The Heiress

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The Monsters Pt.1

"Oh, gods."

I practically double over, barely stepping two feet into the house. Turning around, I bury myself in Bastian's chest, wanting to erase the horrible sight from my memory.

Blood. So much blood.

Everything's practically destroyed. My childhood home...gone.

Why didn't I stay with them? Could that have prevented this from happening?

My stomach churns, disgusted with myself for being so careless and selfish. I didn't even think about them, about whether or not I'd see them when I returned home. I thought that was just a guaranteed factor, that nothing could ever happen to us. My parents are good people, so how did this happen?

"Hey, it's okay. I'm right here." Bastian wraps his arms around me, restricting my labored breathing. The smell of blood is still strong, reaching my nose in seconds and bringing more tears into my eyes.

Were they tortured?

Part of me doesn't want to leave the safety of Bastian's arms, afraid of what awaits me in the rest of the house. By staying like this, I don't have to face the horrors that they endured. If I stay here, I won't have to imagine how they were dragged and beaten, treated like beasts rather than humans.

But if I stay, I'd just be running away from reality. I'd be running away from my parents.

They need me, and I'm not going to let them down.

Not again.

Gulping in the horrid air, I push away from Bastian and face towards the foyer. Then, with uneven steps, I enter the house, steeling myself for the absolute worse. The scene before me looks even worse in daylight.

My stomach clenches at the smell of iron, knowing all too well the smell of blood spilled across the floor. The wood furnishes a new coat of crimson, some spots still damp as if it'd only happened seconds ago. I nervously wring my hands as I walk through the crime scene and into the living room.

"Let's not stay longer than needed." We hadn't been in this house for more than a minute and my senses were already overwhelmed. I had already cried enough tears for now. If I started again...I wouldn't be able to stop...

I wanted to save myself from the pain of what had happened.

"I should've been here."

Bastian doesn't say anything, glancing at me a couple of times as he begins to shuffle things around the already disarrayed environment. I search around too, but I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for. I mean, this has never happened before, so I'm kinda new at this.

I know, it's embarrassing.

Moving on, I decide to head upstairs to my room. We never kept anything of value around here, or at least, anything that I was aware of. Sure, my dad owned billions, but he wasn't stupid or careless. He'd never leave something around the house that could prompt anyone to break in, let alone kidnap.

My door is slightly open and leaning on its hinge, which is totally reassuring.

Please, note the sarcasm.

I bolt into the destitute doorframe, afraid of what could've possibly happened in my room. Other than a few photos and articles of clothing, my room is still as I had left it. Shirts and random knick-knacks sprinkle out here and there, some of the more fragile items revealing themselves as broken shards and pieces. My bed still looks as if I had made a mad dash out of it, which I did.

But something also looked off about it, as if something or someone had been ripped away from its surface so suddenly, that they left a surprised imprint in its layers.

I can still remember the talk my mom had with me on that bed...

She'd given me so many warnings--so many signs--of what would happen, but I didn't listen. I just thought it was the same old BS about getting older and all that responsibility crap. I never took the time to really hear her words. They held so much depth and even sadness, but I was too caught up in myself and my plans to even stop for one second.

I notice my favorite childhood stuffed puppy, walking over to gently pick him up. The same black beaded eyes that I'd stared at for years staring back at me, void of the emotions that the scene around us would've caused. The little dog seemed to be as I left him, save for one addition. A piece of paper had been taped onto his belly, my name scribbled on the outside.

"Bastian?"

"Yeah?"

"I found something." Opening the note, I barely hear his footsteps behind me as I begin to read its contents aloud.

"Daughter of Hades,

The day has finally come for the prophecy to take its course..."

Prophecy? What prophecy?!

"Hades has finally met his demise, and by my hand, as it's been foretold. I have a score to settle with the pompous god.

From your point of view, I'm the bad guy. I'm the guy who took away your parents and am threatening their lives, but hear me out before you make assumptions about my character.

In actuality, Hades brought this fate upon himself. He stole something from me eons ago, knowing damn well it was my destiny. I'm just giving him the same fate he so graciously bestowed upon me: a sentence of damnation.

Of course, as I am one who firmly believes in destiny, I know that you will try to rescue your parents and challenge me no matter what I say. I would expect nothing less from the offspring of one of the three powerful kings. Our paths will cross, there's no denying it, and the blood spilled from your body will only usher in the era of Darkness that I will cover the earth in.

