Ascension of a Demi God

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“Revenge is like a ghost. It takes over every man it touches. It’s thirst cannot be quenched until the last man standing has fallen. The world’s men of action will look and wonder ‘how it came to this.’ You may be able to destroy me, but the beast will eventually come for you.”

-Call of Duty



323 Ephyra, Greece


The moment was critical.
Propped against the wall, Anastasia screamed at the top of her lungs. On the white sheets, a pool of blood escaped from between her legs, releasing the blockage that kept the baby inside. Wrapping her left hand around her husbands arm, her nails tore into his skin, breaking it. Wincing in pain, he watched as his wife suffered through agony.

Teresa placed both hands beneath Anastasia’s vagina, letting her blood spill over her flesh. Contorting, Anastasia’s torso lifted from the pillows creating an oval space between them. Once again, her voice flirted through the air in a horrific scream, drowning out all other sounds. Forcing her body to push itself, Anastasia felt the life inside her slide further down her body. Clenching her husband’s hand once more, another scream escaped from her lips, echoing out through the windows.

She pushed again, feeling the life slowly crawling out. Pushing herself upward with all her might, Anastasia clenched her teeth together, and continued to command the movement of her muscles. Feeling Teresa’s cold hand against her inner thigh, Anastasia watched with blurry eyes as Teresa pulled out the child that had been growing inside her for the past nine months.

As soon as the child caught the oxygen through it’s own lungs, it’s large cry erupted throughout the room, outweighing the screams that had just escaped Anastasia’s lips. Bloody and innocent, Teresa turned to the bucket of water besides her, running the fresh water over the tiny body, washing away the remnants of it’s mother. With the help of her husband, Anastasia propped herself against the wall watching as her baby was cleansed with the deepest care.

Wrapping the newborn in a soft fabric, Teresa stood up and walked to where Anastasia laid.

“It’s a girl.” She whispered, smiling.

Opening her arms, Anastasia took the baby into her embrace, letting her long red hair fall over it’s precious face like a waterfall. Nestling her tiny head into the crook of her arm, Anastasia rocked her, watching her large hazel eyes fall slowly.

“Isn’t she beautiful?” Her husband whispered, placing his arms around them both.

“Yes,” Anastasia whispered, never taking her eyes off her child.

“And her name?” Her husband’s lips were at her ear.

“Callista.”

“Most beautiful.”

Without another word, Anastasia placed her lips to her baby’s forehead, inhaling the scent of the new life. On her cheek, Anastasia felt her husband’s fingers stroke her skin in a way that could not be described by words. Looking back up at him, she smiled, and he returned the gesture with such grace. Together, the three of them were frozen in time while the others in the room moved on with their day. And as the sunlight bestowed upon the new family with brilliant light, they continued on in their tiny embrace with such blissful happiness.
















But this is where the fairytale becomes a reality.








Because now, I’m going to tell you what it’s like to be murdered.
Seven Years Later

They were blood thirsty savage animals in the shape of man, and they had no interest in making this a tournament. The chase didn’t last long. They were murderous on the hunt, designed specifically for the kill. Focused only on the bloodlust, with every intent on receiving it.

The arena seats flew past her, blurring her peripheral vision like a mosaic painting. Behind her in the shadows, she could hear their footsteps echo hard against the brittle path, echoing off into the distance. A symphony playing a tragedy.

The wind howled as she pushed herself against all forms of exhaustion, clearing her mind with only the pathway of escape. Searching desperately for the light at the end of the tunnel. Anastasia held tight unto Callista, clutching her fragile body like it was the elixir of life. Guided by the silver moonlight, she weaved herself through the seats, making her way down the aisles towards the edge of the stadium.


Tightening her arms around Callista, Anastasia flew into the battle ground. Dirt sparked up from the floor, misting around their feet like miniature tornadoes. Gaining momentum, she sped towards the entrance, trying desperately to outrun death. From the corner of her eyes, she could see two shadows surround her from both sides of the stadium seats, their footsteps keeping in time with her frantic heartbeat.

