I don’t understand Sophia, help me!”
I don’t know how to help him. I don’t know what happened. I thought. He is inhabited, just as you are, you can hear me can’t you? Artemis’ voice echoed through my head. It made so much sense.
“Eric that’s Apollo. He can talk to you and you can talk to him by thinking. I can’t hear him, I can hear Artemis.”
“How do we start finding the other gods?” Eric asked, compelled to start. I turned to look at my I-Pod on its speakers. The time read 2:48 a.m.
“Look at the time! We’ll start in the morning. I have a list of the gods who are inhabiting people. We can start by searching our school, people who have headaches and are sick. If we could check the system for absent students who called in sick that could really help.” Eric yawned, reminding me of a lion cub. He blinked and looked at me sleepily. “Go to sleep silly!” I laughed, shoving him. “I’ll write the characteristics and we’ll look for them tomorrow.”
I tried to walk him to his room, but my body ached in protest. I was exhausted and couldn’t think straight. Everything was spinning. I stumbled back over to my bed, forgetting to turn out the lights Eric had turned on.
Great. I closed my eyes but the rays of light flooded in and turned the inside of my eyelids orange. I willed the lights to turn off, hoping it would work so that I wouldn’t have to get up. I opened my eyes and gasped at the result, it had actually worked. My bedroom was now dark. How did I do that? I asked myself, completely forgetting about Artemis. I helped. Her voice responded in my head.
I closed my eyes, hoping to drift into a dreamless sleep…. And I did.
* * *
The next morning I woke to the voice of my new personal alarm clock screaming in my head. Artemis’ voice was so loud and powerful I was worried for my brain, I could almost feel it rattling in my skull.
Wake up Sophie! You must get to school early and find the other inhabitants!
I groaned in unison with my bed as I rolled off the side and onto my feet. I pushed my cold toes deep into my slippers and stretched my arms over my head.
I made sure to turn off my alarm clock so that my mother could get some well deserved sleep. The golden rays of sun poured into my room, illuminating everything when I opened the curtains. My head was still hurting, but not as bad, it was kind of washed out, like when you put too much water in your juice. I dragged myself sluggishly to the cold bathroom.
The warm water washed over me. It washed away all my worries and stress away, every thought seemed to leave my body. A new day had begun and I was a new person. It seemed so weird that people could change overnight, Eric and I definitely had.
Sadly I had to leave the shower behind and go get ready. In my room I threw on a pair of red shorts and a shinning, silver top in Artemis’ honor. Shoving my binders into my bag I threw it over my shoulder and made my way into the hallway and after stopping to call Eric I walked down the narrow stairs into our small kitchen.
While I was shoveling cereal into my mouth a sleepy Eric waddled down the stairs. “I guess we start today.” He muttered.
I pulled the list out of my back pocket and unfolded it. Not knowing where to start, I looked for a God that I was familiar with. I decided on Hera, second on the list. First, I crossed out Artemis and Apollo and beside Hera I wrote;
Temperamental, jealous, pretty, in control, leader
The one above Hera’s was Zeus and I decided to fill his column in as well;
Loud, leader. Proud, demanding
I kept writing until I had no idea what else I could possibly write.
“Come on.” Eric mumbled through a mouthful of cereal. “We want to be early, don’t we?” We grabbed our bags and were on our way.
When we got outside the sun was warm. Beside me, Eric seemed to wake up and for the first time in our lives I had to wonder what was going on in his head.
“Who do you think could be inhabited?” Eric asked me simply.
“I don’t know, with my luck, Emily. Probably some of our friends too, maybe Ella and Dylan.” I told him, questioning it myself.
“What about Diane and Mila?” he pointed out. “Or Anthony?”
I thought about everyone. If Mila was inhabited who would she be inhabited by? She’s a really quiet, motherly person.
Possibly Athena…or Hestia. I thought. She’s my best friend and if she was inhabited it would definitely be by Hestia.
My thoughts suddenly turned dark and I felt like I was falling. I stopped abruptly and found myself face to face with a woman. She was almost completely covered from head to toe in a traditional Greek toga that shone different shades of orange and brown. As she moved closer her dress flickered, reminding me of a flame. Her dark hair peeked out from underneath a shawl. When she looked up at me I could see her features. She looked old, her skin was withered, her light blue eyes looked like they held the knowledge of the world and the stories of all of Greece, and her lips were pale and cracked.
“Hestia?” I asked.
“Of course my dear.” She responded gently. When she spoke, her lips barely moved and her voice cracked. “Thank you for figuring out who I am inhabiting. You must now explain all of this to her.”
With that she was gone and I was lying on the hot sidewalk, looking into the face of my crying brother.
“Sophie!” he kept crying out in despair.
“Eric it’s okay.” I tried to reassure him. “I’m okay.”
He opened his eyes and sighed. “You fell and you weren’t even breathing!” he gasped. “I didn’t know what happened, one minute you were perfectly fine, and the next you were laying on the sidewalk.”
“Mila is inhabited by Hestia.” I told him, lifting myself off the ground.
My wrist was tingling and when I looked at it a third charm was forming. The new charm glowed and flickered like a flame. When it stopped glowing the charm was a flame, when hit by the sun it changed color and glowed.
* * *
The first thing we did when we got to school was find Mila. We searched for her in the cafeteria, library and finally found her digging through her locker.
“Hey Mila…. What are you doing?” I asked as we reached her.
“I can’t find my math textbook! We have a quiz today and I can’t study for it! What am I going to do?” she whimpered, still searching her locker.
“I have more important things to talk to you about right now. We don’t have math until after lunch anyways.” I grabbed her arm and dragged her through the halls to an empty staircase, Eric followed close behind.
* * *
“You do know Sophia, that if you weren’t my best friend I would be telling the guidance counselor that you’re crazy right now, right?” Mila looked at me, shock still easily visible in her eyes.
“I swear it’s all true and if you think to her Hestia will answer you, but only in your head.” Mila’s brows furrowed as she thought about this and a second later she jumped and gasped in surprise.
` “It’s true. All of it.” She muttered. Eric and I stood there, looking at her and nodding. “I heard her, Hestia. She told me to help you and believe in you.”
Thank you Hestia. I thought, projecting it to the goddess and hoping she could hear it.
“The bell’s going to ring soon and I haven’t even walked past my locker yet. We should all go get ready for class now.” Eric warned, hurriedly picking up his bag before walking quickly out of the staircase. Mila and I followed behind, whispering about what we were going to do about everything.
“So there’s a god inside of me?” Eric’s voice was full of emotion, like he didn’t know how to feel.
“Yes, that’s right. They’re using us to find each other.” I told him. “I’m really going to need your help.”
“Well of course I’ll help you.” He said, smiling. “We won’t be able to tell anyone, will we?” I nodded sadly. We would not have any help. No adults. No friends. ONLY the knowledge we held about the Greek Gods. “Does this mean I have special powers? Abracadabra!” he yelled pushing his arms out towards the window. Nothing Happened.
”What was that?” he asked frantically.
“What are you talking about Eric?” I didn’t know what happened. He seemed to just be frantically talking to himself. “Breathe Eric. Tell me what happened.”
“There was a voice.” He whispered. “It said that the powers don’t work that way.“I don’t really know.” I told her honestly. “We should get together and try to figure it out at lunch. For now you can’t tell anyone.”
Mila nodded in understanding and we parted, walking in opposite directions to our lockers.