Fiction logo

Little Gods

by Caitlin McColl 9 months ago in Short Story · updated 7 months ago
Report Story

a story about young Greek gods and goddesses

Little Gods
Photo by Kedar Gadge on Unsplash

‘Next!’ yelled Rhiannon as she pulled the massive leather bound book closer to her. A man walked up to the table.

‘Are you new or old?’ she asked the man.

The man held out a numbered slip, which told her everything.

‘Old,’ confirmed Rhiannon. ‘What’s your name?’ she asked.

‘Thomas Reed,’ said the pale, thin man looking quite sickly. Rhiannon flipped through the pages and ran her finger down the page, finally finding the entry. ‘And how long have you been told you’ll be here?’ she asked the man.

‘One hundred and seventeen years,’ the man answered.

‘Oh,’ said Rhiannon. ‘Well, that’s not too long you know,’ she said kindly, trying to be reassuring. ‘And who knows. Maybe next time you won’t end up back here,’ she said giving the man a small smile. She wrote down the number 117 by the man’s name. ‘Hold on one moment,‘ she said, excusing herself and heading to rows upon rows of shelving that went on for as far as the eye could see, the shelves rising up so high that your eyes watered if you tried to see the top.

She grabbed a ladder on wheels and pushed herself down the shelving which was full of small square drawers. She stopped, opened a drawer and pulled out a scroll tied with a ribbon. She brought the scroll back to the table and opened it slightly. ‘Thomas Reed,‘ she read at the top. ‘You‘ve been sent here, to the Underworld because you attempted to kill someone.’ she said out loud. ‘Hmm,‘ she said to herself, and then wrote that beside his name in the large ledger. ‘You can go to the express line now, since you’ve been here before,’ she said, pointing to a line of people further away that trailed off into the distance.

The man shambled slowly, grudgingly away to join a line of upset and angry looking people.

‘Next!’ Rhiannon shouted again, sighing.

Another man walked up to her. ‘New or old?’ she asked again.

‘New I guess,’ answered the man. ‘I didn’t think I’d be coming here,’ said the man, slightly nervously.

Rhiannon simply nodded, trying to give what she thought was a sympathetic look. ‘What’s your name?’ she asked the man.

‘John Andersen,’ the man replied. Rhiannon flipped to the front of the volume and penned his name down alphabetically. ‘And how long have you been told you’ll be here?’ she asked.

‘Ten years,’ he said.

‘Oh!’ she said brightly. ‘Well that’s nothing at all, is it?’

The man shrugged.

‘What did you do just to have ten years?’ asked Rhiannon curiously.

The man shrugged again. ‘I don’t really know. I tried my best to be a good person during my life. But then I had quite a short life, I guess. I didn’t plan on getting sick,’ he explained.

Rhiannon nodded and wrote the number ten by the man’s name. ‘Okay, please fill out this form,’ she said pushing a scroll towards him. The scroll unrolled and rolled off the edge of the table, and kept unravelling for what seemed like a very long time.

‘What is this?’ asked the man incredulously looking at the paper still unrolling itself across the floor, people stepping over it as it went.

‘Your life,’ said Rhiannon. ‘There’s some short answer questions, some essays, some multiple choice, some aptitude questions.’ she said. ‘Whatever you can think of, it’s there. We have to screen people you know. Find out why they end up…here,’ she said gesturing around her. ‘And hopefully,’ she leaned forward and whispered almost conspiratorially, ‘try and help them to not come back here.’

The man looked glum and nodded.

‘I want to try to get everyone to go up there,’ she said, pointing up to what could have been called the ceiling if you could see it. ‘When you’re finished, bring the form back to me and I’ll add it to our files,’ she said indicating the rows of little drawers behind her.

The man headed off a small ways away to fill out the form, which had only just stopped unrolling itself.

Rhiannon sighed, and placed a small sign in front of her proclaiming ‘closed - next assistant please.’ The never ending line of people lined up in front of her grumbled and moved over to the small creature that was working next to her. The little blue demon gave her the evil eye and yelled in a raspy voice ,‘Next!’

She walked into the break room and flopped down on the small couch, narrowly avoiding a large metal spring poking up through the cushion. ‘Why do I have to be here, of all places?’ she whined. ‘I didn’t ask for a placement in the Underworld!’ she complained.

A young man seated at a small round table playing a solitary card game looked up at her. ‘High turnover here,’ he said.

‘But why couldn’t I be something like Mother Nature!’ she exclaimed. ‘She’s a great goddess, making the world beautiful.’

‘You’re not a mother, though, are you?’ asked the man, not much older than Rhiannon herself.

‘Well, no…’ Rhiannon started.

‘Well, there you go then,’ the young man said, as if that explained it all. Then he continued ‘And you couldn’t be Mother Nature anyways,’ he said. ‘You’re not a full Goddess, remember? Just a demi-Goddess.’

Rhiannon looked at him in disgust . ‘I’m not just a demi-goddess!’ she pouted tossing her long beautiful demi-goddess hair over her shoulder.

