The next hour was tense, my whole body on edge as we sat in a tense silence as he drove down the state road to our destination. He had to type it in his phone which gave the occasional direction but War drove without hesitation.
I was ready to start asking how far now until I recognized some of the landscape, the fields, the roads and the growing number of trees surrounding us and my heart leapt to my throat.
We’re almost there. Please be okay, Daphne, Father, everyone.
I could see the white stone church past through the large ochre trees and I sunk into my seat, feeling the tension leave-
“I think we got a problem.”
“What do you mean?” War frowned as he stared through the window, grimacing.
“I think you need to hold back before you go running inside.” I grimaced but stayed put until he parked the car and I followed after him as he headed to the church doors, past the once beautiful flower garden. A garden reduced to burnt, crackly shrubbery and ash flakes on the pebbles and dirt. The beautiful, intricate church doors were broken in, as though something had smashed its way through.
Warren pushed through without hesitation and I partially questioned his sanity but followed after him, wishing I had my knife he gave me that I left in the car.
All thoughts flew out of my head as I stared at the sight before me.
The church, the aisles, the long, glossy benches, the carpets, the stand, the stained-glass windows...everything was fine.
All of it was perfectly fine, unmoved, untouched. Except for the dark patches and stains that I didn’t stomach to look into. Other than the blood, there was no sign there had been a fight. While I was unsure of what to think, Warren had moved down the church towards the back, disappearing through the doors.
There was no mess other than small bloody stains littered here and there and War’s footsteps were the only sound echoing in the entire place. He knew the place obviously as he stuck into the kitchen and there was nothing again.
“The basement, the crypts.” I pointed down the staircase, heading for it, though Warren shook his head.
“I’ve known the basement where the crypts lay. It’s too small and they would be surrounded plus the crypts would could accidentally be destroyed.” He followed anyway, frowning.
“How do you know what it’s like?” Warren glared at me over his shoulder before sighing heavily.
“Give me a break. I haven’t been in there. I saw a floor plan of it once.” At my confused look, he sighed heavily as he landed at the bottom. “A map of how a building or construction.”
“I know that. I’m not that stupid.”
“Then why do you look so confused?”
“Why did you see a floor plan?”
“Because I’m handy with building in construction.” My eyes widened in surprise but before I could continue to ask more, I was confronted with the large, white, stone door leading into the crypt.
It was no longer white.
Warren grimaced, pushing it aside even though it was partially open but I could see enough. A couple bodies- or what was left of them, lay spread on the marble, stone floor. The floor red and grey, sprays of red everywhere and on the crypts. Warren stood over the body parts, unflinching as he observed them, turning one part over, showing a face though I refused to look more at it.
Warren grimaced, reaching out a hand, lifting the torn, shredded robes. He stood up, coming back to where I stood, shaking his head.
“They were torn apart.” My stomach sunk along with my heart. “Something big was in here and definitely more than one.”
“Where are the others?” I didn’t wait for answer and ran back up the stairs until I reached the top again. “Where are the others? Could they maybe have gone in hiding then?” I ran through the kitchen. “Anyone here!? Father Marios? Daphne? Helene? Anyone?”
“Pandora.” Warren’s voice spoke from behind but I didn’t listen and ran out the back door, noticing the horrid dried patches staining the side in giant handprints and ran out to the back garden.
They could be in the cabin! They could be there! They have to be okay! Please be okay-
I froze past the rose bushes; these ones were dead but not burnt. The colour was gone from the rose bushes, the grass littered in dirtied patches, uneven mounds of dirt lay in an messy row of ten.
I sunk to my knees, unable to comprehend but truthfully, I knew.
I failed others. They tried to protect me and they were killed because of me. Peaceful men and women, killed because they want me.
My ears were ringing, my pulse thundering in my head, a loud keening sound, that I vaguely recalled was me screaming in frustration.
As I sat unmoving, the distant rumbles of thunder sounded overhead, as I stared at the mass graves sticking out next to the perfectly neat, beautifully taken care of graves all around when I felt a presence stand behind me, letting out a heavy sigh as he kneeled on the ground next to me.
“I’m sorry. They were good people.” I shook my head burying my face in my hands as I mourned the bodies beneath the ground. The ones torn apart in the crypt. “But I know there are others.”
“I don’t know where else the bodies would be.” I murmured.
