The Road to Hell
|Adrianas wondered if Demetrius would show up at the traditional eatery. After traveling through the gateway, she spent two days waiting for him to arrive. Hell Gate on the Park was the premier place in the city for old world Greeks to enjoy food, Ouzo, and especially, the monuments of home. It offered a place that made them feel as if they never left their Mediterranean lifestyle and traditions. Many of the patrons at this establishment still believed in the Gods, which was why several statues and an amphitheater adjoined the restaurant. She sipped her drink and sighed. If he didn’t stop by today, she would have to make a plan to find him. One thing was certain. Either Demetrius was enjoying the trappings of 21st century New York City, or he was already in the hands of Hades or Tartarus.
It was time to take action. She made her way to the bar and pulled out a sketch of her charge. “Excuse me, have you seen this man in here before?” Adrianas tried to sound friendly and pleasing, in order not to bring any suspicion to herself. It was a fact that the Greeks knew how to keep a secret, and they were steadfast about protecting their own. “He’s my brother, and he’s gone missing,” she said, trying to elicit sympathy. The bartender looked at her with a questioning eye as she forced a few tears to stream down her face. “No, I’ve never seen him before. I’ll ask our staff. Just a minute.”
Adrianas scanned the busy restaurant for any sign of him. There seem to be hordes of people in every corner of this city. Now and then, the customers raised their glasses and cheered as they watched a television screen in the center of the room. When she turned to face the entrance, a suspicious-looking character stood up and started for the door. He looked Greek, but he sat alone, and did not socialize with anyone in the restaurant. Before leaving the building, he gave her a long stare. His eyes were black as coal. As soon as the bartender returned with bad news, Adrianas ran outside to look for him, but he had disappeared into the crowd. Most likely, the man was one of Hades's apprentices. Of that, she was certain. She had to find Demetrius before Hades did. Apollo chose her over all others to find his grandson. It was an honor and a challenge to be appointed, and she had no intention of disappointing him.
The enormous clock on the building read two o’clock in the morning. While others were making their way home and to their hotels, she walked to Hell Gate Bridge to get a more complete view of the city. Unlike this bridge, they paved The Gate to Hell in Greece with sacrifices and evil doings. For peasants, and even gods like Demetrius, that road would be a miserable end to their existence if they were not pure of mind, or remorseful for their deeds. For a god to desert his post meant they would be well on their way down that road. Adrianas feared if Demetrius was not already in Hell, then he would be on his way there soon unless she found him first.
She began her search in Astoria, since this was the Greek-American settlement. After finding a place to gather her thoughts, she tried to figure out where he might be. Unable to locate him, Adrianas knew he was not using any of his powers, at least not yet. It was difficult trying to think like a 21st century mortal, but she had to try. After several minutes of rational thinking, it was no use. She was not a mortal, and she did not have to be at the mercy of rational thinking. She had powers, and she would not conceal them any longer.
She needed to fly. Flying kept her mind focused and body strong. Surveying the area above and below the bridge, she made sure no boats or people were passing by, and that no one could see her from any vantage point before taking a deep breath and lifting off into the sky. As the wind rushed past her in waves, Adrianas grew stronger, and her thoughts become one. Flying helped her re-energize so she could battle anything or anyone that would need combating. The longer she flew, the more confident in her ability to find and retrieve Demetrius she became. But flying was only one of her powers. As the newest ruling member of the Gods, her powers were unknown by others outside their circle, even by the infamous Hades.
And that gives me one hell of an advantage.
A devious smile crept across her face. The thought of fooling Hades gave her pleasure. After a few minutes in the air, her urge to land was overwhelming. It was the sign that told her she was ready for the challenge and knew what she had to do. She landed back on the bridge and made her way to the center of town, waiting for morning to arrive.
The streets were buzzing with news of a sporting event that captured everyone’s attention. Adrianas watched as people went in and out of the news shop to get the morning paper. She followed a customer as he came out with one and followed him to a city bench where he sat down to read. Adrianas sat down beside him, trying to glance at the story.
“Would you like to share my paper, miss?” The man was friendly and genuine.
She smiled back, but Adrianas’ smile resembled the way someone would treat a child, rather than as an equal. “Yes, I would like that very much.”
The man talked about something the paper called The Big Event.
“The big event?” she asked, with a tone of confusion in her voice.
“Yeah, the Olympics! You know, all those games they play.”
