Katie Polen Publishing www.katiepolen.com
©2017 Katie Polen. All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
To My Daughter.
Never Let Fear Get in the Way of Your Dreams.
“Elliana, they are coming for you!” A strange woman with dark brown hair and all too familiar blue eyes screamed! “I need you to know who you are.” I have never seen this woman before in my life but something feels very familiar, and I know I have seen those dark blue eyes before.
“Wake up Ellie time for school!” My mother yells down the hall, waking me from the strange dream.
This is not the first time I have dreamed about this woman. Why do I keep seeing her? I reluctantly roll out of bed, but I can’t seem to shake off this weird feeling that something is about to change.
It could just be the fact that today is my last day of high school, but I feel like it is something much bigger than that. I get ready for school and head for the kitchen stopping at the mirror in the hall to see those blue eyes staring back at me as if I was still in my dream.
“Happy Birthday Sweetie! I made Birthday Pancakes.” My mother, Rosa says eagerly.
“Mom I’m eighteen. Aren’t I a little old for Birthday Pancakes?” I say with a smirk as I sit down and start devouring them. She has made me birthday pancakes on my birthday for as long as I can remember. “I am going to go to Jess’s after school and then we are going to Sasha’s Graduation party so I don’t know when I will be home.”
“Sweetie, I was hoping we would talk when you get home from school today. Your father and I have some things we want to discuss with you.”
“Can’t it wait until tomorrow? I have to go mom I’m going to be late for school.” I stuff my mouth with one more big bite of pancakes and jet towards my room to grab my keys and backpack.
I grab my things and pull my hair into a ponytail. I run out the door, jump in my car and race off to school. I live in a little town called Sunnyhill. It’s a small suburb between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie.
My school is your typical small-town school. It was built around the time of World War I and everyone’s parents, if not their grandparents, went here. That’s where my parents met. They were high school sweethearts. My mom is a homemaker that volunteers most of her time at the local church and elementary schools. My father is a Foreman at the local steel mill.
When I get to school, Jess is waiting for me by his truck. He has a beat up old blue ford that was given to him after his dad died.
“Running late birthday girl?” He says.
“Mom made me pancakes.” I smile back. “You know I can’t resist pancakes.”
“So, glad this is the last day of high school. Can’t wait to get out of this Podunk town.” He says as we make our way toward the building.
“Yeah Jess, but that means you won’t be near me either.” I snap back.
“Oh yeah, still haven’t changed your mind and decided to follow me to Baylor?”
“I can’t turn down a full ride to Ohio State. You know that! Why don’t you change your mind and come with me?” I joke.
“No thank you. I am going where it’s warm.” He says smiling at me.
Jess and I have been friends all our lives. He has always had my back and we took him in whenever his parents were fighting. His dad was an alcoholic who passed away last year from self-induced liver disease. Jess was kind of relieved when he found out he wasn’t a match to be a liver donor. Honestly, I was too. I knew if he was a match he would have chosen to save his dad and if his dad went back to being abusive and drinking again Jess would have blamed himself for allowing him to live.
Whenever his dad would get mad he would beat Jess’s mother and on the rare occasion go after Jess. One time a few years ago, his dad tried to go after him and Jess beat him up instead. He never went after him again. Jess tries to tell me his dad wasn’t all bad. He did take them on vacations every year and Jess claims he didn’t drink when they were on vacation, but I don’t see how that is possible.
Now it is just him and his mom, Stacy. Stacy is like another mother to me. She was the first person I told when I kissed a boy and was the one to give me “the talk” because my mom was too embarrassed when I asked her where babies come from at nine years old.
The rest of the day went on as normal. People were excited about the last day of school and passed around year books to have signed. Tonight, is Sasha’s graduation party and then Sunday is graduation. For some strange reason, I am not excited to graduate. I feel almost numb about it.
After school, I follow Jess to his house. It is one of the furthest houses in the school district. It is a big old farmhouse with a large maple tree in the front that sits back almost a quarter mile off the road. We used to swing on a tire swing on the maple tree until we were horsing around too much one day and broke the limb it was tied on. I don’t know how neither of us were hurt.