“I don’t believe there will be anymore bodies.”
I slowly pulled my face away, turning to Warren, a frown marring my face. He stared at the graves, plucking the grass as though searching for words quickly.
“That box is big news as are you.” Warren sighed and turned to face me, his expression intense, a hardness in his eyes that betrayed the slight softness of his voice. “That box has now resurfaced because you are here. Whoever came here, came looking for the box or you. Instead, they found a priest and nuns ready, who obviously sent you away to hide. They will expect the box to be with you wherever you are, so they’ve given you a headstart. They’ll be looking for you now or better yet, that infernal box.” He glared into the distance as if he was staring at such a horrid thing and I couldn’t say I blamed him.
“Why take the others then? What use would they be?” Warren’s jaw twitched, his gaze flickering to me briefly.
“Is any plan good without a plan B?” He muttered, leaving me to divulge the meaning and my stomach sank deeper within me.
“Bait.” My whisper could barely be heard in my own ears but Warren nodded.
“That and information. They probably assume they would know where you and the box are.” Warren glanced at me. “I’m assuming it’s either hidden in here or elsewhere at another church.”
“Yeah, it’s somewhere here probably.”
“Then you have time.” I glanced up at him as he slowly stood up, wiping his hands on his pants. “They don’t know the box is hidden in here, they’ll think it’s with you, so, they should be somewhat okay, for a bit at least. I know Father Marios, he’s a stubborn, somewhat foolish man. But no coward. He would dare face me, knowing he stands no chance.” I blinked at him, seeing him differently.
Was this man, this harbinger the same as the one millenniums ago?
“What about Daphne?” I felt like a fool, forgetting her briefly as I looked up at Warren as I slowly got to my feet. “Wouldn’t she be more than capable of saving them and getting them out? I mean, she can’t be-”
“I found Daphne.”
I wanted to feel relief but the abruptness of his words and his expression told me everything. He found her, nothing more, nothing less.
He stretched out his hand, holding a thin, slightly angled twig that was as long as my forearm. It had a stump at the end instead of a break from being snapped off a tree branch. Tiny little branches were sprouted from around the twig and it had a slight blackened tip. As I took it slowly from him, I felt a strange warmth from the twig and stared at Warren stunned, confusion written all over my face, I was sure. He smiled faintly as placed the twig in my palm.
“Nymphs, you should never underestimate their determination, their will to live. They live like the elements, never faltering and always harsh and even callous to live on.” He leaned in slightly. “I believe, in time, Daphne will be okay. Like any plant that needs nurturing, you’ll need just as much determination and persistence. Enough of it at least that it might annoy her enough.” A choked laugh escaped me as I curled my palm around the twig, holding it close to my chest.
I can be patient. And I will find them Daphne. I promise.
Back at the car, I hesitated to leave but Warren was insistent, citing anything could still be around and watching just in case.
“Wouldn’t people come by?” Warren shook his head.
“I’ll let others from the church know. They’ll take care of it. Trust me, in our world, everything is kept under lock and key from the mundane. It’s a big world afterall.” I sat in silence, pondering everything until I pulled my handbag from under my seat and opened it, shuffling through the stuff inside. The sheet of paper Daphne gave me in secret after speaking to Father Marios glared up at me.
An address she had said to go to and a name she was about to write down until she was interrupted.
“Did you have a plan of what to do?”
“Um, Daphne told me to go to the Fates but if something came up or at least after the Fates and... if something happened to go to this address.” Warren took the paper from me and I shuffled through my bag when suddenly the car jolted forward. I barely raised my hand to stop from leaning too far forward, yelping in surprise and panic until I heard Warren, laughing in his seat. He clutched the paper in his hand it crinkled and leant his forehead against the steering wheel, his shoulders rising and falling as he laughed almost hysterically, shaking his head.
“What is wrong with you?” I snapped; the Greek spewing out as glared at him but he just groaned.
“Daphne, you bloody fool.” He leant back in his seat, a smirk on his face as he rolled his eyes. “When Daphne comes around, I’m gonna have words with her.”
“Why?” I took the paper from him which titled an address somewhere in- “Oh!” I clapped my hand against my mouth, eyes wide as I stared at Warren stunned. “You live in-”
“Yeah.” He muttered, shaking his head, his expression basically said are you serious? “That’s my address. You couldn’t have mentioned that earlier.”
