Walking around school at lunch with Mila trying to figure out who else could be inhabited was the hardest thing I’d ever done. There were people everywhere, each one different, each one could be inhabited.
Halfway through the lunch hour we came across my close friend Rachel McKinnon. She was walking out of the art room with a couple older students and Alex Andrews from our grade.
“Hey Sophia!” she called waving us over. “Guess what we’ve been asked to do!”
“I don’t know Rachel.” I told her, Mila shrugged beside me.
“We’re gonna paint over the old mural in the caf. You know the one that’s paint is peeling off the wall and it’s from like forever ago.” Rachel sounded so excited.
‘That’s so cool!” I told her, trying to sound as excited as she was, even though that could not be possible.
“Bye!” Rachel hugged me and then waved to Mila as she disappeared around the corner.
“Do you think she could be inhabited?” Mila asked me quietly as soon as Rachel was gone.
After considering it for a moment I responded; “I don’t really know.”
* * *
“Sophia, dear!” My mother called me from the kitchen. I took out my headphones and put my I-Pod down.
“What?” I called back.
“Can you go to the store? We need some milk.”
“Okay, be down in a minute.”
After putting on my Birkenstocks, I shuffled downstairs, grabbed 10$ from my mom and was on my way.
The store was only two blocks away but I took the longer way so that I could clear my head and think a little bit. Thinking back to what Mila had asked me at lunch, I thought that it was possible that Rachel could be inhabited too.
Is she inhabited by Athena? I found myself asking Artemis just before I slipped into darkness.
When my eyes opened I was looking at the back of a woman. She was glowing slightly and her shoulders were tensed as though she were thinking about something really important. She wore a long Toga and her golden sandals peeked out from the bottom of the toga. When the woman turned I was mesmerized by her eyes. They were shinning and full of a deep wisdom I could never understand, they were also grey. Her blonde hair had grey streaks in it and was pinned messily in a bun on top of her head.
“Who are you?” I whispered to her.
“You know very well who I am. I have no time to waste, but thank you very much for figuring out that I am inhabiting your friend Rachel. I must go now.” She waved her hand in dismissal and everything was black again.
* * *
When I opened my eyes I was really confused. I was lying on the ground of an alleyway and hovering above me were two kids. The boy looked like he could be around the same age as me, except he was huge. His blonde hair was long and messy, almost covering his bright blue eyes. A horrible looking scar ran from the corner of his mouth to the corner of his left eye, the edges were red and it looked pretty recent. Kneeling beside him was a small, frail looking girl. She had similar features to the boy, except she was much smaller and her hair was a lot longer.
It took me a minute to realize that the boy was holding a rusted knife.
, and as soon as I noticed, I screamed.
“Shhhh!” the girl hushed me, covering my mouth with both of her small hands.
“We’re not going to hurt you.” The boy tried to assure me. “We saw you pass out in the middle of the sidewalk, just over there. We didn’t know how long it would take for you to wake up so we brought you over here.”
“Oh.” I stated while sitting up. “Thanks”
“I’m Matthew and this is my little sister Bridgit.” He told me, the little girl smiled at me shyly from beside him.
“Do you guys live here?” I asked cautiously.
“Yes, we’re orphans. Our foster parents abused us, so we ran away.”
That explains the scar. I thought to myself.
“I really have to go to the store now, but I will come back really soon. Are you guys always here?” I asked.
“Yeah, we have no where else to go.” Bridgit whispered so quietly that I could barely hear her.
* * *
“Eric!” I yelled while running into our house after buying the milk. I dashed into the kitchen, where my mom was making dinner and dropped the milk on the counter. “Eric!” I called my brother again.
“What do you want Sophia? I’m kind of busy right now!” he called back from his room.
I opened the fridge and proceeded to take random food items. I picked up some fruit, a stalk of broccoli, a bowl of macaroni salad and two grocery bags out of the cupboard.
“What are you doing?” Mom asked me, still looking down at the stove.
“I’m just really hungry.”
I ran up the stairs and burst into Eric’s room.
“Rachel’s inhabited.” I told him quickly.
“Rachel McKinnon?’ he asked. “Inhabited by who?”
“Athena.” I remembered my bracelet and looked down at it to find another charm had appeared. It was a shimmering owl. “I came across orphans, I’m going to bring those clothes and stuff, and do you have anything that’s too big for you?” I asked while passing him a grocery bag.
Without waiting for a response, I hurried into my room across the hall and threw everything onto my bed. I turned towards my closet and begun to pull everything out, searching for old clothes that didn’t fit me anymore. Within a few minutes I was able to find enough clothes to cover my bed. Before going to talk to my brother I put everything in the plastic bag.