It took all she had to outrun the shadows, leaving them in the darkness for the sake of her daughter’s life. All sense of danger flooded out of her body, leaving her to the protection of the night. And as Anastasia closed in on the entrance of the arena, she thought to herself: I have won.

But it only took a second, a momentary gap in time for it all to end.

Before she stepped out of the arena, Callista was yanked out of Anastasia’s arms, and just as Callista screamed her name, a sack was pulled over her head before she was wrestled to the ground.


“CALLISTA!”

How long the shadow dragged her for, she doesn’t know. But she does know that the beginning of the end started when she felt the hard blow of something heavy against her face. In the middle of the night, the cracking of her jaw bone struck out, ringing like morning bells. Before she had time to scream in pain, there was another blow; this time it was to her stomach, and she immediately felt the blood trickling down her white dress, staining it the color of red. Someone pulled her to her feet viciously, and while that person held her arms behind her, she felt the hard object smash against her knees pushing them to the other side. Screaming in agony, Anastasia fell to the floor, feeling her broken bones bruising on the inside.

From outside the darkness, she heard a woman laugh.

“Do it again!” The woman hissed.

The object came down on Anastasia’s body again, breaking her shoulders. Attempting to scream, her voice came out in mere whimpers. Lying frozen on her back, Anastasia waited for the object to strike her again, but this time nothing came. The few moments that passed felt like forever as she laid there, waiting. As she wondered the afterlife death had in store for her, she conjured up the perfect face of her daughter beneath the darkness of the sack. Anastasia pretended with all her might, she was facing her untimely death in the middle of the gladiator coliseum, she imagined herself with Callista, holding her like she did the morning she had been born.

Suddenly then, the memory faded as the weight of a body crushed Anastasia’s torso. There was another hit, and beyond her blood, she choked a scream. The sack was brutally ripped off her head, exposing her broken, bleeding face to the outside. Nails dug into the sides of her cheek, ripping new holes were the teeth were missing. The flicker of a flame brought the coliseum alive, lighting it in orange and red. Six shadows danced across the fighting ground, six shadows that would bring her to certain death.

The heat from the flame grew across her face’s flesh, growing hotter and hotter - sudden realization hit her, she was going to be burned alive.

“No, please, PLEASE!” Anastasia screamed through broken teeth.

“Silence you unworthy w****!”

Then, she felt her face burn apart under the fire.
Then, the fire went out, and suddenly, without warning, Anastasia was on her feet, caught off guard by a strange, fierce passion. His lips were against hers, their tongues dancing together, creating a symphony between the closet of their lips. And when the shadow drew back, she could hear his angelic voice vow to her.

“I love you.”

Her lips moved, and blood splattered like water. “P-please… don’t…. kill… her….”

Beyond them both in the darkness, she heard the scraping of a weapon in the ground. Then, the light of a new flame light, dancing on the faces of her demons. In that moment when the embers sparked into the night, she recognized each and every one of them. It was her family by marriage, and her husband held the dagger that would lay her to the grave.

“P-plea…”

“Shhh…” Her husband took a step toward her, his lips brushing her earlobe. “No one can save you now.”

And the dagger entered her, as the light slowly drew off to darkness.

























It was like a waterfall of blood. Her long red waves grazed his thigh like the slightest touch. On the floor, each of their shadows were elongated by the position of the moon, stretching them out into the temple for eternity. Together, they walked in silence making their way up the steps to Necromanteion.

Their footsteps echoed off into the night, telling the story of the sin they had just committed. They walked in formation as if they were heading into battle, with Arsenio at the head of the triangle, holding Anastasia’s lifeless body in his arms. Bury her in the coffin inside Hade’s temple. Adonis’s orders rang loudly in their ears, as if it was the fuel they needed to complete the task. All of them were robots, being commanded by the head of the army - Adonis - the son of the King.

