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Down is up, lore is lie, and when the titans aren’t getting busy they’re getting buzzed. It’s shading weird around here.
What’s really cookin’ my A-game is the immortals. They’re dying. So much for accurate branding, right? I’ve got a handful of puzzle pieces that don’t fit, and a sense of doom that won’t quit.
What happens when an immortal dies? I’m so glad you asked. As the Keeper, I’m trying to hold the magical and human worlds aligned. I’ve got a symbiotic book, a partner, and dumb luck. I’m also staring down a witch war. My lover’s a god who thinks gaming the system is fine, my bestie is a witch ready to toss the Olympians out on their butts, and I’ve got to save a new magical race that can’t find their behinds with both hands and a flashlight.
Then the real deal showed up, ready to burn it all. I’m screwed, and it’s only Tuesday.
Be the first!
“Keeper, you’ve got a problem, a big one.”
I cocked my head. Di was one of my favorite immortals; his agenda was the party, which meant I wasn’t dancing around hidden meanings and obscure clues.
“A what, or a who?”
“Despite eons of time together, Hyperion loved his wife. I know. I’d never pull it off in a million years, and I’ve had’em. But to the point, Ol Hyp’s wandering the coastline in a miserable way. When you spend tens of centuries being a structured traditionalist, trying to handle a swamping emotion? He’s blowing apart. It’s both ugly and public.”
I crossed my arms under my breasts and stared at Di’s bloodshot nose. “I don’t know him, but Theia was wonderful and I’m sure it’s a struggle. What support can I offer, Di?”
“So glad you asked.” He reached across the bar and tapped my head, flooding my brain with happiness. “If you can get close, give him this. It’s her joy. I collect joyful vibrations, and Theia shared this with me. Based on what I just witnessed at the Daytona pier, it needs to pass to Hyperion.”
My aura blossomed, a rose gold color that radiated and gave the setting sun some serious competition.
“I can’t leave The Boogey, Di.”
Even Di’s chuckle sounded hungover. “Oh, Keeper. He’ll come to you, unable to resist.”
“Uh, OK. Thanks?”
“Try not to die.”
He shimmered and vanished. I stood, a glowing target in an empty bar, certain of only one thing.
An insane, grieving titan stomped my way, and I’m a firefly with no freaking clue how to pass along this Olympian gift.
The screech of squealing nails accompanied a timber quaking series of thuds, and I ran, aura blasting, through a restaurant full of shocked patrons to the pier’s back end. I’m a decent sprinter most days, and I hauled ass along the decking, cheeks bouncing out of my shorts, a blur of rosy golden light. Behind me, customers stared out the open windows at the wailing giant dismantling the fishing pier. As I flew past several dudes pulling in their gear, a few hooted and raised beers. Go team.
Hyperion, standing in the crashing surf, shook the crushed roof of my tee shirt shack in one hand, the other yanking off a long piece of railing, head thrown back in a soul shaking bellow of grief.
Jeez, I could relate.
I reached the space where the railing used to be, mind whipping like a Daytona 500 driver doing a victory lap, and launched through the opening, aiming for Hyp’s hand.
I sincerely hope I’m not a fucking idiot.
Surprised, Hyperion dropped the rail, and I landed half on the edge of his palm. Gravity sucks, incidentally, and I shrieked as my ass, an unfortunate counterweight, dragged scrabbling fingers across his open hand, headed for a long fall and possible drowning while sporting the mother of all wedgies. Not how I pictured myself going out.
Hyp flipped me into the air and moved his palm underneath as I landed in a grateful sprawl.
“You’re hurting!” I screamed over the smashing waves and his raging, sobbing breath. “You wouldn’t know, but I lost my love, too. Ballard and I were one of Eros’ original pairs.”
Hyp’s breathing quieted, and green eyes held mine. Holy Hades, he was huge. I sucked in air.
“Titan Hyperion, I have an important gift for you. From your beloved.”
Hyp’s palm rose until I was eye level. “I miss her so much; my heart is dying. Theia was my life. Without her, the agony of lost tenderness rends my soul.”
My perch shook with his sobs, and tears welled in my eyes. Far below, I heard weeping from a few of my patrons. Loss is both universal and a long-bladed knife.
Genuine love is forever. Even if you’re the size of a skyscraper. King Kong 101.
Love. In an instant, I knew.
“Hyperion, hold your hand under your mouth.”
The shirt shack’s roof dropped into the ocean and he raised his arm.
“No, sweet broken heart, your other one.”
Enormous green, tear-filled eyes blinked, a pause, and the palm I stood on, legs wide and braced for balance, lowered a few feet.
Here goes nothing. I guess winging it with my ass hanging out is my trademark.