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nowhere to run.

“You can’t run forever.” His eyes mimic a snake’s before flashing back to normal, voice like silk.

She laughs. “You can’t try to convince me forever.”

“Yes, yes I can.” He shakes his head slowly and deliberately. “Why aren’t you afraid of me?”

A flash. Icarus, falling with his wings dripping with sorrow. The venom seeps into her body although he’s standing so far. Achilles fell from grace that day, didn’t he? Didn’t she too? On the day everything went wrong, wasn’t she smiling at the flames?

“You can’t spend your whole lifetime trying to get me on your side.” The savior in the kitchen thinks maybe she’s right, but he’ll never let her in on that secret.

“I could, and I will. And a million lifetimes more if I have to.”

Another flash. Was Caesar smiling during the trial? She has a headache now, one that originates in the back of her neck and travels like a cage around her mind. The snakes are Medusa’s now, which doesn’t make sense. The snakes are his- working against her in more ways than one.

“What is your obsession with me?” She jokes, taking a drink of water for effect. Or maybe she’s thirsty and tired, who knows. No one can be sure in this situation.

“You know exactly what it is.” He cocks his head to one side like he’s studying her at a different angle. “And you know it’s not an obsession when it’s needed.”

“Nothing is needed here. You can solve this on your own, you just choose not to.” A flash again, this time longer. A blurry black dog, it looks like a Doberman. There’s a red spiky color on it too, like a glaring stereotype. It’s a still image, but it’s felt through her whole body. There’s a sense of etherealness that comes with it.

He’s the one to laugh this time, as if she just made a snide comment about how the wine tastes at a dinner party. Does he know what she just saw? “Why would I destroy my own plans, darling?” She could swear for a second he drawls out his Ss.

“Dunno. Why are you trying to destroy mine?” She shifts on the couch so she’s not facing him anymore. Her body is still trembling to the point it almost hurts. The blanket is pulled tight up to her chest, refusing to look back at him.

There isn’t a flash this time.

“You’re sick.” He says, and she could ask herself what way he means that if it wasn’t for the fact that she already knows. Her throat burns while the rest of her body is ice cold, not even noticing that he’s standing right in front of her until she moves her head slightly. The strain on her neck wasn’t helping.

“So?” Her eyes are glaring daggers, and there’s another flash. She could be an angel if she wanted, couldn’t she? Playing God was never her strong suit, but he would teach her. She can see Cerberus guarding her fate. In a way, he wants to help, but he knows this will hurt her in the end. He won’t let her through without a fight.

He waves his hand gently, not touching her at all, and the hair in her face brushes itself to the side. “You know I can help with that.”

“I don’t want any help- oh no.” She screws her eyes shut, headache getting worse. The flash is almost audible this time. Would Apollo take her side? It almost makes her cry thinking about it. Artemis would have her back, but Apollo was a saving grace for the person who hurt her. Would he trust her? He is the god of healing after all- maybe he would. Achilles would laugh if he saw how quickly she ran. Then again, maybe he would understand too. She was weakest then, and the strength came from somewhere it shouldn’t have.

He sighs as he watches her wince, sitting on the edge of the couch. He’s still not touching her, and she don’t think he ever will. “Don’t make this harder than it already is. Just admit you need the help.”

She doesn’t curl away from him, simply trying to ground herself so she doesn’t get shakier than she already is. She needs to have a level head to keep fighting him, but her body isn’t helping.

The next flash makes her audibly gasp. It’s a Colosseum around her, overgrown with deep green vines and moss that covers the patterning. White marble adorns the space around her, soft light from the windows shining onto the floor in a pattern she can’t quite place. Has she been here before? The halls she’s staring down look so familiar, a sense of home pouring through the walls. She’s holding something instead of the blanket she was nestled into at home. It’s a dagger, all-too-recognizable and a little disheartening. There’s another moment of panic before she can hear water running. Then, wind whistling. Then, a snake hiss.

“Make it stop.” She whispers softly, and he can hear it this time. Her eyes flicker between their normal brown irises and pure white. Whatever is going on, it’s working. In the real world, she grips the sheet tighter- in the world she’s in, the dagger’s designs leave imprints on her hand.