Their faces were stoic, void of all kind of emotion. Dead, like they were nothing more than a statue built to the likeness of Zeus. There was no weight hanging over their shoulders, there was no conscious guilt eating away at them. There was nothing but the blood on their bodies, and the dead woman hanging in Arsenio’s hands.

When they reached the top of the stairs, Arsenio entered the temple alone. As soon as his foot hit the temple grounds, an echo rang out, and a slight movement coursed throughout the inside, followed by moans of those that have been punished for centuries. On the walls that surrounded him, were the plastered skeletons of the undead. Each of the decayed bodies laid upon each other, creating a collage that paints a picture of the underworld. Looking ahead, Arsenio kept his eyes fixated on the coffin that lay in the center of the temple - Anastasia’s final resting place.

Walking towards it, Arsenio lifted Anastasia’s torso just a bit higher to himself, enough so her dead ear could hear his words.

“Everything that is about to happen, you deserve.” He whispered to Anastasia under his breath. “You will never see Callista again.”

In the darkest part of the temple, Arsenio stopped in front of Hade’s coffin and pushed the heavy lid to the side, opening it just enough to let her through. Placing her dead body over the coffin, Arsenio spat in her face - one last insult for the hell she put his brother through. Dropping Anastasia inside he slammed the coffin lid into place, leaving her in complete oblivion.

Ten Years Later

The stadium was glorious.
Like a priceless piece of art. Almost all of Ephyra was gathered around the arena, jumping in their seats, and screaming at the top of their lungs while the six gladiators fought to the death in the middle of the battle grounds. Blood splattered across the dirt and audience, drawing intricate designs of entertaining murder.

Alexander leaned against the edge of the balcony, watching with intent eyes on the show below.

“Barbarians,” Maya hissed. “How can you watch this my dear Alexander? Surely you don’t find entertainment in what I find so barbaric.”

“Easily,” Arsenio answered for him, slipping a single purple grape through his lips. “It’s a way of life dear sister. Without this, Greece and Rome are nothing.”

Alexander chuckled.

“So you are comfortable with watching the murder of innocent people Arsenio?”

“Gladiators were born for this.”
Behind them Adonis entered the balcony, taking his place besides his beloved wife. Leaning against her, he took her face into his hands.

“Don’t be so harsh on them my Maya. They only love the entertainment all of Greece lives for.” He kissed her lips gently.

“It’s horrific to watch such people be killed for no reason. Each of their families expect them home, and five gladiators will never return.”

“Of course not,” Alexander sighed. “That’s the point of the battle. To name a victor.”

“We’re standing by watching the murder of such innocent people!”

Arsenio shrugged. “Such the way of life my good sister.”

“But why? Why must we resort to our animalistic nature? We aren’t animals, we should never act as though we are.”

Arsenio opened his mouth to retaliate, however instead Antony answered for him.

“Never question him Maya,” he snarled. At the sound of his voice, all their eyes shifted to Adonis’s cousin sitting in the secluded corner of the balcony. At every gladiator event for the past three years, Antony has not once watched the battle on the arena floor. Instead, he watches the audience from the darkest part of the balcony, drinking himself into an early grave.

Standing up, he stumbled, the ever present glass of wine in his grasp. “Arsenio never has any remorse for those who have died.”

“Silence Antony.” Adonis orders.

Glaring at him, Antony challenges his relative’s authority. “Why? It’s only the truth. Arsenio is the most heartless, the most cruel. He can watch any murder happen before his very eyes and not care in the least!”

“Don’t doubt yourself either.” Arsenio hissed, walking towards him. “Because if I recall correctly, I’m not the only one who can stand by either.”

A heavy silence fell over them. Without a word being said, each one of them knew the topic being discussed wasn’t about the fight below. It’s of what took place so long ago, something that’s been weighing alone Antony down, giving him a nightmare he can’t live with anymore.

