The climb back to Olympus was a beast, and as one, that’s saying something. Not knowing how I was going to be received, I didn’t want to ask the ferryman to take me to one of the fountains.
I knew the old ways up the mountain, and how to reach Olympus and not the peak. The alabaster halls that everyone expects when they think of the robe-wearing Olympians, wasn’t just sitting there out in the open. If that were so, we wouldn’t be myths, we’d just be another people living at the top of a mountain. Olympus was like, just to the left, out of view, as if the gates could only be seen out of the corner of your eye.
I closed my eyes and walked the path up to the halls, expecting a mixed reception, but I didn’t expect what I would see.
It was gone. Everything that had given life to my once vibrant home was gone. Pillars crumbling, the fountains dry as bone, all the shine and opulence of great Olympus, gone.
My heart sank. Was that why he stopped chasing me? Was that why I never saw anything about them, are they gone too?
I heard a cough. “Ahem, can I help you, sir?”
I tilted my head and turned around. Was I hallucinating? This place was deserted but now I’m hearing voices?
Before me stood a man in a modern security uniform, the words Olympus Security emblazoned over the pocket. He approached me as if he’d done this many times before with lost backpackers. I was still so shocked by what I was seeing, that I didn’t know what to say. Mortal security in the ruined halls of Olympus? What movie set had I walked onto?
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I asked, eventually remembering how to speak.
“Jack. I work for Olympus Security. I’m afraid you’re trespassing, friend,” he said, being very matter of fact but not unfriendly. Like I said, he’d obviously done this before with lost backpackers.
He put his hand on my shoulder like he was about to start leading me around, but I set my feet and didn’t budge. As he tried to herd me, I turned my head and looked at him. He was well built, fit to do the job of keeping out any vandals or stray hikers that may have accidentally found their way here.
I could feel my foolish ego taking over. I was a God of Olympus and a rent-a-cop was daring to lay hands on me? I felt my horns instinctively emerge and I flung him off of me as I grew into the shape of the Horned Beast’s Wrath – nine full feet of ram horned muscle, a full mouth of flesh-tearing teeth, and a whole lot of angry. I saw red.
“I can not trespass in the halls of my own home, pathetic insect. You think you should give me orders? To lay hands on me?” He reached for something on his hip, leapt to his feet and ran away.
Oh, Hekate’s high heels, did he run. He had to have been here a while because he knew places to run and jump and turns to take to keep me at a distance. Not your average concert security tough, that’s for sure. This guy knew what he was doing with angry gods.
He stopped to fire a few shots at me. The normal me laughed, not in control, but laughing at the futile attempt to stop me with handgun rounds. The nine-foot-tall heap of rage and bloodlust kept running after its prey.
It didn’t occur to the beast, that it was being led right where he wanted me.
There he was, standing on one of the ledges that we used to dramatically fall to Earth back in the good old days. He was pointing his gun at me, both hands on the weapon, braced to withstand the recoil. It was rather dramatic, almost out of a movie.
Then, as I approached, he raised the gun and shot over my head, the bullet striking with a crunch into the ancient marble above me.
His face was priceless, begging the Fates for whatever he hoped to happen, to happen.
“Well, it seems you missed.” I grinned my usual Pan-ish grin. “My turn?”
I lashed out with Jolt like a whip, intending to strike this upstart mortal with the fury of Zeus’ own lightning.
Jolt is usually keen just to go along for the ride when I’m like this, but he didn’t this time. I felt the pain of that electricity in my hand and my full mind came back to the surface of the bubbling rage.
“Damn it, Jolt, what’s the matter?” Jolt just pointed up.
Confused, I looked up, and it was comical how stupid I felt. I had fallen for a cartoon trick. I saw rocks from some of the crumbling walls tumbling down toward me.
“Well, this…” Then the splitting pain of god-hewn stone cracking my skull.
I woke up with some rather snazzy bracelets and the oh-god of headaches playing “Copacabana” on my skull from the inside.
“God’s balls. What hit me?” The room was still blurry from the concussive force of part of Olympus falling on me.
I looked up and there were four people standing over me. All were male and kinda handsome.
“Derek when did you get so rugged and….”
I blinked, and my vision righted itself. The man immediately before me now bore no resemblance whatsoever to Derek. He wasn’t even actually a man, but a satyr.
“Horny?” I finished, coming to my senses.
