I must say, you really have no shame if you can buy all of this in front of a new guy you just met.
“Shaddap. Why should I care what people think o’ me? If they can’t accept this much, they sure as hell won’t like the rest’a me.”
Sorcha replied to the intrusive voice in her head with the same curt tone she always used. Some time ago, her face might have burned with shame even with her belligerent response, but she’d long since gotten used to it. No matter what face the vendors behind the counter made, if she gave them cold hard cash, they had no choice but to cough up the products. Such was the world of capitalism.
So she thought with utmost defiance while stuffing an entire hot dog into her face. Sorcha was young woman, so of course she cared about her appearance. Even if she didn’t care for men, it was in her nature as a social animal to at least be conscious of what she was doing to herself. But honestly, she had to apologize to the hordes of normal girls out there who lived next to a scale to measure themselves with and spent their early mornings jogging. Sorcha absolutely detested the junk food she was inhaling 24/7, partly because she knew what they contained, but mostly because it was a sink for her income. But no matter how much she ate, she didn’t have to worry about her figure. She’d maintain her hourglass dynamite body (self-proclaimed) even if she filled it up with greasy burgers and sweet chocolate.
What would have been a dream come true for countless other young ladies was the physical embodiment of what she detested about herself.
“Probably wouldn’t be so bad if I could afford some better stuff.”
“Do ya know what the internet says are the foods ‘ith the ‘ighest calories, side from this freakin’ chocolate? Meat! Greasy beef tallow ‘nd oily fish! ‘so those ‘spensive nuts—Macadamia or somethin’. And ‘ere I am, stuffin’ my face with hot dogs from some street vendor.”
Sorcha’s laugh lacked any humor in it, to the point that it was almost eerie. She looked down at the large bag of hot dogs in her hand with an expression that made it clear that she was considering doing something outrageous.
Such is the price for great power. A relatively small one, actually.
“…Sometimes I wonder if ya even understand just how much I wish I could burn the shit outta you…you FU—”
You’re not a gourmet, Sor. Your lifestyle aside, you don’t have the personality. As a god, I know what higher living looks like. You’re not cut out for it. Frankly, you’d hate it.
“Shut your fuckin’ mouth…”
I like that about you, you know.
Sorcha’s stomach growled to demand more food, so she shamelessly stuffed another hot dog down her throat. All the while, her thoughts returned back to what she’d heard just an hour ago. Uzumel, the priest who was now working at the same daycare as her, had walked with her for a few blocks to get to know her better. Sorcha had gambled that he’d last barely a block before his friendly attitude toward her changed, but he’d proved to be far more tolerant than she’d expected. He’d patently listened to her angry outbursts and coarse language and responded as if she’d been speaking normally. Sorcha knew how people acted when they forced themselves to be nice to her, so she knew that he was a bit different. He found her interesting, so he probably figured the verbal abuse was worth it.
It really annoyed her.
It was while Sorcha was staring longingly at a fish market that she’d heard something saddening. There was a group of older white men who caught fish right off the coast nearby with their own boat for sport and sold their favorites in the market for cheap prices. Sorcha had been absurdly close to attacking one of them when they tried to flirt with her and her anger had been diffused magically when they offered her some fish for affordable prices. She was fine with being cheap—she needed the food. Anyways, it turned out that that group had yet to return to the market with their catches. This was obviously weird, but there was nothing Sorcha could do about it but internalize her pain and misery and keep walking. Uzumel had offered to buy her a regular fish, but he’d backed down after seeing Sorcha’s expression. Frankly, she wasn’t sure how she would have responded—she was conflicted between accepting charity from a kind priest and her meaningless pride (she worked hard to make sure she didn’t have to rely on welfare). But judging by her disappointment when Uzumel parted ways with her, she was pretty certain of which decision she’d been leaning towards.
Returning to your home?
“Doncha say a damn word ‘bout me da, Pele.” Sorcha silently praised the god for remembering the streets after all this time. She’d figured gods were above that sort of menial stuff. “Fightin’s in our blood. We can yell at each other ‘cause we care.”
I didn’t say anything about that. How you live is your choice. Although I am interested to see what you do on the day he finally learns that you’ve been possessed by a pagan god.
Sorcha didn’t even want to think about that. No doubt, her barely normal life would be ruined instantly. She hated to think about how he’d treat her. Would he accept her and act like normal? Or would he brand her a witch and sever ties? Either option had its problems. Sorcha’s heart likely wouldn’t be able to deal with either possibility.
