The Trials of Herakles, Part I – The Dinner

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore, Zeus. I refuse to talk to her as long as she’s married to Alcaeus.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you. She’s your daughter. She misses you. Talk to her already.” Zeus stared at me from across the dinner table.

I pushed my plate away, food uneaten. “No. Hebe knew how I felt about him, and she disobeyed me. I refuse to talk to her until she divorces or kills him. I’d prefer she kill him, but would accept the divorce.”

Zeus’ jaw dropped slightly at my comment. “Woman, you’re the Goddess of Marriage! You can’t go around telling people to divorce when they have a perfectly healthy relationship.”

“I can do what I want to do and you damned well know it!” I pushed out my lower lip in frustration at him.

Zeus rolled his eyes. “Since when does the Queen of all Gods pout? Hmm?” He stood from his seat, walked over to me, and knelt down. Cupping my chin in his strong hands, he ran his thumb over my lip, giving me a shiver down my spine. “Hera, my heart, I need you to make this right with her. If only to spare me the agony of listening to her whine about how you never return her calls. It’s  driving me to madness.”

I looked down into his clear blue eyes and wanted so desperately to give in to him on this, but I just couldn’t. Of all his children without me, Alcaeus is the one I hate the most. It might have been different if he felt any gratitude towards the Gods for his life, but he is greedy and rude and frankly, has bad hygiene on occasion. My daughter knew how I felt about him when Zeus brought him to Olympus, but she allowed Alcaeus to sway her against me. It was an action I couldn’t forgive. I just didn’t have it in me.

I leaned my head down, rested my forehead against Zeus, and took a deep breath to steel myself for his anger. “I cannot do this for you. Ask me anything else, my love, I beg you, but don’t ask this of me,” I whispered and felt my lips tremble. I pressed them together to keep my pain hidden.

The rumble started in his diaphragm and got louder as it traveled up his chest. He stood and let out a roar loud enough to shake the glasses on the table. “I don’t know what it is with you two, Hera, but you will fix this if it’s the last thing you do! I have enough trouble with the other Gods not listening to my decrees, how do you think this will look if you go against my wishes? Hmm?!”

He stalked to the doorway. His fist gripped the frame and it splintered as he turned back to look at me, blue eyes flaring in anger. “Fix this!”

I grabbed my glass and threw it at his retreating body, my own scream ripping from my throat. How dare he ask this of me. How! Dare! He! I continued throwing dinnerware at the space he no longer occupied, screaming until my throat was hoarse and all I had left in me where tiny frustrated whimpers and a few lone tears.

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Hera (CJ Landry)

Hera (CJ Landry)

Advising Editor
Occasional writer, often wanderer, horrible speller, broken thinker, incessant lover of all things ineffable, neutral evil and serious about it. CJ Landry is a suspense writer who is currently editing her novel, His Undying Love, which has been called by beta readers a cross between Gone Girl and Misery. She also spends time killing people off in her 72-Hour Murder series which has 2 installments already published. Each is a quick read that promises to have you rooting for the death at the end. You can also see another side of her in the poetry anthology, The Madness in Our Intentions, which she published with her son. CJ is fascinated by the different ways to torture someone and hide the body and tries to include those in some way in her writing. You can almost guarantee that someone dies in her books. She is a professional throat puncher, founder of #ThroatPunchTUESday, and benevolent ducktator of #DuckTwitter. She’s also deathly terrified of sharks because those fuckers will one day evolve to breathe on land and eat everyone.
Hera (CJ Landry)

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