The Gardens of the Hesperides

The streetlights kaleidoscoped through the windows of the Maserati as it vaulted down the road like an Olympian gymnast. Fiberglass and aluminum shards flung from the car with each flip—the shrapnel embedding into trees and light poles along the way. Luckily, this part of the boulevard did not have any innocent bystanders.

I’ve watched wars and plagues scourge across the earth and the rise and fall of empires. I’ve endured substantial financial losses during the Fourth Crusade, the French and Russian Revolutions, and even the infamous Black Monday. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to prosper even while the rest of my kin grew complacent—frolicking on their mountain top and falling from favor—and were replaced by new gods.

As long as the human species survives, mortals are sure to live and die. The Sulfur Springs Resort & Spa was and always will be there to receive them. The Mourning Fields and Mines will always be extracting rare earth minerals and other commodities needed to rebuild their pathetic civilizations.

Calmly, I reached for my coffee ☕ snuggly nestled in the center console cup holder. Placing my thumb over the drink spout to prevent it from spraying liquid goodness everywhere, I said “Damn, this is really turning out to not be my month though.”

If, only, I could have stopped the car with a wave of the hand, but the little dwarf’s antics caught me by surprise. The car was a total loss already. Nothing to do, but sit back and wait for the Laws of Newton to take hold.

“Good old Sir Isaac Newton, what a funny fellow he had been,” the thought struck me from nowhere.

Everyone knows the story of Sir Isaac and the apple, but no one ever told you the whole story.

It all started during his tenure at Cambridge University in the mid-17th century. I had been there visiting the Chancellor in an attempt to get him to resume teaching the geocentric model of the universe. Of course, Mr. Smarty Pants and his colleagues made sure that didn’t happen.

Needless to say, Lord Hades doesn’t take too kindly to being shaded by mere mortals. So what’s a god to do? A couple of letter correspondences back and forth to my brethren—next thing you know, there’s a little thing called the Bubonic plague happening. Unfortunately, Sir Isaac escaped my wrath and ran back home to Woolthrope Manor. Undeterred and with cooler mind, I decided to unleash decades of harmless pranks upon the meddling child.

With each prank I meticulously planned and implemented, his brilliant mind found a way to turn it into a ground-breaking discovery. Ever wonder why Calculus is so evil? You are very welcome.

So anyway, the apple—one of the Hesperides had a crush on me and would do anything to catch my eye. I couldn’t fault her—after all—I was quite dashing even back then in my powdered wig. Don’t laugh—it was all the fashion among the nobility thanks to the very vane King Louis XIII, but that is a different story.

I snuck into the gardens of the Hesperides and asked my admirer for one of the golden apples she guarded. Without hesitation, she gripped one from the tree and began to offer it to me. Suddenly, a plan devised in her head—she would strike a bargain with me.

“Lord Hades, how I long for your touch and for you to only have eyes for me.”

“But, Persephone…” I began. She reached out with her slender, alabaster fingers and laid them upon my lips to hush my words.

“You will soon grow tired of your dalliance with her. When you do—if I give you this apple—you will return to me, won’t you?”

“You know she has eaten the seeds of the pomegranate. She will be forever faithful to me and me to her.”

“Milord, you know as well as I, nothing lasts forever. Make me this promise and the apple shall be yours and no one will be the wiser.”

Pondering her words, I knew I didn’t fear any of my brethren finding out I had filched an apple. It’s not like it is the first or last time that someone had acquired one of these prize fruit—even mere mortals have partaken from the trees in the garden since they were still running around naked in the forest. Feigning interest, I resigned to the promise and she giddily handed over the apple.

Sir Isaac was sitting in the grass under his favorite apple tree—this is where he could always be found when he wasn’t furiously scribbling in his journals and thrashing about his labs. He would be sitting outside oblivious to the warm sun on his cheek and the cool, crisp kiss of the breeze—furiously scribbling in his journal. As I recall, he was sketching out some rudimentary thoughts regarding how to harness electricity—the world would have to wait another hundred or so years for that. Sorry.

Creeping up behind him, I stealthily climbed the tree suppressing an evil grin. When I looked down, the top of his head seemed like a bullseye had been painted on it. Originally, I had contemplated tricking him into eating the apple. After all, the classics were classics for a reason. But, the bullseye on his head was too tempting. He paused to bring the feather quill to his lips and I unleashed the apple with a direct strike to the center of his crown.

“Zooterkins! Consarn it!” he exclaimed while vigorously rubbing his throbbing head.

Covering my mouth with my hand, I suppressed the urge to let go with uproarious laughter. Sir Isaac looked around and up into the branches. I can’t be sure, but I feel like our eyes locked for what seemed an eternity.

Time stood still as his wandering eyes pierced into the depths of my own. At this moment, I realized my prank had an unintended consequence. The unmistakable look of epiphany dawned deep in the recesses of his eyes and spread across his face. Without another word, he turned and scurried back to his manor. A short time later, the theory of gravity was born. Realizing my attempts to torture the man would probably never succeed, I accepted my debt would never be repaid– leaving him to his studies and never returned.

They say—whoever they may be—your life flashes before your eyes when you are about to die. For an immortal who has lived an eternity, you only have time to tell one of countless anecdotes drawn from the ages—then you pull the arrow out of your chest, spit out the poison, or walk away from a high speed car crash like nothing happened.

The Maz came to rest against a mailbox—knocking it slightly off its concrete base—the logo for Hermes Mail tilted askew looked as though the silhouette of Hermes was about to launch into outer space. Stepping out of the car, I surveyed the damage—a total loss—such a shame, I really liked that car. With a quick wipe, I brushed the dust from my tailored Italian slacks and took a sip of coffee ☕.

“Mmmm… still hot,” I said with pleasure.

Intent on walking back to my office at the Olympus Administration Building, I pivoted and stepped forward into a swirling mass of light and energy. With a slight * poof * sound, the portal wrapped around me and I began falling…

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Lord Hades (C.E. Robb)

Lord Hades (C.E. Robb)

Senior Staff Editor / Network Administrator
C.E. Robb is the pen name for an established technical writer, editor and curriculum designer. At night, they craft table-top role-playing game supplements, world-build a SciFi Solar Punk setting, write a novel about Hereditary Witches, and blog the exploits of the Greek God, Hades, for #ThePantheon. Somewhere between all of that, they find time to rough house with their Jack Russell and enjoy the outdoors. #WritingCommunity and #DNDCommunity Supporter
Lord Hades (C.E. Robb)

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Lord Hades (C.E. Robb)

3 Comments

  1. Well, this certainly explains a LOT! I think you should go back to messing with the mortals, Uncle Hades. It’s more fun than tormenting your family!

    Ares

  2. Try being a muse. You slide in, drop a perfectly good idea in their head, then the next thing you know, they’ve taken it in an entirely different direction. Just look what happened with my Fire Festival idea. They didn’t even spell it correctly. Idiots.

  3. Great Uncle, great story, but seeing your name reminded me, “Can I borrow Cerberus next week? I have a couple things that need tending to and it shouldn’t be more than an hour or two.

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