The man shrugged again. ‘Well you know us demi- gods. And goddesses,’ he added, ‘We can only ever be assistants to the Gods, because we aren’t full blooded Gods.’

Rhiannon sighed. ‘I know,’ she sighed and nodded, adjusting her long flowing gown.

He continued, ‘So even if you got a job as an assistant for Mother Nature, you’d probably just be making sure there was enough plant seeds in stock, or making sure that there wasn’t an overstock of rain, or meting out the right amount of volcanoes or earthquakes in a year,’ he said.

Rhiannon looked at the boy and said, ‘Did you ask to be here, Luke?’

Luke put down his cards. ‘Yeah,’ he nodded. ‘There’s good benefits.’

Rhiannon shook her head, ‘But its so morbid and…’ she struggled to think of a word. ‘Cavernous.’

‘At least you’re always toasty warm here,’ said Luke laughing. ‘And you don’t have to pay for the heating bill. Besides, I was named after one of the gods of war and all that stuff, so I guess being somewhere like this is in my nature.’

Rhiannon looked at him quizzically.

‘Lugh. He’s an old Irish God from way back sometime,’ said Luke. ‘He was into war and magic and stuff like that.’

‘But dealing with all those sad and angry and upset souls, every day. Its so depressing.’ Rhiannon gestured to a hunched figure in the corner of the room. ‘And there’s him too’ she said, in whispered tones.

Luke turned around to look at who she was meaning ‘Oh, you mean Death?’ he asked.

Rhiannon put a finger to her lips in a gesture of silence and nodded.

‘Oh he’s harmless,’ said Luke. ‘He just keeps to himself.’ Rhiannon glanced over at the small hunched figured enrobed in black, his face covered by a cowl. He was reading a magazine that had been on the little side table beside him. The cover read ‘101 Ways To Die’.

‘Plus,’ continued Luke, ignoring Rhiannon, ‘Up there,’ he gestured to the non-existent ceiling, ‘its too boring, everyone is too nice. And its drafty, way up in the sky like that, being on a mountain and all. You wouldn’t get to toast marshmallows up there I bet,’ he said laughing again.

‘I still don’t know why they placed me down here as a record keeper,’ whined Rhiannon. ‘Do I look like someone who should be down here in the stupid underworld?’

Luke ignored her and went back to his cards.

‘Everyone has a purpose,’ said a voice. ‘Some people just don’t know what it is yet.’

Rhiannon jumped. The voice came from the dark figure in the corner. Death still had the magazine raised in front of his face. Rhiannon had just started to wonder if it had been Death that had spoken to her when the voice spoke again. ‘I’ve said before my name isn’t Death,’ said the figure. ‘It’s De Ath. It’s Eastern European, I think,’ it said. ‘Like Von Something-or-others,‘ the figured waved an arm in a vague gesture. ‘Somehow, over the centuries, people have forgotten that and they now think it’s just one word - Death.‘ It sighed. ‘And that isn’t my title by the way. I’m a Soul Retriever. Not a collector or anything else sinister sounding like that. Someone has to do it. Soul’s can’t live forever in human bodies - humans are finite. Temporary.’ De Ath explained.

‘Did you know what your purpose was, from the beginning?’ Rhiannon asked timidly.

The shrouded figured nodded. Or at least moved, which Rhiannon took to be a nod.

‘My job gets passed down from generation to generation. My father did this before me and his grandfather before him,’ said De Ath.

‘But,’ said Rhiannon, confused. ‘Aren’t you immortal? I mean, from yourself?’

De Ath shook his head. ‘I’m not a God,’ he said. ‘Only Gods are immortal. I am just something that has always been around. Not me myself, that is. But what I am. Because life exists, there has to be someone like me that exists as well. Otherwise…’ he trailed off. ‘Otherwise it would just get too crowded,’ it shrugged thin shoulders under folds of loose fabric.

There was the sound of a small chime. De Ath looked at his wrist, as if looking at a watch. ‘Must go,’ he said. ‘My break is over.’

‘How do you even have time for a break?’ asked Rhiannon. ‘Aren’t there billions of people on the earth that need…’ she paused. ‘Your services?’

Death shook his head again. ‘No,’ he said. ‘There’s more than just me. There’s one of me in every different culture. We have a very large family. They like to travel.’

Luke looked up from his card game. ‘So you’re not like Santa Claus, then? You don’t go all over the world in one day and…do what you do. Cause souls to…move on?’

There was a strange hollow sound and Rhiannon and Luke realized it was De Ath laughing. ‘Don’t be silly,’ he said. ‘That’s impossible. To do all that, to do what I do for the whole world,’ He laughed again a sound like the rustling of dry paper, shaking his hooded head and getting up from the chair. And then he was gone.

‘Well,’ said Luke getting up from his table. ‘I guess my break is over too.’

‘Where do you work?’ Rhiannon asked getting up from the broken couch.

‘I’m a classroom assistant,’ Luke said.

Rhiannon looked confused and was about to ask what a classroom assistant was when Luke explained.