We go up to Jess’s room and hang out until it is time to leave for the party. Jess is preening himself as normal. All the girls at school like him and think he is so hot. I can see why they think that, he has that tall dark and handsome thing going on but I can only think of him as just a friend, or a brother. As he is trying on his tenth shirt, I dozed off in the window seat, my favorite spot in the whole house.
“Elliana, they are coming for you!” It was the same woman from my dream this morning. “I need you to know who you are. You are being followed. Sunnyhill is not safe!” all of a sudden she turns and runs away.
“Wait! Wait!” I yell after her.
“Ellie! Ellie! Wake up!” Jess yells. “You were yelling in your sleep. Bad dream?”
“That’s strange. I had the same dream this morning. I think I’m losing my mind.” I say.
“Must be pre-graduation jitters.” Jess tries to re-assure me.
“I guess.” I say, but I know graduation has nothing to do with it.
“Ready to go?”
We go downstairs and jumped in Jess’s old truck. Sasha’s party is typical for Sasha. She is always throwing big parties. Her family owns the biggest house in town and has a swimming pool that she loves to show off. Her parents are always out of town on business too, so half the time they don’t even know she is having a party.
There are a few people there that I have never seen before, which is very unusual. In a small town like this, any new people are big news. There are two guys probably a little older than us, both wearing all black and acting strange. They keep their distance from everyone but appeared to be searching the group for someone.
“Hey Sasha.” I yell waiving her over. “Who are those people?” I point to the two strangers.
“Beats me.” She replies. “Never seen them before. Oh, well. You know my motto. The more the merrier. Plus, the one with the nose ring looks hot.”
Sasha leaves to go introduce herself but I can’t help but feel uneasy about the two strangers. Something just doesn’t feel right. I go and find Jess who is flirting with a junior named Ally.
“Jess, you care if we head home?” Something feels off and I just want to get out of here.
“Yeah, that’s fine. Not that great of a party anyway.” He flashes a big smile at me. Ally gives me an evil look. After we get back to his house I decide to just go home. Mom didn’t like me staying out too late anyway.
The next morning, I wake up to find mom and dad waiting for me in the living room. “Morning.” I say groggily. “If this is some family meeting can it at least wait until I have a bowl of cereal?” I say sarcastically.
My parents were always big on family meetings. Anytime there is big news or a vacation to plan we have to sit down and discuss what we are going to do as a family. This doesn’t feel like a vacation planning family meeting though. It feels like the meeting we had two years ago when my parents found out my mother had breast cancer. It was like all the air in the room was sucked out and I couldn’t breathe. She underwent surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. I have never been so scared in my life. It has been just under a year since the doctors have declared her cancer free.
“Ellie, your mother and I have some things we want to talk to you about.” My father, Al says. “Come sit down honey.”
I reluctantly go over to the couch and sit down. “The cancer isn’t back, is it?” I say worriedly.
“No, sweetie.” My dad says with a smile.
“Then what is it?”
“Ellie, we have been trying to find the right time to tell you this, but could never find the courage.” Mom sighs and looks over at my dad with worried eyes.
“Mom, just tell me. What is it?”
“Your father and I are not your biological parents.” She pauses to see my reaction. Then she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small photograph. I stare at the picture in dismay. Those eyes. I know those eyes. This is the woman from my dreams. “When your mother was pregnant she befriended us, and asked us to look after and protect you. She said she would come for you when the time was right. We adopted you and raised you as our own, always knowing that she could come back for you at any time. But you are eighteen now and….”
“And she never came back.” I finish. “But I’ve seen this woman before. I had a dream about her yesterday, she was telling me that I needed to know who I was and someone was after me.”
Mom and dad look at each other in disbelief. “You don’t live in the world you think you do Ellie.” My father jumps in. “There is a reason we waited to tell you. But since you are about to go to college and be on your own you must know you could be in great danger. Do you remember learning about Greek Mythology in school?”
“What does Greek Mythology have to do with anything?” I stammer.
“Well, it wasn’t just mythology. All the stories of the Gods are true. And they aren’t the only gods out there. There are other worlds and other gods. Our Gods have vowed to protect us and not abandon us by searching for other worlds to rule. Unfortunately, we have Gods from other worlds that try and take over ours and Olympus.
