Welcome back! This week we`ll conclude the story of The Silver Box.
Libby, Ares, and the gang are the stars of my Gods & Goats trilogy. The word prompt this week is ‘Silver’ so the story will reflect the prompt. As these are original stories written in a week, some errors may be found. I do apologize for those in advance.
Please do check out the other wonderful writers after you`re done reading by clicking on the Tuesday Tales link at the bottom. Thank you for stopping in. May the gods smile upon you!
The Silver Box
Just for the record I personally have nothing against marine life of any kind. Please don`t be sending me nasty grams about the senseless slaying of a shark/monster/child eater. I do not need folks from the Cousteau family calling me bad names in the press. This shark had to go down. Did anyone get mad at Chief Brody? Damn tootin` they didn`t!
The three of us had Lamia surrounded. Harmonia was lunging in and back, poking the creature with her lance. Fear was up on his rear legs throwing those massive hooves at Lamia`s gill slits. And I had the joy of slipping around in a puddle of water and fish slime, trying to drive my short sword into the shark`s giant belly. And it was a big belly. Lamia had not skipped too many meals. Knowing what her preferred food is made me furious.
When Harmonia rammed her lance under a flipper, I opened up the shark`s ribs, cursing at the last minute twist the daughter of Poseidon had managed. She was darn fast for a fish out of water. I was faster though. I asked Ares to guide my hand for the killing blow. Lamia`s mouth was dark and forbidding. Rows and rows of teeth snapped at us. Harmonia jumped over the lashing tail, driving her lance downward into the great sharks back, severing her spine.
I ran in and with the rush of what I hoped was godly intervention slammed my celestial bronze sword down into Lamia`s skull. The shark writhed and screamed. I was knocked ass over tin cups into a statue of a seahorse. Sitting where I landed I observed the death of a monster. She slowly desiccated, flaking apart into dust before being carried away by a cool ocean wind.
“I hope that her father doesn`t hold that against us,” I said, dusting myself off as I hustled into the sanctuary. Inside was dark and reverent, the inner chamber containing a fountain with three fish spurting water from between pursed fishy lips and a wide area in front of the fountain for gifts for the sea god. Even with nothing but flickering torchlight Hera`s silver box was easy to locate. It sat off to the left of the fountain, nearly covered with bolts of fine silk and a staggering mound of gold and silver treasure.
Harmonia and I began digging in the wealth to free the chest. Sure, I had a moment or two where I thought about pocketing a few bangles. I mean, with just a couple I could pay my property taxes until I died. But one didn`t steal from a god, especially one of the big three as Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon are called. It took some time but we eventually freed the box and were able to drag it to the center of the floor.
“It is most lovely,” Harmonia knelt down to trace the intricate carvings in the silver with her fingertips.
“It really is quite fitting for a queen`s raiment’s.” I also took the time to touch and admire the chest crafted by the forge god. “Do you think we should open it?”
“Nay,” Harmonia replied, her finely arched eyebrows knitting together, “The last time a woman opened this chest all the horrors of the world were let loose.”
“True, but they`re all out now, and according to what I heard the only thing remaining is hope,” I ran my palm over the box, amazed at how much I suddenly wanted to see what was inside.
“Aye, I have always wondered what hope looked like. I think she is most beautiful and kind, do you not, Libby?” Harmonia asked dreamily, her long fingers picking at the hasp.
I began rubbing the lid as if it were Ares` wide back. I couldn`t get enough of this box. I had to touch it, caress it, open it and gaze at the wonders within. Harmonia was in the same condition. We would have lifted the lid if not for Fear. The horse had come inside in search of us for lunch no doubt. He had whinnied and nickered and pawed to no avail. So, being the nasty brute that he is, he then peed and pooped on the floor right beside us. Getting sprinkled with stallion pee is not appealing. It does tend to break whatever mysterious spell one is under though.
“You are just plain nasty!” I hissed as he lifted his tail and made pootie patties on the floor. I glanced at Harmonia as we stood up. “Did you feel that?”
“Aye, `twas the evil of the box itself….such a compelling spell. Pandora had no choice but to open it and condemn humanity,” she whispered, her face awash with grief for the woman made by the gods to spread hatred, pestilence, intolerance, violence, death, greed, grief, and a score of other terrible things we humans deal with on a daily basis.
We both flew in reverse when a violent wind blew into the temple. I had thrown my arms over my head expecting Poseidon to appear in a pique. Gods in piques are not a good thing. When the wrath of a god didn`t fall down on my ginger curls, I peeked. There, in a glowing ball of godly luminescence stood my lover`s mother. See, at least you ladies get a phone call before the MIL shows up. Me? Zip and Bang, here she is! Harmonia and I both dipped a fast curtsy, our eyes on the floor.
“Mind where you walk, my queen,” I said.
“Ah, yes,” Hera stepped over the horse dung, her pink chiton folded artfully over her arm so as not to drag on the floor. “I see you have found my chest. Very well done, my dear,” Hera smiled and cupped Harmonia`s adorable chin.
“Ahem,” I coughed. Hera`s blue eyes moved to me.
“Yes, and well done to you as well. It seems my son has chosen a spirited consort,” Hera reached out and patted my wet curls like one would a dog that had just run through the slurry to give you a bone he had found. “I shall now give you the gift I promised.”
“That`s not necessary,” I waved a hand. Sparks flew from her eyes. “But if you insist,” I hurried to add. Hera held out her right hand. I threw a look at Harmonia who shrugged. Was I supposed to kneel and kiss the gold band on her ring finger or what? I took her hand and prepared to drop to one knee.
“Do you know what the band on my finger is, Libby?” Hera asked. Fear snorted fire in boredom behind the Skymother. I shook my head. “`Tis my wedding ring,” she allowed me the luxury of staring at the band given to her by her brother. Yeah, I know, don`t dwell on that aspect of the Greek pantheon. I try not to. “The right hand is the hand a wedding band is placed on.”
I gaped at her. She smiled, pulled a huge peacock fan out of the air or perhaps her ass, I don`t know, I was still wrapping my mind around the wedding band on the right hand. With a gentle swish of a thousand peacock tail feathers we were sent back home.
We arrived in grand and glorious style. Harmonia, me and Fear dropped with a crash into my living room amid Thanksgiving football. Ares, Deimos, and Phobos leapt to their feet in shock. The horse took one look around, lost the few marbles he had, and charged off with the gods of fear, panic, and harmony on his long flowing tail. I turned to Ares as the kids - and steed - climbed the stairs to the second floor. His smile was wide.
“I see you have returned in time to roast that large fowl in the sink! Did you find my mother`s box?” he asked. I ran at him, jumped into his arms and planted a kiss on him that had us both hyperventilating in no time. “Mm, that is nice. I have missed you, my wee bunting.”
“I missed you too,” I whispered over his lips. “Now let me explain something about merry-go-round rings to you.”
Thank you for reading along! For the next few months I`ll be stepping back from writing original stories for my Tuesday Tales posts. Instead, I`ll be using excerpts from my WIPs (Works in Progress) to hopefully entertain you. A new self-published book coming out in April, a new contract with Torquere Press for three novels, and the many other submissions I have planned to send to my publisher just does not allow me enough time. Hopefully, after the crush of debuting Of Heroes & Hay Bales lessens and I get the second Two Guys novel written, I can come back to doing original works every Tuesday. Until then, I do hope you enjoy the snippets from my novels and novellas as I work on them.
For more great free reads by talented writers just click the link below-
See you next week!