‘There’s lots of different types of classrooms - the souls all need to learn different things before they can move on again to live a different life. They need to learn from the mistakes they’ve made that put them down here.’

‘You mean like murderers and things?’ asked Rhiannon wide eyed.

‘Yeah, them and anyone else that’s done anything bad enough to be sent here to the Underworld.’ said Luke. ‘They have to learn what’s wrong somehow, or else they’ll just keep doing the same things and keep ending up back here,’ he said. ‘And there’s only so much space down here.’

‘And are there…’ Rhiannon hesitated. ‘Punishments?’ she nearly whispered.

‘You mean like pushing a giant rock up a massive mountain and then having it roll back down to the bottom again and having to do it all over again for centuries?’

Rhiannon nodded.

‘Yeah, there’s those things too. Only to get people to learn their lessons hands on. Give them time to think about what they’ve done. We only do that kind of stuff to people who are down here for hundreds of years at a time. Or repeat offenders.’ said Luke.

‘Oh,’ said Rhiannon.

‘Yeah. So it’s not punishment for punishment’s sake,’ said Luke. ‘We aren’t that mean!’ he said, laughing again. ‘We are the underworld but we’ve got a bad reputation over time, I think’.’

Just then a thin man in a ill fitting charcoal suit with glasses and dark hair plastered back against his head came into the room. Luke barely said a goodbye and ran out of the room, avoiding eye contact with the man.

‘Who are you?’ the reedy man thundered in a deep voice. Rhiannon wasn’t expecting a voice like that to come out of a man like him. He looked more like a timid accountant, but sounded like a intimidating monster thought Rhiannon.

‘I’m Rhiannon. A new demi-goddess in the Records Department,’ she said.

‘Demi-goddess eh?’ grumbled the man, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. ‘Who are your parents?’

‘Well, my father is a human but my mother is Nehalennia, Goddess of seafarers and fertility and abundance,’ said Rhiannon proudly.

‘Is that right?’ said the small man rubbing his cleanly shaved chin. ‘Well do you know who I am?’

Rhiannon shook her head. ‘No’.

‘I am Arawn,’ he said.

Rhiannon’s eyes widened. She didn’t know what to do. She grabbed the sides of her gown and did a low curtsey. ‘I’m sorry, sir!’ she said flustered and looked down at the floor. ‘I didn’t know who you were. I didn’t recognize you. I didn’t think you’d look…’ she trailed off.

‘Like this?’ he laughed, his laughter feeling like it shook the small room they stood in.

Rhiannon didn’t dare look up at him, but she nodded briskly.

‘I don’t really look like this,’ said Arawn. ‘But since I am God of the Underworld, I can choose to look however I want. And I find this look quite humorous.’ He chuckled to himself. ‘I find it amusing looking like an unassuming accountant. It throws people off.’

Rhiannon continued to stare at the floor.

‘And accountants are evil people, you know,’ the God went on. ‘So it fits.’ He lifted Rhiannon’s face up so she was looking at him. ‘And I find this doesn’t scare the staff so much, looking like this.’ he said. ‘I am trying to run a business after all. And businesses require order and efficiency. Not chaos. I don’t want people not doing their job because they are scared of me.’ He chuckled again, a deep rumbling radiating out of the small frame.

‘Well, daughter of the Goddess of seafarers,’ he said putting a hand on her shoulder. Rhiannon willed herself not to flinch under his touch.. ‘I hope you enjoy your time here,’ he said. ‘It’s a good place.’ He looked around the room almost fondly. ‘I like it.‘ And then before she could say anything else, he was gone.

Rhiannon took a deep breath and walked out of the small break room back into the dark cavernous space that was the Underworld, and walked right into chaos.

She ran over to the little blue demon that was at the desk next to her closed one and asked what was happening, ducking just in time to avoid a large winged creature swooping down from overhead.

The little demon eyed her with bright yellow eyes and gave a movement Rhiannon thought must have been a shrug. ‘How do I know?’ it rasped. ‘I just work here.’

Rhiannon ran in the direction of a dome like structures a little ways away. ‘These must be the classrooms,’ she thought as she got closer. The domes were all interconnected with enclosed pathways. It looked to her like a big network of honeycomb. She walked down a main hallway and off the side were doorways to different rooms. She glanced into some of the rooms as she walked. They were filled with people. Some sitting at desks, some sitting on the ground with legs crossed, some standing in circles or in rows. She noticed some of the instructors were humans, probably demi-gods or goddesses like herself. Others were demonic looking creatures with scales, wings or fangs. When she reached the end of the hallway she found herself in a large central circular atrium. Like the centre of a wheel with the domed rooms radiating out like spokes. At the centre of this large empty dome was a desk. At the desk sat a girl who looked not much older than Rhiannon herself.

Rhiannon ran the last few feet up to the lady at the desk. The lady looked up from a book. ‘Hello, how can I help you?’ she asked politely.

‘I’m looking for Luke. He works here,’ Rhiannon said.