“Our Gods had Demi-Gods so that they could help protect earth while the gods keep Olympus safe. The Demi-Gods passed down their abilities to their children and leagues of their secret society were created.”
“Wait wait wait. So, you’re trying to tell me that gods like Zeus and Apollo and Hades are real and watching over us while their children protect earth.” I am getting so confused and frustrated right now that I stand up and start pacing the floor. As I look out the window I see a storm is on the horizon.
“I know it’s a lot to digest sweetie.” Mom chimes in “But, it’s true and it affects you more than most.”
“More than most, what are you talking about?!” I shout as the thunder is getting louder and its starting to rain.
“The Demi-gods continued to have children and passed down their capabilities to the generations after them.” Dad continued. “Your mother is one of these children. There is some type of war going on and she needed to protect you.”
“This is a joke, right??? This has to be a joke.” I ask hopefully.
“Honey you need to calm down.” Mom urges.
“What do you MEAN CALM DOWN!” the lightning strikes near the house and our electric goes out.
After several minutes of silence Dad finally speaks. “There is a reason the storm started when you got upset, honey. Why a storm always starts when you get upset or at least rains when you cry. You are a direct descendant of Zeus.”
I started pacing the floor. I can’t slow my heart down. I mean really, Gods! Zeus! What the hell! I’m adopted! How could they keep that from me?
Finally, I just closed my eyes and stand still. Ok, Ellie. Think happy thoughts. Calm down. What’s a happy thought? Vacation, the beach. Mom and dad took me to Myrtle Beach about four years ago. I remember standing at the edge of the ocean and hearing the waves roll on shore and the breeze blowing through my hair. I remember thinking, it can’t get any better than this.
“I’ll go turn the generator on.” My dad says as he leaves the room.
I open my eyes and look out the window. It looks like the storm is starting to breakup and my heart isn’t racing anymore. As I look out the window I notice there are two people coming down the street. They look like the two guys from Sasha’s graduation party. Why are they walking around here?
Just then my phone starts to ring. “Hey Jess.” I say almost out of breath.
“You OK?” He asks concerned.
“Not really. A lot has happened this morning. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Can I come over?” I get it out fast so I don’t hear protests from my mom.
“Yeah. You know you don’t have to ask?” He says.
“See you in a few.” And I hang up and head straight for my room.
“Ellie, I don’t want you going out. We aren’t finished talking.” Mom tries to sound stern but fails.
I turn on my heels, as if ready to fight. “Mom, you just told me that I am some type of super human and that you and dad aren’t my real parents. I think we have discussed enough for one day.” I turn around not even waiting for her response and head to my room. I quickly throw on some cloths and pull my hair up into a ponytail.
I walk out the front door and head towards the street where my car is parked. I am still so upset I start muttering under my breath. “How could they not have told me! This is just all so ridiculous.”
I go around our hedge and am almost to my car. I pull my keys out of my pocket and look across the street. I don’t see those guys any more. Maybe I just imagined them. All of a sudden one of them came from behind me and rammed me up against my car making me drop my keys. I instantly rear my head back and bloody his nose. Out of nowhere a blond guy I’ve never seen practically bulldozes my attacker.
“You need to come with me.” He said.
The other big guy from last night came up behind him and grabbed him over his shoulders. My original attacker is starting to regain his balance and comes towards me again. I grab him by the arm and throw him into the side of my car. Wow! I didn’t know I could do that.
I look over and the blond has thrown his attacker over his shoulders and kicked him in the gut. He repeats himself. “You need to come with me.” Not even waiting for my response, he pulls my arm with such force and something in me tells me not to resist.
“Who are you?” Is all I can seem to manage to say as I start running with him. If you could call it that.
“You will find out soon enough.” Of course, he throws out a cliché.
After running down the street, we come to a motorcycle. “Hop on.” Again, not waiting for me to respond he gets on the bike and revs it up.
“Wait!” I shout. “I don’t even know who you are.”
“Are they still following us?” he looks up at me sarcastically.
