Goddess InterruptedBy: Aimee Carter
“Do you accept your role as Queen of the Underworld?” said Henry.
I could do this. I had to do this. For Henry’s sake—for my mother’s sake. For my sake. Because in the end, without Henry, I didn’t know who I was anymore.
As I opened my mouth to say yes, a crash shattered the silence. I twisted around to survey the damage, but before I could get a good look, Ava appeared beside me and took my elbow. “We have to get out of here.” As we scrambled forward, another crash echoed through the hall, and a shimmering fog seeped into the palace. The same fog from my vision.
This was the thing that had nearly killed Henry, and now it was attacking all of us. Without warning, it sliced through the air faster than the members of the council could control it, but it wasn’t aimed at Henry or Walter or Phillip.
It went directly for me.
Calliope trudged through the sunny f ield as she ignored the babble of the redhead trailing behind her. Ingrid was the f irst mortal who had tried to pass the test to become Henry’s wife, and maybe if he’d spent more than f ive minutes a day with her, Henry would’ve understood why Calliope had killed her.
“You’re in for a treat,” said Ingrid, scooping up a rabbit from the tall grass and hugging it to her chest. “Everything’s going to bloom at noon.”
“Like it did yesterday?” said Calliope. “And the day before that? And the day before that?”
Ingrid beamed. “Isn’t it beautiful? Did you see the butterf lies?”
“Yes, I saw the butterf lies,” said Calliope. “And the deer.
And every other pointless piece of your afterlife.” A dark cloud passed over Ingrid’s face. “I’m sorry you think it’s stupid, but it’s my afterlife, and I like it this way.” It took a great deal of effort, but Calliope fought off the urge to roll her eyes. Upsetting Ingrid would only make things worse, and at the rate this was going, it would be ages before Calliope got out of here. “You’re right,” she said tightly. “It’s only that I never spend any time in this realm, so the process is unfamiliar to me.”
Ingrid relaxed and ran her f ingers through the rabbit’s fur. “Of course you don’t spend time here,” she said with a giggle that set Calliope’s teeth on edge. “You’re a goddess.
You can’t die. Unlike me,” she added, skipping across a few feet of meadow. “But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.” If that idiot of a girl knew a damn thing, she’d have known that Calliope wasn’t just any goddess. She was one of the original six members of the council, before they’d had children and the council had expanded. Before her husband had decided f idelity was beneath him. Before they’d started handing out immortality like it was candy. She was the daughter of Titans, and she wasn’t merely a goddess.
She was a queen.
And no matter what the council and that bitch Kate had decided, she didn’t deserve to be here.
“Good,” said Calliope. “Death is a stupid thing to fear.”
“Henry makes sure I’m comfortable. He comes by every once in a while and spends the afternoon with me,” said Ingrid, and she added with a catty grin, “You never did tell me who won.”
Calliope opened her mouth to say that it wasn’t a contest, but that wasn’t true. Every part of it had been a competition, and she’d worked for the prize far more than the others. She’d wiped out her opponents masterfully. Even Kate would have died if Henry and Diana hadn’t intervened.
Calliope should’ve won, and the grin on Ingrid’s face felt like salt in the gaping hole where her heart had once been. First she’d lost her husband, and when she thought she’d found someone who could understand her plight and give her the love she so badly desired, that someone—
Henry—had never given her a chance. Because of it, she’d lost everything. Her freedom, her dignity, every ounce of respect she’d fought to gain through the millennia, but most of all, she’d lost Henry.
They’d been together, two of the original six, since before the beginning of humanity. For eons she’d watched him, shrouded in mystery and loneliness no one could break, at least until Persephone had come along. And after what she’d done to him—