Day 5: Pet

Nicole had gotten Marcy for Christmas. She had was a tiny golden cocker spaniel, with ears too big for her head and a tail that moved a mile a minute. The moment Nicole opened the large cardboard box she had been in love. Marcy was everything you could want in a dog; intelligent, brave and playful. Nicole spent hours training her, trying to teach her to ‘Sit!’, ‘Stay!’ and ‘Play Dead!’

‘Bang!’ Nicole pretended to shoot at Marcy, who dropped to the floor and rolled onto her back, tongue lolling out. The only thing that ruined the illusion was the wagging tail.

Nicole taught her all sorts of tricks, and she wasn’t ashamed to say that Marcy was her best friend. Years later when Nicole had to move away for university she cried. Marcy cried too, her parents told her, every night for several days. Every holiday Nicole would come back and spend all her time making it up to Marcy. Sometimes, even though she wasn’t allowed, her parents would sneak Marcy into her dorm room. Her housemates would spoilt the little golden dog, feeding her biscuits when Nicole wasn’t looking. Marcy loved every second of it.

What she loved even more was when Nicole moved into her own home in second year and Marcy was finally allowed to join her. To Nicole it made all the difference, having her furry friend to help ease the stress of exams. Her classmates even encouraged her to bring Marcy to study sessions or would come around to Nicole’s house for a good long cuddle.

After university Marcy moved with Nicole again, this time to a new job with longer hours. But every night they would go for a long walk and then play or cuddle. Marcy liked this life, just the two of them together. Yet, even this didn’t last for soon she was introduced to Josh. Marcy didn’t like Josh.

To Nicole it seemed like Marcy just didn’t like the new guy in her life. Maybe it was jealousy of her time or that Josh got Marcy’s spot on the couch. Nicole just didn’t know, but when it came down to Josh or Marcy there was no choice to make. Josh left rather quickly.

Marcy liked Michael. She even came to him for snacks or to hide behind him when Nicole was telling her off. Marcy was getting old now, so more and more she was putting her trust into Michael to look after Nicole. She knew she had chosen right when Michael found a golden ring the same shade as Marcy’s fur.

Nicole knew as she watched Marcy huff as she climbed up onto Michael’s knee that Marcy had given her blessing, and that was all Nicole needed.

Day 5: Pet

Day 3: Fire

Hell was always warm. It was a fact. Just the way things were done. Demons compared it to human sayings like, ‘The sky is blue.’ or ‘Water is wet.’ One of those things that everyone notices but no one comments on. They only strange thing about Hell being warm was that there was no visible sign of how the heat was generated; no radiators or fires, no electricity or some kind of friction. In fact considering the damp stone walls that made up every room, and the deep cavernous depths that housed the condemned souls Hell should have been positively arctic (another human saying meaning very cold).

The only fire in the entirety of Hell was in Lucifer’s throne room. And boy, was it big. The fireplace itself took up the entirety of the wall on the right, there were two mantle pieces. The first one was at just the right height for Lucifer to rest his arm on it. In reality it was nothing more than a decorative shelf spanning the front of the fireplace, but no one pointed that out. He had placed a large clock in the centre and had put pictures of Persephone, his late wife, on one side and Methalis, his son on the other. Ceris, his daughter, was very carefully missing from every photo. During the festive season he decorated it with glittered twigs and stolen angel feathers.

The real mantle piece stood some 12 feet higher, only a little taller than the flames could reach. it was cared from a black marble with red veins, and had faces twisted in agony carved into it, matched with writhing bodies and demons with sharp implements and realistic flames. Lucifer liked to brag that this father had carved it himself, making it a family heirloom to passed through the generations of the rulers of Hell. However Ceris had found a receipt from a marble carver in Greece. The poor human had then checked himself into a hospital for the mentally ill and Ceris had decided it was best not to tell Lucifer, lest he get it into his head to visit the poor man.

Anyway, humans had once theorised that Hell was so warm because each level brought you closer to the centre of the Earth. They thought that the heat from the molten core rose straight through Hell, burning the souls of the damned as it passed. This was a very good theory, and indeed it was wonderfully dramatic. Methalis was very sure that should his father ever hear of this the next time he visited Hell would be lit by an eerie red light, have towering pillars of steam and random bursts of fire, all topped off with the smell of singed hair. It was, then, very understandable why Methalis and Ceris had gone to great lengths to ensure that Lucifer never even heard of the human called Dante, never mind had the opportunity to read his works.

