The Trials of Herakles, Part V: The Madness of Men

(Read part IV here)

Nyx chuckled and leaned back into some cushions. “I’m surprised he’s lived as long as he has, Hera.”

I let out a disgusted spit off to the side. “It wasn’t my intention, I assure you, Nyx.”

Moxie copied me and spit, causing Urania to pull her feet up under her and grumble about the amount of spit flying around.

I pulled myself together and continued. “The madness I inflicted upon him was so great that he came home and didn’t recognize his own wife’s face. What he saw was his home ransacked. His wife and sons slit from stem to stern, as Ares likes to say, bleeding all over their dirt floor. Alcaeus was enraged. As he came through the door, he saw a vagabond leaning over his dead wife’s body licking her face, so he did what any good husband would do: he ran the vagabond through with his sword.”

“Gross! Really, Mamá? You couldn’t skip that part?” Moxie gagged a little bit.

Nike nodded in agreement with Moxie.

Dinlas hushed Moxie. “Be quiet. It’s getting to the best part.” He leaned forward in excitement. Sitting there with his elbows on his knees and chin in his hand, he reminded me so much of Ares as a boy.

Nike leaned over and whispered in Moxie’s ear, “Just like his dad.” Moxie nodded. It seems I wasn’t the only one who thought that. Dinlas just glared at both of the women.

I winked at Dinlas. “As Alcaeus was killing this man, two more came running inside, yelling obscenities at him, trying to pull him away from their dead friend. By this time, Alcaeus was so enraged all he saw was blackness. He took three strides to the man in front of him. Took his head in one hand and his shoulder in the other, then Alcaeus let out a loud roar and ripped the man’s head straight from the shoulders! The body fell to the ground and Alcaeus threw the head out of the doorway.”

Nike’s eyes got brighter. “Did he use a sword to cut them up too, Lady Hera?”

“He heard a noise outside and, still in a blind rage, he took his sword and killed their horses.”

“Not the horses! No!” Moxie exclaimed. 

“Ah man, that’s bad.” Urania just shook her head.

“A child of Zeus indeed,” Nyx agreed.

“Suddenly, Alcaeus started running down the road, sure he’d seen another man robbing his neighbor. Just before he got to the next home though, Athena knocked him out with a rock and spoiled all my fun. You see, I had cursed him with a horrible madness and in his madness, he thought his wife and children were men attacking his home. Athena, unfortunately, stopped him before he killed his neighbor’s son. But when Alceaus came to and found out what he did, he wailed in pain for forty days and nights. It was one of the best forty days and nights of my long life, second only to my honeymoon.”

I leaned back and crossed my arms over my chest.

“Did Uncle come for them?”

I answered her. “Yes, Nike. Hades made sure that Megara and the boys were taken care of.”

“That’s reassuring. I wonder where they ended up.” Nyx pondered this silently for a moment.

“You’d have to ask Hades, Nyx. But wherever they are, I’m sure that they’re happy.”

Dinlas laughed. “Man, he was nuttier than a squirrel turd!”

“Well, Dinlas, crazy or not, I was about to be victorious. You see, Alcaeus was so distraught by what he’d done, he decided to kill himself. Now, obviously this was exciting news for me. Finally, I was going to be rid of this fool bastard! However, his cousin, Theseus, talked him out of it. I was so mad, I couldn’t see straight, so I sent a plague to Theseus’ crops for stopping him. Theseus never recovered from the blight, so in a roundabout way, I was able to hurt Alcaeus. It wasn’t much, but it settled me for a while.”

Dinlas smiled at me. “He deserved it, Nana. If I had been around, I would have killed him for you.”

I returned his smile with one of my own. There is a reason Dinlas is my favorite grandchild.

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Hera (CJ Landry)

Hera (CJ Landry)

Founder | Mortal Resources Administrator
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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