An old memory stirs for me now. . .not just old. Ancient, actually. I live more among you mortals than my brothers do, so perhaps I begin to understand something they do not quite yet grasp: the idea of memory. Of making memories – and losing them.
I clench the neck of the rum bottle so hard it splinters. Dark, sweet liquid pools across my bar top, mingling with saltwater and a few stray flecks of Ted’s cheap roll-your-own. The shattering glass startles Ted into forgetting his place in this tale. The old sailor stares at the rum runoff, horrified at my careless waste of something he considers all-too-precious. There is no way this pathetic wreck of a mortal could know it, but my current sentiments match his exactly.
“Whatcha do that for?” Ted slurs, making him difficult to understand.
The surging heat moving through me in this moment doesn’t help. I know this feeling; I felt it at Troy, at Attica, at the death of my son, Polyphemus. Pure, unreasoning rage. A godly anger; a titanic fury and I break the bottle, imagining Ted’s neck beneath my fist. Outside, thunder growls around The Mermaid’s Tale. Old Ted shivers, shrinking further into his battered old reefer’s coat. He coughs blood onto my bar again and something shifts in the grate behind me.
Not yet, brother. Hades might at least grant me the conclusion of Ted’s tale. After all, we’re family. I wonder how his memory fares after all these thousands of years. He does, of course, have Charon and the Fates to assist him in keeping names and faces straight. I can barely remember the names of all my hippocampi (and don’t tell my kids but sometimes I get them muddled up, too).
“Never mind, Ted,” I rasp out, temper held in check by the thinnest of divine threads. “Plenty more where that came from.” I bite the cork off another bottle and top him up. “Here,” I shove the glass closer to his shaking fingers, “on the house.”
My eye catches a flash of lightning far out over the ocean. My other brother does not like it when I gift freebies to mortals. Flexing my shoulders, I send a wild crack of thunder skyward. This does not concern You, Zeus! I message back. Storms are my domain, and I’ll not have this challenged. You mortals may have perfected texting, but our weather does not have that annoying auto-correct feature I hear my patrons swearing about. (For that, we have Hestia.)
Ted drains his glass in a single gulp, shoving it back towards me. The old wretch grins blearily, nodding towards the faint glow surrounding his treasure. “Well, barkeep? Waddaya think o’me pearl?”
I seize this moment to get a grip on the tumult within. I must not reveal myself. I must not unleash my rage. I must not kill this tiny, puny mortal – at least, not yet.
“Go on, old man,” I mutter, pouring him another.
The old lush leers at nothing I can see. He’s clearly in another place. “So, this mergirl or whatever she is,” he continues, “she makes some kind of noise…”
Ted’s Tale continues . . .
“Kiss me, kiss me there,” she gasps, her breath changing now, becoming shallow and rapid, and I noticed her breasts are high and tight, nipples firm and hard – and I reach for them, touching her belly with my mouth, stroking her soft, salt-kissed skin, until I feel her writhe beneath my lips and her skin falls away, unfurled, and I find meself, suddenly, in the arms of a whole woman. A beautiful woman, silvered by moonlight, and glistening wet, and I slide me tongue inside her until she screams, cums, and cums again. I feel her hands on me as she struggles with unfamiliar clasps and ties.
I stand and strip for her so she can see me fully and there, on the deck of Thetis, she takes me in her golden mouth and I hold tight to the mizzen to avoid losing control – again – as a tongue that calls thousands of men to the depths of the sea plays me like a flute and almost sends me mad. Music pours from her skin, swelling crescendos surround us. . .I have never known anything like it – just her tongue moving over me for what seems like hours and I can barely breathe; afraid I might pass out, or die, or give in to my very, very near-completion. . .but she will not let me go and somehow holds me poised and heavy and abeyed, until her music recedes and she is ready.
Drawing me down to her, I feel her and she is wet as the ocean and pressing meself into her, her hands on my arse, her legs wrapping me against her, enfolding me into the water-soft smoothness of her body and I don’t so much cum as dissolve suddenly into her with a convulsive shout I can swear even now that all the earth heard.
When I am done, she holds me tight against her and I am speechless, exhausted, completely spent. I close my eyes against the moon and she croons a soft melody into my ear. I slip into slumber and give meself up to the gentle rocking motion of the woman beside me, and the magic she is clearly playing for us both. I allow my eyes to drift closed until I lose all consciousness. . .
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