“I forgot about it. And you ended up taking me to wherever I needed and I just saw that now and-Oh, that makes sense now.”
“Daphne wanted me to go to this address, said I’d be safe.” I smiled humourlessly. “Father Marios said you might not have been quite happy to see me.” He raised a brow at that but smirked.
“I doubt those were his complete words but yeah, I wouldn’t be too happy.” He shook his head, covering his face with his hands as he groaned loudly. “You, my God...you have to be the most unlucky and luckiest person ever, because I found you that night, I don’t even know anymore.”
“I’d say I’m incredibly lucky.” The words were out without me thinking them and I realized that it was true. A part of me was trusting, maybe too trusting and I still wasn’t sure if I could. But Daphne, who was insistent on me being safe, wanted ME, to go to the only Horseman left despite our history, spoke volumes.
Besides, he could’ve killed me long ago.
He stared at me, eyes never leaving mine and I flushed deeply but I didn’t look away. He sighed finally and nodded slowly.
“Alright, you’re stuck with me and I you-”
“You’re willing to help me?” He stared at me silently for seconds before giving a sharp nod. “May I ask why?” He frowned, glancing away.
“That box has no business being in anyone’s hands, much less anyone who doesn’t know how to wield that stupid thing. I know you’re capable of controlling and keeping it under control. You caught many that escaped afterall.” The words spoke more than he let, a gruffness sticking out as he looked away and I knew what - who, he was talking about. “Can we make a deal?”
I opened my mouth, surprised at the turn of events but nodded quickly. His expression was pained, nervous but his expression smoothed over just as quickly, I almost believed I imagined it.
“I don’t want to go back.”
He looked at me with heavy eyes. Eyes that had been around and seen anything and everything, the age and exhaustion in them spoke millions.
“I don’t want to go back into that box.”
I grew silent at that but Warren spoke quietly.
“I have a life. It’s not perfect, but it’s a life I enjoy. I don’t need to be the second horseman and I haven’t for at least a century. I find peace in books, in history. I want nothing to do with that box.”
I sat silently in my seat, thinking it over as I stared ahead of me and Warren remained silent, leaving me to my thoughts. As I thought it over, I thought back to the last few days and then that brief moment, millenniums ago. The first time I faced the second horseman as he prepared to-
“You didn’t kill me?”
“The first time we met.” I kept staring out the window as if I could see it all. “You could’ve killed me. I could see it in your eyes.” I looked at him, a heavy expression on my face. “You were about to. Why didn’t you?” He grew silent, his mouth opening before he closed it shut.
“I...I don’t know.” I looked away.
Was this harbinger the same as the one millenniums ago?
The answer was there. There was a strangeness surrounding him, but the instant terror and fear he brought out those years ago - don’t get me wrong, still terrifying - wasn’t like it was long ago.
He hasn’t hidden it. He just has no use for that side.
I licked my lips, rubbing my aching thighs.
He’d help me even if I said no... that much was clear. Maybe being my own person for once, no longer some tool, subtly whispered to and swung around like a pretty little, puppet on red strings by the Olympians for their fun and cruelty, allowed me to see things differently. For good or for worse.
“You fit in well amongst society in the early days, I’m guessing.” He frowned, confused.
“Yes. It’s tedious being what everyone assumes and expects. I won’t deny who I am. I am War and I thrive on it yes. But I have control. Being my own person gives me the freedom to not be that...harbinger.” I bit my lip, playing with a strand of hair before taking a deep breath.
“Help me find Father Marios, help me at least try to help Daphne,” I started while he sat quietly listening. “Help me find that infernal box and I promise, I won’t put you in there. Even if...not all of those can be succeeded.” He didn’t react much but the tension in his shoulders loosened as he took that, but I continued, my grip tightening on my pants before I turned to him once more on the drive.
“And, I may consider also, releasing your brothers.”
I had wanted to start searching for the others right away but War had pointed out I could barely focus and as much I didn’t want to just sit around, doing nothing, I would be no help to anyone - as useful as I was - in my state of exhaustion, pain and hunger.
It was a long, quiet drive back to Warren’s home, where he gave me some spare clothes for the night so he could clean my current ones. I had managed to grab some clothes and items from my bedroom at the church and could wear some new, cleaner and fresher clothes. Warren gave me his own clothes for sleep since it got cold during the nights in his place and I was too tiny in his mind and I would freeze like a twig.
