String of Fates
How did I end up here? I was drowning in the River Styx, in the Underworld, and the ghostly figures of souls were clawing at me as I sunk further down. The skeletal figures screeched as they pulled on me, their vacant stares from empty sockets in their boney skulls horrific and menacing. From above, I heard someone yelling my name, and I stretched a hand towards the surface of the river.
He sounded desperate, and I didn’t understand why. I didn’t understand anything. How had my life even come to this? My mind flashed a series of familiar images over the last several months of my life, and I longed for a taste of my old self. I didn’t know it then, but things were so much simpler than they were for me now. I was just a graduate student, studying birds in the Galapagos Islands, and I missed the hot sun, the white sandy beaches, and the sound of the ocean’s waves against the shore. I thought of him, the man I’d met there, with those stunning turquoise eyes, slightly tanned olive skin, and untidy, dark windswept hair. His smile still brought me to my knees, but now, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see him again. I wasn’t sure of anything, not even of who I used to be. For some reason, I couldn’t remember my godhood, and who I was the reincarnation of. Somehow, the goddess within me continued to slumber despite these desperate times, and now, I was going to die.
6 months ago….
The seatbelt light appeared overhead as the plane I was on began its descent. Below us, islands that were a stark brown and green contrasted sharply with the turquoise waters hugging their shorelines. So far, everything seemed fine. I didn’t see anything unusual around us or within the clear blue waters, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t suspicious that something was secretly lurking around me. I know it sounds crazy, especially since I was a woman approaching thirty, but weird things tended to seek me out. When I was a little girl, these sorts of things scared me since they often took on the scary apparitions of ghosts or unexplainable beasts lurking in the shadows. As I got older, however, I began to secretly question my sanity until other people acknowledged some of the weirdness around me. That may have been the result of a couple of outbursts I had, where something stirred within me that forced things to go haywire. Lights would burst, the ground would rumble and shake, and the world seemed to freeze as if waiting to be swallowed by something slumbering within me.
Scary, right? I think so too. In fact, if I’m going to be honest, I secretly felt like I harbored some great evil most of the time, despite my efforts to be a good or kind person all the time. Maybe, I was just doomed to be a bad person. I wasn’t exactly known for being well-liked anyways, and despite even my greatest efforts at connecting with people, they loved finding the worst in me.
I sighed, leaning back in my seat. Despite my best efforts, I started to play with my long blonde hair, since I was nervous and agitated. Some of the golden strands fell on my black button-down field shirt, and I quickly picked them off so I didn’t appear too sloppy.
It’s okay, I thought, You’re in control. Just do your best and be you. Everything will work out, I promise.
It was a normal daily reminder to just keep going. After all, I’d managed to get back to Galapagos, which was a start. Normally, concrete guarantees or plans fell through for me on a regular basis and for no apparent reason. I mean, there were reasons, of course, but if I ever told someone what I went through on a regular basis, they’d all think I was lying. There was no way anyone lived the chaotically extreme life that I did. Scholarships to college were derailed by unhealthy relationships or unexpected family problems, and jobs that I took were never what I expected or they’d end abruptly. I’d spent more time trying to fix my life than I did living it, and the horrible part was that I wasn’t actively trying to self-destruct. Apparently, my decision making was just plain bad, despite my best efforts to logically consider all my options to make good choices. Inevitably, it was only later that the pieces revealed how bad of a situation I was in, and then, I’d be forced to jump ship to save what little remained of me and my life. It was an exhausting pattern to live by, but this time, I was determined. Nothing was going to get in my way again.
“That’s a nice thought, dear,” interrupted an old woman to my right.
I hesitated, taking a second to wonder if I’d been muttering under my breath without realizing it, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t. To my right, the woman I sat next to me must’ve been ancient. Her skin hung off of her tiny bones in wrinkly folds that made her appear frail and delicate, while her curly white hair was tied up tightly into a bun atop her head. She wore a light tropical flowered T-shirt that was hot pink, with a tan skirt, and her knobby old hands struggled as she pulled a fine thin silver thread from a small sewing kit in her lap. Looking at her, it surprised me that she was making a journey across the seas at all, especially in her condition, and I hoped that for her sake the hot equatorial sun didn’t cause her a heat stroke or other likely ailments that would cut her trip short.
“Don’t scare the girl, Doris,” snapped another woman sitting next to her.
My eyes shifted to another woman by Doris. She appeared to be about the same age as her travel companion, but her hair was light gray and buzzed short, like a militia’s officer. She also wore a light blue tank top dress, and two large pearl earrings donned her long earlobes, making me think of my grandma.
“Oh, Sally,” sighed Doris, “She’ll find out soon enough what she is. It’s not like she has a choice.”
I hesitated. Were they talking about me? It was hard to tell, and I watched as Sally pulled on a long, delicate silver string from Doris’ sewing kit. She then began to weave the fine thread through a square design she was currently working on, which featured a gruesome image of an old Greek city falling to ruin. Then, from across the plane aisle, a third woman snatched the silver thread from Sally, and I could’ve sworn the thread turned gold as the last of these women twirled it around one of her thick fingers.
“Hmm, a good strong thread,” examined the last woman, “Perfect for weaving the future.”
“And for weaving the past, dear sister Rose,” snapped Sally annoyed.
Okay, so weird things were going to keep happening around me. I shook my head, and leaned forward to make out the last woman across the aisle. From what I could tell, Rose had the same loose, wrinkled skin as her two other travel companions, making her around the same age, and she wore a light purple blouse and white khaki shorts. Annoyed, Rose passed the string back to Sally, though Sally stared at the now golden thread like it was ruined. All three women then sighed, and I noticed Doris put away a pair of extremely large scissors.
“I-I’m sorry,” I stammered uneasily “You weren’t talking to me, right?”
I stared at Doris apologetically to convey that I meant no disrespect if I was expected to say something, but she patted my hand while she wrapped the now gold thread back into her sewing kit. I figured it had to be a trick of the light, since there was no way that strings changed colors in real life like that, but I couldn’t help but watch it all the same, mesmerized.
“It’s for you to discover, my dear,” explained Doris, “But the world’s going to be changing soon enough. Rose foresaw it herself as a young girl, didn’t you, Rose? She kept telling us it would happen.”
Doris looked right at me, her light blue eyes distant as if she was trying to see the future as she spoke, and then she smiled, revealing a set of missing and uneven teeth. Her bony, knobbled hands then cupped my face, and she regarded me with a slight bow, before readjusting her seat as the pilot announced our landing on Isla Baltra.