The woman looked mildly irritated. ‘I see. Do you know where he works?’

‘No, but he’s a demi-God,’ said Rhiannon, ‘So he’d be just an assistant’.

‘Everyone that teaches here is an Assistant,’ said the woman, looking down at her long bright red neatly manicured nails.

‘He’s named after Lugh,’ said Rhiannon, remembering the one thing that Luke had told her about himself. ‘Some Irish god’.

‘Mmmm,’ mumbled the woman getting up from her chair. she walked over to a large book on the other side of the circular desk. Rhiannon could see a small feathered tail jutting out from under the woman’s skirt. Demon, then, she thought.

‘He mentioned something about being a teacher, or giving out the punishments?’ said Rhiannon.

The woman scanned the book and then slammed it shut. ‘Yes, Luke. He’s in the punishments ward today,’ said the woman. ‘That way,’ she said, pointing down another long corridor jutting off at an angle. ‘It’s the 21st door on the right,’ she said. ‘You’ll find him in there.’ Rhiannon started to walk in that direction when the woman shouted out, ‘Be careful! Sometimes there are unexpected things.’ Rhiannon nodded and headed down the corridor. Unlike the corridor she had come down, all the doors here were shut. She could hear strange and unsettling noises coming from behind the doors as she walked. She heard more than one scream. Rhiannon began to walk faster, looking at the numbers above each door until she found 21. She went to put her hand on the door knob to open it, then decided against it and knocked. A few seconds passed and Rhiannon was about to knock again when the door opened a sliver. She saw Luke’s dark hair and green eyes looking out of the crack. ‘Yes?’ he asked.

‘It’s me, Rhiannon,’ she said. ‘From the break room, remember? I’m the new Records Department Assistant.’

‘Oh yes,’ said Luke opening the door slightly wider. From behind him she saw movement and tried to look over Luke’s shoulder to see more closely. Luke saw her doing this and quickly came out of the room shutting the door behind him. ‘You don’t want to know,’ he said to her. ‘Just try to ignore the noises you hear,’ he said. He was standing up against the door, his hand still holding the doorknob, blocking her from the room. He was standing right up close to her, and Rhiannon had to take a step back in order to look him in the eyes.

‘What’s going on?’ she asked. ‘I don’t really know anyone else here yet so I thought I’d ask you.’

Luke looked at her. ‘What do you mean ‘what’s going on?’ What’s happening? I don’t get to see much where I am here,’ he said. ‘The classrooms are quite isolated.’

‘The main Reception area,’ she said. ‘Its going crazy! It’s really crowded all of a sudden. Overflowing! I’ll never be able to go through all those people. I think we’d run out of space in the records!’

Luke looked slightly shocked. ‘Have you spoken to anyone up there?’ he said gesturing upwards. ‘Any of the gods or goddesses in the upper realms? They might know.’

Rhiannon shook her head. ‘No, I don’t know any of the big Gods or Goddesses. My mother is just a minor Goddess,’ she said. ‘She protects seafarers and helps with fertility and the abundance of crops and things like that. And I haven’t spoken to her for awhile. She’s usually out by the Great Sea, out on the Western Coast, keeping an eye on all the ships and their crews,’ she said. ‘She’s too far for me to get ahold of with my mind,’ said Rhiannon. ‘My telepathy abilities have never been very strong,’ she said. ‘I didn’t inherit much of my mothers Goddess skills. Mostly my fathers side of things - you know, stubbornness, talking too much - all those annoying human traits.’

‘Let me ask my father,’ said Luke. ‘He might know what’s going on.’

‘Who’s your father?’

‘Solanus,’ said Luke.

Rhiannon didn’t know who that was so instead just gave Luke a blank stare.

‘He’s a God that’s a mediator between the Gods and humans,’ explained Luke. ‘He can go down and find out what’s happening down on the earth. If it’s chaos down here, it must be chaos up there.’

‘Oh okay, I was wondering-’ started Rhiannon when she was interrupted by Luke, ‘Shhh. Be quiet, I need to concentrate to reach my father’.

‘Oh,’ said Rhiannon who stood still and wrapped her arms around herself.

Luke closed his eyes, his brow wrinkled in concentration. After a few minutes he opened them.

‘My father said it’s a mess up there. Everything is getting out of control. The oceans are rising in tsunamis and flooding everything. Most plants and vegetation seem to be withering up and dying. There are earthquakes in some places and thunderstorms happening all over. The people are fighting each other, people in neighbouring villages that used to get along are now warring.’ Luke stopped and turned back to the door he was blocking. ‘Hold on, stay here I’ll be back in a minute,’ he said slipping inside and quickly shutting the door behind him. From inside Rhiannon could hear strange, and not very pleasant noises. She stuck her fingers in her ears and started humming. Not long after Luke re-appeared. ‘Come on,’ he said.

‘Where are we going?’ asked Rhiannon following him down the hall back towards the central hub of the school.