It may take you a while to guess who I am, but don't worry, I'll leave clues here and there for your benefit. I believe you will find me once you're ready, demigod, and I will be ready when you do.

It will definitely be a battle of the century..."

The abrupt ending of the note causes me to flip it onto the other side, but nothing else is inscribed on the parchment.

"That's it?! Well, that's just freaking rude!" I toss the note over my shoulder, Bastian effortlessly catching it before it flutters to the ground. Tugging at my curls and willing myself not to break down, I sigh exasperatedly.

"What did any of that mean? Like thanks a lot, you were zero help!"

"You don't have any clue who this could be?"

I turn around to see him staring at the note, scanning its content for some hidden clues, I guess. "If I had any leads, my foot would be half up their ass right about now."

"That's a pretty ballsy statement."

"Yeah well, whoever this is did something ballsy themselves. I'm just returning the favor." Becoming antsy, I pace around my room and begin to tidy things up into their proper destination.

"What are you doing?"

"Cleaning. I always clean when I'm anxious."

Bastian raises his eyebrows. "That's different."

"Yeah, whatever. I'm not like other girls." I roll my eyes, mocking the cliché phrase. Bastian chuckles, monitoring me as I pick up articles of clothing and books. I suck my teeth when I come across the broken glass from one of my snowglobes.

I had a knack for collecting them, especially the ones that had music boxes in them. My dad usually gave me them from business trips that he'd taken, each having their own story that he either made up or exaggerated.

Pushing aside some sweatpants, I find the rest of the globe and gasp. Laying in broken pieces on my floor is my absolute favorite snowglobe with the best story my dad ever told me. I kneel, gingerly reaching out to grasp the base of the pink carousel horse globe, and watch as glass and glitter fall delicately to the floor.

"Careful," Bastian warns.

"He gave me this one--" tears stream down my cheeks, creating hot trails of saltiness. "He gave me this one after Dylan."

"Who's Dylan?"

"He's irrelevant. But the story..." I turn the globe over in my hand, and the tinkling of the music box reminds me of its presence. I turn the winding key, listening as the familiar tune fills my ears. The snowglobe plays the Swan's Theme from Swan Lake, one of my favorite ballets.

"What story?"

"Gods, you ask a lot of questions." I glance at him from the corner of my eye, noticing how he's studying the globe with interest. "My dad reminded me of Odette's character from Swan Lake. He reminded me of how, had she never allowed herself to be bold and go after what she wanted, she never would've met her happy ever after. There were so many things that were against her, but she didn't care. She knew that she wouldn't be true to herself and that she'd always regret it if she didn't go to the ball. He wanted me to keep being like that, knowing that someday the same will happen to me."

Bastian's eyes remain on me as I go to place the treasure on my nightstand, touching its base one last time. "After Dylan, I...I never wanted to...but my dad told me not to give up; to keep going."

I twist to meet his gaze. "Either way, it's not important."

Bastian's eyebrows scrunch together, but he doesn't say anything. We stand there in silence, and the memories of my mom's phone call reintroduce themselves, suffocating me.

"I, uh, I'm gonna pack a few things and then we can go." Not waiting for a reply, I brush past him and into my closet. I grab a few articles of clothing and stuff them into a bag before heading to my parents' room. Unlike everything else I'd seen so far, this room remained untouched.

I try not to stop and look at anything as I grab a few items of my mom's and dad's, including a couple of his baseball caps and her beautiful blouses. Before I leave, my eyes catch on the family portrait sitting on my mother's nightstand. Picking it up, I gaze at their smiling faces and bite my lip.

"Please, don't lose hope. I will find you guys. I love you." Placing the photo back down, I practically run out of the room and almost trample Bastian.

"All good?"

I nod, lifting my bag as evidence that I had everything I needed.

"Looks like, after shopping, we'll be spending the rest of our day trying to decipher this stupid note."

"Looks like it," Bastian scratches his ear, a pensive expression gracing his features.

"What's that look for? You gotta fart or something?"

"What? No. I'm trying to think of places we could dig up the information we need."

I give him a look, not completely convinced that he doesn't have to fart. I know that look. I've seen it so many times on unsuspecting victims, there's no way he doesn't have flatulence. "If you say so, Leaky Leuy."

"I am genuinely starting to become concerned for your mental health."

"Don't be. You'll get confused trying to figure out my complex brain."

Bastian is silent before, "You're probably right. Aside from your kooky ways, I know a place inside your dad's mansion where we can find what we're looking for."

