“The nation is buzzing with wonder, trying to wrap their heads around the strange marvels that occurred in a populated town in south Florida. Not long ago, eyes were already directed to the area thanks to the weird weather phenomenon that considered of red rain. Experts are still trying to figure out what it was and how it affected the residents there, though there appear to be no lasting effects as far as anyone can see. And now experts on environmental science and research have gathered to investigate a more recent marvel where a large bubble that seemed to contain actual infrastructure was seen off the coast. The police in the area acted quickly, evacuating the beach as soon as they received reports from locals about weird activity in the waters. So now people are speculating just what it was they saw: was in supernatural, an optical illusion, or perhaps even the lost city of Atlantis?”
In a small coffee, three adults sat at a booth with their bodies turned to watch the broadcasting the news. Gilroy Denrich’s mouth gaped open for a moment before he abruptly stood up.
“Look at this!” He motioned toward the television with exasperated gestures. “What are we even supposed to make of this?! This world is stagnated! This government is slowly self-destructing! Corruption is no longer a prominent problem and the most interesting part of politics is watching the two parties toss rocks at each other across the river! People have begun to lose interest and only pay enough attention to protect their own interests! And now we’ve got weird things that you’d only see in a supernatural television series appearing on the news! This is proof of how deep in the rut we all are!”
A few people in the coffee shop turned glanced in Gilroy’s direction to see his tightly clenched fist that went with his righteous tone. They noted the way his jacket was lazily left open and the wrinkled tie draped over his neck before returning to their own conversations or laptops.
A sarcastic set
of hands clapped in applause as an exasperated sigh sounded. Gina Foxe pinched
the bridge of her nose with two fingers and shook her head back and forth. She
was wearing a long sleeved white shirt and vest, as well as a short skirt and
heels that made it clear she was a business colleague of Gilroy, which seemed
to bother her. Her brunette hair looked as if she’d just come from the salon,
pristine and clean, whereas Gilroy’s short hair was slicked down and oily.
“If a young new politician went around declaring that sort of heresy, he’d be captured and stuck in an asylum, no questions asked.” Gina picked up her coffee and drank half of it in a single gulp. “Gil, you can’t really expect people to take you serious if you can only get dramatic about things.”
“I don’t mind being called crazy or laughed at.” Gilroy continued to stand as he looked down at his colleagues proudly. “Jesus Christ, Moses, the Wright Brothers, Galileo…I’m pretty sure Louis Braille was laughed at too…anyways, the point is that people laugh at change, but accept the genius when it’s convenient for them. I’m confident that they’ll come to realize the truth behind my words sooner or later.”
“But until then, how about you look at reality for a while, m’kay? Or else you can kiss your political career goodbye.”
“Are you saying you’re okay with this kind of supernatural stuff overshadowing political news?”
“News is news.”
“Oh please. Averis, help me out here.”
The one Gilroy looked to for help wasn’t even paying attention, instead focusing on the tablet in his hand. He glanced up when he name was called, peering at Gilroy cautiously.
“What am I
“Gil’s ranting again. This time he’s mad that politics isn’t all the news talks about.”
“Well, it does give me less work to do. These days, a president is just the moderate face of their party. No one is willing to take the plunge to make real change since you won’t get enough votes with a radical platform. I guess we are in a rut if you look at it like that.”
“You see, Gina?” Gilroy smiled victorious. “Averis understands. He sees the bigger picture.”
“That being said, if you keep that attitude, you won’t be getting elected into office. Members of the House and Senate represent their constituents, not themselves. If you want change, talk to the people who pay taxes.”
Gilroy gave a
forlorn sigh, seeing that his plain looking friend was only half with him.
“I suppose self-preservation is to blame. You can only truly gain when you are prepared to lose everything.”
“I’d sort of like to keep a steady income, so I think I’ll stick with my human instincts. But don’t let me stop you. When you change the world into a better place, just remember that I’ve always been supporting you. From afar.”
“And when you fail, tell me in what alleyway you’re living in so I can come and tell you ‘I told you so’.” Gina pushed her coffee cup along with Averis’ toward Gilroy, who sighed in defeat and reluctantly stood to throw them away. Gina looked toward the bemused Averis once he was gone.
“By the way, Sheila called me earlier today. She’s coming over to visit for a while, isn’t she? Will you be okay?”
