The car ride was long and boring, I cleaned my sword in the backseat as we listen to Beatles songs and my parents discussed the recent economy downturn. Henry had quit his job at the publishing firm to work at camp with me, but my mom stayed back in California with her real-estate job. Usually this job wouldn’t have been enough to support the entire family, but with Henry and I living at Camp half of the year, we got by easily.
My nuclear family was so uncomplicated, despite the fact that my step-father and I were related somehow. Everything went smoothly in the household; it was so different than being up on Olympus where the gods were constantly arguing. It was nice to have peaceful diplomatic discussions without people throwing fireballs, lightning bolts, etc. at each other and bringing up fights from three thousand years ago.
We drove through the Caldecott tunnel and I felt the deep need to go see Reyna, bring her as reinforcement, but I knew she’d bring the whole Camp with her and the Titans would sense us before we even got close.
We entered San Francisco peacefully; no evil seagulls or rage crazed hobos attacked us. I remembered Percy telling me about the last time he had visited here, the evil Santa, Bessie, and Ladon up in the Garden of the Hesperides.
Henry parked the car in a small lot next to Pier 39, and we spent the afternoon enjoying the afternoon on the pier.
We watched Sea Lions, I kept an eye out for Nereus, just in case.
We figured we might as well enjoy our time while we were here.
We went to an arcade and shot down some digital zombies and then browsed through some of the cute little gift shops. I found a pink t-shirt that said, “I Survived San Francisco” on it, and Henry bought it for me hoping it would bring good luck.
I knocked on wood hoping we weren’t jinxing ourselves by purchasing it.
I changed into the shirt and out of my camp one.
I felt like for some reason wearing the camp shirt was a bad idea, Titans may be just looking for neon orange in the crowd and shooting down whoever wears it.
For a while I just stood and watched the sea, looking out at Alcatraz.
I thought of Percy and the stories he had told me.
I missed him even though it had only been a day, I wanted him to be here with me.
He knew the lay of the land better than I did.
Also I just really wanted to have a friend with me.
After a few hours my mother said, “I’m going to go to the restroom and then we can get some lunch. I’ll meet you guys at the clam chowder place.”
I nodded as she reached into her purse digging around for a second.
“Oh and I brought this,” she added, handing me a groupon, “Bought it a while back and now is the perfect time to use it.”
It was half off to two tickets for a mirror maze, which should be on the upper level of the pier.
“Cool, thanks mom,” I said, and Henry and I set off to go find the maze.
After a few minutes of looking at maps, going the wrong direction, and and asking around we finally found it.
There was a small doorway and a counter with a register we payed for two people handing him the groupon and then entered.
It was mega trippy inside.
There was corridor after corridor of mirrors twisting and turning. I can’t really tell you what the structure was because all I could see was a series of reflections. Loud dubstep blared over unseen speakers and neon laser of green and red light darted around bouncing everywhere. Sometimes I would straight into solid glass, thinking there was no mirror there. The only way to tell whether there was a mirror in front of you or not was to see if there was a direct reflection of yourself but sometimes my brain out-edited that bit. So, I could only be sure where the corridor continued by slowly feeling my way along.
I lost Henry after a few turns and shortly afterwards got lost myself.
I had just rammed into my own reflection when things got bad.
A shrill shriek echoed through the maze, I tried to run back the way I came to find the source but ended up running into another mirror with a loud crack.
I fell back onto my butt and sat for a minute looking at the shattered glass in front of me.
“Well I’m not paying for that,” I muttered.
I stood up slowly, my head throbbing in pain, my vision going in and out of being blurry. The thousands of mes shining back at me did not help with the vision problem. I clutched my head and stumbled forward looking for Henry.
“Dad?” I called.
“Lea?” I heard him yell back, “Was that you who screamed?”
“No, dad,” I replied, “I’m fine.”
I looked around desperately for him but only say myself staring back.
Then there was a loud crash behind me, and in front of me and on both sides.
Sound traveled weirdly in this place.
I pulled out my weapons disk and activated my sword.
I looked in the mirror in front of me and saw something approaching fast.
It looked like a flesh colored bat with a vaguely humanoid face.
It hissed and flung itself I turned and slashed expecting myself to cut right through it since I figured it was directly behind me. But instead I only skimmed the creatures flank as it darted past me.
It quickly reeled around charging in my direction.