I turn around and sure enough they are sprinting after us. I grab his hand and hop on. He peels out and we speed off down the street. I looked behind us and the two guys were nowhere to be seen.
After several minutes, we pull into an abandoned building. I never noticed this building before. It is on a street I drive almost every day. The bakery we always pick up donuts on Sundays is just two blocks over. He drives the motorcycle into the building. We get off the bike and he starts to walk down a hall.
“Aren’t you even going to tell me your name?” I ask sarcastically.
“I’m Maris. I was sent here by the council to protect and watch you. I didn’t know you were going to be this interesting.” He flashes a big smile.
“Council?” I say.
“The council of Keepers.” He was interrupted before he could go on.
A woman bursts in with what appears to be a sword in her hand. I know this woman instantly. It’s my birth mother.
“I’m warning you to back down. I am not afraid to kill you if I must.” Maris says sternly jumping in front of me and holding his arms out as if to protect me.
“I am not here to fight. I was on the council at one time. My name is Amelia Markarios.” The woman says.
“Amelia Markarios is dead.” Maris pushes back.
“Elliana is my daughter. I fled the council in order to protect her.” Amelia says.
“If you were a member of the council what is on the chair of the grand master?” He asks.
“It is an eagle holding a thunderbolt.” She doesn’t even pause.
Instantly Maris’s demeanor changes and he relaxes. “Nice to have another Keeper around. We are a little outnumbered in this sector.”
I run over to Maris and whisper. “You are just going to trust her, like that!”
“I don’t trust her, but I have a feeling we are going to need her.” He whispers back.
“Elliana, we have a lot to talk about.” Amelia said lowering her sword.
“I just found out about you like an hour ago and now you just show up out of the blue with a sword and you say we have a lot to talk about! What makes you think I even want to talk to you?” I can’t help but be upset when I see her.
“I’m sorry to breakup this reunion but I must insist that you follow me.” Maris says looking around as if he hears something.
He leads us into another part of the building that has been set up as a makeshift home. He starts a fire and begins to go through, what look like weapons. Amelia hesitantly walks over and sits near me.
“I know this is a lot to take in.” She says.
“A lot to take in??! I woke up this morning to my parents, who apparently aren’t my parents, telling me that the Greek gods are real and I am a descendant of Zeus. Then I was attacked in my front yard and pulled onto a motorcycle by macho man over there. And if that isn’t enough for one day, my so-called mother, who I’ve never heard of until this morning shows up out of the blue with a sword in her hand.” I don’t think I took a breath through that whole thing.
“I never wanted this to happen to you Elliana.” She says softly.
“The name is Ellie.” I snapped. Then it hits me. I am supposed to be at Jess’s by now. I pull out my phone from my pocket and there are like ten missed calls. I stand up and call Jess back immediately, not giving her a chance to keep talking.
“Jess. I’m sorry. I know I should have been there by now, but something happened.” I walk over to the other side of the room.
“Are you ok?” Jess sounds like he’s been running.
“I’m fine. I will catch you up later. Right now, I have to go.” And I hang up on him. I know Jess is going to be pissed that I did that.
I start looking around the room. Trying to make a mental note of everything I’m seeing. I sit in a chair as far away from my mother as I can manage. Even with everything that’s happened I feel completely safe. I can’t explain it, but I feel like this is where I am supposed to be.
Maris was still messing with the weapons and I can’t help but stare at him like some doe-eyed school girl. He reminds me a lot of Jess. Very tall and very muscular, but with blond hair. He seems to have an air about him too. Like he goes with whatever is put in front of him and is completely comfortable with himself. It is so weird to feel like you know a person when you haven’t said more than two sentences to them. But I can’t deny there is some kind of connection.
It’s as if he senses me staring. I try and look away quickly, but he gets up and starts to come over to me. “Hey, I know you’re mad at your mom...”
“That woman is not my mother. I have never seen her before in my life.” It just spills out of me and I can’t help it. I instantly feel bad.
“I know it seems that way. But I think you should talk to her.” Maris looks at me with those crazy green eyes and something in me just gives in.
“Fine.” I walk over to Amelia. “So, what do you want to talk about.”