Daphne or the part of her saved, Warren used the pot of some other plants he had resting on the sill in the kitchen where some light could shine through. Filling it up decently with some water, I could only pray now and hope.
I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, barely feeling my wet hair around my head as I buried into my sleepwear, blanket and pillows. Waking up in the late morning, I gathered I slept like the dead because I felt neither refreshed or horrible. Warren was already busy in the living room, looking clean and refreshed and obviously warm enough that he had no need for any shirt to cover him.
He glanced at me where I stood in the doorway and I quickly avoided looking at him, my cheeks flushing heavily but happily surprised to see food on the dining table.
I took my place at the table, though I wasn’t sure if I should wait or not but I didn’t have to wait long in the end because the phone call Warren was on finished and he stood up from the lounge. He sighed, stretching his arms overhead, the obvious muscle definition revealed further. Modestly looking away as he approached, my thoughts flickered to a fiendishly handsome man, with skin like polished, golden bronze and hair a luscious golden-brown hair, watered down grass eyes twinkling joyfully.
Glancing at War who took the seat across from me, he gestured to my plate.
“You didn’t have to wait for me.”
“What makes you think I was?”
“Because you were.”
I gritted my teeth but he cut me off quickly, muttering around the toast he took a bite of.
“So, my job is basically is on hold for now while we try and get this resolved. And unless you have any idea of where to start, let me know.”
“No, I know nothing.” I glared at the table in front of me, words f useless flickering in the back of my mind. Warren sighs, taking a sip of the bitter smelling coffee.
“It’s okay,” He murmured, chewing his food as he thought in silence. “I do have an idea of where to start.” At my hopeful look that had his cheeks darkening slightly as his voice grew heavier, he continued. “Attacking a church of the mundane, especially those who situate peacefully amongst our world is word easily spread on the street. This kind of thing you cannot hide. So, if the priest and others were taken, others would hear and the one person I know who lives in gossip central and practically thrives on it, amongst other...activities, he would’ve heard the rumours.”
“Would he offer answers? Help?”
“Not sure. I’ve not encountered him before. Luckily, I know he’s just arrived in New York. Where and when he holds his extravagant parties is under covers. Only the most revered, fanciest, or those with obviously good taste, get invites.”
“Who is it?”
“His name is Pan. He’s a faun.”
“Half human and goat. Fun-loving folks, a little too annoying for my taste.” I raised my brow at that and he rolled his eyes. “They like their inebriations; alcohol, drugs, men and women who are willing participants in the art of sex.”
“Thankfully he holds a party or two a week. He is very, from what I’ve heard...an excellent host.” Warren’s tone implied it was just the opposite from the strain and he cleared his throat uncomfortably.
“How do we find him then?” He was about to answer when his laptop lit up and he sighed, turning to me.
“We’ll talk in a couple hours. I do have my one class for today then we’ll start okay. I just need privacy now please.” I nodded, quickly getting up as he started talking to his laptop and several voices called out. I went upstairs to my current bedroom, sitting on the edge of my bed with a heavy sigh.
What do I do?
I fell back against the bed, wanting nothing more than to sleep but the light was on above me and there was too much to do. I just had to be patient until Warren was done.
“Pandora, stand up straight child.” I sighed inwardly but did as my mother said, while she fluttered her hands over me before pulling back and smiling over me. “My little girl is stunning.”
“Mother,” I smiled softly, taking her hand. “I’m only stunning thanks to my wonderful mother.” Mother laughed, her warm laugh cascading over me, making me feel lively and safe. The city was bustling and lively as we entered, carriages weaving past on the cobble stone roads. Young children chased past us after each other, their giggles and twinkling laughter making my chest ache.
“It’d be time to find a husband for you.” I smiled faintly but no words left me, a blankness falling over me and I only gripped my mother’s arm tighter.
I shook the strange sudden thought from my head and followed my mother through the town’s marketplace. The delicious aromas wafting heavenly through the air but my body moved without true thought, following my mother through the town. I held up part of my gown from the dusty ground, though it did little to stop the dusty stains on the grey fabric. The temple stood before us, looming and intimidating yet so beautiful, so pure white. A strange twinge in my chest made me flinch uncomfortably as though there were eyes burning straight on me. Looking over my shoulder, no one stood out amongst the crowd, except a young man passing by my mother and I, as he stared me up and down. I quickly hurried up the steps of the temple with my mother until we stood in sanctuary. The white, marble pillars and floor led straight down the temple, like a manmade forest.