In front of him, Arsenio glared, daring him to say more than what he’s supposed too. Ever since the incident ten years ago in this very arena, they have never spoken of the sit they committed. It was a rule Adonis and Eugene set for them all, if the truth were to ever come out, the one who let it slip would have to pay the ultimate price. Right after the murder, everyone agreed to keep it a secret, and even if they objected to it they were going to follow Adonis’s orders despite the fact. Two days after Anastasia was buried in the coffin in Necromanteion, Eugene addressed the people of Ephyra, and announced that the beautiful wife of his son was taken by the goddess Aphrodite for her immense beauty. Three months later, Adonis was married to Alexander’s sister Maya.

For years, no one spoke of it. No one uttered Anastasia’s name. For years the secret was buried, until Antony began to drink. There had been countless occasions where Adonis, Teresa, and Arsenio confronted and reminded him about the consequences of revealing what they did. Their family held a high position in Ephyra, and had the power to hide such a horrendous secret, but if it was ever revealed that they murdered Anastasia and blamed the Gods for their own misdoings, their power and lives would crumble to the floor.

“But unlike you,” Antony whispered angrily. “I’m paying for my sin.”

“It’s a little too late,” Arsenio retaliated, stepping even closer to his cousin. There they stood face to face, their noses only inches apart, rage building in their veins and driving them forward. Arsenio was taller, and bigger than Antony, living up to the definition of his name. But that wasn’t going to make Antony back down, he was emotionally and physically drained, and he wanted to end the fight that began ten years ago.

Arsenio’s hands clenched into fists, his anger emanating in an aura around himself. Antony stood there, staring up at his relative daring him to finish what he started. Something in him knew, that little by little this family would begin to destroy itself.

“Enough!” Teresa’s affirmative voice came from beyond the entrance to the balcony. “This conversation is over.” She walked towards the confrontation and pushed Arsenio aside. “How many times do we have to threaten you Antony? Saying the truth about her is punishable by death.”

And just like that, the argument was over. Teresa and Arsenio walked together towards the railing, taking their usual place by each other. Defeated, Antony sat back down, gulping the rest of the wine inside the glass.

The battle lasted well into the night, with the final three gladiators fighting their hardest to be named the victor. Around them, fires were being started in the holders on the wall, illuminating the entire arena. From the shadows, Antony watched the audience cheering for the death of those innocent people on the battle floor. With flashes of her death running across his eyes, he twisted his face in disgust, wondering if anyone would ever know the toll a murder takes on someone who isn’t ready to kill.

Standing up, he placed his glass on the table besides him. Keeping his eyes trained on the audience in the distance, he grazed over each and every one of them before his eyes settled on the image of dire beauty. She was breathtaking standing beneath the fire, her red hair caught the light, brightening her face like magic. Blinking several times, he cleared his vision making sure the gorgeous woman standing against the wall was real. Staring back at him, she smiled shyly before extending her index finger and beckoned him seductively to come forth. Slowly approaching the edge of the balcony, Antony kept his vision trained on her, afraid that if he looked away she would be gone forever.

The woman continued to beckon him, and as he looked at her, she turned away from him with the smile still on her lips, and walked into the corridor. Shaken with the intensity of her, Antony quickly turned and left the balcony, running towards the other side of the arena. Reaching the corridor she turned into, he followed her footsteps, taken in by the shadowy darkness of both black and fire.

Walking further inside, he placed his hands on the cold wall. Straining his eyes, he searched in the distance, immediately falling upon the woman. Like before, she was standing beneath the fire, leaning against the wall. Smiling, he began to approach her, but every time he took a step, she took one back. Laughing silently, Antony picked up the speed, chasing her backwards and away from the fire into the darkness.

“Why are you running from me?” He called out, chuckling.

All he heard was her musical laughter in response. Stumbling between the walls, Antony felt his body being pulled by a violent force. Allowing his body to overrun his mind, he followed the light footsteps he heard pounding against the ground. Turning a corner, a bright flame above their heads flashed in his eyes, catching him off guard. Squinting in the dim light, he watched the woman slip beneath the torch, the flickering embers catching her blood red eyes.