Luke glanced back at her, ‘To find out what’s going on, of course!’ he grabbed her hand and pulled her down the hall, past the young lady with the little tail at the reception area and out of the honeycomb of domed buildings. And he skidded to a stop. The Reception/Intake area of the Underworld, usually quite full of souls coming to sign in with the Records Department and fill out the required forms if necessary, was nearly overflowing. ‘Oh my god!’ yelled Luke. ‘Something is definitely wrong!’

‘I know,’ said Rhiannon. That’s why I came to find you. I didn’t know what else to do.’

‘Well, we’ll have to get up to the topside,’ Luke said.

‘I have a way,’ said Rhiannon grabbed Luke’s hand and dragging him past the lines of disgruntled souls to a giant gleaming white horse. ‘This was a gift from my mother,’ she explained. ‘Apparently girl’s named Rhiannon have something to do with horses.’

Luke laughed. ‘You mean the Goddess Rhiannon. She’s one of the most famous of Goddesses. The goddess of horses and other stuff, fairies and magic, all that silly girly stuff.’

Rhiannon shrugged. ‘I guess so. I’ve never met her, so….’ she trailed off. She grabbed the reigns of her horse and swung herself up. She leaned down to give Luke a helping hand but he swung himself up behind her without any help.

‘So how do we get from down here to up there?’ asked Luke. Before he could say anything more Rhiannon leaned over and whispered in the beasts ear.

Suddenly they found themselves standing in a withered vegetable garden at the back of a small wooden house.

Luke was looking around stunned. ‘How did that happen?’ he asked incredulously.

‘I don’t really know,’ said Rhiannon jumping down. ‘My mother gave me him, like I said. It has some kind of magical abilities. Only Gods and Goddesses would have things like this,’ she said. Luke slid off the horse and they walked it towards the back of the wooden house and tied it up.

‘Can you talk to your father again? find out if he knows anything else about what’s happening?’ she asked

In the distance, over a ragged mountain range, threatening black clouds began to roll in towards the small village they were standing on the outskirts of. Flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder were visible and quickly heading in their direction.

From the other end of town emanated the sound of a battle. Shouts and screams, clanging and banging.

Luke was standing still, his eyes closed. ‘It’s a rebellion,’ he said, eyes still closed. ‘It’s all the demi-gods, they aren’t happy and are rebelling. They’re going on strike. And with the Gods not having their assistants to keep their operations running smoothly, everything is breaking down!’ he said.

‘So all these dead gardens and crops,’ Rhiannon said.

‘They are the responsibility of the Goddess Antheia,’ said Luke. ‘But because her assistants are not doing their job and helping her, she can’t keep on top of everything in the world, so gardens and vegetation are dying.’

The warm spring sun that had been shining over them when they arrived started to wane. A chill breeze whipped around them, and little white flecks started to fall.

‘Is that snow?’ said Rhiannon, bewildered, reaching up, some flakes landing on her out stretched palm. ‘But it’s May,’ she trilled, ‘not November!’

‘Well blame Eostre,’ said Luke. ‘She’s the Goddess of Spring.’

‘So all her assistants have just quit?’ Rhiannon asked. ‘And so she can’t keep Spring from happening and so winter is just taking over?’

Luke nodded. ‘Eostre isn’t the strongest of Goddesses. And the Goddess of Winter, Skadi, is very harsh and mean. You know how long winter can hang on, sometimes not going away until March. Or even April.’

‘Winter is controlled by a Goddess?’ said Rhiannon, surprised.

Luke nodded. ‘Yes, but she’s a Norse Goddess, they’re very strong and controlling there. Being Northern European and all. The Vikings were a strong willed people, so they needed strong Gods and Goddesses to control them.’

And as the snow continued to fall, strong blustery winds began to batter them from all sides. Rhiannon put her hood up on the cloak she wore over her gown to protect herself from the bitter cold. And then the hail came, little hard ice bullets bouncing off the roof of the wooden house they were standing near, and into the dead vegetables they were standing in. They ran towards a small lean-to that was against the back of the house. Not for protection from the hail, as they weren’t affected by it, but more so they could hear each other. The lean-to happened to have a cushioned roof which muffled the sound of the hail which was getting heavier and noisier by the minute.

‘What now?’ yelled Rhiannon to be heard over the noise as she entered the small shed. She lowered her voice once inside. ‘Who’s doing this now?’ she asked.

‘Caillech,’ shouted Luke. ‘She’s the Goddess of Weather. I guess she must be a bit angry that all her assistants are rebelling against her. So this is how she’s expressing herself.’

‘And punishing all these poor people? They haven’t done anything wrong!’ exclaimed Rhiannon. ‘Why should all the gods be punishing them with these dead plants and Winter in the middle of Spring!’ she said exasperated.

‘And don’t forget Thor and Enlil,’ said Luke.

‘I know that Thor is the God of Thunder, so that explains those thunderclouds and lightening bolts heading towards us’ said Rhiannon, ‘but who is Enlil?’

Luke sighed. ‘Haven’t you learned anything in History classes? Or from your mother at least?’ said Luke. ‘I can understand you not learning anything from your father, since he’s just a human…’

‘He’s not just a human’ said Rhiannon hotly. ‘You take that back, right now!’