“Eric! Are you done yet?” I yelled across to his bedroom.
“Sophia, would you mind slowing down so that you could explain to me what’s going on?” He asked, obviously exasperated from trying to keep up with me.
“We’re going to bring this stuff to the orphans who helped me.” I was becoming annoyed and just wanted to get on my way instead of having to answer questions. Without waiting for Eric, I continued onwards and out of the house. His footsteps echoed steadily behind me, telling me that Eric had followed.
I led him to the alleyway where I had woken up and met Matthew and Bridgit. The tall buildings on either side shadowed the alley, making it hard for our eyes to adjust and be able to spot Bridgit and Matthew.
“Sophia?” I heard a small voice whisper my name from underneath the fire escape.
“Is that you Bridgit?” I called, walking towards where the voice had come from. “I brought you guys some stuff.” I told her.
Suddenly Bridgit crawled out of the shadows, her hair hung in her face and she hid behind it shyly when Eric joined us in the alleyway.
“This is my twin brother Eric.” I reassured the little girl. She looked up at him and nodded. Then Matthew came walking out of the darkness at the far end of the lane. He nodded a greeting to each of us in turn. “We brought you guys some clothes and food.” I took the second grocery bag from my brother and passed both the full bags to Matthew. He peered inside of them and smiled.
“Thank you.” Matthew said simply.
* * *
That night I had the weirdest dream. Everything was dark and then I heard screaming, but not just anyone’s screaming. I could tell immediately that it was my brother, Eric. I could feel large, strong hands grab my wrists and pull me into a sitting position. When I opened my eyes I was sitting in Eric’s bed looking into the big orange eyes of a man. He was wearing a Greek toga and was radiating a faint orange light.
“Are you a god?” I felt my lips move but Eric’s voice came out instead, what’s going on? It took only a moment to realize that I was Eric.
“I am Helios.” The man’s voice boomed powerfully. “I am the sun god. Apollo always got most of the credit, while I stood in the background and did all the work. The Titans offered for me to get back at Apollo if I join them, so of course I agreed and that’s why I’m here. I’m going to take you and were going to defeat you, therefore defeating and trapping Apollo in the underworld.”
There was a bright flash and then I was laying awake, back in my own bed, and looking at the ceiling. My breath was coming out in short gasps, and sweat trickled off my forehead.
“Eric.” I called my brother’s name quietly, hoping for a quiet response. I was shaking slightly and was petrified that the dream wasn’t actually a dream.
Since we were little kids Eric and I had had a special connection, it was obvious to anyone who knew us. We were and still are closer than most siblings or twins. Sometimes when we were younger I could feel or see things that he could, at the same time as him. In grade 1, Eric fell off the playground and broke his leg. I was sitting in class and according to my teacher I fainted, but what I remember is having a vision where I was Eric and I could feel what he felt when he fell and broke his leg. I knew it had happened before anyone else, but when we tried to tell people what happened they told us we were crazy or had a big imagination.
Also, when we were in grade 4 my best friend left me to play with a more ‘popular’ girl and I was really sad. Eric had been sitting in his class when he could feel that I was upset, he could hear me crying and he could see the empty hallway that I was in. He was the only one who ever really knew about that incident. He came to see me right away and make me feel better.
As I was lying in my bed I had the most horrible feeling that this time was just like the other times something like this had happened. I was terrified.
I whispered his name one more time as I rolled silently out of my bed and tip-toed across the hall.
The first thing I saw when I peeked into his room was his bed. It lay in the middle of the room, disrupting the balance of his neatness. The covers were thrown onto the ground and the sheet was pulled off one of the corners of the mattress.
* * *
One moment I couldn’t see anything and the next thing I knew I was in a cage, a huge, shinning, black cage. The bars were made out of a mixture of small and large sticks. After taking a closer look I realized that the sticks were actually bones, the bones of humans and animals alike. Across from me were two thrones, the first was made just like the cage; beside it on either side were huge pillars with torches at the top. The second throne was smaller and looked like it had been made out of a slab of rock.
I heard big doors opening and turned to see that I was actually in a hall, and that at the far end were two doors. They were red and definitely taller than my house. The handles were black and at least the size of my head.
Walking through the doors were three people. The first was a man. He was bigger and stronger than anyone I had ever seen. His skin sagged and was pale, as if he hadn’t been outside in decades. There were dark circles under his eyes and he walked with a slight limp. He was dressed completely in armor, old war armor.
Following closely behind him was a man that I recognized instantly. It was Helios, the sun god who rivaled Apollo and desperately wanted to get back at him
Oh my, I’m going to die, aren’t I? I thought desperately. Not necessarily. The response came in Apollo’s familiar voice.