Spinning away, the woman shot down the corridor like an arrow. Dazed by the fire and blood shot eyes, Antony ran after her listening to the footsteps echoing off the walls. She wasn’t that far ahead, every so often his eyes caught her beneath the various fire torches hanging on the walls above their heads. Turning slightly, she watched him stumble after her, his body overriding his mind. Suddenly, she twirled in front of him, her long red hair gently flipping over her body like waves. Stopping in his tracks, he watched as she danced for him, standing beneath the fire then spinning away into the darkness, then back under the next torch, lighting her entire body as if she was the moon. Continuing to pursue her, he became fixated on the way she moved wondering what it would feel like to have her dance against his own body like that.

Dancing as if she was a servant in the castle, the woman slowly spun beneath the fire her right arm extended high into the sky. Keeping her eyes trained intently on Antony he watched as her beautiful face contorted. Beneath her lips, he could see the sharp fangs that could easily tear into the bricks that surrounded them. Blinking, Antony slipped forward against the wall, watching as she disappeared into the darkness, then reappeared beneath a different fire again. Widening his eyes, he looked at her again, realizing her beauty was back to it’s originality. Continuing to dance, she called him like a siren. And as she moved her way beneath the patterns of the torch lights, his eyes began to play tricks on him, transforming her into the monster and back to the beautiful woman his body yearned for. She spun once more, slipping back into the darkness. Against the silence, it was the first time he heard her voice.

“You don’t remember me, do you?”

Suddenly, the torches blew out. Above the arena, thunder roared.

In the darkness she lunged at him, wrapping her hands around his neck. Throwing his body against the wall, he gasped and squeezed at her, making sounds that were neither animal nor man. Squeezing tighter, she pushed his head further into the wall, bits and pieces breaking off and hitting the floor.

“W-why,” he wheezed. As soon as his voice reached his ears, she tightened her hands around his throat - crushing his windpipe. Still, he continued to speak. “W-why d-do you want to k-kill me?”

In a moment, the fury she felt only moments ago, was nothing compare to the rage eating her alive now.

“Why do I want to kill you?” She taunted through her teeth. “Why do I want to kill you!”

She leaned close, so close to his fragile face and whispered in his ear. “Because you let me die.”

Thunder roared again, and he was left there standing alone. A moment of hesitation passed before he realized he was in danger. And when the reality smacked him in the face, he did the only thing that seemed logical in the predicament he was in.

He ran.

With panting breaths, Antony desperately tried to feel his way back to the stadium seats. Falling over the small rocks, and hitting his body against the wall, he stumbled through the corridor. Running his hand up the brick, he reached for the torch. Ripping it down, he picked up two lone sticks by his feet and tried to light a fire, but every time the ember sparked it was blown out, and he was left in the darkness once more.

“No, no.” Her voice came again. “I am the darkness Antony.”

With his heart bounding in his ears, he swerved around, grabbing the heaviest object he could find on the floor. Wrapping his fingers around a large rock he tucked it behind his back, crouching in a defensive position, waiting for her to attack.

“That won’t save you.”

The beads of sweat aligned his forehead. In the silence, she could hear him pray to the Gods.


“Do you really think Zeus can save you now?”

Pulling the rock from behind him, he swung at the empty space in front of him hoping to catch the demon by breaking the wind in half.

“Leave me alone!” He screamed. “I had nothing to do with it! Arsenio and Adonis, they were the ones who planned the murder! I didn’t want to kill you, they forced me to!” He lowered his weapon and began to weep, his voice cracking with every word. “Please… I’ve had to live with it for ten years Anastasia. I was so young when they killed you, only an innocent child. They made me stand there and hold that torch over your grave.”

As if by magic, the two fires above him caught again, lighting the tiny part of the corridor. Around the corner, Anastasia emerged as beautiful as ever. Staring at her, Antony noticed the difference almost immediately - something he’d notice the moment he laid eyes on her from across the arena. Her usual hazel eyes were now the color of crimson.

When she spoke, her voice was cold as death. “You knew the difference between right and wrong.”

He fell to his knees, and bowed at her feet.