‘Okay, okay,’ said Luke raising his hands up defensively. ‘Calm down, I didn’t mean anything by it.’

‘I was raised mostly by my Father,’ said Rhiannon. ‘Mother was never really around, she mostly spends time around all the different sea ports and around lighthouses, keeping an eye on all the sailors, and fishermen. Sometimes even pirates,’ she said. ‘If they are fairly nice.’

‘So your mother would have a lot of contact with Poseidon then?’ asked Luke. ‘Since he’s the God of the sea and all.’

Rhiannon shrugged. ‘I guess so. She’d have contact with him sometimes, but he’s usually under the ocean anyways, and in the middle, in his kingdom. He doesn’t usually come up to the surface.’ she said. ‘At least that’s what mother always said.‘

‘And it’s either him or his assistants that is causing all these tsunami’s and floods then.’ said Luke. ‘He’s either very angry and causing them, or it’s his Assistants running amok causing all the havoc and he’s just trying to stop it.’

‘And the earthquakes that your father mentioned that are going on. Poseidon does those too. That’s why he has his kingdom down under the ocean, so he can move the continental plates above and cause earthquakes,’ said Rhiannon. ‘So who is this Enlil you mentioned?’

‘Oh he’s a God of air and storms. So if all the demi-Gods have gone on strike then both Enlil’s and Thor’s that deal with storms, are going to cause a big problem!’ he said, fear creeping into his voice.

The sounds of a skirmish from within the town was getting louder, and closer. ‘And Aries,’ Rhiannon and Luke said simultaneously. ‘God of war,’ continued Rhiannon. ‘We need to somehow stop the demi-Gods from making these people tear each other apart by war!’ she said, clenching her fists in anger.

‘And stop the Assistants from tearing apart the earth too. Or making the Gods and Goddesses tear apart the earth trying to stop them!’ said Luke.

‘Why have we not rebelled?’ asked Rhiannon. ‘And all the other Assistants in the Underworld?’

‘Would you want to rebel against Arawn?’ asked Luke. ‘I bet you’ve never even seen him without his business-man guise.’ he shuddered involuntarily.

‘No, I haven’t, thankfully,’ Rhiannon agreed. ‘So what do we do?’ she said.

Before Luke could answer, the ground under their feet started to shake and the shouts of anger and battle from within the town turned to screams of fear, followed by the sound of running feet as the townspeople ran back into their houses for safety.

Rhiannon grabbed onto Luke to stop from falling over.

‘Lets go see if we can speak to Poseidon,’ he said. ‘Since he, or his assistants anyway, are causing the biggest problems with the tsunamis, floods and earthquakes.’

‘And they probably have a helping hand in the storms too,’ said Rhiannon. ‘Especially storms over the Oceans.’

They left the little shed and went to unhitch her horse that was standing calmly under the eaves of the house.

*****

Soon they were standing on a long thin beach, its pure white sands being whipped up by the violent waves lashing against the coast. ‘We can’t go down there,’ Rhiannon said pointing to the water. ‘I can’t anyways, I don’t have any abilities from my mom for breathing underwater,’ she said. ‘Can you?’

Luke shook his head. They stood looking out over the choppy steel grey waters wondering what to do when Luke pointed, ‘Look, over there!’ he said pointing towards a dark round thing bobbing in the distance. ‘I think it might be a Selkie!’ he said.

‘They are members of Poseidon’s kingdom, they could summon him for us!’ shouted Rhiannon with joy. Rhiannon whistled to the small seal-like creature in the distance and Luke gestured and shouted. The little head then disappeared under the waves.

They stopped whistling and shouting, disappointed. Then right in front of them a small shiny head popped up. ‘Are you a Selkie?’ asked Rhiannon crouching down on the sand to get closer to the creature. The little seal head made a little bark and what looked like a nod of its head. ‘Could you send a message to Poseidon for us?’ asked Luke, crouching down beside Rhiannon. ‘We need to speak with him. About all this chaos that is going on. We heard it’s a rebellion by all the demi-Gods,’ he explained. ‘And its tearing everything apart!.’

‘Please hurry,’ urged Rhiannon.

The creature looked at them with its large shiny black eyes and then disappeared below the choppy waves with a flick of its tail.

They sat down further up the beach, away from the encroaching waves and waited. Thunder boomed and lightening flashed behind them, and strong winds off the water and from the approaching storms whipped Rhiannon’s cloak and gown around them both.

Not more than half an hour passed when a voice rumbled up from the water. ‘You wanted to speak?’ bubbled the mellifluous voice, sounding like it was speaking with a mouthful of water.

Rhiannon and Luke jumped up and ran to the edge of the beach. As they looked down at the turbulent water, a face seemed to form out of the waves themselves. ‘Your majesty,’ said Rhiannon holding out her gown in a curtsey. Luke bowed to the face in the water. ‘Yes sir,’ he said. ‘We want to find out what is going on,’ he said. ‘Why are there these earthquakes and floods and tsunamis.’

