My stepson graduated high school on Friday. Crazy. He was just four when I met him and now he’s all grow’d up. I can’t even put into words the changes and strides he’s made over the course of the past 14 years. He went from a sad, scared boy to a confident, poised, well-spoken (sometimes obnoxious) young man. I couldn’t be prouder of him. I just know that whatever he goes after, he’ll get. And he’ll succeed. The future holds so much for this kid..er..young man. And, I’m grateful and proud to be able to consider him my kid.
After the graduation ceremony, which lasted close to 3 hours..we went for a quick bite to eat. We were all starving and hangry. Like..temper tantrumy. When we were seated at the restaurant, my oldest child decided it would be funny to insult me. I have no recollection what he said. The only thing I know is that somehow, some way, he threw an idea into my brain for a young adult paranormal story.
I’ve started fleshing the idea out a bit and I think it’s very likely going to be a trilogy. Both of us, my son and I, think it’s hilarious that an unrelated insult, meant to be a joke, is what gave this story a life.
So, I’m going to experiment here, just to see what happens. Since I recently heard writers should omit prologues from their books, I figured that putting it on my blog would be fine. Because at least it would be written somewhere. I feel that stories sometimes need prologues so that it gives it a sense of time and reason. Personally, I like them so there. I’m not sure if this piece is going to be chapter one or the prologue. *Shrugs*
Anyway, the story that was prompted via an insult by my son (which, by the way, he was totally teasing, he says) has to do with Greek gods and their demi-god offspring. Here ya go…
Two children stood, huddled and frightened, before a massive wooden door carved with images of ancient faces. The moonless night masked the enormity of the building yet somehow still made them feel dwarfed. They both shivered despite the promise of warmth whispered in hints from nighttimes breeze. Perhaps it was fear and apprehension that caused the two teens to grasp hands, the unknown has strange effects on people.
Alexa, usually never one to remain silent or still for long, moved even closer to Draco, “You knock. I just..I just can’t.”
Pulling her up the great steps leading to the even greater entrance, Draco inched closer to the door and clenched his hand into a fist. Just as he was about to make contact with the door, it opened and revealed a small, pixie-like woman dressed all in white with long, flowing hair to match, “You’re late.” She moved aside and gestured for the two to enter.
With tentative movement, still holding hands, they each grabbed their heavy bags and walked inside to a cavernous foyer lit with oil lamps. They followed the woman down the hall and up a winding staircase. It seemed to take forever but when they reached the landing, the woman came to a dead stop and turned to them, “Silly me, I didn’t introduce myself. I am Calliope, the Headmaster of Eupheus Academy. Welcome, Draco, son of Zeus. Alexa, daughter of Hades, I do hope you’re nothing like your father. Oh, silly me again, of course you aren’t, that’s why you’re here. Well, come. Come. Follow me. You’ll get a good nights rest and we’ll talk more in the morning.”
Calliope led Draco and Alexa down a hallway that stretched on for eternity before turning down another hallway, equally as long before coming to an abrupt halt, “Now, where did I put those keys?” She patted the sides of her gown, “Ah yes.” Snapping, a large brass keychain holding what appeared to be a million skeleton keys appeared out of thin air.
Fumbling, she separated two and placed one into each of the newcomers hands, “Don’t lose these, they are the only ones we have.” Pointing to a peeling door, “This room is yours, Alexa.” Sweeping her hand to point directly across the hall to a much nicer, ornate door, “And this is yours, Draco. Now, get yourselves some good sleep and I’ll see you in my office in the morning.” The two watched her disappear down the labyrinth of halls.
Alexa fidgeted with her key but it didn’t want to go in the lock, “Draco. A little help here, please.”
Draco had already entered his room and set his bags down but had neglected to shut his door, typical of him. He was absentminded and could really only be expected to perform one task at a time, “Hang on, I’ll be right there.”
Alexa could hear him stomping around his room, moving things that sounded awfully heavy on a surface that was probably wood, “Hurry Draco, I’m tired too.”
Draco appeared and snatched the key from Alexa’s hand. Without effort, he was able to unlock the stubborn door and it opened with a start. As she dragged her bag inside, with Draco following, torches lit brightly and illuminated a modest room that looked to have been uninhabited longer than her 16 years of life. Movement in the room stirred the settled dust and thrust them both into sneezing fits.
“Wow, this is nothing like my room.” Recovering from the sneezes, Draco glanced around, “Well, see you in the morning, Alexa.”