Adrianas had to keep herself from laughing at the man’s ignorance. “Yes, I’m well acquainted with them. My brother has been an Olympian since — “Interrupting her own train of thought, she knew where to find Demetrius now. She pat the man on the back as if petting an animal, and dashed off.
The start of the games here boasted more people in the arena than she ever saw in the entire city of Olympia. Adrianas stood at the highest point of the arena and read the sign. Welcome to the 2024 Summer Olympics! She knew Demetrius was here somewhere, most likely below in the athlete’s dressing area. The first game was the discus throwing event. This was the event Demetrius excelled at, besides the 100-meter run. He trained with Apollo, who was the best known discus thrower in Greece, until Apollo accidentally killed his best friend, and chose not to mentor Demetrius any longer. Adrianas knew her brother well enough to know he believed he could win here in New York City, where the contestants, who called themselves Olympians, were nothing more than facsimiles of real Olympian athletes.
Below ground, the athletes prepared for the first event, and headed upstairs to take their places. She walked from room to room, but could not find her brother. As she headed back up to the stadium, she saw him climbing the stairs ahead of her. “Demetrius!”Demetrius stopped dead in his tracks. She knew he recognized her voice.
“Adrianas! What are you doing here?” He asked in an angry tone.
“You know why I’m here. And if you don’t leave with me now, you’re going to find yourself in going straight to Hell!” Adrianas stomped her foot so he would know she meant business.
“You’re overreacting, as usual. Let me guess, grandfather sent you.”
She nodded her head. “Yes, he did. And he wanted me to give you a brief message. Now that you’re out of the safety of Olympia, you’re in danger. Hades knows you’re here, and he’s coming for you! You’ll be lucky if he doesn’t turn you over to Tartarus.”
Demetrius’ face turned pale, and his voice dropped. “Hades? How do you know for certain?” He asked, as a softer tone accompanied his words.
“I saw his messenger yesterday. You need to let me get you out of here and back to the gateway. Your powers are limited, but mine are as strong as the winds on Mount Olympus.”
He sighed. “Agreed, sister. But first I must finish the discus throw!”
“No, you must come now. Hades will set a trap. He has figured out you are here, as I have.” Adrianas put her hand on his shoulder. “I don’t want to lose you, brother.”
He nodded. “All right. Let us go.”
By the time Adrianas and Demetrius made it back to the streets of Astoria, most people were inside following the games and celebrating. It was already dusk. “We need to get through the Gateway before the sun sets, or it will force us to stay another day.” Adrianas ran as she noticed the time. “Hurry, Demetri! Hurry! Take my hand!”
Only two steps behind, Demetrius reached for her hand but felt himself sinking through a puddle of water, unable to break free of Hades trap. “Adrianas! Help me!”
“You have left Olympia for the last time, Demetrius. When I have finished with you, I will send you down to Tartarus for all eternity!” He shouted. Hades face appeared in the sky, hovering above him, waiting to take her brother away.
“Demetri!” She ran toward him. By the time she reached the puddle, all that was sticking out was one arm. He begged for help, but all she could see was his hand as it continued to open and close. Adrianas lept up into the air, hoping Demetrius could grab her leg. Extending his arm as straight as he could, he reached for her, but Hades knocked Adrianas backward, keeping her from reaching her brother. She did three complete flips before getting herself under control. Demetrius slid down further, his hand wriggling to be rescued. He summonded his powers, but they were no match for Hades. Adrianas knew this was her chance to surprise Hades. She called upon all her powers and turned them into one burst of energy. She blew Hades so far away he could not reach them by the time she flew back over her brother, allowing him to catch her ankle.
Once Demetrius had a firm grip, Adrianas flew high into the air, pulling him away from Hades's control.They landed near the amphitheater, out of view of onlookers.
Demetrius steadied himself and hugged her. “Thank you, sister.”
Adrianas smiled. “You’re welcome. But don’t think you’re off the hook about all this.”
“I know. And I’ll take what’s coming to me.”
They entered the amphitheater and stepped onto the Gateway.
“That’s good to hear, brother. Of course, you’re going to have to deal with grandfather when we return. Any God who runs away from their duty must face Apollo, or Hades.”
Demetrius looked at her with a sheepish grin. “He will forgive me, like always.”
Adrianus laughed. “Trust me, brother, he won’t be as forgiving this time. You just might wish you had gone to Hell!” she said, as they disappeared.
Word Count: 1,882