Walking behind Helios was a woman. She held herself with such grace that I was surprised to see the look of disgust and anger etched in her face. She was wearing a long, flowing, silk gown, and of course it was black. I could see her long, tanned legs in a slit that ran up her thigh.
“This is what Apollo chose to inhabit?” The man asked commandingly, stopping in front of the cage to look at me. I felt like a pet bird, stuck and annoyed while they examined me.
“I am positive that he is the one. I can feel the sun’s power within him.” Helios turned to the man and informed him.
“What do you think, Persephone?” The man turned to the woman and she rolled her eyes.
“I don’t know, it’s possible.” She retorted. “Remind me again why we’re helping them.” She spat her words towards Helios. “They’re trying to capture and defeat my mother.”
“Right now you do what I say, you have 3 months and then if you really want you can help them.” The man responded to her without taking his dark eyes off of me.
“What are you going to do to me?” I asked the gods without really thinking.
“For now we’ll keep you here and wait for all your little mortal friends to get here so that we can defeat them as well.” The man responded to me before leading them all behind the thrones, where they disappeared.
After looking around, I decided that I might as well sit down.
* * *
As soon as I realized what was happening I sank to my knees. The ground felt so cold. Everything was dark and reflecting exactly how I felt at the moment.
My brother was actually gone.
For hours all I did was lie on the floor at the foot of Eric’s bed and sob. I cried and cried until I had no more tears left, and then I just lay there, my body shaking with silent sobs.
When the first ray of sunshine entered the dark room I stood up and readied myself to find Eric. I showered quickly, got dressed, packed a backpack and grabbed paper and a pen to write a note;
I can’t really tell you why we’re gone, but if I tried you wouldn’t believe me.
You have to trust us and not come after us. Eric and I are safe and we’ll
try to contact you whenever we can.
I love you forever,
As soon as I finished the letter I snuck into my mom’s bedroom and put it on her bedside table, and then snuck out the front door as quietly as I could.
While walking down the still dark street I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know what to do or how I was going to find Eric. I figured that I might as well get everyone together that we already know is inhabited. I still hadn’t talked to Rachel and I really didn’t think that she would believe me or join me.
I found myself walking towards the alley where Matthew and Bridgit lived. I let my mind wander and ended up thinking about what Artemis had said to me the first time I met her;
“Some you already know, and others you have yet to meet.” Is it possible that Matthew or Bridgit is inhabited?
I thought about my very first dream, the one where I saw all of the gods. The shy girl whose dress moved on its own, could she be inside of Bridgit?
I could feel that my eyes were open, but I could only see black. Suddenly the shy goddess with the silk dress was standing in front of me. The bottom of her dress was split and each part moved on its own, some even reached up like hands to gently caress her arm or cheek.
“Who are you?” I asked the goddess. “You don’t seem familiar.”
“My name is Tyche. I am the daughter of Aphrodite and Zeus. I represent luck and I govern the fortune and prosperity of the cities. Just recently I became an official goddess.” Her voice was quiet, but clear and easy to understand. She was so calm, confident and beautiful
“Does this mean that you’re inhabiting Bridgit?”
“Indeed it does. It was absolutely wonderful to finally meet you Sophia” And with that Tyche had disappeared.
I opened my eyes and it was like déjà vu. I was looking up at the faces of Bridgit and Matthew, while lying in their alley.
“Sophia?” Bridgit whispered my name and she sounded exactly like Tyche. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine Bridgit, but by any chance have you been feeling sick lately?”
“How do you know that?” Matthew growled the question aggressively and I told them what was going on, everything from my dream to the letter I wrote to my mother less than an hour before then.
* * *
“So, we’re just expected to jump up and follow you and help you with your problems? What if this is dangerous or we have other things to do?” Matthew asked me as soon as I had finished telling them my story.
“You don’t HAVE to come with me, but I really need your help. It’s very possible that you’re inhabited too, Matthew. This will be like your new family; it’s a new beginning, a fresh start.”
“I’m going with Sophia.” Bridgit stood up and stared right at her brother. “I don’t care what you say right now, she has helped us and I believe her, the least we can do is try to help her.”
He couldn’t even respond to his little sister’s outburst. He stood up, sighed and shook his head; “Fine. If you’re going, I’m going.”
I smiled and was glad to have someone with me; people just like me who understood and could help me.
“We still have to collect a few more people.” I told the siblings as we started to walk into our new lives. Our journey had begun and we had officially started it. “I guess we have to walk to Rachel’s house, it’s not too far.”