The steps she takes down the hall don’t feel entirely her own, as if she’s controlling someone else in third person. Nonetheless, she walks on, trying to figure out what to do besides beg to be let out. What a warrior she would make. He would be so disappointed.

“Stop it.” She whispers, and he realizes this is way too much for her. She’s crying now, tears rolling down her face while only slightly fidgeting in place.

Meanwhile, she can feel the warmth begin to overtake her. Cerberus’ barking is louder. The Doberman she saw is joining in the ruckus. She can hear Dionysus now, he’s laughing at her plight and why she just won’t take the offer. He means well, but it’s not helping. She thinks he’s right though. What’s holding her back? Is it the power? Is she afraid that once she gets it, she’ll lose the fear of every corner? And wouldn’t that loss be good? She tries to shift her hand as she enters the room and discovers there’s something around it. The bracelet has snakes connected again and again. It looks like it’s stuck to her arm without a way to adjust it for removal, and it feels like the eyes are watching her.

“Please.” She tries one more time, but it’s futile once again. His soft smile drops into a neutral expression, wanting to figure out if he can manually pull her out.

Another step past a dark threshold reveals a statue. It’s of someone she recognizes, and at this point she can’t contain her sobs. How could this be happening? After everything she’s done, after all she’s ever wanted being good and hopeful- how is she here? She promised she wouldn’t turn to help- she didn’t want the pity, but Hypnos knows. He knows how she thinks before she sleeps, the things she can’t get out of her head and who she’s wishing would come back. In a way, he’s disappointed, but he won’t tell her that. She deserves better, or at least he thinks she does. It isn’t her fault; none of this is. He wants to convince her of that, but he knows this deal will only do the opposite. He’s scared for her, but how would he ever tell her? Her sleeping patterns have gotten worse, and even then, there’s nothing to be done when it comes to that. Sleep won’t cure her. She needs someone needs to get through her head.

As she’s waking up from her trance, a voice comes through her mind loud and clear- You’re safe here. What a lie that was. She heard it once before and it felt like a symphony, like every other word she had heard was deceit up until that point. Turned out, that itself wasn’t true either. And it’s not the same voice as last time; that’s making her cry even harder.

Finally she’s staring back at the snake eyes again, the ones she trusts so blindly. She’s so pale, and the deep bags under her eyes aren’t helping. She coughs a couple times, a reminder that she’s still stuck right where she was before. Her immune system is giving up in the same way she did. She doesn’t want it to, and she vigorously shakes her head at him.

He furrows his brow in worry. Pity was never either of their strong suits, but he can’t act as if everything is okay. “Please tell me what’s wrong.”

She lets go of the blanket and realizes the bracelet is gone. “I don’t think I know. But I want to help.”

“Are you sure?” She was so vehemently against it before- he won’t tell her not to, but he wants to make sure she knows what she’s saying.

She nods in response, and he hovers a hand over her thigh. The coldness in her form starts to ease up, a bit of color returning to her features. She smiles softly, still crying as she says his name softly. “Typhon.” It’s a sound that bleeds fear, but not of him anymore.

“Yes, angel?” She could laugh at the pet name and how stupidly it fits.

“Either let me be or finish the job.” She says softly although it’s a demand.

He smiles, but it’s gentle. “Are you sure?” He asks once more, wanting to be positive she’s choosing the direction she wants instead of some false goal.

“Yeah. You were right.” She can hear Dionysus stop laughing and start worrying, Hypnos being the next to notice. The dogs all stop barking, and she’s alone again. It’s silent, minus the normal creaking of the house.

He puts his index finger in front of her like he’s pointing at the ceiling. She focuses on it, and her eyes turn white again. Slowly, as the power grows stronger and her health progressively worsens, her eyes begin to glow until they act as mini lights in the living room. Her panic is obvious, afraid he’s already lied to her enough. Typhon gives her a look that shows it’s okay before he snaps and she falls asleep instantly.

“We can deal with this when you wake up.” He talks to her unconscious body as if she’s listening, standing up. “Good luck.”

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy

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