‘And storms,’ added Rhiannon. ‘We’ve heard there’s a rebellion.’

The watery face seemed to nod with the movement of the water. ‘And who is asking?’ the face asked.

‘I’m Rhiannon, demi-Goddess, daughter of Nehalennia Goddess of seafarers,’ Rhiannon said pointing to herself.

There was a rumbling noise from the ocean, of comprehension. ‘Yes, I know of her. She helps me a great deal keeping the humans that sail my waters alive in my storms and squalls.’

‘And I am Luke, Demi-God, son of Solanus, God of mediation,’ said Luke pointing to himself.

There was a rumble of agreement from the water.

‘It was he who told us of the problems up here,’ said Luke. ‘We,’ he gestured to Rhiannon and back to himself, ‘are Assistants down in the Underworld.’

The watery face nodded.

‘We only noticed something was wrong because it was filling up with souls,’ said Rhiannon.

Luke jumped in, ‘Meaning lots of people up here are dying for some reason.’

The ocean seemed to groan. ‘It is the Assistants,’ it said. ‘They are not happy just being Assistants, they don’t want to just be Demi-Gods. They are not content, so they are causing this chaos. I am just one God, I cannot fight all the many Assistants that I have that help me, and that have turned against me.’

‘What about the other Gods?’ asked Rhiannon, exasperated. ‘What about my mother, she deals with the oceans, in a way’ she said.

‘No,’ rumbled Poseidon, the waves moving the face in a shaking motion. ‘The seamen and pirates your mother watches over and protects, they have begun to war amongst themselves, and she is using all her energy to stop them.’

Thunder pealed overhead and rain began to pelt the beach. Lightening lit up the sky over the ocean like tongues of liquid fire as it raked across the charcoal clouds. The face in the water disappeared briefly, and the ground shook violently underneath Luke and Rhiannon. They held onto each other to stay upright. The face reappeared, a look of anger etched across the vague features.

‘What can we do? How can we help!’ yelled Rhiannon over the din of the thunder and the shaking earth.

The face of Poseidon did not respond. After a few seconds it spoke again. ‘I do not have the answer,’ it said. ‘You must appeal to the King himself’.

‘Zeus?’ yelled Rhiannon and Luke at the same time.

The face was silent yet again and then slowly faded away into the waves.

Resigned, Rhiannon and Luke climbed onto their horse, their wet clothes clinging to their skin.

*****

In the Great Hall between the large pillars of marble, in front of a great throne of pure gold, they stood side by side, small and fragile, before the giant form of the King.

‘Poseidon said we should appeal to you for help.’ said Rhiannon meekly, staring up into the kindly face of the King of the Gods.

‘There is nothing I can do,’ said Zeus. ‘These Demi-Gods have become greedy and corrupt, and they will destroy themselves and this entire world.’ he said sadly, stroking the beard that trailed down his chest. ‘They are disposable.’

‘But we haven’t!’ exclaimed Rhiannon. ‘We are not greedy, we do not rebel!’

Zeus nodded slowly, a wan smile on his lips.

‘Yes, I know,’ he said. ‘And so it is with your help, and the rest of the Gods that have been trying to fight against the Rebellion that we shall form a new Kingdom, on a new world, as it has been before in the past, and as it will be again, in some future.’

Rhiannon covered her face, trying to hide the tears that rolled down her cheeks. She crouched to the ground, to conceal the despair that wracked her thin frame. The king’s large hand reached down and embraced Rhiannon gently, scooping her up and slightly off the floor.

‘But that’s ridiculous!’ shouted Luke upwards to reach the Gods’ ears. ‘You can just give up and forget about this! You can just ignore this and just sweep it under the carpet and move on as if nothing happened!’ he cried. ‘You can’t just abandon a whole planet!’ he shook his fists in anger up towards Zeus’s head which towered above them.

Zeus’s eyes flashed. ‘I can, and I will!’ he thundered, taking the free hand that wasn’t wrapped protectively around Rhiannon and with a giant thumb and forefinger flicked Luke, sending him crashing into a nearby pillar.

Rhiannon removed her hands from her face. ‘Stop that!’ she screamed. ‘Don’t hurt him!’ she stomped her foot into Zeus’s palm on which she stood. ‘He hasn’t done anything wrong!’ she yelled, wiping the last few tears from her eyes with her palm.

Luke slowly started to get up, brushing chunks of marble off himself and shaking debris from his hair.

Zeus brought the hand Rhiannon was standing on up to his face. She grabbed onto his thumb to keep from falling over. ‘Do you dare tell me, Zeus, King of the Gods what to do?’ he spat with contempt.

‘You can’t go hurting people like that!’ she said, standing her guard. She brushed a stray piece of hair that had fallen across her face out of her eyes. ‘And he’s right,’ she said. ‘You can’t just give up on all the people on this planet, and all the Demi-Gods who help you and all the other Gods and Goddesses. We aren’t worthless things, we are living beings!’ she shouted, though she was now just feet from his large nose and dark piercing eyes.