"Of course you do. You know more about me and my family than I do. Maybe you're the daughter of Hades and I'm the gorgeous stranger that's only here for comedic relief and the potential love interest."

"You think I'm gorgeous?" Bastian sports a huge grin, clearly singling out that one part out of everything else I'd said.

I roll my eyes not at all surprised at his answer. "Gods, it's like you have no brain. Is there an agency somewhere, where I can sign on with a new partner?"

"Stop flirting with me. You're not getting into my pants that easily." He grabs my hand, igniting those stupid little sparks again, and drags me out the front door.

"I'll have you beheaded!"

"Yeah, yeah. Add it to your to-do list, we're on a time crunch, Clumsy."

***

"Are you sure this is the right direction? I never took this route when I went to the store."

"Would you relax and leave the driving to me, Sweetheart?" Bastian shakes his head, turning the corner of some "shortcut."

"I know what I'm doing."

"Says every man ever when they mean the exact opposite!"

"Goddamit, woman! Would you just let me drive?!" Curls flop on top of his forehead as he whips around to face me before facing the road again.

"Alright, pal. You don't have to be so anal about it. My apologies, do your thing, boo." I turn away from him, my eyes widening in shock and trying not to laugh. Not gonna lie, kinda liked seeing this side of him.

Note to self: Make Bastian angry for a good laugh.

Oh, gods, that's kinda terrible.

Eh, who cares?

"Okay, we need to make a list of the things we need to get at the store."

"A list? Don't you just walk in there and figure it out as you go?"

"No! That's unorganized, and I end up making purchases of unnecessary things."

"Now who's anal?"

"Shut the fuck up and drive," I huff while beginning to type a list of groceries onto my phone, ice cream being at the top of the list.

Hey, it's like one of the most important food groups, so cut me some slack!

I've basically completed the list when Bastian pulls into the lot of the grocery store.

"What do you know? It was a shortcut that only took twenty more minutes than the regular drive time!" I look over at Bastian, my eyes widening in mock shock.

He glares at me, scowling as he gets out of the car.

Ahh, I love this game.

Opening my door, I jump out and begin to head over to the store.

"Hey!"

I spin back towards the car. "What?"

"I was gonna do that!"

"Do what?"

"Open your door!"

Rolling my eyes, I continue walking to the front of the store. Gods, I thought it was something important.

"Get back here!" I don't have time to react as I hear thudding footsteps behind me before I'm swept off my feet and thrown over Bastian's shoulder.

"What's the big idea?!"

"We're doing that again, and you're gonna do it right this time."

"Like hell, I will!" I protest by pummelling his back, but the meathead won't listen.

Typical.

Careful so that my head doesn't hit the hood, Bastian lowers me into my seat, shuts the door, and then--here's the real surprise--opens it again.

"Wow, what a gentleman," I commented sarcastically. He helps me out of the car and finally lets me enter the store.

Okay, Andi, don't go crazy. Just because you can buy everything, doesn't mean you should.

"Ooh! Cake!" I rush over to the bakery, taking in the sweet aroma of fresh bread and pastries. Now, this--this is the good stuff. "Oh, yeah, baby."

"Shopping first. Sweets later."

Nope, I don't like that. It doesn't sound right; should be the other way around.

Bastian tugs on my arm, pulling me in the direction of the "actual" food.

"What's first on your list?" He leans over to get a peek at my phone.

"Uh," I stutter and glance down at the list. "Starches!"

Pointing in the direction of the aisle, I yank Bastian in my trek for bread, rice, pasta, and the rest. "You even categorized them?"

"Order saves us time!"

Bastian groans, excusing himself to grab a cart. About thirty minutes later, we've just about completed my list when a sudden chill makes its way up my spine. I shiver as the feeling spreads to my scalp, giving the impression of claws digging into it.

"Never had that kind of shiver before. Must be the pilates." Ignoring the feeling, I point in another random direction. "Deserts!"

"The cart's practically full," Bastian complains and gestures to the heaping mound.

"No excuses! Onward, servant!" I slap his back, deriving a grunt from him as we surge forward. Grabbing about twelve cartons of ice cream and other yummy treats, I gaze satisfyingly at the food.

"I think we're ready to check out."

"Oh, you do? Whatever gave you that idea," Bastian remarks sarcastically.

"Keep that tone, Mister, and you won't be getting a candy bar from the front counter!"

As I pivot towards the direction of the front, an explosion happens in the dairy aisle.