“I want you to know who you are and why I did what I did.” She looks at me with regret in her eyes. “You must learn about our people to fully understand what you are capable of and the dangers out there.”
We sit on the couch and all the anger I was feeling just disappeared. This is my mother and all I could feel is love.
“You are a special person Ellie. You are a Demi. A long time ago the gods created the Demi-Gods and they passed down their abilities to their children and leagues of our society were created.” She started. “The Keepers are the warriors. Though they normally come from descendants of high Gods like Zeus and Athena any Demi who wants to serve, can do so. The council that was spoken of earlier was created to fight any threats to earth and to serve as the governing body of all Demies. I am, or was, on the council. My family comes from descendants of Zeus and Athena, which make us perfect candidates to become Keepers.
“The Sages are our healers and have lineage to Apollo. They can help the sick and wounded and heal much faster themselves. Then there are the Trainers. They have talents with animals, plants and sea creatures. Most of these Demies get a long but the descendants of Hades, who are the Druids, haven’t always seen eye to eye with everyone else. They do whatever Hades bid them to do. They are very strong and are very difficult to kill.
“Over the last few decades, Druids have been hunting down and killing other Demies, poisoned by Hades with the idea that they are should be in control of earth and that the Keepers are not treating them fairly. This of course, is not true. They were welcome among all of us at one time and some were even keepers. Then one Druid, Adolf Hitler, decided he wanted more power over the mortals.”
“Wait, you are telling me that Adolf Hitler was a Demi, part-god?” I say in utter shock.
“Yes. That’s why so many people followed him. He was favored by Hades for his desire for power and was sheltered in the underworld after his demise. Some say he is still hiding out there living out his last few years with his forefather, but no one has seen him since his disappearance.
“His slaughtering of innocent people caused the council to act and we had to make an example of him and his followers. Unfortunately, ninety-five percent of Druids sided with Adolf and the council forced them into exile. They were not to be involved in any decision making and their descendants were not to be taught about their true heritage. About ten years later is when the killings started.
“When I was on the council we heard a rumor that Hades was working secretly with a God named Baracles who is from the nearby world of Otomon. We think he made some type of deal with hades but we can’t understand what that may be.
“Between protecting people from the demons of Baracles and protecting ourselves from the rash of Druid attacks our numbers started dwindling and we created superpacks around major cities to keep 24hour watch on the remaining ranks. Among us, the ones with the most dangerous talents seemed to be targeted by the Druids and hunted down. Descendants of Zeus, Poseidon, and Athena seemed to be their main targets. So, when I found out I was pregnant, I fled. You are descendant from all three of these Gods and with that you have the potential to have extreme amounts of talent gifted to you by our forefathers.
“I came across Sunnyhill while on the run and met Rosa and Alfred. They took me in and helped me through my pregnancy. I told them parts about our world and asked them for their help. I knew they would raise you as their own and keep you safe. But, I have never been so far away I couldn’t feel you.
“That is something special amongst us, we create a special bond with the ones we love and through teachings can learn to actually feel and sense this bond and when the other is in trouble, if they are close enough. That is how I was able to find you so fast after the Druid attack.”
“The guys that attacked me were Druids?” My head is reeling at this point and it’s hard to keep focused.
“Yes, and they probably aren’t far away either. They don’t like it when they don’t get their target.” She could tell I was starting to get overwhelmed and seemed to back off a little. “Maris.” She walked over to him. “How did the council know about Elliana?”
Maris puts down what he is working on and heads over to my mother. They huddled together and tried to keep their voices down. He seems to not want me to hear. “The council sent me here a few weeks back. They could sense some extreme power nearby.” He glances over to see if I could hear them. “I’ve been narrowing in on Elliana the last few days and the storm she created this morning was unmistakable. I don’t know how the Druids found her so fast. I didn’t even sense them until yesterday.
“One of our packs is in Pittsburgh and they were not happy to find out that there was a Demi that no one knew about. I’m not sure if they will be happy to see you, either Amelia. You know how they are about breaking the laws.” He warns my mother.
