrified. What’s more, he missed his death date.”

I scanned the records and found that this gentleman, a Mr. Ian Coventry, was marked for his transfer to the Underworld on the exact date he went through the gates. Hades apparently could see my confusion. “Look at the year,” he growled. 

“He was supposed to die in 1979? According to his mortal death record, he did die on that date.” I knew I had to be missing something.

“Exactly. Yet he didn’t show up at my place until forty years later. I need to know what happened to him. He didn’t just disappear from the mortal realm, he’s been completely off the grid. I need to know why.”

“Okay, but why come to me? Isn’t this more in Ares’ or Dinlas’ domains?” I knew there was something more, but I wanted to hear it from him.

“No, not for this. You know sacred law better than anyone else, and you know if my records say he was supposed to be there on a specific date, he should have been there. So why wasn’t he?” I could feel the room getting hotter as Hades’ temper began to rise.

“Alright, simmer down. Did you talk to him to find out where he was at?” It sounded like an obvious question, but Hades rarely did any of the talking himself. He had Charon for that, though Charon never speaks. Not really sure how that works.

“Of course I did. And yes, I spoke to him myself. He claims that he had gone out for a walk in the woods. He’d been drinking heavily and his Mrs. threw him out until he sobered up. As he was walking, he said a strange blue light showed up out of nowhere. The next thing he knew, he was standing in front of me.”

I could tell by the look in his eyes that Hades was more concerned than he was letting on. “You think it’s one of those alien abductions I’ve heard the mortals talk about?” I asked with a smirk on my lips. Hades rolled his eyes at me so hard, I’m sure he was able to see his own brain.

“No, Demeter, I don’t believe it was an abduction. Just see if you can come up with something.” Without another word, Hades turned and left my office. 

He was right about one thing. If Hades’ records showed a mortal was supposed to show up on a specific date, sacred law decreed they should be there. Alright, Mr. Coventry, where have you been hiding?

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Demeter (Christine Graves)

Demeter (Christine Graves)

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Christine Graves is short story author, writing prompt master, research junkie and ancient history fanatic. She’s been writing online for over 20 years, having been published in both fiction and non-fiction. She’s been an avid history buff since childhood and knows more about the ancient world than the modern. Christine is also a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves to crochet, finds adult coloring pages relaxing and rides motorcycles with her husband. You can find out more about Christine at her blog Graves Publications or at her writing prompt publication, Enticing the Muse. Want to make her day? Follow her on Twitter. She’s a sucker for that.
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5 Comments

  1. OH SNAP!!!! a real live dead guy walking around town? DAMN!!!! that’s just otherworldly. ZOMBIE!!! I wonder how I would look with a stoic look on my face? lol nope, I like to smile too much. Giggles

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