HADES FELT THE empty echo of his throne room resound within the hollowness inside him.
Casting a heavy glance at the smaller throne to his right, he emitted a laden sigh, unburdening his turmoil.
How many mortals would give all they had, sacrifice all they loved for an eternity?
And yet, how many mortals knew the agony, the inward havoc an eternity alone wreaked?
The God of the Underworld, God of Riches and everything worth anything below the soil. Presider over the dead and yet; that is what he was:
Many refer to him as the Dead King, not because of his domain, but because of the emptiness that marked his presence.
He was dead inside, and anyone who knew him knew it.
WIKIPEDIA WAS WRONG.
There was nothing peaceful about drowning to death.
Orianna breathed in desperately, begging silently for air to replace the chlorine tinted water.
She held her breath, the last molecules of oxygen too precious to waste on the unjustified gasp of horror. It shouldn’t have surprised her, the horror.
People are horrible.
She knew it. Her whole life was centered around that fact: people are horrible
There was nothing they won’t do to taunt, to hurt, to break. No boundaries, no morals. To break a broken girl they would do anything.
She didn’t understand it.
So as she opened her eyes, allowing the chemicals to sting them red, she gave up.
Her body relinquished her from the agony of fighting. She let her muscles relax, let her lungs coax her into believing that water was better than nothing.
She inhaled the water as if it were fresh air.
She drowned in that pool, where the party overlooking it never ceased, not once.
There was no acknowledgment.
No, ′Hey can she swim?′
No, ′Guys I think she’s dead.′
No, ′What have we done?′
No, ‘Someone helps her!’
As if nothing happened, as if no one died, they went on drinking. Creating pointless games to drink more. Partying. Dancing. Betting on sports and girls, and virginities.
Sleeping with random people and making bad decisions they’d regret the next day. She doubted she’d be one.
They would leave her to rot in that pool.
Somehow, that calmed her.
They left her to rot while she was alive, and leave her to rot while she died.
Consistency. She found consistency in their cruelty, and for that, at least, she was thankful.
She had no family, the people around her, for some reason, despised her for it, as if it were by some chance, her fault.
Yes, Death had been none too kind to her. He had snatched all that she had, loved and left in his wake the ashes of what could’ve been. What should’ve been?
What never would be.
And for that, she hated Death. For that, she despised Death. Because He was by far the cruelest of them all.
He took everything, left her solely there standing, hurting, dying on the inside with no reprieve. He left her as if taunting her. Out of reach, for 23 years, not for the lack of trying.
He left his mark.
He left her standing, a survivor, a witness to all that he could do.
To bury her mother, father in the same week. Younger sister within the same month.
She had no one and nothing. Her shadow was her only companion for decades.
She vowed, as she took her last breath, that the second she saw him, she would make him pay.
Hades cringed at the influx of souls. When had mortals become so violent?
Children, babies, murdered by their mothers. Mothers murdered by their children. Innocent people being attacked all at once for something, they had nothing to do with?
Once more, he glanced at the throne next to him. His job would so much easier if he had someone beside him.
But it was foolhardy to wish for what was impossible.
No one loves Death, and to most, that was all he represented.
Death and destruction.
And though that title rightfully went to Thanatos, it mattered not.
“Regina Hadley please step forward,” He called.
A young girl, about her early teen’s, stepped toward the throne. Her hair looked to be strawberry blonde, her form slender and immature.
She would most likely either go to Elysium or Asphodel. She hadn’t lived long enough for Tartarus, hopefully.
“Regina Hadley, how did you die?”
The girl sheepishly picked at her designer clothes, frowning when her nearly transparent hand went right through it.
“My older brother was driving and a drunk driver hit us, I think,” her lips pulled into a frown. “Is this a hospital? Am I unconscious? Am I dead? Am I--”
Hades groaned quietly. It was not uncommon for people who entered his domain to be confused, but the pitch of her voice was grating his eardrums.
“Can I send her to Tartarus, Boss? Please?” Thanatos pleaded, mockery ringing his honest tone. “Surely her voice is a capital sin! Look what it’s doing to my poor Cerberus!”
Hades sent him a withering glare as the teenage began to break down and cry.
“I will assign you a guide, Regina. You have earned an afterlife in the Meadows of Asphodel.”
A shade escorted a sobbing Regina from the throne room.
“Really, Thanatos?” Hades sighed with a glare.
The black winged man grinned, red eyes glowing in mischief.
“You must agree with the grating pitch of voice she was cursed with, Sir?”
Urgently, Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and collector of souls appeared before him.
“Hades,” he cried breathlessly, “We have a problem!”
“A soul,” he panted. “A soul that the Fates have decided should not have been lost.”
That made the God rose to his feet, his brow dipped.
“And why has—”
A halt to the ensued, the Moirai condensing into solid form along with the Great Tapestry of Life.
The three, so different, spoke as one.
“Why do you speak as if the Fates are inept, King of the Dead?”
Saying nothing, Hades waited for what was to follow.
Atropos, the cutter of life, an old and severe woman, spoke first:
“A life has been wrongfully taken. A life I did not ordain to be cut from the Tapestry.”
Next, spoke Lachesis, measurer of life:
“This one since birth has been yours. Her thread, I measured as long as the King’s.”
Lastly, Clotho, the youngest spoke, “A queen, I destined this one. Before her birth, I spun a thread of Gold, intertwining Her with you.”
As one they chanted:
“What has been lost
Shall be restored
The Golden Cord
A piece of his Soul
The King shall Give
If he wants his Queen to live.
Love the lonely King shall find
In the bluest pair of mortal eyes
Finally, the Dead King will arise
with His Queen by his side.
For some will seek
The throne and the life
Of the Chosen Queen.”
As quickly as they came, their forms evaporated, taking the mesmerizing Golden thread and the Tapestry of Life with them.
A moment of hush fell before time started once more, and Hermes led Hades to his Queen.