Just then I hear. “Ellie! Ellie!” from a distance. I run towards the sound which was unmistakable. It was Jess.
“Jess! Jess!” I open the door and see him coming down the hall. “How did you find me?”
“Ellie, if you don’t want to be found don’t leave your phone on.” He stops and tries to catch his breath. “I tracked you. When you got off the phone like that I thought you were in some type of trouble. Clearly I was right!” He looks at me concerned.
Maris and my mom come bursting out of the doorway, weapons in hand. “Wait!” I shout. “It’s ok. He’s a friend.”
They took a moment but finally lower their swords. “Jess this is Maris and Amelia, my mother.” The words sound strange coming out of my mouth. For all my life, my mother was Rosa Mandosa. This woman in front of me is still a complete stranger.
“Your mother?” Jess askes perplexed. “Ellie, what the hell is going on?”
“Before you go there, Ellie, we should get back to the secure area.” Maris looks at me and I know he’s concerned about something. I reluctantly follow and pull Jess along.
Once back in the room Jess immediately starts in again breaking out of the grip I had on his arm.
“Ok, now can someone please explain what the hell is going on!”
“It’s a long story.” I start. I take a deep breath and explain to him as much as I can remember. My mother and Maris keep their distance trying to give us some privacy. Though, Maris looks like he is annoyed beyond belief.
“So, that storm from this morning…that, was you?” is the first thing out of his mouth.
“Apparently.” I reply. “You’re taking this a little too well.”
“You seem to have accepted it.” He throws back at me.
“It was a little hard not to when two dudes attacked me and then wonder boy over there swoops in and pulls me on his motorcycle.” I snap back. “And then there is my mother.” I point to her.
“Yeah. That is a little undeniable. You look just like her.” He concedes.
“Jess. I don’t want you to get mixed up in all of this. If these people are as dangerous as they say, I don’t want you getting hurt.” I look at him square in the eye and already know what he is going to say.
“You’re stuck with me Ells.”
That’s what he always says to me. We have been through everything together and were so much like family that I can’t imagine my world without him.
About a half hour had past and I could tell Jess was getting fed up. I walked over to Maris. “So, are we just going to stay hidden in here all day?” I ask.
“Ellie, I know you don’t know our world quite yet, but there are more than those two Druids to worry about. I wasn’t prepared for a battle. This was supposed to be a data gathering assignment.” He replies. “We have to find a way to get to the Pittsburgh headquarters so that we can all be protected. The council will want to know what is going on here. I promise I will keep you safe.”
A shot of electricity shoots through my body as I look at him. I have never reacted to a guy like this before. After several moments of just looking I snap out of my temporary coma and say something. “So apparently, I am a descendant of Zeus, Athena, and Poseidon. Who are you a descendant of?”
“You can’t tell by my name?” He says jokingly. “Maris means of the sea in Greek. My family comes from Poseidon, on my mother’s side. On my father’s side though I am from Aeolus. God of air and wind.”
“With us both being from Poseidon does that make us like, cousins?” I ask hesitantly, hoping the answer is no.
He laughs. “No. It doesn’t work like that. The gods had many different children when they created the first set of Demies. Think of it more like we all come from Adam and Eve. Our linage do intersect at some point in time but thousands of years ago.”
“Good to know.”
“Nice chat.” Jess interrupts stepping in between us and leaning on the table that Maris was working at making Maris stop what he was doing. “Ellie, why can’t we just go back and stay at my place?”
“We try not to get mortals involved if they don’t need to be.” Maris interjects. “You just being here is against our rules. I’m sure I will catch hell when I get back.”
“Jess, it’s ok. I feel safe here.” I try to reassure him. “You should go, though. I know your mother needs you.”
“And what about your parents? Are you just going to leave them for these strangers who claim they are descendants of Gods? Really?”
“I have to go to Pittsburg. Maris says they can protect me there. For some reason, I feel like it’s the right thing to do. And if I am being tracked as they say then I am putting the whole town in danger if I stay. That includes you and my parents.”
“Ells, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” He moves in closer to me and speaks in a hushed tone. “How do you know you can trust these people? You don’t even know them.”