The truth was that while Hell was very warm, it just so happened that it could get chilly too, especially when it’s half 3 in the morning and you get out of bed to go to the toilet. Simply because it is a universal rule that everywhere is cold at half 3 in the morning as by then the heating has turned off, as it does in every house. For while Hell was in it’s own special dimension and it served as a rather unique purpose to very naughty humans and their eternal souls, it was nothing more than a house. it just so happened to have a very large fireplace and a bad reputation.

Day 3: Fire

Day 4: Discovery

Discovering a new land had been an integral part of Earth’s history for centuries. It had started wars and changed lives. Many years ago, England had been known for it’s famous travellers and how it had conquered ‘new’lands (much to the dismay of the locals). In fact, it was even fabled that the USA had been created because of England, though this was widely disputed by historians.

 Jaquob had often dreamed of being one of these explorers. When he was young he used to pretend that he was captain of his ship, the S.S.Bed, and it was travelling to new unexplored regions. He used to imagime how the stars would stream by, nothing but shining glimpses as his ship sped through space, new planets awaiting. He used to dream this, but his sister lived it. 

Sureyva had loved telling him all about the lands she had visited, they were his bedtime stories when she was home for shore leave. Her ship was the S.S.Bridgeminer. It was brand new and she was it’s first captain. After several years as first leutenant under General Ruemania she had finally been promoted. He was the most renowned explorer ever, discovering over 50 new territories. Sureyva was following in his footsteps, marked to be one of the famous names in his history books. 

Then, one day his mother recieved a knock at the door. It was General Ruemania, come out of retirement with his hat in his hands. He had sat Jaquob’s mother down and told her that Sureyva’s ship had gone missing. They had lost contact with it near a dwarf star, and with no other information they could only assume the worst. The ship had crashed. At first Jaquob didn’t understand, but he quickly learnt to stop saying he would become a captain like his sister, for it always sent his mother into tears

Several years later he was in his final year of training to be a police officer. Secretly, he was investigating the dissaperance of his sister’s ship. He knew,  deep down, that she was still alive, and that if the situation was reversed she would be looking for him. 

He was pouring over the mapsof the squadron, looking for a hint of anything. There were tons of small planets around the dwarf star. The big ones, he knew, had all been searched for signs of life. Every time he asked he was rebuked. They all thought it was time he gave up.

Jaquob stared at the map, watching the planets spin, until one in particular caught his eye. Excited he checked and double checked until he was sure. Then he ran straight to General Ruemania, and he too checked and double checked. Together they ran to the new General, Almonstia, who granted them permission. They jumped on a ship and few straight to the dwarf star. To a planet that only entered its orbit onceevery seven years. 

There they discovered a small farm, the remaning crew of the Bridgeminer, and Jaquob’s sister, Sureyva. 

Day 4: Discovery

Day 2: Resolution

She had been working on it for weeks; planning, rewriting, reshaping until finally it was ready. A single piece of paper, plain white, no lines or marks except from the neat black of her pen. it was her secret wish.

With an almost reverent manner, she folded it carefully until it was a small square. then she tucked it into her money box. It was the first thing she had ever put in it. Soon, there would be a collection of notes and noisy coins. But for now, it was just the lonely square of paper.

By this time next year it would be full. this time next year she would be realising her dreams. then there would be no one to stop her, and nothing to get in her way. This was the promise she was making to herself.

That tiny piece of paper held her fondest dream. Every day she added something to the money box. Every day until one day when she didn’t come home at all.

Weeks later her mother found the money box, and she took it to the living room, and added to it every day. She thought nothing about it, had no idea about the little square of paper sitting at the bottom. To her it was nothing more than a precious reminder. Soon the money box was full, and her mother had to open it. Out fell coins, notes and a single square of white paper.

Her fondest dream, never realised.

Day 2: Resolution

Day 1: The Stroke Of Midnight

A warm glow suffused the air, the heavy heat of the fire and the soft scent of spices creating a cosy cocoon. In a plush green arm chair dozed a witch. You knew she was a witch by the black pointed hat tipped over her face, rising slightly with every small snore. A black cat was curled on her lap and it too was fast asleep. Indeed even the mice in the walls and the fly on the windowsill were asleep. The only sound was the pop and crack of burning wood from the fire. 

WOOSH! CRACK!

A lound bang filled the air, lighting the small room with bright purples and pinks. The cat jumped, claws digging into the witch. She lept from her char witch a cry, sending the cat flying across the room. It hossed and slunk out the door, tail held high. The witch was left standing, one hand clutching her chest. Outside more crackes and fizzes could be heard. 

