I Get Killed By Clifford the Big Red Dog
Like, it really, really sucks. One minute you're alive, enjoying the simple things in life like being able to smell your own armpits and give your buddy a high-five, and the next: you're a lonely shadow of a person, marooned in a world of their own.
Although you might not be able to tell, I'm not always this pessimistic. I actually usually consider myself to be a bit of an optimist, always fighting for the greater good and praying to the gods above (there are lots to choose from, believe me) that I won't screw up whatever situation I'm going into too badly.
Hi. My name is Percy Jackson. Here's a few facts about me: I'm a demigod: half mortal, half god (yeah; you heard right). I'm about to turn 18 years old. At least, I was... Another fun fact about me?
It's a bit tragic, isn't it? The brave, young hero (I don't mean to toot my own horn, but *toot toot*) dying nobly for a good cause, but at such a youthful age. He leaves behind his devoted lover, and the effects are bad. A bunch of people die as a result too of him not being there to protect him.
But maybe I'm starting too soon? Yeah, I'm definitely getting ahead of myself. After all, before I tell you what happens when I'm dead, I'd better tell you how I died.
It was my 18th birthday party.
The opening line, and already it's depressing. But yes, sadly, I died on the day of my 18th birthday. Both were a surprise: the party and the dying.
My family and friends from camp had apparently spent quite a while working on it, because there was a hell of a lot of decorations and detailed crap like that: green paper mache had been wrapped and wrinkled into the appropriate mold to look like seaweed as it hung down from the ceiling; a giant jellyfish facade had replaced the chandelier that swung steadily in the dining room; nectar was served for the partially-divine guests in champagne flutes that looked like delicate conch shells, wine for the mortals in easily distinguishable coral reef cups; and the band that had been hired sang cheesy, ocean-themed songs like "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid and "Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin. (My personal favorite that I heard was the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," although I would have much preferred it if it had been called "Blue Submarine").
The theme was apparently the right way to go, as it seemed to be a smash-hit. Everyone that had been invited (Sally, Paul Blofis, Tyson, Annabeth, Thalia, Jason, Piper, Leo, Frank, Hazel, Nico, Calypso, Rachel Elizabeth Dare, a couple of minor gods, and a random drunk and wandering centaur or two were just a few of the guests on the lists). The guests all behaved well and seemed to enjoy themselves, although it probably would have gone a little smoother if those few Party Ponies hadn't decided it would be a good idea to try to get Thalia to kiss them. I don't even know what those guys were thinking. All in all, I'd say my birthday party was a success.
Right up until the point when the big, fire-breathing hellhound showed up.
See, I'd been talking to my girlfriend, kind of doing that awkward but slightly cute half standing-there-talking/ half dancing thing, when all of a sudden, I heard a clattering at the front of the apartment. My mom and Paul, being the old people that they are (no offense, Mom, if you're reading this), had decided to hit the sack a little earlier than the rest of us: like a few hours earlier. So when I felt a ripple of disturbance flow through the throng of party guests, me being the responsible host that I am, I scurried to see what all the commotion was about.
Everyone was gathered around one of the apartment windows that overlooked the courtyard in the center. I made my way to the front and leaned out the window. There was that energetic but slightly unnerving buzz about the atmosphere, kind of like the type that you hear when you know something exciting has happened but you can't tell what. Well, in this case, I could tell exactly what the thing was.
It was a hellhound standing there in the badly overgrown garden, surrounded by a few bird baths and messy flower beds, like an angelic child from the 1800's. The monster was huge, about the size of a bulldozer. It's fur, although it looked slightly metallic, was quite an unusual color: bright red, the color of a fire truck, or a fire hydrant, or maybe even a bottle of ketchup, depending on which analogy you like the best. And even from up here, I could see that it's eyes were a terrifying black color, ones that seemed so devoid of emotion, so lifeless, so souless, that I felt as if by even staring into them I was spiraling into an eternal pit of darkness.
The feeling was odd yet familiar, and I didn't like it. I decided I was gonna go down there and teach this overgrown hellhound a lesson. Nobody comes to my 18th birthday party and ruins it...at least before we've had cake. (It is blue, after all.)
I ducked under the window to climb onto the fire escape that zigzagged all the way to the ground, trying to build some confidence in me, when a hand gripped my shirt with surprising force. I turned, a little flabbergasted, to see the light of my life, (a.k.a. my girlfriend) staring at me with big worried doe-eyes.
"Percy," she said, her eyebrows furrowed over her intellignet grey eyes in concern. "Please don't go. Not now."
"But it's ruining the party!" I half-complained, half-explained. "And everyone's having such a good time, too! I want to make sure nobody gets hurt, is all."
"I know, but..." she paused, taking a deep breath, and there was a faint breeze that softly blew her golden princess curls away from her face. "I don't know about this. It just feels-" she stopped, searching in that vast thesaurus brain of hers for the right word, and settled for "wrong."
I should have listened to her right then and there. Not only is she my girlfriend, whom I trust more than myself at times, but she's also Annabeth, the renowned daughter of the friggin goddess of wisdom, Athena. I don't call her "Wise Girl" for nothing.
But instead of taking her advice like I should have, I took her hand gently in mine and said, a little more quietly, "It's okay. I promise. I'll be right back. Besides," I said as I kissed her hand and walked away, climbing nimbly down the fire escape, "it's just a hellhound. What's the worst that could happen?"
Famous last words.
The worst thing that could happen? Oh, I don't know genius, maybe you could tempt fate, karma, and whatever that jinx force is called so that you end up with the worst case scenario, which is death. Which you did.
I honestly don't know what I was thinking when I approached. Eep? Yikes? Jinkies? Whatever it was, fit certainly didn't last long in my brain. The rest of my somewhat limited brain space was inhabited by the effort and concentration I needed to stay alive, which, in case you've been paying attention to the story so far, didn't exactly work out as planned either.
The whole time I was trying to kill the beast, unless I was looking at its face, I just kept thinking about Clifford, "the big red dog" from that PBS Kids show I'd seen when I was younger. Thinking about such a friendly, fun-loving character that I'd grown up with made it awfully hard to concentrate on killing this thing.
Still, I tried.
I stabbed, parried, thrust, ducked, faked, rolled, tucked: I did everything. Yet somehow this monster was unbeatable. It's unnatural red metallic fur was impenetrable, and it was so distracting too. It was like it knew all of my movements before I did, yet I still couldn't manage to pinpoint down any of its moves, as though it had studied my style from afar while keeping its own distinct fighting stance.
No matter what the case, it wasn't long before I was pinned down on the ground, two paws clamped down on either of my hands. My sword lay unreachable at my side, knocked out of my hand at some moment by the hideous hellhound. A long, thick string of drool dripped slowly onto my face, the saliva leaking out of the upturned corner of the monster's mouth like a-
WAIT is he smiling?, I thought. Since when do hellhounds smile?
Unfortunately, that train of thought didn't get the chance to further develop, as the source of all of my brainstorming, analyzing, and thinking in general was suddenly and violently uprooted by a single snap.
The hellhound bit my head clean off.