His eyes gleamed, a look of pure malevolence filled them, darkening them further. ‘I,’ he said, his voice filling the whole of the Great Hall, ‘can do whatever I wish’. He picked up Rhiannon by the hood of her silvery cloak, holding her suspended over his palm. She kicked and twisted, trying to wriggle free of her garments that were twisting even tighter around her as she moved.

Far below, Luke grabbed a large chunk of marble broken from the pillar he had been thrown into. Throwing it with his super human strength he flung it as hard as he could into Zeus’s exposed foot.

Zeus roared, enraged. ‘You think you are of value?’ he screamed. ‘You are insignificant, you are worthless! You are just pawns, all of you. You are false-Gods, simply here to do my bidding!’ Zeus rose from his throne, standing at full height, his head almost brushing the ceiling of the massive hall atop the mountain.

Incensed, and without thinking, Rhiannon, still holding tightly to Zeus’s thumb for stability, bit down hard on the fleshy tip of the giant thumb. Zeus screamed, and flung Rhiannon off his hand, as if swatting an annoying insect away. She flew through the air, screaming not from fear but out of shock. The floor rushed up to meet her at a dizzying speed. She closed her eyes, bracing for the impact that would surely kill her, part human that she was. A few seconds passed and she slowly opened her eyes. She was lying on the ground, not the hard slick marble of the Great Hall, but soft green grass covered earth.

Rhiannon looked up and saw Luke heading towards her across the grass. The marble pillars and the golden throne of the Great Hall were gone. She stood up shakily, adjusting her dress. They were in the middle of a large field. ‘Where’s my horse?’ asked Rhiannon, confused and shaken. ‘And what happened?’ she said as Luke reached her. He shrugged. ‘Don’t know. I’ve tried to contact my father but I can’t hear him.’

‘Could you try contacting my mother for me?’ asked Rhiannon. ‘Like I said, I didn’t inherit strong telepathy abilities’.

Luke closed his eyes and stood still for a moment. Opening his eyes he shook his head. ‘Nothing.’

Rhiannon turned around slowly, looking around again. ‘Where are we anyway?’. She pointed to a small wooden house a few hundred yards away. ‘Lets go see if we can find out what’s happened. Maybe if there is someone home they might be able to tell us what’s going on.’ They started making their way through the tall grass. ‘At least its stopped snowing and the thunderstorms are gone,’ said Rhiannon, lifting her long dress up to keep it getting wet from the damp grass.

Moments later they stood in front of a small rounded door with a large iron knocker. Rhiannon lifted it up and let it fall. It hit the door with a hollow thud. They waited anxiously for a few moments, with no answer. Luke walked to the side of the house where there was a small dirty window and peered in. It was dim and cluttered but he could make out a figure slouched in a chair, a blanket resting over the persons’ lap. He gently tapped the window and the body in the chair gave a start. The face of a withered old woman peered with small beady eyes. He gestured in the direction of the front door. The woman pushed herself up from her chair and teetered slowly toward the door. Luke went back and joined Rhiannon on the stoop. Momentarily, the door creaked open a crack and the same small, bright eyes appeared. ‘Yes?’ asked a dusty, fragile voice.

‘Hi,’ said Rhiannon positioning herself more fully in front of the sliver of an opening. ‘I’m Rhiannon’.

‘Yes?’ repeated the woman in a raspy voice. Rhiannon went on, ‘I am a demi-Goddess, daughter of-’ but before she could say anymore, the old woman cackled loudly, clutching her chest as a fit of wheezing came on. The woman spluttered and coughed, continuing to laugh in between large wheezing gasps for breath. ‘A Goddess?’ the woman croaked before more wheezing took her. ‘A Goddess?’ she repeated hoarsely. ‘And I assume this here young man is saying he’s a God then?’

Luke stepped in front of the door which was now open slightly wider. ‘Demi god actually,’ he politely corrected.

The woman burst into fresh peals of laughter, staggering back from the door. Rhiannon rushed forward and grabbed an arm to steady the woman, steering her towards her small armchair.

‘Yes,’ continued Rhiannon, a hint of irritation creeping into her voice. ‘As I said, I’m Rhiannon, and this is Luke,’ she said straightening up once the woman was safely sitting down.

The woman sat, hand on her chest, trying to compose herself. ‘Well, I have never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life!’ she said. ‘There are no such things as Gods and Goddesses. That’s all just fantasy nonsense.’

Luke and Rhiannon stood and stared at each other as the old woman got up and teetered off further into her house still laughing to herself.

~~~~

Want to check out another fiction story of mine? See below!

Short Story

About the author

Caitlin McColl

I hope you enjoy my writing! Your support means a lot to me!

Find me various places here.

Read:

My Series

My Short Stories

My Novels

My Poetry One & Two

Aeternum Tom Bradbury

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

Add your insights

Comments (1)

Sign in to comment
  • Babs Iverson12 days ago

    Delightful!!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.