Hey, little songbird, you've got something fine
You'd shine like a diamond downin the mine
And the choicee is yours if you're willing to choose
Seeing as you've got nothing to lose
And I could use a canary
♦ ♣ ♠ ♥
Phoenix?" a soft voice called out. In the darkness, a man, wearing a hooded cloak. It flapped wildly in the wind. "Phoenix?" he repeated, hugging himself tightly. He had no strength to call any louder, had no strength to keep on, he was so weak, so so weak...
"Phoenix," he cried, desperate for something, some kind of sign, oh god, he was so cold... How long could he keep going like this?
In the distance, singing. The humming of a tune. There, there is where Phoenix was. If he could just... if he could only...
So weak. So cold.
The wind was biting. The rain was piercing. Or was that hail? He couldn't tell anymore. Up and down no longer existed. The world spun. The soft, beautiful humming, slowly fading away, buried by the rain and the howling winds, and the man keeled over.
The last thing he heard was a deep golden voice, muttering in his ear, something soft and inviting.
"Hey, little songbird..."
♦ ♣ ♠ ♥
"Where is he?"
"What do you care?" the god snapped back. Phoenix swallowed harshly.
"Where is he?" he repeated.
"It doesn't matter. You'll find another muse somewhere."
"It does matter," Phoenix grabbed the god's wrist. "Hermes. Where is Miles?" In all his life, Phoenix had never seen Hermes so pissed. He'd never seen the messenger avert his eyes. Normally, so eccentric, excited. Reduced to a grumbling mess.
"What if I said," the god took a step back, away from Phoenix, who was leaning in very close. "He's down below."
"Six feet under the ground below."
"No," Phoenix stumbled backwards. No. No. No.
Hermes shrugged. "He called your name before he went. But I guess you weren't listening."
Oh, god, oh god, is this my fault? I should have payed attention, I should have-
"Tell me," Hermes uncrossed his arms and stuffed his hands into his pockets. "Just how far would you be willing to go for him?"
Phoenix inhaled sharply. "To the end of the Earth. To the end of time." He scrunched the now finished song in his hand. It wasn't worth it. Finishing the song wasn't worth it. Why hadn't he payed attention?!
"You got a ticket?"
"Yeah, I didn't think so."
They were both silent for a moment.
Phoenix finally broke the silence, by un-scrunching the song he'd completed. He read it over. "It's real then," he muttered. "Hadestown."
"Yes," Hermes replied after a moment's hesitation. "You didn't think it was?"
"Well," Phoenix smoothed out the paper. "I knew the gods were real. Hades. Persephone. I mean, you exist, so... I just," the song spoke about Hades' greed. Ruling a kingdom, the underworld. "I knew it existed. The evidence was there. I've just never thought about it."
"Yeah, well." Hermes averted his gaze. "Unfortunately, it exists. Fortunately, it also means you still have a chance."
"Miles," Phoenix muttered. "So he's down there then." He peered down at his feet. Was Hadestown truly just below? How deep? How far? "Do I have to dig?"
Hermes had the gall to laugh. "Dig? No. See, I ain't supposed to say, but..."
♦ ♣ ♠ ♥
Maya was passed out on the couch when he arrived back at the office.
He silently packed his things. Food, water, clothes, and even his writing supplies. He knew it would take up space in his bag, but... maybe he could finish the song along the way. And then no one would have to worry anymore. That had been the original plan, so...
He took one last look at Maya, and sighed deeply. Lastly, he left a sticky note on her forehead explaining where he'd gone. He urged her to get a job in his absence.
Without another glance, he opened the door, and left.
♦ ♣ ♠ ♥
How to get to Hadestown; you have to take the long way down.
Through the underground, under cover of night,
Laying low, staying out of sight.
Ain't no compass, brother, ain't no map,
Just a telephone wire and a railroad track.
Keep on walkin' and don't look back,
'Till you get to the bottomland!