“I can’t explain it.” I admit. “It’s like I just feel connected to them somehow.”
“I’m going with you then.” He says sternly.
“Jess, I don’t know if that’s the best thing.” I feel so awkward wanting him to leave. “I will let you know I’m ok, but I feel like you being around me right now is putting you in danger.”
You could tell he was getting frustrated. He runs his hands through his hair and starts to pace back and forth. “Fine!” He turns and looks straight at me. “But know that I don’t agree with this. And don’t make me track you again.”
“I will check in.” I hold up three fingers together. “Girl Scout’s honor.”
He gives me a long hug. “Don’t make me regret this.” He whispers in my ear. He lets go and walks out the door and down the hall where he came from. I know this won’t be the last time I see him but I can’t help but worry.
I go and sit back down by the fire and wrap my arms around my legs. I try and start analyzing everything that has happened. How could so much happen in such a little bit of time? Did I know all along I was different? No one ever questioned if I was my parent’s daughter. At least not to me. Do I just happen to look like them? I do have a tan complexion and I always felt like I had my father, well I guess not my father’s nose. Maybe that’s why my mother chose them. She thought I could blend in and could also sense they were good people.
And that storm this morning, was that really me? Have I not noticed that I was doing that before? I remember one-time Jess and I were walking around downtown after his dad died and it was raining. He made a comment about how he hates the rain and I was hoping it would stop. After a few minutes the rain stopped…was that me or was it just a coincidence?
I am also having a hard time believing the Greek Gods are real. How are they ok with so many people turning Christian? Didn’t they get upset that people no longer prayed to them or believed in them?
“Lost in thought?” Maris interrupts as he sits beside me.
“Just trying to sort everything out.” I say. “It’s been a very long morning.”
“I bet. I must say you are taking all of this pretty well. Is there anything you want to know?” He can tell something is bothering me. It’s as if he senses my anxiety.
“If the Gods are real, why were they ok with so many people not believing in them anymore? It’s been centuries since anyone actually believed in them. It just doesn’t make sense.”
“That was the move of the council, believe it or not, at the blessing of Zeus.” He starts. “Humans have a nature to want to control everything. The supreme being. It’s a trait that we all inherited from the Gods. Whenever there appears to be a superior being, humans try and either tame it or destroy it. Without this instinct, they wouldn’t have survived as long as they have.
“There was a time when mortals knew about us and would call upon us to help. Sometime during the Roman Empire mortals started seeing us and the Gods as a threat. They started destroying statues of the Gods and blaming them and us for any hard times they were having. They didn’t want to believe that we were a gift to protect them and the hard times they were having were caused by themselves and their own destructive ways.
“Earth had just survived an attack from a God called Rodom and the council was concerned that we couldn’t focus on our tasks at hand because too many mortals were fighting against us. They came up with a plan to make people forget that we were there. Are you familiar with the story of Jesus?”
“Of course, I am.” I reply wondering where he is going with this.
“Mary and Joseph were actually Demies. Mary was a descendant of Apollo, if you remember from what your mother said Apollo descendants are healers. Joseph was a Descendant of Dionysus, the whole water into wine story, descendants of Dionysus can all do that. They are very good to have around if you are throwing a party. Mary and Joseph were to make up a farce about Mary being a virgin when getting pregnant with Jesus to make him seem more godlike, even though he was truly a descendant of gods.
“He went around the villages healing the sick and helping the poor telling them that he was a prophet from God. When he was crucified, Zeus resurrected him, and allowed him to join the gods in Olympus, saving him from going to the underworld. His death solidified people’s belief in him and the idea of Christianity spread like wildfire. The heat was no longer on us and we could protect the people of Earth like we were supposed to. Men started focusing on killing each other instead of us.”
“So, is everything I learned in school a lie? First I find out Adolf Hitler was a Demi-god and now Jesus Christ.” I can’t help but sound exasperated.
“Most things that mortals are taught are versions of the truth that leave us out. One, so that they don’t suspect us, and two, so that they make more sense to them.” Maris seems to have an answer for everything.