“Well what do you know? The gang’s gotten back together. I think. Who am I kidding—I don’t recognize any of your faces. Have we met? Or maybe someone you know? Like your siblings or wives—”
A loud smacking echoed through the alleyway and Sorcha paused in midstep. After some deliberation, she pressed herself against the wall and inched toward the sound of the voices with her eyes narrowed. She spotted a small group of grown men surrounding a single person, all of them holding a weapon of some sort, from hand guns to crowbars. Sorcha clicked her tongue as she recognized her father’s gambling friends. She didn’t recognize the face of the one they had surrounded, but evidently, he was much younger than them—and surprisingly handsome. With a chiseled face that looked like it had been carved from solid marble, his smile showed perfectly square teeth and unblemished cheek bones. He had somewhat simple fashion sense with a scarlet jacket over a white button down, but he made it look good with his messy hair.
I suppose you’re at the age where you evaluate potential mates. Strictly from a physical sense, I have to agree with you.
“Now’s not the time, damn it!” Sorcha hissed quietly while trying to ignore the heat in her face. Since when was this god so sensitive to her interests?
From a more in depth sense, though, I have to warn you. That one is not worth anything.
Sorcha raised an eyebrow curiously, but she heard her father’s voice before she could ask any questions.
“Oi, you know this guy, Huckabee? He’s been mucking around here for a little bit.”
“Know him? You bet your sweet Irish ass I do. This guy’s infamous in our group. Remember that night when Raj was drunk and told you about that bastard who stabbed our boss a few years back before suddenly running off and vanishing? We caught word that someone looking just like him was in the area. And what do you know? He’s right here, in perfect shape.”
“‘Him’, ‘he’, ‘guy’…You know I’ve got a name, right? Chrome E. Heyne. Told it to your boss, too. Right before I stabbed him. In the face.”
“The son of a bitch has a bounty.” Huckabee ignored the young man entirely. “If we bring him in alive to the boss, he’ll give a pretty nice reward. What do you think? You might be able to pay off some of your gambling debts with your cut if you join in. In fact, I’ll let the hundred bucks you owe me slide just cause you’re a pal.”
Sinead pursed his lips to consider this offer deeply, but it was obvious to Sorcha that he was already sold. She shook her head pitifully before taking a closer look at the one named Chrome. His face was definitely attractive, but he also had a pretty defined build. Even with the long clothes he wore, she could tell that he was lacking on the useless fat department—it kind of reminded Sorcha of herself. But even considering that, he’d be killed instantly by a handgun at that range. Even if he was shot anywhere else, having a bullet lodged in your body was more than enough to cripple a normal guy.
Sorcha could not have judged the situation more wrongly. She barely registered the gunshots as she watched Chrome stride forward and grab the face one of Huckabee’s friends (was that one Raj?) and swing him around right into the nearby wall with inhuman strength. The sickening crunch seemed to make time stop for a brief moment for everyone watching, but Chrome alone was unaffected, already swinging one foot up into Huckabee’s crotch and sweeping Sinead off of his feet, letting him bang his head on a pipe and slipping out of consciousness.
Sorcha finally regained her senses as Chrome was busy using the gun he’d taken from the unconscious bodies to finish off the ground, already taking aim at her father.
Although, rather than ‘regain’ her senses, a better term was ‘completely lost them’.
“YOU FUCKIN’ SMUG ASS CUNT!”
Hell fire exploded in that alley. The walls, floor, and even air was set aflame all at once, starting from Sorcha’s position as she moved away from her hiding spot behind the wall and into view, spreading out and folding onto the surprised Chrome. The temperature around Sorcha raised several degrees at a time. Chrome was engulfed by the flames, his entire body swallowed at once to the point where one couldn’t even see his face.
And yet, laughter accompanied the flames in filling the air.
“HAHAHAHAH! Holy shit! Another demigod? Here?! Where did you
even come from? And what’s up with
this freakish fire power off the bat, damn it?!”
“BURN IN THE PITS OF THE DAMNED! WHERE DO YA GET OFF, SHOOTIN’ AT MY DA AND HIS PALS?!”
“That’s your dad?! So this is some heroic attempt to save them?!”
Chrome’s voice stopped then, probably because the flames got to his vocal cords, or killed him right there. He’d be a smoldering pile of bones within moments, but one had to be impressed with the fact that he didn’t scream even at the very end—that took will power.
Then Sorcha remembered her father.
The flames cut off instantly, vanished from the sight and leaving only hot air behind. Sorcha searching frantically with her eyes, but naturally, she found nothing. No bodies. Not even any bones—had her output really been that high?