He stood about six and a half feet tall and his horns were slight. Either he was hiding them or didn’t feel the need to show off any more than the short points breaking above his wavy hair in its ponytail.
“I’m flattered, but spoken for. Jack here says you found your way up to the old ruins, boyo. What are you doin’ so far from home? Get lost?”
Eventually, I did notice the security guard that had found me in the ruins, but at the moment, all I could focus on was the satyr talking. Oh me, it’s been ages since I used a Scots accent, good gods I’m in trouble.
“You could say that.” I moved my hands to rub my face, forgetting they were chained to the chair. “More like getting lost was the reason in the first place.”
Great, I do have a concussion, that didn’t make any sense to me either. “Sorry, more like going home. I was born there.”
“Who are you?” he asked, squinting at me in disbelief.
“I’m Pan,” I said flatly. The ringing in my ears and the pain in my head distracted me and kept my common sense from stopping my mouth before I ate my foot.
“Right, there are lots of Pans, who’s your father?” he asked.
“Dionysus,” I said, feeling my stomach sink, realizing that this was about to hurt shortly, resigning myself to what was about to happen. The Scots branch of the family weren’t my biggest fans.
The satyr’s eyes went wide, turning to look at the security guard. “Keep an eye on this one. I think he’s lost the plot.”
The satyr looked back at me, checking my eyes for signs of concussion. “Right, then. I think a bit of rest for you, bucko. Got any ID on you? Is there someone we could call to come get you?”
“Sure, I got an ID. It should have been in my bag,” I said, my head slowly clearing, save for my frustration. Our horned friend turned and looked to the security guard and nodded, sending the guard for my bag and leaving the two of us alone for the moment. “As for picking me up, I’m sure you’ll let me see someone not too long after you open that bag.”
Jack came back with my backpack in hand and slammed it on the table in front of me.
“Oi,” said our behooved friend. “Come on now, be professional. You know the rules for visitors.”
“Connor, he was gonna eat me. He called me an insect, I think I’m entitled.”
“Hey, I resent that remark. I don’t eat people. At least not in ways they don’t thoroughly enjoy, and that gent, in the cheap polyester, isn’t my type,” I said, throwing shade with the best of them.
Connor looked at me with an eye roll. “So what’s here that is going to identify you?” He tilted his head, curious. “Do y’have a wallet in there or something?”
“Well, one, I should have a band t-shirt in there with my face on it, but it’s not going to be the shirt that you’re interested in,” I said with a smile. “Go on ‘boyo’, have a look,” I finished, granting him permission.
Connor opened my bag and the only thing he found in it was an object wrapped in a Pan-demic T-shirt, a metal band I was in during the late ’80s. There on the shirt, sitting behind the drums, was little old me.
“This can’t be right, you’re not old enough to be….” He turned to me, confused now.
“Oh, I think he’s getting the picture,” I said, my smile growing.
“You must be his son,” he said, with a smile of realization. “You think I could get yer da’s autograph when he comes to get you?
My head slumps, defeated. “No, no, no. Fine. I was hoping not to have to go this far until I saw granddad. Open the shirt and pull out what’s in it, but by Artemis’ shining ass, don’t you dare blow it.”
Connor untied the bottom of the shirt, in it was a coiled horn pulled from the skull of a beast older than I am, and whose name has been forgotten to time. Could also be a really old dragon, but who knows? If I ever did, I’d forgotten.
“What’s so dangerous about an old animal horn…” he trails off, looking at the horn.
“You feel that, don’t you? Even just holding it, a mortal satyr like you could be taken over. Your blood is starting to boil, isn’t it? Your heart starting to pound? Ringing in your ears? Put it down kid, believe me. Put it down and cover it with the shirt.”
Connor was swept up in the horn’s power, not wanting to set it down, but he did try.
“Uh, Jolt, a little help?” A few sparks from my bound hands leap as Jolt melted the chains holding my hands to the chair. It hurt like hell, but nothing compared to what would happen if he blew that horn. I leapt forward to snatch the horn back from Connor, almost falling into the table, belatedly realizing my feet were chained as well.
Connor shook his head, his senses returning, but before he could ask what had happened, I started talking.
“Why don’t you just go ask someone above you?” I said, checking the horn for the cork stopper I put in it, just in case some mortal got their hands on it. With a sigh, I tied off the shirt and sat back down, waiting for the fireworks.