“They said they would take my life if I did not follow their orders. Arsenio threatened to break all of my bones, and if not Eugene threatened to have me exiled.”

“So you allowed me to die for something I had never done? You let them kill my daughter!”

The fires flickered as she screamed. Antony’s eyebrows furrowed in desperation and confusion. Something crossed his mind, a memory of some kind, a piece of knowledge. But when he spoke, he only pleaded for his life.

“I was frightened, I-I was lost.”


“You could have stopped them.”

“Even if I did, they still would have murdered you. The only difference is I would have been in that grave besides you. They don’t listen to reason Anastasia. Do you not remember how you begged them to open their ears so you could explain your side? So you could protect the life of yours and Callista’s? Despite whether you did it or not, you still would have been murdered.” He held his face in his hands.

“Despite whether or not I committed the sin of which you accused me of, you still would have only believed Adonis.”

Behind Antony, the crowd cheered.

“Anastasia, I-” He looked up, but she was nowhere to be found.

Then, he sat there, holding his face in his hands, weeping like the child he never was. Minutes that felt like hours passed before he composed himself. Outside, the crowd was still cheering the gladiators, the fight wasn’t over yet. Wiping his hands on his clothing, he stood up, and simultaneously both fires above him - blew out. Feeling her presence behind him, he knew he was going to loose his life. She slipped one arm around his waist, her hand ripping through his hair.

“I am truly sorry, Anastasia.”

“It’s too late to mourn.”

Against his neck, her fangs found his flesh cutting apart his delicate skin. He died before the blood reached her tongue.



*


Adonis leaned over the balcony railing, watching as the fight finally came to an end. The larger gladiator - the favorite of the two - struck his opponent in the chest, letting the blood spill over his own hand. Behind him, the crowd screamed for more premeditated bloodshed. Circling him, the victor watched as his opponent slowly fell to the floor. Behind him, the crowd stood, throwing their hands in the air, yelling until they couldn’t anymore. Approaching the dead body, he retracted the large dagger from his belt and grabbed him by the hair. Lifting the lifeless body from the dirt, the crowd egged him on, and watched in surprise as he sawed the dead gladiators head off. Turning back to everyone, the victor held the head high, and took in the glorious screams that shot his ego to the sky.

“Huh,” Teresa huffed. “I guess they really are barbaric.”

Adonis raised an eyebrow. “Then it must mean we really are animals.”

Across from them in the other balcony, Eugene stood, addressing the audience who came to watch the gladiator fight today. Raising his arms, he bestowed upon them his bright red face, and enlarged stomach that reached the railing.

“People of Ephyra!” His voice boomed throughout the arena. “I give to you today, the winner of this long lasting battle, GLADIATOR ANDREAS!”

Once more, the crowd cheered while Andreas beat his chest like a tribal drum. Peering over the battle grounds once more, Adonis looked up to meet the bright blue eyes of his father. Nodding slightly in acknowledgement, Adonis turned and took Maya by the hand.

“Let’s go,” he ordered. And like the snap of a finger, the rest of his family followed.

Outside of the arena, Eugene stood waiting in front of the chariot that was strapped to a set of two beautiful black horses. Walking up to the chariots in synchronization, Teresa, Arsenio, Alexander, and Maya took their places side by side. Taking his place behind them, Adonis began to make his way towards his wife, when his father took him by the arm.

“Where’s Antony?” He whispered heavily, tightening his grasp.

If he felt any pain, Adonis made no record of showing the vulnerability on his face. As if he was trained to become a warrior, Adonis was brought up to never allow any type of weakness to be revealed.

Looking at his father, Adonis whispered back. “I’m not sure. He was with us at the beginning of the tournament, but when Teresa entered he sat down in the corner like he always does. After that, I don’t have any record of him making himself known.”

Eugene twisted his son’s flesh beneath his grasp. Pulling him closer, he hissed into his face, letting the smell of the wine invade Adonis’s senses. “He better not have gone running his mouth to anyone in Ephyra about what we did. I know about his conscious, and his guilt. Alexander has told me. And if any type of word is released about her,” Eugene’s grip now burned. “Antony won’t be the only member of this family to pay the price.”