“I look at our God’s, Pandora.” Mother spoke up suddenly, rubbing my forearm tenderly as we stood before the marble statue. “And I feel utter love and gratitude, for the gift they’ve given me these wonderful eighteen years.” I blushed, ducking my head.
“Mother,” I admonished. “I should be grateful for such a wonderful mother, who raised me so well.” She smiled lovingly at me before turning to look at Zeus who stared with those blank marble eyes. Eyes, while made of stone, stared so deeply into my soul, I felt a shiver creep up my spine, like a snake crawling beneath my dress.
“Losing your father,” A shaky sigh escaped her and I tightened my grip on her hand, a quiet ache for the man I never got to meet. Who was cruelly taken from my mother and I before I was born. “Left me feeling so dark, so at a loss until I found I was about to bring our child into this world. You are my wonderful little miracle.” I smiled sadly at my mother as she patted my hand lovingly. My mother left me standing before Zeus, but I bade no mind. Sighing heavily, I kneeled before Zeus, lowering my head so it touched the floor before his marble sandals.
Pray for my mother, my Lord and I express my gratitude for a beautiful mother, but do keep an eye on her, for she is much like me as a child.
Sighing another deeper sigh as I kept my hands on the floor as I prayed silently.
I don’t know how to pray well my Lord. I feel as if I am incomplete or unable...I...do not feel like I am capable of anything, much less making a good life for my mother and myself.
“So deep in thought, my love. Is all well?”
I started at the voice suddenly beside me, looking up at a pair of legs before my eyes, the bronze sandals strapped around powerful calves and knees. The white tunic stood starkly against the man’s skin was a beautiful, golden hue and I stared into the face of an angel. He smiled softly, eyes as green as the leaves on apple trees, beautiful, golden-brown curls hung around his chiselled jaw and against the back of his neck. Armor over his shoulder and arms in bronze and gold, the clean whiteness of his clothing spoke of his position. Full lips parted as he stared at me, his widening slightly, his golden skin darkening at his cheeks.
Was this a God?
“I-I, um, yes my Lord.” I bowed my head, flustered at this beautiful God standing before me. “Pardon me, I did not mean to take much space for prayers-”
“Hush my dear. All is well.” The man chuckled, his voice airy and light like music. “Plus, there is more than enough room for people to pray together.” He reached down; hand outstretched which I tentatively took as he helped me to my feet. He stood before me, a head taller than me and remained gripping my hand gently in his.
This man could not be some mere mortal...The bronze designs on his belt...
“May I ask your name?”
“I, I am Pandora.” I lowered my eyes demurely, and he straightened, raising the back of my hand to his lips, which he kissed softly like his lips were a soft spring wind.
“A beautiful name, fitting for you.” He smiled charmingly. “You looked so deep in thought, I could help wonder what you must be thinking about?” I flushed, lowering my head.
“It is of no importance-”
“Nonsense. We were made to think. What is the use of not doing so? As my brother says, humans are mystifying and curious creatures.” I frowned, immediately confused but he continued to speak, gently rubbing the back of my palm. “Is there something troubling you?” I stared at his breast plate, lost in thought before taking a deep breath.
I do not feel right.
“I merely worry for my mother, who pushes herself too hard.” Inwardly I frowned, for they were not the words I wished to utter but immediately the thought drifted away from me as if a stream had rushed past, clearing my mind of any drifting thoughts, leaving nothing of my own.
“Your mother is a lucky woman to have such a caring and loving daughter. She must be beautiful indeed, to have such a beautiful daughter.” I blushed, glancing up at him.
“Are you here to pray.” He chuckled, shaking his head.
“I do not know. I like to drop by and tip my head to the big man.” I blinked at his cavalier attitude, the questions rising further. “I do not believe prayer is needed when I have been gazed upon an angel. May I escort you back to your mother?” Glancing at his arm held out for me I hesitated, though something seemed to shove me forward, I managed to find my voice.
“May I ask for your name.” He smiled a handsome smile as I curled my arm through his and walked with him through to the entrance of the temple. He turned his head, whispering in my ear like a spring breeze his name fluttering through.
“I am Epimetheus.”
