GREECE, 965 BC
The cave was dark, silent as he crept in whilst his wife slumbered. His hands were warm, firm as he grasped her and devoured her. He told her he loved her, he told her so many lies and she believed him. When her belly rounded and her son was born, he had the same mouth; the mouth of a liar. His father took him from her then, took him from the cave and from their bed. He named him Hermes; he was crowned a god of many things. He was so much more than she was, so much more than she could ever be.
Her lover knew she would not leave, would not trespass further into the world than beyond the andrakhnos where her son played. She watched him grow, watched belief and thought shape him even as what she was shaped him. Her son didn’t know who she was, not really. They called her Maia but that was not her name. And he loathed her, her son, her beautiful son. He might have had her love and her eyes but he had his smile, his father’s smile, etched into his face. He was her son but he was not a part of her anymore.
She retreated further into the cave, whispering prayers as she grew lonelier and madder until one day even her siblings could not persuade the shy creature out of the shadows.
I know you lie
I trust you all the same
I don't know why
SAN FRANCISCO, AMERICA.
The cold spread through her body as she slid down the brick wall, curling into herself as she watched the world move around her. Though they looked at her, sat with her legs sprawled into the street, they didn’t see her. It was like the world bent a little around her so that their gaze slid over her, moving quickly past her. She pulled her knees to her chest, wrapping her arms around herself as she waited for him. She was always waiting for him.
She glanced up as she heard it, the prayer to the modern God and the profanity as someone, a bike messenger, almost hit them. For a moment his gaze caught her but his eyes unfocused, drifting past her before he cycled on never faltering or stopping as he pulled out into oncoming traffic. She shivered, soft and quiet as she felt her sister pull at her heart. He had been smiling, he was happy.
A cold nose butted against her arm as she slung it around the soft fur of her doggy. He woofed softly to her and she listened, head tilted as if she could interpret the soft sounds he made into words and meanings. She tugged him close and held the dog for a moment. She would wait for an hour; wait for him to pass her again before she returned to the shadows and the darkness that threatened to overwhelm her. It wasn’t safe for him here but she had to protect him. He was still her son after all.
She waited for him to pass again, his mouth turned up in that same liars smile as he cycled past. She saw it first and then moved quickly into the street as quick as her bare feet could carry her and into the path of the speeding limousine. It screeched to a halt, the world bending around her until only the car was damaged and not her. He didn’t stop moving though, his bike turning round the corner even as she walked away unharmed from the car that meant to hit him and the death that had awaited him.
She shuddered, her gaze turning to the driver as she tilted her head and saw him. She moved out of the way brushing her hand along the body of the limousine as it reformed itself into a perfect gleaming body. She stood next to the window waiting until at last he wound it down. She leaned inside, reaching for him with one pale hand before gripping the window tightly. She turned her head, smiling at the fat kid who cowered in realisation.
“You?” The boy said shocked. It smelled like burnt wires and sweat and death inside the car. He smelled like that and worse, he smelled desperate and scared and mad. There was sliver of it beneath everything, a small thread that she grasped and pulled towards her. It would unravel and he would unravel and her boy, her son would be safe. “I thought you couldn’t take sides, I thought that was against the rules.”
“I’m not taking sides. You don’t understand and you never will. None of you will, you can’t see but I can.” She spoke. It was the first time she had spoke since the war began. She smiled sanely at him whilst he shrank before her, flattening himself back against his seat as he tried to put himself as far away from her as he could. “You’re two sides of the same coin.”
“Your eyes...” He broke off, his voice warbling as he tried not to give into the hysteria pulling at him, clawing at him.
“Yes, I can do that sometimes.” She replied simply, shrugging. The smile slid off her features as she stared at him or rather stared right into him. “Stay away from him. Tell the others too. Warn them.”
“What am I your messenger?” He snapped before cowering back at her sharp back of laughter.
“How fitting, yes I guess you are.” She replied, her grip loosening on him and on the car. She had killed the fat kid, though he was still living and breathing and plotting inside the car. She had warned him though; her son was hers and hers alone but he wouldn’t listen. And well, no one had ever listened to the bard- Don’t shoot the messenger. They’d shoot him or beat him, leave him in the middle of nowhere with no power and signal. He would die alone, her son would be safe and he could live and be happy as any waning God could be living and working in deliveries.
She stood back, smiling to herself as she wandered back onto the sidewalk. The people moved around her automatically as if she wasn’t there, she faded into the background even as she collected her dog. She lingered for a moment, eyes drifting shut as she found herself imagining her son’s liar smile and his bright eyes. She had to go; she had to find Wednesday’s son before it was too late. She had to watch over him. And then she was gone again, into the shadows and the darkness where she belonged.
They had called her Maia but that was not her name. Her name was…