"Great, who dropped something this time? Geez, I hate my job," the worker next to me mutters before grabbing his walkie talkie. "Clean up on aisle seven. Clean up on aisle seven."

Curious myself, I peep into aisle seven to see the catastrophe.

And that's when I regretted my life's decisions.

"HOLY--" Ducking back, I snatch Bastian's collar and pull him behind the cart with me.

"Wha--" Throwing my hand over his mouth, I silence his words. My eyes practically bulge out of my skull as I silently warn him not to make a sound. I don't even know what I just saw, but I know for a fact that it probably isn't here for some ice cream.

It's a shame, too. I was really hoping to die on the weekend rather than a weekday so that people could take all of three days to mourn me.

I guess we can't all have our wishes granted. Sucks.

Bastian peers over the teetering tower of food, motioning with his arm for me to stay down.

Don't have to tell me twice.

Ducking back down, he takes me by the shoulders and looks into my eyes.

"Okay, I'm gonna go out there--"

"NO!" I grab his forearms, willing him to stay here. "Your puny arms are no match for that--thing! Besides, what are you gonna do? Throw a baguette at it?"

"Thanks for the reassurance," he deadpans.

"Any time, bud." I pat his shoulder, peering over the corner of the cart to see if the monster had moved yet. At lightning speed, three heads turn in my direction and bare their fangs at me. "Crap! They saw me!"

"Stay here!" It's the last warning Bastian gives me before leaping from behind the cart and charging towards them.

"You idiot!" I yell after him, but he's not listening.

Of course, he isn't listening.

I scan the items around me, trying to find something that can be used as a weapon.

Ice popsicles? No.

King crab legs? Solid maybe.

Random cart left in an aisle? I think we found a winner!

"Time to take you guys on a little joyride." I dive for the cart, but it's like the monsters can sense me. They all turn around one by one, beady red eyes fixing on me with my hands on the cart.

Smiling uneasily, I ask, "Do you know where I can find the pie crusts?"

In unison, the monsters hiss at me, causing me to jump back a little. "Well, nevermind, then. I'll find them on my own!"

The creatures lunge at me, claws appearing and elongating with each second. One aims for my shoulder and, like the idiot I am, I stand there long enough to have it swipe at my shoulder before ducking out of the way and slamming the cart into its side.

Creature #1 shrieks like the little baby it is, clutching its side in pain as its siblings sprint to avenge their comrade, I guess.

Jumping onto the bar below the handle, I tip the end of the cart upwards to bluntly hit the second creature in the stomach. "Ha! You just got railed! Get it? Cause it's metal? No?"

The creature glares up at me in disgust from its bent-over position.

Yikes, I need to work on my catchphrases.

"Looks like we've got a tough crowd tonight," I sigh before spinning the cart around and pushing it towards the third. It effortlessly dodges it, but I'm quick to come at it with a kick to the face. It glowers at me in annoyance.

Well, that was anti-climatic.

"Think fast!" I toss the nearest thing—a bag of flour—at the creature before hightailing it out of that aisle.

Dang, it, improve is not my strong suit!

I knew I should've taken those improv classes when I was six. Screw tap dancing class!

"Bastian! I could use a little help here! Get your lazy rear in gear and do something!" I'm practically racing across the store, screaming at the top of my lungs, when I hear the scratch marks of the monsters' feet rasping behind me.

For the love of--

Bastian appears out of the aisle I just passed, wielding some kind of frying pan, and smacks the creatures in the face. Retracing my steps, I dive into the same aisle he just came out of, searching for anything that could help the situation. My eyes finally land on an object that I know all too well, and I sigh.

"We keep meeting like this."

Snatching the matches and two bottles of lighter fluid, I quickly get to work on my devious plan.

If only Mrs. Peters could see me now.

Twisting the cap off of one of the bottles, I run to the front of the aisle and wait, preparing myself for a possible encounter with death. Gods, what am I thinking?! This isn't logical at all.

It's survival.

Yeah, and suicide!

Okay, you know what, let's just go for it. At the very least, I'll go down in flames.

Yep, one final joke before the end.

Jumping out of the aisle, I run-up to the first creature, who is temporarily blind from a pan attack, and toss some of the lighter fluid on it before throwing the rest at the one behind it. I don't have time for the third one, as both of the creatures have regained their senses and have targeted me.

