© 2019 by JERRY GIVENS

EXCERPTS FROM

HEROES & VICTIMS

The DARK ROOM

Five years had passed since Delia was visited by Hermes and named Oracle of Delphi. Five years since she had traveled to the capital and was put on display for the world to see. Five years since she left her family and took up a mantle that she did not then understand.

 

In that time, she had been visited by many Gods, Aphrodite the Goddess of Love, Poseidon the Lord of the Sea, Ares the God of War, and by Apollo himself. She had become accustomed to being their voice and even come to enjoy the sacred duty. But as the five years crept by, an anxiety grew within her for the contest that was to come. She could not help but feel that something was amiss and that something was wrong in the realms beyond this world.

 

Delia tried to speak with her brother about her apprehensions, as she spoke to him about everything, but he would only try to pacify her. The pang of anxiety never abated.

 

As she had done many times in the years since Hermes’ first visit, she entered Oracle’s Eye and sat. She had never had to wear the chain since her first visit and now she calmly sat before the crack in the dais and let the vapors take her. Sometimes the Gods came to her and sometimes they did not. She honestly did not mind either way. If the Gods did not come to her, she took solace in the quiet peace of being alone.

 

That peace is what she sought this time, sitting down and taking her customary three deep breaths. Time did not exist within the eye, she found. Once she sat within for two days and her brother had to drag her out for fear of her starving. That same timelessness overtook her and she coasted in a space of thought between this world and the realms beyond.

 

Her reverie was broken as the ground shook. She could hear shouts from outside, as she stood and made for the door, but it was locked from the outside. She screamed for her brother, for Helena, for anyone to let her out, but no one heard her.

 

Turning from the door, she screamed and fell to the floor as a tall white figure stood above her.

 

“Greetings, Delia,” he said. “I am Hades.”

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Excerpt from Heroes & Victims | Copyright 2017 - Gerald M. Givens | All rights reserved.

NO LIGHT

Sean drifted… hardly existing… vaguely aware of himself. No body. No breath. No light.

 

The sensation might have been peaceful, had he possessed the capacity to feel such things. His mind drifted in a sea of indifference. Memories were a distant shadow. He knew only that he could not escape. “Is this finally death?” he heard a voice within him ask. No answer came to him. No body. No breath. No light.

 

Suddenly, as if taking a deep breath, he woke.

 

The scene before him was painted into his mind in layers. First, he saw red-orange light. The light slowly materialized into a lake of fire, which surrounded him. The fire then turned into lava. He was suspended above it, floating in a swirling black cloud that hissed. “Furies,” he thought.

 

Floating beside him in the same state was Erin. She looked at him with a blank stare, but didn’t speak. He too felt nothing.

 

A voice resounded in his head.

 

“Selfless you are thought to be, to give up two lives in exchange for one. Two souls in exchange for one. My eternal goal is to have you regret your actions. Regret the kiss that cursed you. Regret the friendships that pushed you forth. Regret the peace you felt in the ignorance of your follies. Regret your own daughter.”

 

Hades’ voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere. Sean could not react. He could not feel.

 

“Look upon these earthen walls. Look upon this lake of fire. Look upon your prison cell. Look and know that you are damned to this pit. This pit that the heroes… the Titans… and even the Gods fear. This pit of Tartarus. The place of eternal damnation. These earthen walls used to live. They were mortals and immortals alike. Men, Gods, and Titans. They have all become imprisoned here, as will you. Only aware of their captivity and the helplessness in knowing that it will never end. An insanity that you cannot fathom shall become you.

 

“But you shall not join them yet. No, I have use of you before you suffer your fate. In your chivalry, you provide me opportunity. One that I shall not squander, nor from be swayed. You will secure for me dominion over a realm of men. You shall draw a dark center on the face of the world. Seize the land, you shall, and establish patronage to me, Hades, the dark lord of death.”

 

Sean was unable to reply. He became faintly aware of acceptance. Someplace deep within him felt the urge to comply. The feeling was exciting and joyful. He found that he wanted nothing more than to do as Hades commanded.

 

“Once Zeus denied me the world of men. He and Poseidon both! But through you I have found my way.”

 

In the midst of his reverie, Sean was back to drifting. No body. No breath. No light.

 

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Excerpt from Heroes & Victims | Copyright 2017 - Gerald M. Givens | All rights reserved.