“I’ll survive.” Averis shrugged indifferently. “They can pay for the extra expenses on their own and they don’t expect me to bust out all the luxuries for them, so they won’t bankrupt me or anything.”
“Is the only thing you worry about your finances…?” Gina shook her head pitifully. “I meant if you’ll be alright dealing with them. I mean, Sheila got married at a pretty young age. I can’t imagine the two of them have gotten that much less romantic.”
“I guess I’ll find out. It’s her life and her decision. If she ends up screwing up somewhere, it’s my job as her brother to stay out of it so she can learn from the painful experience. It’ll make her stronger.”
“You’re a heartless little brother.”
“I don’t see you offering your help.”
Gina rolled her eyes and reached for her purse, waving good bye while leaving Averis to deal with the indolently Gilroy alone. After checking to make sure he was still loitering by the garbage, probably lost in thought, Averis returned his gaze to the tablet in his hands.
The device was on, but the screen wasn’t showing anything standard. Instead of the usual format, another image was showing with a squiggled border, as if it had been cut by special scissors in arts and craft and pasted on time. What showed instead was a distant beach on the other corner of the nation where a few people were gathered. Averis touched his fingers to the screen and spread them out, zooming in on the image. He focused on the Asian in the group first before sliding over to man in glasses with dangerously sharp eyes.
“Hmm…I see your point…It’s worth trying, but don’t expect too much. Guys like him don’t usually get along with guys like me.”
Once more, in a gothic style chapel that could have been anywhere, several bushes were gathered in a circle and burned with white flames. The upper halves of eleven figures formed from those flames, carrying a solemn air for their meeting. Ten was present, the only one among the group to be wearing a mask. Some might have found that rude or improper, but it was clear from the indifference among the group that no one paid it mind.
“Is that everything that happened, Ten?”
“Absolutely everything. I’m ashamed to say that nothing was accomplished.”
“You certainly had a…should I say…eventful experience? It’s a shame that Isis’ demigod escaped again. He’s the most immediate threat among all the demigods whose identity we know. I’ll track him down myself.”
“Your enthusiasm is appreciated, Eleven, but that’s not the important thing we need to discuss.” No one could see Ten’s facial expression, but they could all imagine the anger that would be shown. “Twelve. That traitor Twelve got in my way. I could have solved everything then and there, but he sided with the heathens.”
“The danger was averted. Due, I’m sure, in no small part to him. Obviously, his goals were not malicious.”
“Really? And you believe that that’s enough to make him innocent? You’ve grown old, Nine.”
“I find that my age gives me the wisdom to at least judge fairly, Five.”
“Hmph. If Twelve wants to run around rogue, let him be. But when he deliberately gets in our way, I have a problem.”
“What about you, Three? He was your partner. Instead of staying so quiet, why don’t you give your opinion for once?”
“Hm?” All eyes turned toward the single figure, who looked somewhat surprised to be addressed. They paused for a moment before answering. “Well, it’s great so long as he’s in good health, isn’t it?”
“Take this seriously, Three! That idiot should be condemned for his actions!”
“Should he? I must have missed something, because I don’t remember him going insane or being possessed by an evil demon. Ten, in your story, the only thing he supposedly did wrong was get in your way, right? Aside from that specific instance, did he do anything that makes you think he’s become a bad person? Like harm innocents or abandon his own principles?”
“That’s a leading question.”
“Do you want to kick Twelve out of our group, Ten?”
Ten fell silent at that. No one else interjected for several seconds at the figure at the center of the group sighed aloud.
“Twelve is still one of us, even if he doesn’t want to hunt down the pagan gods that threaten our world. He’s acting based on his own beliefs and he’ll come back when he feels like it. Until then, let’s quit debating about whether or not he’s a bad person.”
Ten begrudgingly nodded his head. The tension didn’t leave his shoulders, but it was obvious to everyone that there was nothing to gain by pursuing the topic.
“I’ll leave the hunt of Isis’ demigod god to Eleven and return to my standard duty with Six in the Midwest. Will that do?”
“Thank you. This will be our last time meeting like this for
a while, so we’ll keep in touch with each other the usual way. Remember to be
careful—we’ve already met one demigod who was technologically inclined, so
let’s assume that there are more like him out there. Until the next time we
meet: Peace be with you.”
“And with your spirit.”
“And with your spirit.”
“And with your spirit.”
One by one, the fires went out until the chapel was dark and empty once more.