Ixion reached down to his belt as Hercules crushed the simulacrum. His hand closed around a spiraled horn hanging from his belt. A rainbow corona surrounded the man and suddenly he was elsewhere.
The once scion of Ares stood in a darkened boardroom, the rainbow corona fading around him. The smell of the leather chairs and expensive cigars brought a feeling of familiarity to Ixion.
“Well? Tell me you have good news,” came the honey smoothed voice of a man practiced in getting what he wanted.
“No. You told me the Olympians were going to be occupied. Both Apollo and Heracles showed up. There was nothing I could do at that point.” Ixion detached the horn from his belt and rolled it back and forth across the table as he took a seat.
“I do not tolerate failure Ixion.” Kane Taoka leaned forward just enough so that the hideous burn scars became visible across his neck, a constant reminder to not deviate from the plan. Kane’s left hand rapped on a small hand mirror placed on the table in front of him. “My sponsor tolerates it even less.”
Tentacles of darkness poured forth from the reflective surface collecting the ambient light within the room and devouring it. The devoured light coalesced into a serene mask of ivory that floated 3 feet above the sprawling monstrosity.
Ixion’s blood began to chill. His hand reflexively lowered to the golden scissors sheathed at his hip when an ice-cold grasp restrained him. An inky tentacle of pure blackness was wrapped around his wrist. Ixion saw now that the tentacles did not just grow from the mirror but from any place in the room where light had not been able to pierce. They were everywhere.
Then came the voice. It penetrated Ixion’s mind robbing him of all independent thought. There was nothing, only the darkness and the voice.
“You already have what you need. The son of the Sun Goddess has seen to your needs. It is uncouth of you to extend your reach further than your grasp.”
The tentacle around Ixion’s wrist tightened and the man found himself gritting his teeth in pain.
“You have always been one to desire too much Ixion Burning-Wheel. Your folly is not unknown to us. You will begin construction of your creatures. Use what you have as a template and make do with what you have.” The command was like an ice flow scraping over Ixion’s mind.
Ixion attempted to respond, “I… I… yes.”
Kane’s own voice tore out in rage and zeal, “You will address your lord as is appropriate to his station! You are in the holy presence of the Divine Star of Heaven, Lord Mikoboshi! Bow before him worm!”
The icy voice filled the room and placated Kane’s panting, “Be still like my soul child. I do not require his devotion, I will have it from him one way or the other by the end.”
Ixion’s body began to convulse in pain spilling onto the floor. The man writhed in horror as he saw his worst nightmare’s come before his eyes.
He was once more bound to the wheel of fire. He reached out but no thing would touch him. No thing would lend him an embrace, there was only the fire and the wheel… and the darkness. Forever. He knew this and he wept.
“There now,” came the icy breath, “There will be one more chance child of the burning wheel… Find me the path to oblivion as you promised you would. Then I promise you that you will fear nothing ever again.”
He was done with this deception and these games. He was sick of being a puppet for his father. And his mother… It was time to lay low for a while. He’d met some helpful people. They might not have been friends, but they’d been useful and begrudgingly honest and faithful. They didn’t need his drama. He didn’t need his drama.
“Sixty-seven to Memphis, one thirty-seven to The Big Easy,” said the man in the ticket booth.
“Further,” replied Jack.
“How far south did you mean?”
“As far as I can go with this,” Jack slapped $250 onto the counter. The pawn broker had been incredibly stingy about buying the weapons. He’d said people didn’t need axes and swords.
Was she telling the truth? Will he leave me alone? How far do I have to go to be sure?
“I can get you to Mexico City for $206. It’s your lucky day, the bus is leaving right now. If you hurry you can catch it,” said the ticket salesman.
“Luck?” Jack rolled his eyes and wondered if this was Fate. “Whatever.”
Jack pushed the ticket and the rest of the scrunched up currency into his pocket. He placed the earbuds of his MP3 player into his ears and stepped onto the bus then slumped into one of the seats towards the back.
A few rows up a small Hispanic child turned back and looked at Jack. His mouth moved but the music was too loud.
Jack plucked out one of his earbuds and grunted, “Huh?”
“I said ‘Hi!’” the child repeated getting up and walking towards him. He sat down across the isle from Jack with a comic in his hand. “Hey mister. Have you seen Thor? That was an awesome movie! I really liked the part where Loki…”
Jack took a deep breath, it was going to be a long road-trip.
“Harlan!” A manila folder slapped down on Detective Gray’s desk.
“Sir?” He questioned glancing at the folder.
“Don’t sir me! I know it was you! Put that laxitive in the creamer! I’ve got my eye on you!”
Harlan inwardly sneered. “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, Sir.”
“Yeah well, let’s see something like that doesn’t give you away on the next place we’re sending you to. Place called Wolfsheim. In Germany. Something funny happening with the latent nazi parties left over there. Do what you can to figure out what’s gotten them riled up, stop it. Last thing we need is terrorists AND Nazis. You leave tomorrow!”
“Yes Sir Mr. Morell.”
The Deputy Director spun and smacked into the office door that was somehow closed now. He grabbed his nose and winced in pain. He looked up to see the door once more open.
“What the Hell…” then stormed out.
Harlan chuckled picking up his phone and dialing, “Hey Bronwyn I’m headed out of the country for a while. … Yeah, Germany, how’d you know?”