I started, my eyes opening to the bedroom light above me, making my bleary, tired eyes watery as I rolled over on my side, slowly waking from the deep sleep.
I sighed heavily, rubbing my eyes as I thought of my...husband. Where was he? Did he make it through that horrid night? The destruction? Did he...suffer those miserable, horror filled days later?
He was such a good man and he never saw it coming.
Well, he was passed out drunk on our bed, right after we got married.
I rubbed my finger which was devoid of any piece of metal of a ceremony.
He couldn’t have died...right? He was a Titan. Far from a God indeed, but still...immortal, godlike enough to be have survived...I hoped he had. But having not heard anything from Daphne or Father Marios-
I suddenly sat up, the idea running through me as obvious as day.
It was all history! Warren knows it better than me!
Downstairs, Warren had just closed his laptop when I popped into the lounge and he stood up. He glanced at me, noticing my sudden jumpiness and he raised a brow questioningly.
“You know your history - well, in general I guess.” His brows curved in as he pondered my question and nodded slowly. “Is there much about what happened...after?” He didn’t need to ask me at least as he stared at me questioningly.
“Um, I don’t know personally, I just know the vague rumours and what history has written down from back then. That was a very long time ago.” He frowned. “What do you want to know?”
“I just wanted to know, what happened to someone and others.”
“Ah,” He nodded slowly. “I should point out that I don’t actually know what’s true or not, so you’ll need to tell me who you’re looking to find out about-” He halted suddenly, his head snapping to me so fast I was afraid it would snap. He opened and closed his mouth before closing it with a snap and he rubbed his forehead with a groan. “Of course, I’m such an idiot. You were married.”
I flinched at the reminder but nodded. He sighed.
“What was his name again, Evan, Emin, Epin something-”
I flinched again, the brutal reminder of my brother-in-law and the memory of his opinions of me.
He was right.
“To be completely honest, Pandora, there is not much said except the story of you and Epimetheus settling down after you opened that box - or in some stories, it was actually a jar - and living with your husband and your children.”
Children? Settling? Jar?
“Children?” He scratched the back of his neck.
“That’s the stories of you and Epimetheus. You can look it up. Technically, I think it was a daughter you both had named Priya, or something close to it.”
“I don’t have children. I never-” I stopped; my teeth clacking shut as I flushed at the thought but thankfully War never noticed.
“I’m sorry, I’d forgotten you were married. But I’m sorry, there is nothing about Epimetheus, except that, which is now, false.” War strode past me, laying his laptop on the coffee table as he turned off the TV.
“What about Prometheus?” I asked, desperation twinging in the back of my voice. “He was, well, a hard-headed man and he had his reservations about me - shocker, he was right.” War stared at me with an unfathomable expression. “What about his history? Is there, something about him? Where he might be? Or-”
“Yeah, there is, unlike your husband.” His expression said he wasn’t happy to talk about it, filling me with immense dread. “Since it was Prometheus who started Zeus’s petty nature again, unfortunately, Prometheus’s story...does not have a happy ending. Or so I gather in the history books.”
My stomach curled and War sighed.
“You can look it up. I’m going to go shower and then, we’ll discuss what we need to do.” He didn’t wait for, quickly leaving the living room and leaving me to my own turbulent thoughts as I sunk into the couch, shakily holding up my phone. Typing into the google search, I slowly typed Prometheus’s name.
I found enough.
“I gather you find out Prometheus’s story then.” Warren spoke from behind as I stared blindly at the TV, I’d turned on to try and distract myself from the overwhelming guilt plaguing within me. “I’m sorry. It’s not...nice. But in our world, I don’t know if it’s true or not. So, I’ll say don’t take any of those words to heart right now.” I didn’t say anything, resting my chin on my knee as I stared at the TV. A heavy sigh behind me and some muttering about women as he sat on the coffee table in front of me. He looked at until I turned to look at him. “What’s on your mind?”
He knew exactly what was on my mind, but he was giving me an opening for me to relay everything out.