The little old witch shuffled over to the fire where she busied herself preparing tea. Then, with the kettle left to boil, she moved to the window. 

Far below, enclosed by a ring of mountains, was a village. Every house was lit, and in the very center a square had been strung with lanterns. The villagers were dancing, singing at the top of their voices, their songs drifted up to her. Every now and then another firework was launched into the sky.

She stood waching for so long that even the cat had the bravery to join her again. It watched the sparks fly with the intesity of a mouse hunt. Ocassionally baatting at the window like it could catch them. The kettle let out a high whistle and she moved over, humming to herself. 

Once she was again settled in her arm chair, this time with tea and an old book, the cat moved back to her lap. The old witche’s hat found a place on the table next to her. There they sat through the chimes of the new year, a little old witch and her familiar. 

Sometimes magical things happen at the stroke of midnight, and sometimes its magical just to see the beginning of a new year start.
Part of my story a day challenge, you write a story every day for a whole year. This is day 1, posted late but written on time.

Day 1: The Stroke Of Midnight

Persephone: Hades meets Death

“I want block three cleared this afternoon, there’s a midnight rush coming in from a shipwreck! Someone get those children a room! Midred! What are you doing? Tortured goes to level 7! Is anyone reading the map?! I made it big enough for you all! Come on people we haven’t got all decade! I want to see movement!”

Hades yells filled the main chamber, clambering to be heard over the pounding of footsteps and the volume of voices. There were wails of children, shouting of men, arguments and consolations. The God was stood on top of a fine wooden desk, the likes of which had yet to be made, a long scroll was in his hands and his suit looked rumpled and distressed. Lower spirits rushed around him, formed out of grey and black smoke, they were distinct shadows in the gloom of the underworld. Hades lifted his scroll to one of the few candles lining the hall, squinting at it as he tried to place the next group.

Across the hall a commotion began as a group of shining new silver spirits tried to enter, only to bump into the queue of spirits waiting to be sorted. A dozen lines like this were dotted all around, a desk at the front of each one where two or three harried black spirits were double checking names and sending the spirits in different directions. There were several portals, filled with a black smoke that the sorted spirits were being sent though (or pushed), these led to the Levels. Each one was different type of afterlife, some for the good and some for the bad.

Into this mess stepped a black robed figure. It was the only solid creature in the underworld apart from Hades and its very presence created a rush of silence. Every eye was looking at it. Even Hades lowered his scroll. There was a sense of wrongness, a feeling like you had gotten an A on an exam when you hadn’t learnt the subject of. The feeling of cheating, or being cheated. Escaping a tiger only to find yourself facing a lion. And it was hungry.

“Who are you?” He asked.

‘We should talk in private,’ there was no voice, only the suggestion of one, a whisper of movement from under the hood. All eyes turned to Hades. The god glanced around, and seeing no help would come began the process of clambering down from his desk.

“Right, er, come this way then. What are you looking at! Get to work! Midnight shipwreck remember!” He yelled, pushing his way through the crowd to a small plain black door at the back. Instantly the noise began again. Some other spirit clambered onto the desk, picked up the scroll and began loudly directing everyone.

Hades slammed the door behind them, cutting the noise off. The small room they were in was a very untidy office. A far plainer desk was sat facing the door, the chair behind obscured by mountains of paper work and hundreds of files. Two high backed wooden chairs sat in front, but they too had fallen victim to the onslaught of filing. The walls were a bare brown stone, the floor carpeted with only a threadbare rug. Though a fire was lit on one side, the room was still dark. Hades quickly shoved the paper onto the floor and gestures for the creature to sit. As it did, politely folding it’s sleeves on its lap, Hades rushed around lighting candles with a match from the fire.

“Sorry about the light, one of the main problems of living underground. I’m thinking of getting some skylights in. Don’t know how I’ll do it but I’m assured they’re all the rage in the future.” He chattered nervously. Once he was finished the creature raised its arms, allowing it’s sleeves to drop down and reveal skeleton hands, then it dropped it’s hood.

Hades let out a little scream.

‘I assure you Lord Hades, I mean you no harm.’ It said, or seemed to say.

“Oh no, I’m sure you don’t. Just quite a dramatic reveal,” He laughed nervously, “You must be Death, or Lord Death? Sir Death? Do you have a title?”

‘No, Lord Hades, I am simply Death.’ An involuntary shiver ran down Hades back.

“Right, right, of course, I don’t suppose you get many people who grant you titles just before they die.” Somewhere inside Hades brain a little voice was telling him to shut up before it made him sound any stupider.

‘Oh, some try. They seem to believe if they bribe me they may live longer.’