Sinead, at least, had just been unconscious.
“Hehehe….HAHAHAHA! Oh, this is rich! Richer than Richie Rich! What sort of pointless revenge was this supposed to be? You ended up killing the people you were trying to save! So hero! Much Bravery! I’m totally in awe of your stupidity! Were you just trying to act cool or did you completely lose control? Either way, it’s hilarious!”
Sorcha stared blankly at the human remains that laughed at her. She could see the white of human bones and the burned human flesh that clung to it, but it was all healing right before her eyes. The face had already regenerated, allowing Chrome to speak. That was enough to make Sorcha’s vision go red—she couldn’t even calmly analyze how impossible this should have been.
The alleyway exploded with flames once more. The roar of flames was comparable to a fierce lion mourning a horrible loss, but that wouldn’t have reflected even a portion of what Sorcha was feeling. All the while, cackling laughter filled the air, serving only to further incense the true victim of this purge.
“WHY. WON’T. YOU. FUCKIN’. DIE?!?!?!?! DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE GODDAMN YOU!”
“I won’t die! You aren’t the boss of me!”
“AS IF I GIVE A DAMN, YOU CUNT! I’M SENDING YOU TO APOLOGIZE TO THE EVERY ASSHOLE IN HELL FOR OVERSHADOWING THEM!”
Burn brighter. Brighter. Such beauty can only be appreciated in fleeting moments such as this. The sweet release of emotions will serve as a testament to your loss. Truly, without a doubt, among all the demigods, you are the most beautiful.
The roaring flames were somehow drowned out by the sound of Sorcha’s rumbling stomach—she could even feel her gut pulling in on itself painfully—the worst sort of cramp. At maximum output, she could barely send flames burning for a couple minutes. But Sorcha ignored it completely. She could still see Chrome’s grinning face through the flames—she needed to see it burned to nothing and stay nothing.
“Getting hungry, are you? Can’t blame you. Vengeance is a tiresome thing. You should take a break and get something to eat, don’t you think?”
Her anger lit the little remaining fuel she had to create even brighter flames. They said that a flame burned brightest right before it went out, didn’t they? Well it seemed that Pele would be getting the rare chance to see something absurdly bright. And the pealing laughter Sorcha heard in the back of her head made it clear that the goddess was just fine with that.
“Quit wasting all of this energy, woman. Repeating the same
process and expecting different results is the definition of madness. If your
death wish is really that bad, you’re no better than that psychopath.”
In Sorcha’s mad haze, she somehow entered a Zen state where she could focus entirely on burning a single target even as her eyes searched the flames for the source of another voice. She found somebody standing in the burning air, untouched. The flames around this person had literally stopped, as if they couldn’t move wildly as fire did in its natural state, thus leaving the flesh of the person there untouched. The gaze that this person shot Sorcha was certainly something—she stared right back, deliberating whether to just burn him along with her original target.
She changed her mind only after seeing the unconscious body the person was holding.
“Do you want to die and leave him behind, woman?”
The person’s voice was crisp and to the point, wasting nothing. Sorcha felt her own anger fade away almost instantly, replaced instead by relief of the highest degree. The flames were extinguished by her abrupt change in mood immediately, this time not even leaving behind hot air. With the flames gone, Sorcha could clearly see that the body the stranger was holding was indeed her father, all in one unburnt piece. Sorcha was normally good at identifying her feelings, since they were usually very clear cut, but what she felt at that moment was so complicated, her body couldn’t even make an expression as she simply fell to her knees and let a river of tears spill from each eye.
“I want to die.” She blubbered through her tears, having yet to regain control of her words. “I hate myself. I hate being a demigod and I hate being involved with them. If dying would solve all my problems, I would do it in a second.”
Of course she would. It had nothing to do with being depressed or suicidal. She was not an efficient member of society. She only got in the way. She was literally a sink for food and water, consuming gross quantities every day. She was a danger to everyone around her thanks to her temper. She was a danger to her own father in more ways than she could count, restraining herself when she was near him. If she was not around, not a single person would mourn.
“That won’t solve anything. There are billions of people who
waste everything and cause trouble for others. That’s the definition of living.
Fitting in with the world is impossibly pointless. But if you can care about
just one other person, your life has meaning. It proves that you’re at least
But…she couldn’t truthfully say that Sinead would be happy with her dead. She needed to be alive to support her father. He still had a life ahead of him. A miserable one, but one all the same. Who was she to leave him alone to suffer through it?