“I did this to him. I don’t know where Epimetheus went or what happened to him. I got those nuns and those people killed, I inflicted horrors on this world, lost the most important person to me and lost a friend. Everything I am, it was made to cause chaos and I was made to be a toy - no! I’m the gun! Someone may be pulling the trigger, but I still fired and caused-”
“Okay, okay, deep breaths.” He gripped my ankles, shuffling closer. “I got it. I mean I don’t fully understand everything, but I understand the feeling of being the middle man causing shit to happen. And so, you opened some box, even though you were told not to, but the God’s created you. I don’t completely get that part-”
“I’m sorry, but what?” I held up a hand, absolute confusion clouding my face as I glared at him. “Since when was I told not to open the box? The box was received as a wedding gift during the wedding.” Warren frowned.
“Wasn’t there a note saying ‘Do not open’? I mean, that’s what word got around those years ago and now in the history and story books.”
My mind spun as I thought back to that very night. The moonlight filtering through my new bedchambers that was my newly-wed husbands, the one side of the room surrounded by gifts from many all-around Greece and probably from across the oceans. A box stood alone, hidden amongst a pile of gorgeous gifts.
“No!” I blinked back to the present and I glared at War, sitting up properly as I grabbed the pillow next to me. “There was no damn note. How-what, why on-”
“You knew it was a gift from Zeus though-”
“NO! I did not!” I jumped to my feet. “For the love of all that is Holy-Why is everyone assuming I knew Zeus’s plan or that was his damn box?!” I was up on my feet pacing frantically back and forth as I snapped at him. “I mean seriously, who in their right mind would ever believe Zeus himself would send a gift?” I snapped. I needed to stop but my frustration was pushed further to the edge as I flung a pillow at him. He didn’t flinch just remained impassive as I scowled, laughing hysterically. “I mean, Zeus was not the kind of God to send gifts of good will. Afterall, he created me. Pandora.”
“Oh and why in the name of Ares, would Zeus leave a note saying ‘Do Not Open’?! Especially when he wanted this crap and everything to happen!” I ran my hands roughly through my hair, grimacing as it got tangled in my fingers. “So, that’s fucking wonderful!” I laughed without humour, throwing my hands in the air. “That’s just brilliant. Everyone believes I disregarded Zeus’s note and decided to just open some stupid box and bring chaos and all things horribly into the world, like we didn’t have horrible things going on! Excellent.”
While I was breathing heavily, staring at nothing, my hands on my hips as I took some deep breaths trying to calm myself.
“How was I supposed to know it was from Zeus?” I mutter, my shoulders slumping and War straightened until he standing on the other side of the sofa, his expression blank and cool as he watched me. “I was an ordinary girl, or so I thought until I opened that box on my wedding night.”
“Because Zeus created you.” I glared at Warren, licking my dry lips as I growled out, leaning over the sofa back.
“Yes, Zeus created me. But how I was supposed to know the box was from him? It’s not like I was raised by Zeus, I was raised by my mother-”
“Weren’t you just created?” I sighed deeply, trying to take calming breaths.
“Yes, I was created.”
“Then why would you be raised by someone-” He stopped, staring at me, the look of slow realization coming to his face before he folded, his face softening. “You were born. Not created and just...” I stared at him stunned.
“Wait, is that what the stories also say?” Warren rubbed his jaw and nodded.
“You were created from clay and given gifts of all the Olympians to make the perfect woman, a woman who could attract the attention of a titan. And then Zeus presented you to your husband as a ‘no-harm-no-foul let’s forgive and forget’.” I nodded slowly, the information slowly processing and I wanted to just collapse. Taking a deep breath, I walked around the sofa so I could sit down.
“No. It was my soul. They knew how I would turn out to look, I mean they have Aphrodite, she sure knows how to make someone look pretty. That’s how I got Epimetheus’s attentions. I was made to be exactly what he wanted in a woman, his completely exact type.” I chuckled darkly. “But I was also a gift to my mother who gave birth to me after years of trying with her husband - father, I consider that man my father than my petty creator,” I rolled my eyes skywards, scowling before lowering my eyes back to the person in front of me, feeling tired. “My mother, Helene lost her husband, my father, I can’t remember how he died but there was enough time to believe that she had become with child from him before he was taken. I was basically a ‘gift’ again, from God. A miracle child. I was born a screaming baby, to a sulky toddler to an adventurous child who could never stay indoors at my mother’s insistence. To this now, and then I ran in my future husband and it was done.” I shrugged, feeling hopeless as my mind floundered back to it all. War remained silent, unspeaking allowing me to finish but we remained in tense silence. I lowered my head in my hands, a heavy sigh leaving me as I waited for more words of naïve, foolish, other puppet names I should be used to within days.