“Don’t suppose it works?”

‘I have no use for titles, Lord Hades. I tend to get recognised wherever I go.’

“Right, right, yes of course. So if I’m not dead why are you here?”

‘You created spirits that guide souls to the afterlife.’

“Yessss,” Hades nodded, “They help control the flow of traffic. Otherwise they all come in through the front door.”

‘My point is, that before your father granted you a realm, none of this existed. I did the job you now do.’

“Oh.” Hades wrung his hands in a nervous gesture. “I suppose this is the part where you tell me to get out and get my own job?”

‘Oh not at all Lord Hades, in fact, I’d like to train your spirits to do my job.’

“You’d what?”

‘You see, Death is immortal, yes. But I do like a break, and your spirits have given me the change to have the first break in millennia. All I have to do it go and cut the thread as it is. Your spirits do all the rest of the work. So I’d like to take some of your spirits and teach them how to cut the thread too.’

“Right. So they’d be training to be death. Deaths in training.”

‘Well, you’ve already called them reapers. And what to reapers do but cut the stem of corn, much like cutting the thread of life.’

Hades nodded for a moment, lost in thought. Death sat patiently, a still form in a room of darkness. Finally Hades seemed to come to a conclusion.

“Well Death, sir, I mean, yes. Yes, I agree for you to take control of however many reapers you would like to serve under you and fulfil your purpose. With the agreement that the souls will be sent to the underworld to be sorted for their afterlife’s properly. “

‘Unless one is suited for reaping.’

“Really a human soul?”

‘It has been known to happen, on occasion.’

“Alright, accepted.” Hades stuck out his hand and had the privilege of being the first creature to shake hands with Death. It was a horrific feeling, especially when the bones moved.

Death left the way he came, another rush of silence filling the hall. Hades slumped against the wall. It had been an interesting morning, that was for sure. Sadly though, his peace was not to last. For the next day he received another unwelcome visitor. This time a messenger from Zeus. He had been summoned to Mount Olympus.

Persephone: Hades meets Death

Persephone: Introduction to the Gods

The Greek myth is a tragedy. Poor Persephone, trapped in the underworld with a cruel god, tricked into eating pomegranate seeds, hidden away from her family, only allowed out for half the year. Poor Persephone. What a tragedy.

Shame it’s wrong.

Hades didn’t know what hit him when he first met Persephone. He had a funny feeling it might have been her mallet though. A battle field is not the place you expect to meet your true love. And you certainly don’t expect to be getting seriously maimed by them. Luckily though, Hades is a god, unluckily, so is she.

Before our story can begin, you need to know some things about the Gods. Things are not always as they seem to us mortals. There are three realms; the sky, the earth and sea, and the underworld.

There were three brothers, and each brother was given a realm. Zeus, the oldest was given the Sky, and he was told, guard it well and lead the others to victory. Poseidon was given the Sea and told, use it well for it shall help you heal the earth. Hades the youngest was given the underworld, he was taunted by his brothers and he believed that he had been put out of the way, given the scraps off the table.

But their father took him aside and told him, “Son, the underworld is the most important realm. One day even your brothers shall pass through these gates. But you son, you will be here till time itself runs out. It will be lonely for you, but I know that you are strong and brave and you can withstand the tests and trials that will be before you. Maybe one day you will even make this place your home. But for now it is your realm and it will be under your protection.”

And so the brothers split up and began to rule their lands. Zeus married a Goddess named Hera and began to cement his legacy as leader of the Gods. He ruled firm and had no leeway, even for his own family. Other Gods came to rest upon the top of Mount Olympus, where Zeus had made a fine palace for himself.

Poseidon took to the seas and filled it with all manner of creature. He made himself a palace under the water where he looked after each citizen with a fair hand. He saw to it that rain fell and the Earth grew bountiful.  Eventually, he too fell in love and married a goddess called Amphitrite.

Hades spent a long time in the Underworld. More time alone than either of his brothers. He rearranged the world as he saw fit, and made it not a beacon of despair but a refuge for souls. They arrived from the moment he took his mantle and did not stop. Always busy with work Hades soon forgot about his father’s comments and indeed almost forgot about his brothers. Finally though, the work became too much and he created subject to help him in his duties. These creatures helped guide spirits to the afterlife but for their efforts they were feared and called evil spirits.

So Hades divided his work force. He created formless, faceless creatures to take on a comforting aspect to those about to die, and called them Reapers. Then he took his evil spirits and gave them duties in hell, where they would comfort the innocent and punish the wicked.

Persephone: Introduction to the Gods