When I was young, a mere two or three hundred years old or so, a certain God captured my heart quite by accident. He did not set out with any intention. In fact, he hardly noticed me at all. Rather, it was I who noticed him. There was something in his manner, something that few others ever saw beyond his darkness. I saw a tenderness, a desire to love and be loved, a light of his own. I suppose that could be said about any God or mortal, but in this case, it was so easy to overlook given his charge, his duty. And he was ever vigilant in the execution of his duties. In truth, it seemed he thought of nothing else.
I can hear your question. The answer is, “No, I will not say which God.”
To this day, he doesn’t even know the whole of this story. I don’t know that he ever will. Perhaps, in time, I will tell it, but not today.
Today, I will tell you about my brutal encounter with nightgoyles and how the unnamed God unwittingly played a role in the demise of Calantha, the mortal who I took into danger’s path.
Because I’d become so enamoured with him, I’d often go out of my way to linger nearby when he would visit. I knew, too, where I could find him most times and would sneak away to see him. Not that he paid much attention to my lurking about, mind you. Still, I liked being around him, even if he remained oblivious to my presence.
You see, when I shed a mortal body, it is easy to travel quickly, though I typically go unnoticed. I am most often mistaken for a wandering lost soul, a ghost. I suppose my natural form can be off putting to the beautiful deities that are my family. It is only when I take a human body that I am ever noticed by most.
I thought he might like me better if I wore a human’s face – a more adult human face – than the ones that Hera insisted I wear. That’s why I chose Calantha. Truly, she was a rare, exquisite flower among the most beautiful young women in her time. Surely then, he would notice her and by extension, me. And he did notice, though it didn’t not happen in the way I had hoped.
I spoke of him to Mamá, but she would not hear of it, “You are too young, Moo,” she said, “You have eternity to grow up. Don’t rush your youth. It is something you can never get back.”
Of course, it was ridiculous in my mind. “Too young?” I thought. “I’d already out lived generations of mortals who I watched come into this world. I’d seen my own mortal mother give birth to more children. I followed and watched over them, and her grandchildren, and even her great grandchildren, as they lived, loved, mated and died. How could I be too young?”
When I argued my case, she heaped on more of her reasons for denying me my heart’s desire. “More importantly, you are not ready,” she told me. “You have not fully grown into your powers and do not understand the consequences of wielding them. The answer is ‘no.’”
Again, I thought her argument was absurd. I’d helped Zeus win the battle with the Titans and helped rescue her. Who was she to tell me of my powers?
My pleas were likewise ignored by Gaia. I thought surely she would understand my desire to bond with another. She did not argue my age or maturity. Instead, she told me that it was a bad match and could not happen. I won’t tell of her reasons, lest I give away too much of his identity, but she was equally adamant. “This pairing will not happen.”
But the heart wants what it wants, and that led me to embodying Calantha that night. I was determined to turn his head. I wanted him to notice me. Neither of my mothers could stop me if he wanted me in return.
It was at that time known as Samhain. For weeks, our family had been working to keep the nightgoyles behind the veil. It is a constant struggle to keep them in Tartarus, and they had been breaching the protective layer with unnerving regularity.
As a rule, the horrendous beasts are more of a nuisance than a threat to immortals. However, they are deadly to humans. Tales are still told of the times they massacred whole villages of people. For a while, Thanatos was nearly overwhelmed with the numbers he had to bring to the shores of the Underworld, though Charon likely delighted at the volume of coin he gathered in those bloody days.
I was well aware that many of those foul creatures had escaped Tartarus. I knew, too, that our family would be busy hunting them down and dealing with any destruction and aftermath that night. It would provide a marvelous diversion for my plan. No one would notice that I wasn’t still playing in the gardens, wearing the pigtails that Hera loved so much.
If I cloaked Calantha, I could slip right past my own family while they hunted down the monsters. I could make my way to him and reveal her beauty. Perhaps for once, he would see me. He would see my eyes and my soul through her visage. Perhaps his heart would feel for me what my heart felt for him. I could see his light. Would he see mine?
I intended to find out.
So, I entered Calantha and prepared her for our visit with him. I rouged her soft lips and cheeks. I adorned her in the finest of clothes. I spared no detail to present her in her full radiant beauty. Finally, I pulled the hood over her glorious auburn hair and set off to find my love.
I had little to fear of the creatures that my family was pursuing. When I’d stumble upon them before in my deified form, I went unnoticed. At best I was a blur, a flash of light to them. Even if they could catch me, they could not hold me. In hindsight, it was folly to think that I could move passed them in human form.
The next part of this story is not for the faint of heart. You can stop now and surmise the rest. If you continue, you enter my nightmare at your own risk.