“You never knew anything.” He spoke softly and suddenly, kneeling before me and I raised my head to meet his gaze head on, my glower losing its heat.
“I knew nothing until after. But I always felt...detached. At times, it wasn’t me saying what I wanted to say but something pulling random words out of my mouth while I could only watch from behind the windows.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” His jaw twitched as he smiled faintly. “That’s just me making assumptions this time.” I stared at him, and the corner of my lips twitched faintly.
“Guess we’re even.” I murmur, shrugging. He snorted, backing up slightly before he excused himself and disappeared into the kitchen. I heard a bit of clinking around until he appeared and he sat next to me on the sofa. He had a large glass bottle and two glasses he laid on the coffee table with a clink. He leaned back into the sofa we both somehow let out a deep heavy sigh at the same time. We glanced at each other, I flushed and he stared thoughtfully at the table for a few seconds before he started speaking.
“The world is full of shit, whether you released more or not.” He glanced at me, frowning. “You opened a stupid box you were made to open. Got it. You’re madder than you realize. Good. You should be fucking furious. Hell, I’m mad.” I looked at him confused and surprised. “I’m not in your shoes, I won’t go there. But I was created for further calamity, so were my brothers. I’ve lost my brothers all these fucking centuries, I’ve done things and seen things that would make the worst of the worst shy away in disgust and fear.” He smiled grimly. “But I’ve made myself my own person. A person not sullied by titles in those legends and tall-tales. There’s not much I can say, except now, you’re here, you’re your own person now.”
“I’m only here because I’m sent to look after the box, clean up their damn mess.”
“Yeah, you are.” His voice was sharp and cutting, making me flinch. “The God’s send you to clean up after them. But once you have, you can live as your own person again. It won’t make up for everything but...” He slowed, a bitter chuckle escaping him as he shook his head while I sat beside him. The emotions rummaging through me were heavy and an ache pulled me. “I don’t know what I’m saying but it’s getting late and,” He held up the glass bottle. “I find alcohol helps when I’m mad. So, take a glass and tomorrow, we’ll figure everything out.” He poured himself a glass and waited for my answer.
I stared at him, unsure of what to say. Straightening up, I reached for the spare empty glass and holding it up to him, jaw tilted up defiantly.
“I know what you’re saying.” I smiled softly. “Thank you.” Holding my glass to him, he poured in the warm, brown and red liquid and without hesitating I threw it back.
My throat and my eyes watered as I sputtered.
“Wow, first-timer I’m guessing.” Warren chuckled and patted my back as I coughed and spluttered at the bitter, burn on my tongue and throat.
“Don’t bother.” War chuckled, corking the bottle and tipping his own drink breath and letting out a refreshed sigh, he left to put the drink away. “I probably should’ve assumed you’d be a light-weight.”
“I’m not gonna get drunk off just one drink.” My voice sounded too slurred and he rolled his eyes.
“You may with scotch.” He muttered.
“Warren,” He turned to me and I stood on the sofa as he stood before me, I slightly towered over him. “It may have been a short while and everything, but...” Taking a deep breath, my mind swimming slightly. “Sorry for trying to skewer you with a poker.” His lips twitched in amusement.
“Thanks for the most excitement I’ve had in a long while. I have a feeling it isn’t gonna end for a while since I’m stuck with you.” I rolled my eyes, feeling it tilt my body slightly. Sighing, he held me up. “These heartfelt comments are coming out too early, princess.”
“Stop calling me princess. I don’t want to be one.” I mutter. “I just want peace. And my head to stop spinning.” He sighed.
“You need sleep now. It’s been a long day, despite doing absolutely nothing but there’s nothing we can do today until I find someone to help us.” I tilted my head.
“How many people do you know?”
“I know enough.” He smirked. “I’ve gotten around the world, or well most of it at least.” I rolled my eyes at his arrogant smirk.
“So, we need to find someone to help us find someone who hopefully knows someone or something involved on kidnapping a bunch of humans?” I questioned, stepping off the sofa and he sighed, looking frustrated as he pushed me towards the hallway to go upstairs.
“Yeah, something like that.” He grumbled. “And it’ll be dangerous.”
“I think danger is my middle name.” Warren rolled his eyes heavenward, muttering something I couldn’t quite gather.
“Something like that princess.”