It took the three of us 40 minutes to drag our tired selves to Rachel’s porch and when we got there we knocked on her door.
It only took about 30 seconds of us standing there before the door creaked open slowly and Rachel’s head popped out of the house. Her hair was piled on top of her head in a very lop-sided, obviously slept in bun and her eyes were barely open. It was apparent that she had just woken up. Rachel looked at me and blinked a few times, really quickly before saying anything.
“Um…. Sophia?” her head tilted sideways in confusion. “Why are you on my porch at 7:00 in the morning with two kids I’ve never seen before?”
“It’s kind of a long story, can we come in?” She looked around and then motioned for us to follow her.
“Be quiet, everyone’s asleep.” She whispered.
The three of us followed Rachel through her house, tip-toeing and trying not to make a sound. We walked down her stairs and into the dark basement where her room was.
* * *
“So what you’re trying to tell me is that Athena is inside of me?” Rachel asked skeptically.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.” I tried to assure her. “You can talk to her by thinking, but only you can hear the response because it’ll be in your head.”
Rachel paused for a minute and I could almost see her brain working as she thought.
“OH MY GAWD!” She screamed, “That is so cool!”
The three of us couldn’t help but to laugh at her.
“So is he inhabited?” Rachel asked, pointing at Matthew.
“I think that he probably is, but I haven’t really thought about it yet.” I told them.
“We did a project about Greece a few years ago. I had to look up things about the gods, and he kind of looks like one of the pictures I found of Ares.” Rachel informed us.
“Ares.” I repeated the name in a whisper and within a second my world had turned dark again.
I was getting kind of tired of these visions of the gods. Looking down at my bracelet I saw that a shining, silver clover had joined the rest of the charms.
Tyche. I could feel her presence; in fact I could feel the presence of all the gods who had given me a charm. I could hear the distant sound of pan pipes and singing, I could smell the forest and mountains. The heat of a hearth warmed my insides. An owl hooted softly to tell me that Athena was here as well.
I looked across from me and saw a man. He was wearing a red muscle tank top and black jeans. His arms had tattoos all along them and his black sunglasses completely covered his eyes. When he removed the glasses his eyes were all I could look at. They glowed and moved like lava. I stared into the depths of them and started to feel angry, deceived, betrayed. I wanted to run and fight, I felt like I had all the power in the world, but all the feelings disappeared when he put his glasses back on and I couldn’t stare at his eyes.
“Congratulations mortal, you’re one step closer to finding your brother and helping us reach our goal.” The man was obviously Ares. His voice was strong and powerful, but at the same time it teased you. “Now all you must do is tell Matthew that I am inside of him.” With those words Ares had disappeared, leaving me all alone.
I opened my eyes and I was back with Rachel, Bridgit and Matthew.
“You’re actually inhabited.” I said as I turned towards Matthew. “Rachel was right, Ares is inhabiting you.”
It was easy to tell Matthew because he already knew everything; I didn’t have to worry about a reaction. I also didn’t have to explain everything, and tell all my stories, again.
“Let’s go get Mila, we’re gonna need as much help as we can get.” Rachel said.
“You get ready and packed and Bridgit, Matthew and I will go get Mila, she lives just down the street, we’ll be back soon.”
We started to walk to Mila’s and slowly more people started to emerge from their houses.
When we were almost there we saw a girl walking towards us, she was wearing silk pajamas. Her dark hair looked familiar. As she got closer I realized who it was;
“Samantha?” Samantha had gone to school with me since kindergarten, but in grade 7 she changed a lot and we haven’t talked since, unless she was being mean to me. I never forgot that we were once friends, but I didn’t like her after that.
She stopped in front of us and looked up at me. Her beautiful brown hair with caramel streaks was tangled and frizzy. Her eyes were red and puffy, and she had obviously been crying.
“Sophia?” she whispered my name, and her voice broke. “Where’s Eric?”
“He’s at home.” I responded to her a little too quickly. “Are you okay?” Samantha wiped her face on her sleeves and looked up.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
All of a sudden my vision was blurred and when it cleared again I wasn’t looking at Samantha, I was looking at Aphrodite. I recognized the goddess quickly.
“Aphrodite?” was the only thing I could manage before slipping into another vision.
I opened my eyes and was surrounded by darkness and fog. Across from me something was glowing, brighter and brighter as it moved closer to me.
It was Aphrodite. She wore a long pink gown that dragged on the ground behind her. Her blonde hair was long enough to touch the ground and was pinned up with scallop shells and a sparkling tiara.
“Does this mean that Samantha is inhabited as well?” I asked the goddess.
“Yes it does.” Was the only thing I heard before opening my eyes again.