Grabbing his arm, “You’re not scared anymore, Draco? How did you get over it that easily?” Alexa didn’t understand how he was able to do that, one minute he was practically peeing in his pants and the next, he was cool and calm. She was a wreck and was sure she wouldn’t get past it quickly or easily, “Do I need to remind you why we are here? Draco..we were cast off Mt. Olympus. We were stripped of the only home we’d ever known. Only to find ourselves here, at this..this disgusting place. And why? Why, I ask you?”
Draco towered over Alexa, he tilted her chin up so she’d meet his gaze, “Hey. It might not be that bad here. And also, I know that, no matter what, it’s going to be okay. We are in this together, okay? As long as we have each other, we are going to be fine.” He lowered his lips onto her cheek, “Now get some sleep. It’ll all seem better in the morning.”
Alexa wrapped her arms around Draco’s waist and rested her head on his chest. The steady drumming of his heart gave her a moment of much needed calm, “You’re right. We are in this together.” She looked back up at him, “Don’t desert me, okay? Promise me you’ll always be here with me?”
Unwrapping her from him, he held her hands firmly in his, “I swear. Together. Now go, get ready for bed and get some sleep!”
Nodding, she agreed and with one last look at her, she watched as Draco left her room to go back across the hall. Of course, he forgot to shut her door so she went and did it herself, first making sure he closed his own.
After Alexa had found a tank top and boxers, her pajamas of choice, she pulled back the heavy and dust laden covers of her bed to reveal a lumpy looking mattress. Unaccustomed to discomfort, Mt. Olympus provided the finest of everything, she rolled around for the majority of the night only to be disturbed by haunting dreams of falling into an abyss when she actually was able to doze.
Across the hall, Draco lay comfortably in a bed that seemed to be made of feathers and clouds. His room here was as heavenly as the one on Mt. Olympus. He felt a bit guilty, like perhaps he should have offered to switch rooms with Alexa, she seemed so discontent with hers, even though it seemed okay despite being a tiny bit dusty. But, this room called to him and made it his own. His final thought, as he drifted off into a dreamless sleep was to wonder why Alexa, his best friend, was given such a horrible room when Draco’s was the epitome of perfection. It didn’t occur to him to still be upset at being cast out of Olympus or being rejected by his father, Zeus. All that mattered to him, especially at that very moment before sleep took over, was how very content he was.
Alexa, however, didn’t have the luxury of being content. Not in any way, shape or form. There was nothing she had encountered, thus far, that would allow her any actual moments of being content. Aside from a bit of dozing, she had all night to think about why they had been thrown out of Olympus. She had all night to bemoan the fact that her room was miserable and her situation stunk. All the other demi’s on Olympus were allowed to stay, even the ones who came down and wreaked havoc amongst the mortals. They never got into trouble, only she and Draco were pariahs. Something she never understood the reasoning for. They both tried to please Zeus, they took their studies and practices seriously. Some, they even did well in. Yet, nothing they did was ever good enough for Draco’s father. And, she was sure Hades was equally as displeased. But, they never told them why or what they could do to make things right.
Instead, they were both banished and sent to this Academy to learn Gods know what.
Draco was wrong, Alexa was convinced. Things would not be better in the morning. Because, she was sure, in the morning, things would be much clearer and she wasn’t sure she wanted them to be.
Zeus paced. He was plagued with a bit of guilt, a feeling that was somewhat foreign to him. He hadn’t banished a child of his own to live amongst the mortals in centuries, the last time he did hadn’t bode well for humankind. Even as a child, Stalin made Zeus uncomfortable to be around him so he sent him to live with his mortal mother. He should have just had him eliminated, no one would have ever known what a monster that boy truly was.
Draco wasn’t like Stalin, he was a kind hearted boy. A good boy. He needed to learn the ways of mortals so he could find his way amongst them. Same went with Alexa, daughter of his mortal and bitter enemy Hades. Zeus never understood what possessed him to even agree to have Alexa live on Olympus in the first place. She was always an alluring child, helpful and good. The two of them were different and it was their differences that Zeus needed to hide and protect.
It didn’t matter what Draco and Alexa were or were not capable of. Zeus had no choice but to send them to the Academy where they would be under the protection of Calliope and her sisters. The Muses powers were underestimated and Zeus had the upmost confidence they would be safe until they fully came into their powers. In the meantime, it was imperative to be sure that not even Alexa and Draco knew who they were.
Hades and Zeus made a pact, back when the children first came to them. And, despite their differences, that pact remained unbroken. If it were to get out, who Alexa and Draco were…
“No!” He slammed his fist into his palm, “Failure is NOT an option.”