“When the sun goes down we are going to head out. I spoke with your mom and she is going to follow us. Apparently, she likes motorcycles as much as I do.” He said with a smile. “Pittsburgh is only a few hours away but it can still be very dangerous, so going at night is our best bet to not be noticed.”
“Thank you by the way.” I say.
“For what?” he seems confused.
“For protecting me.” I say bashfully.
“No need to thank me. This is what we do.” He said matter of fact.
I thought we had a connection and then that statement. Maybe he is just doing his job. Now I wish I hadn’t made Jess leave. I feel so awkward. I have never been good with guys. I never really had a boyfriend for longer than a few months and even then, it’s not like we did much. They all seemed so boring and would always get jealous of how much time I spent with Jess. I always ended it when that came up. I wasn’t about to let some guy tell me who I could hang out with.
I don’t feel so confident now being alone with Maris. Wait! Alone?? Where is my mother? I turn around in a panic looking everywhere.
“Don’t worry.” Maris said. “She just went to get us some pizza. I might be a Demi but I still got to eat.” He said jokingly. “She left before your boyfriend did. Should be back anytime now.”
“Jess isn’t my boyfriend.” I snap.
“Sorry. My bad.” He seems proud of himself getting me riled up. “Come here, I want to show you some things before we get ready to leave.”
I move towards him curious as to what he wants to show me.
“If we get held up on our way to Pittsburgh I need you to not hold us back and if you get upset you could draw more heat on us.”
“What do you mean draw more heat on us?” I ask
“Your little storm this morning was practically a come attack me sign. It’s not your fault but really made things more difficult for me.”
“If I am such a big liability to your safety than why are you doing this at all?”
“I told you, it’s my job. I would rather teach you to use your gift, that power would be very beneficial in an attack, but we don’t have time for that.” He says matter of fact.
“Are you sure? I’m a quick learner.” I say playfully.
“Let’s see about that.” He holds up a small square piece of metal and pushes the center. It becomes the same sword looking thing my mom had when she came in. “This is a talace. For many keepers, it can be used just like a sword, but it’s made in Olympus and can also serve as a way to enhance our talents. You, for example, have the potential to use it as a lightning rod. For now, let just use it as a sword.”
He gets behind me and puts the talace in my hand and has me hold it like a baseball bat. He teaches me a few moves and has me repeat them without his help. As I am trying to focus he comes in front of me and hits my talace with his as I am in mid-swing. It catches me off guard and I stumble back.
“Never let your guard down.” He says extending his hand to help me back up.
I get back up and get in attack position. I focus only on him and his talace. It is as if I can sense his moves. He attacks and I block. He comes at me again and I block.
We go back and forth for what seems like an hour, though I’m sure it was only minutes. The practice gets more and more intense. We are moving all around the room and even on the limited furniture that is there. It is like he’s pushing me to see where my limits are.
Finally, he goes to strike again and it’s as if it is coming at me in slow motion. I move forward and knock his talace out of his hand, kick him in the stomach so he falls back and put my talace to his throat. He just stares back stunned. We are both out of breath and my hair has fallen almost completely out of my pony tail and is falling in my face. I feel like I am stuck in that position and can’t seem to move my feet or speak.
“What’s going on here?” My mother interrupts as she brings in pizza. Perfect timing.
I finally shake off my temporary paralysis and drop my talace to my side and help Maris up.
“Just teaching Ellie a few things in case the ride to Pittsburgh isn’t smooth.” He says as he stands up keeping his eyes on me at all times.
“Looks like she caught on alright.” My mother snickers.
“Definitely a Demi of Athena.” He agrees, walking over to the table. He pushes the button on his talace and it goes back to a small piece of metal and he slides it into his back pocket.
“Let’s eat.” My mom says. “It will be dark soon and I don’t want us lingering here much longer. Something is close. I can feel it.” You can hear the concern in her voice. “What happened to that other guy?”
“I had him go home. I didn’t want him getting hurt.” I answer.
My mom gives Maris some type of concerned look.
“What?” He says while stuffing a piece of pizza in his mouth. “I wasn’t about to make him stay.”
We eat the rest of our pizza in silence. Then wait for the sun to go down. Something tells me it’s going to be a long trip to Pittsburgh.