All tagged roman mythology
An imposing figure in a black robe stood with arms crossed in the Sibyl’s torch-lit cave. A hood obscured his face as he guarded her hourglass with its swift, constant stream of sand. Somewhere in the darkness were the sounds of clanking chains and scuffling feet.
In the very center of the temple, a glass jar hung from the high ceiling on a thick chain.
“It is time!” the Sibyl hissed…
In the amber firelight, my forearm gleamed with the Mark. It was so exquisite and refined with its gentle, looping lines, I almost forgot its true purpose. Beautiful as it was, the Mark was a reminder that Apollo had cursed me to be the Muse Warrior, the one who would use the Oracles to defeat the Sibyl and save Olympus. He had sacrificed me long before I was born. Apollo had marked me to die.
That night, I tried not to overthink Bax’s reaction. On one hand, he was right. It was a lot to process. I couldn’t take it personally.
But I didn’t have the luxury of time. I couldn’t wait for Bax to decide whether or not he believed I was a Muse. I had no choice but to believe in the unbelievable, or risk losing Troy forever.
And if Bax didn’t believe me, I’d have to move forward alone.
That night, my dreams were a jumble of nightmares.
Troy stood behind a wavering hologram of the words of my destiny, flanked by faceless attackers in black robes.
“Read it or they’ll kill me!” he shouted.
I squeezed my eyes tighter, waiting for Mercury to grab me, for the weight of my punishment.
The voice wasn’t as deep and gravelly as Mercury’s, but still I shivered as I opened one eye, shoulders lifted in fear.
I don’t remember how long I stood in front of the faded vision, grasping for my mother’s soul, or how I stopped crying. Eventually, Mercury landed the bus with a bump in front of Franco’s produce stand and reversed the calming spell with a wave of his hand. The other students woke as though from a long nap and lazily gathered their things.
As I stumbled off the bus behind Alessi, my earrings vibrated and I looked back at the messenger of the Gods. With a humble tip of his driver’s cap, Mercury said, It is your destiny, Eden, not your burden.
As the bus soared in and out of clouds on its magic autopilot, Mercury gathered a ball of gold dust in his hands, just as my grandmother had done, and released it into the air.
A vision appeared between us…
My heart was still pounding as I entered the gym and expected a major backlash from Nyx. The team was in the middle of warm-ups and everyone looked up when I jogged to the back. Nyx and I made eye contact, but her ice queen glare held no hint of our locker room confrontation or of the arrow she’d barely missed. Somehow, that made me even angrier. For a split second, I wished that my arrow, gold dust or not, had pierced her heart…
Right before school let out, I stood beside my school locker, still shaking. I had five minutes to get to volleyball practice, but I felt paralyzed. The only thing I should have been worrying about was finding my brother, and even I knew it would be a longshot using coordinates scratched onto a leaf. But instead, I was wondering how to tell my dad I was the number one suspect for stealing an ancient artifact.
The cafeteria was packed, but I couldn’t think clearly after my run-in with Nyx. Every squeaky step of her red leather shoes was an irritating reminder of her smug face. Why was she so hell-bent on making my life miserable?
Find Bax, my earrings pleaded.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was hardly enthusiastic about going back to school, but there was no reason to stay home. My grandmother had stayed in her room all weekend with her mysterious silence, avoiding my questions. Meanwhile, my dad was a shadow, walking around the house with his phone attached to his ear, muttering, “How can a six-foot-tall kid just vanish?”
Unable to sleep but equally unable to wake up, I tossed and turned in a purgatory of dreams. The black robes swarmed my brother and pulled Troy into the fiery pit, then Calliope and Apollo flirted without consequence, and on and on, in a maddening loop. The firefly’s taunts buzzed around my head like a soundtrack, and each dream was rounded by more restless slumber…
I closed the curtains and switched on Troy’s lamp. Several old books lay scattered across the desk, their spines flattened so they remained open, their covers overlapping. A small black notebook, a pencil wedged inside its pages, rested on the right side of the desk.
For most people, this might not even register as odd.
I peered through the back window at the entrance to the Pozzuoli amphitheater. The school bus was gone, replaced by navy blue polizia sedans, red-striped carabinieri cruisers and camouflaged Humvees. Armed military guards were positioned evenly around the property, rifles in hand. A helicopter circled overhead, casting shadows over the limbless statues and decrepit arches of the coliseum.
Cruel reality seeped in:
They’re looking for Troy.
We looped around the coliseum, past countless ancient columns lying on their sides. In our big group, I would have missed the details. Instead, everything inspired me: the architecture, the decay, the moody light of the hallway, the packs of tourists snapping photos every few feet. I swept my fingertips across the crumbling tufa walls, imagining a collage spackled with red tempera paint and striped with pearl-gray watercolor columns, paper ripped and glued sideways…
On the day of the field trip to Pozzuoli, I woke up with a slight headache and my stomach felt queasy, but I didn’t want to stay home alone. I hadn’t dreamed of the firefly since the day on the roof, but even so, I didn’t want to be far from Troy.
I scanned the history classes. When I saw the thatch of purple hair on the back of Troy’s head, my shoulders relaxed. As if on cue, Troy turned and stuck out his tongue…
At lunchtime, I stumbled into the cafeteria, backpack hooked over one elbow. I felt a massive headache brewing at the front of my forehead from information overload. All those new names and faces, teachers, classrooms, languages… I needed a nap.
When I got to third period – art, thank god – the chalky fragrance of spilled paint and charcoals wrapped its arms around me like an old friend. My shoulders eased away from my neck as I settled into a seat at the back of the room, beside a paint-splotched counter littered with old brushes. Finally, something familiar…