I’ll admit, ending up in mortal lockup was not my proudest moment. I took the advice of people on the internet, and you can imagine how well that went. They pulled me over for speeding and driving without a license – something, “cops don’t give a fuck about.” I told them that I don’t need to talk to them, or open the door, because “they can’t search your car.” Then I ended up exactly where I had been the day before: imprisoned. I had one hope, a single phone call. I wasn’t sure who to call, but I knew I couldn’t call Olympus Tower, or whatever Z and the Gs call their new base. I only had three phone numbers anyway: Olympus, Nox, and DJ E.
I couldn’t call Olympus because I might get in touch with Zeus, and there was no point in calling the club, so that left Erebus. I helped the Titans overthrow the Primordials back in the day, and I didn’t trust him to not hold a grudge against me. Still, if I knew one thing about the Primordials, most of them hated Zeus. I took a chance and called.
The holding cell was miserable, but I’d been to Tartarus. These people still had hope. They didn’t want to talk to each other, except to explain why they hadn’t drunk as much as the cop said, or to explain that the police had it out for them because of…something. It was refreshing to hear the excuses. Hades had a way of managing things that made it clear there was no room for bargaining. There was only person who got to bargain with Hades, and She…well, She’s out there somewhere. When the men of the cell asked why I was there, I told them, “I set the world on fire.”
That got some laughs. They assumed I was on drugs, and I guess I was. I was euphoric to hear them laugh. There’s not a lot of footage of you enjoying yourselves, did you know that? There’s a lot of staged laughter and faked orgasms, but you don’t have footage of you hanging out with your friends and enjoying yourselves. Once the camera is on, you’re performing.
One of the officers called my name. “Prometheus.”
I stood and approached.
“Someone posted bail for you.”
“That’s kind of them.” I looked back at my cellmates. “I hope you all find a way out.”
One of them flipped me the bird. Another called out, “Same to you, man,” in a drunken slur.
Smiling, I followed the officer up to the front. There he was, still wearing that outrageous tunic from the club: Erebus, Darkness and Shadows, brought to life. He held the power to destroy all life, but He looked late to a business meeting. I filled out my paperwork while he counted out hundred pound notes with the same face he had when he eliminated entire lifeforms. He never once looked in my direction.
With silence, we walked to his car. I got inside the automated metal chariot. He started the engine, but didn’t move. Finally, the Primordial sighed and tapped his seatbelt with the edge of his gold ring. I buckled in and he drove. He tapped the steering wheel in a wild rhythm. He gripped the wheel and then let out a long, slow sigh.
“Who were you talking about?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Earlier, on the phone, you said, ‘Is she back?’. Who were you talking about?”
“Persephone. Is She back?” I picked up my feet, curling them under my legs.
“Back from where? You know it’s summer.” He picked up speed, driving around cars to get me back to Nox, or wherever he was taking me.
“I thought I was back in Tartarus.” It was too obvious of a lie, but He didn’t press the issue.
Erebus turned on the radio. Dance music played.
“When did you get into music?” I asked.
“Nyx. Music has become a part of Her.”
“Is She the reason you’re a DJ in a club?”
He grunted. I think that meant “yes.”
“I learned about Black Holes from the internet. Do you control those?”
Erebus, the Lord of all Darkness, laughed. “You want to ask me about Black Holes?”
“There’s a lot of things out there that I never knew about. Gaia didn’t let us wander off too far, especially after…” I swallowed. “She was protective.”
“It would’ve destroyed you. You Titans…you were all so weak,” He said to himself as much to me.
“And we defeated you.”
He nodded. “And you defeated us.”
Erebus turned the music up. I looked out the window. Behind the lights of the street were the lights of the houses, and the thousands of black windows. Inside, Erebus saw your lust, your secret sins, your tears of regret and self immolation. I could only see your windows and wonder why you ever stopped fearing the dark.
The car stopped. I picked my head up and looked around. I was safe. I was in the car with Erebus, far from Tartarus and that damn rock. We weren’t at the club, and we weren’t at Olympus. The car was parked at a residential district, a nice one from the look of things. I tried the door, but it was locked. I looked to Erebus, and he had that same look of irritated boredom in His eyes.
“Who were you asking about?” He didn’t really ask me, so much as all of the dark corners of the car asked me.
“I told you, Pers-” I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t breathe.
“I don’t play games, Prometheus. You can open your mouth and tell me the truth, or you can become a problem for your beloved humans to clean up the next morning.”
Choking, I thrashed about, trying the door, or to grab Him. My fingers almost touched the hem of His coat before the very darkness bound me to my seat. Tendrils of darkness didn’t rise from the shadows like in your movies; I was simply in darkness, and it only parted to show his annoyance.
“No one is coming to save you. I can destroy you in a way that keeps you out of Tartarus and no one would care.”
He let me breathe, and I choked. I gasped so hard that I thought I would vomit all over His leather seats. I considered doing it for a moment, but there was no point in dying so pointlessly. I made a promise to you. I couldn’t let you down so soon. No, I needed to cooperate. He saw the weakness in my eyes. He felt the defeat in my shoulders, and he relaxed, tapping his hands to the beat of his dance mix.
“Your mother,” I admitted. My whole body shook to think of Her, and I dared not say Her name. The combination of fear and relief brought tears to my eyes. “I dreamt about Her.”
The car doors unlocked.
I looked to Erebus with fear. “Is She coming? Did you try to send me a warning through your children? Is that why you came to get me?”
He wasn’t interested in me. I might’ve been a joke to Him, or a pawn in one of His sick games. I didn’t know. I only saw darkness in His eyes. “If you ever cause problems in Nox again, I’m giving you over to my wife.”
Somehow he unbuckled me and tossed me out onto the concrete with his bare hands. On my hands and knees, I stumbled my way under a lamp post, gripping it with the foolish fear that the light might protect me from Him. I stared up at the light until everything was white. When it burned my eyes to look any longer, I turned my gaze to the parking lot. I didn’t dare breathe, for fear that He’d hear me. The strobes subsided and the darkness returned, and only when I could see the shadows did I know that Erebus wasn’t around anymore.
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