"Bastian, catch!" I don't even look as I fling the bottle in his direction and turn tail to run. The creatures don't hesitate to chase after me, determined to claw my eyes out after being drenched in a horrible smelling substance.

I can't light a match while running, but it's not like the two losers behind me are going to stop to let me do my thing.

Ah, decisions, decisions...

Abruptly, I stop, knowing what needs to come next.

Gods, I'm gonna need so much therapy after this.

If I survive, that is.

The creatures, thrown off by my sudden cease of movement, slam into me and knock me to the ground. After a few stunned seconds, they reach out their claws, practically pinning my body to the ground, and let out some kind of guttural snarl.

The third creature, who'd been occupied with Bastian, snaps its head in our direction. Seeing my current predicament, it turns away from Bastian and races towards us. The only indication that lets me know this all wasn't in vain, is the fact that Bastian is dangling an opened bottle of lighter fluid in his hand.

The third creature finally reaches our side, the final step to initiating my completely insane idea.

"ANDI!"

With the last of the adrenaline pumping through my veins, I retch myself free enough from the creatures to light the two matches that I'd kept in my hand.

"Time to light 'em up!" Tossing them in the creatures' direction, I watch in horror and amazement as the three spontaneously combust. Sounds of a thousand tortured souls erupt from their scaly mouths, shaking the store and my nervous system. They clutch their bodies in agony, but only worsen their condition by spreading the fire to the rest of them.

The creatures begin to glow brighter by the second, their bodies blurring into white, but their voices still as sharp as ever. As the smoke from their burnt bodies rises, the creatures disappear in a blinding flash just as the sprinkler system in the store turns on.

"Wow, what an exit," I whistle while propping myself on my elbows. "Gotta be honest, I did not think that was gonna work."

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" Bastian appears out of thin air, shaking me back and forth vigorously. "You could've died!"

"Hey, careful, genius! You're gonna disconnect my head!" I place my hand on the back of my neck when he lets go of me, and glare at him menacingly.

"That was dangerous," he growls.

"It worked, didn't it? And, if I recall correctly, I did most of the work here. Thanks a lot, macho man." I roll my eyes at him, preparing myself to stand. Once finally on my own two feet, I stretch my back and arms, hoping to regain feeling in them. "Geez, those guys were heavy."

Before Bastian can give me any more crap about what I'd just done, I waltz back over to our cart and push it towards the checkout line. The cashier lady, who finally peeked from under the counter, looked at me in total fear.

I pretend not to notice while placing all of the items onto the conveyer belt and pulling out my debit card. "Oh, I almost forgot."

Swinging towards Bastian, I ask, "Did you still want that candy bar? Snickers or Milky Way?"

He grumbles, clearly annoyed by my awesomeness.

"Snickers it is. You're not you when you're hungry." I grab a Snickers and add it to the last of the groceries. The cashier lady still stares at me warily as she finishes bagging the items. Bastian loads the cart back up as I pay for the groceries and bid farewell to the cashier.

She cowers as I wave my hand, a shaky goodbye leaving her lips.

What a nice person.

From the back, I can hear the other coworker I'd seen earlier.

"God, I hate my job," he screams.

Me too, man. I felt that.

Even though I'm probably one of the reasons why he hates his job.

Perks of being the daughter of Hades, I guess. It's like I'm a celebrity.

As we exit the store, me swishing along in my drenched clothes and Bastian pushing the cart, he finally says something to me.

"Well, you know that's gonna end up on the fucking news." He shakes his head, still in disbelief of what'd just happened. I don't blame him. Once all the adrenaline has left my body, I know for sure I'm going to freak out as any sane person would.

"You think? Hm, I hope they got my good side." But for now, my insane mentality is still present.

"Yeah, because that's our top concern. Not the fact that we almost lit a store on fire."

Stopping and opening the door to begin placing in the groceries, I glance at him. "Did you and I switch places?"

"No, I'm pretty sure you've always been the crazy one."

Sticking my tongue out at him, we place the last of the groceries in the car before returning the cart and getting in ourselves.

"Gods, I need a nap." Throwing my head back onto the seat, I sigh deeply.

"That's not all you need," Bastian remarks as he starts the car.

"Keep sassing me and I'll eat your Snickers."

"Oh, whatever will I do," he mocks before chuckling.

"Starve," I threaten and glare at him, raising an eyebrow.

"My mistake, you're right. I'm not myself. Better keep my mouth shut," he says and smiles, driving us in the right direction—for once—back to the mansion.



Part Two will be up shortly :)

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