As if conjured by dust, Teresa appeared besides Adonis, her hand on Eugene’s tight fist.

“Is there any problem here?” She asked, her eyes intent on her uncle.

“None at all,” Eugene smiled, letting go of his son.

Never taking his focus off his father, Adonis spoke. “He believes Antony has run off to spill our secret to someone.”

“What do you mean?”

Adonis turned to his cousin. “He’s missing, and my father believes he’s gone to tell someone about her, because of the things he’s been telling Alexander lately.”

Teresa looked back towards her uncle. “Antony knows better than to do the unthinkable. It’s punishable by death from any one of us, he’s understood that threat many a time.”

“So where is he?” Eugene hissed under his breath. “No one noticed his departure. How do you know the people aren’t forming an uprising at this very moment? Not only did we murder her, but we blamed the Gods!”

Teresa put a finger to her lips. “Calm yourself, Eugene. Antony is probably off with another loose woman as he always is after a tournament. It is not unlikely of him to come stumbling into the castle the next day with the smell of a woman on his body.”

At this revelation, Eugene’s tense body began to unwind. However, it was clear his guard was still up.

“He better return tomorrow.” Eugene took a step towards Teresa, their shoulders touching. “Or hell will be raised.” And with that, he stalked off, meeting the other confused members of his family on the chariot.

“Do you think he would really tell?” Teresa whispered.

Adonis turned to look back at the arena. “He knows the consequences, understands them. I’d rather him drink himself to death than spill the secret of what we did.” He looked at Teresa. “Otherwise we will all be killed.”

As soon as everyone took their places on the chariot, Arsenio whipped the horses ahead, allowing the cold night wind to slap their vulnerable faces. All around them, they watched the trees pass them by, bleeding into each other so fast by the speed of the horses, the green and brown became a blur of colors on either side of them. The silence that weighed around them was so thick they could barely move. Eugene’s threat to both Adonis and Teresa still hung in the air, tightening around both their necks like a noose.

Against the night, the horses whined as Arsenio whipped the animals to speed up. And when they began to move even faster, everyone saw it at exactly the same time. Straight ahead in the far distance stood a figure, waving his arms manically above his head. As the horses got closer, and every one of their eye sights took in the details of the man, they realized it was Antony, and that’s when Arsenio screamed to stop.

Thinking he wanted them to go even faster, the horses pushed against the wind heading head first into their cousin. Screaming at the top of their lungs for the animals to stop, they watched as Antony - drunk out of his mind - continued to stay in the path of the chariot. Falling over Arsenio’s shoulder, Teresa attempted to grab hold of the reins, however when she pulled them against her chest it was to no avail. Staring at Antony in utter horror, they felt their hearts drop to their stomachs as the horses continued to head in his direction. Keeping their eyes trained on their unmoving relative, their jaws dropped in shock as they watched his body distort and bleed into something else. Alexander pushed Arsenio away from the head of the chariot, grabbing full control of the reins. Pulling the horses away from the distorting image of his cousin in law, they tripped over their own legs, causing the chariot to fly through Antony’s body. And as they all fell to the floor, each one of them caught the image of the red hair flowing in the wind.

It was the breath of fresh air whipping across his face that jolted him awake. Against his cheek, he felt the cool ruble of the earth beneath him. Without moving, he sensed his body was in horrible pain, bruised, and torn slightly from the chariot’s fall. Looking up, towards the backdrop of trees in the distance, he saw the blurry image of a woman walking in his direction. She was beautiful - that much he could tell - but her face was distorted by the pain overrunning his entire being. She sauntered towards him slowly, her white dress hugging every part of her body. Her long red hair was twisted in a braid running down her left shoulder. The wind blew sending a cold chill down his spine, and as the leaves around him began to dance around each other, he could smell the stench of death in the air.

The woman was closer now, her feet only inches away from his nose. When she finally reached him, she bent down on one knee, her freezing, stone-like hand cupping his cheek.

“Oh my Adonis,” she said with a laugh. “You seem to have run into some troubles once more, haven’t you?”

The part of his brain that recognized the voice, screamed at him to awake. As if he was electrocuted, Adonis pushed his torso up from the floor. His face filled with the anticipation of staring death in the eye. But death was far from where he was laying.

“My goodness Adonis,” Teresa huffed. “You act as if you’ve seen Hades!”

Blinking several times, Adonis cleared his vision more than once. The beautiful woman with the long red hair was no longer before him, but instead he stared into the dark, cruel eyes of his cousin. Looking around, he watched as all the members of his family slowly rose to their feet. Every one of them had been knocked unconscious from the crash. Arsenio was the first to rise.

“Where is that drunken b******?” He snarled, stomping off in the direction of the trees.

“Has anyone seen him since the horses crashed?” Adonis asked, grabbing Maya by the arm and shoulder.

Teresa shook her head. “We all came too only moments ago. Ever since I woke up, I haven’t seen him. He wasn’t in the woods, or anywhere near the chariot.”

“Did anyone see the blood?” Maya whispered, holding her head in her hand.

From the corner of his eye, Adonis watched as Alexander pulled the horses back to their feet. Behind Adonis, Eugene approached, his face red with indignation.

“Antony has caused more than enough troubles for us!” He spat. “First, he is overcome with a ten year old guilt, drinks himself almost to death, and to make it all worse has our chariot crash into the woods! He could have killed us!”

“His mind was probably not in the right place at the time, father.”

“His mind is never in the right place. If he’s not in my presence by tomorrow Adonis, best believe I will handle his situation the best I know how.” He put his hand on his son’s shoulder. Squeezing it as hard as he could. “And the best I know how, usually involves bloodshed.”

“Not everything is solved with death, Eugene.” Teresa hissed.

Behind them Arsenio evolved from the trees, spitting obscenities.

“Did you find Antony?” Teresa asked, walking towards him.

“No.” Arsenio growled. “He wasn’t anywhere amongst the trees. I walked as far into the forest as I possibly could without loosing my trail, but he was nowhere to be found. Either he transformed into lightening, or he disappeared into ash.”

Besides them, was the obnoxious collision of the chariot wheels hitting the floor. Adonis and the others remained quiet, not entirely sure on how to handle the revelation that Antony has just disappeared, when only moments ago he was standing right before the chariot waving his arms above his head like a maniac.

“He has to be somewhere, anywhere. But he has to be close.” Teresa said.

“Does he look like he’s here Teresa?” Arsenio stated, irritated.

She glared at him.

“Maybe he’s scared.” Alexander offered, his voice barely audible.

“Now why would he be terrified of us?” Arsenio snarled.

But there was no direct response to his question, because even in the silence the answer was still heard. There was reason to fear the Exusia family, they each beheld the definition of their last name of authority and influence. Strangers were dangerously at risk if they crossed any member of the royal family, but even the members themselves had to walk around each other as if they were stepping on glass. They never took a situation lightly, and it was never expected of them to give second chances.

“Let’s wait for him to return tomorrow,” Adonis whispered. His voice tense. “He’ll come back, I’m sure of it. He’s most likely in a drunken stupor right now, he’ll be back at the castle when dawn rises.”

“He better be,” Eugene barked. “That wretched cousin of yours is more trouble than he’s worth.”

As Eugene turned on his heel back towards the chariot, Adonis’s body froze against his better will. With his father’s words still hanging in his ear, the voice of a woman from so long ago came echoing from the deepest part of his mind.

Oh my Adonis, you’ve seem to have run into some troubles once more, haven’t you?





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

GirlswithGruesomeGladiators100 said...
Dec. 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm
This was AMAZING ! I loved it :) ! You did a great job, WOW. keep writing :)
 
destinyfelicia replied...
Dec. 25, 2011 at 2:30 am
thank you so much! :) this was just a small excerpt from my book, but i'm glad you enjoyed it.
 
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