I recognized it a Fury, one of the cursed bat ladies that were always betraying Hades.
“I smell demigod!” is hissed at me, “Child of Apollo.”
I ran, sword in one hand, the hand directly in front of my so that I wouldn’t run into any more walls.
Instead I ran into a dead end, I was stuck in between two mirrors that met at a right angle.
I muttered a curse to myself and then I turned my sword in front of me.
The Fury rounded the corner.
“Wait,” she said, “You’re that wretched Primumcruor girl!”
“That’s me!” I agreed as I swung forward, cutting her directly in half.
I took a deep breath and then said to myself, “Why doesn’t Hades just keep her locked up? I mean seriously.”
Then I remembered what she had said about a ‘child of Apollo’.
“Henry!” I yelled.
“What’s going on?” he yelled.
“There was a Fury,” I called back to him.
“Just one? That’s weird they usually attack three at a tAAGGGHH!”
There was a loud crashing sound and I heard Henry fall to the ground with a grunt, followed by some inhuman hissing.
I was about to go looking for him when I encountered a problem of my own, a third Fury crashed into sight.
She rammed into a mirror shattering it and then came straight for me.
Except that was her bad decision, she went STRAIGHT for me.
I watched in terror and amusement as she came straight at me.
She made the same mistake as I did, she believed what her eyes showed her.
She smashed face first into a mirror down the hall from me. She had been looking at my reflection and not me.
The glass shattered around her and she sat in a confused daze for a second. I took this second as my chance.
I felt to my left, finding a new corridor and sprinted down it, following it with my hand.
I kept a close eye on the corridor behind me but kept my hand in fron of me so I wouldn’t run into any mirrors like the Fury had.
Instead I ran into Henry.
He in hand-to-claw combat.
I nearly crashed into him.
I was going to shout some specific duo battle move but I didn’t know any and at the moment my brain wasn’t exactly functioning properly so all that came out of my mouth was, “BLARAGGH!”
Henry somehow understood whatever it was that I had just said because he jumped out of the way and I baseball slid by him, doing a full back-arc of my sword cutting his Fury in half.
He in-turn spun on his heel and shot an arrow straight at the last Furies head.
We both took a minute to catch out breath. We stood in the maze, which could hardly be called a mirror maze anymore, more like broken glass maze, because we had destroyed about half of the mirrors.
Henry and I exchanged glances then he said, “We were never here.”
After taking the next ten minutes to find our way out we came back to the doorway with the cashier and the girl at the counter.
She had passed out, she must have seen the Furies screamed and then fainted.
We sighed making sure the cashier girl was okay, she didn’t appear to be harmed.
Then we left going to find my mom who had no idea what had just happened to us.
Nobody saw us exit the destroyed mirror maze but we still got some concerned looks from passersby as I pulled shards of glass out of my palms, clenching my teeth.
“I wonder what the Furies were doing here,” said Henry, looking warily up at the sky.
“They probably were hanging out up at Mount Tam, when they smelled demigod they came down here to check it out,” I reasoned, then I squeaked in pain as I removed the last shard from my right hand.
“Seems as if I need to get some new deodorant,” said Henry.
“You know that’s not how it works, dad,” I said.
“I meant Medea Smell Block- Demigod Deodorant,” he explained, “It’s very useful but hard to find, especially since her main department store was destroyed.”
“Hmmph,” I said, with a small amount of admiration.
Something in the back of my head was like, ‘You should get some for yourself.’ Then I realized I wasn’t a demigod anymore, so I didn’t have to worry about my smell.
Henry and I lumber down the stairs and shoved through the crowd to get to the bread shop where we had promised my mom we would meet her.
My mother stood with a tray of three clam chowder bread bowls on a tray.
She saw us, and her eyes widened, we had shards of glass lodged into our skin and were bleeding, but not badly hurt.
“I missed something, didn’t I?” she said rushing towards.
We cleaned up in the bathroom and then enjoyed our lunch of slightly cold soup in peace. Well, aside from a ravenous pigeon but that’s pretty normal in San Fran.
We discussed what was coming next as I gobbled down my sourdough bowl.
“We’ve got to be careful about Ladon,” I said, “Percy said he has hundreds of heads and a poisonous bite.”
I saw my mother tense, the dark circles under her yes seemed more pronounced, her eyes widening.
I could tell she was trying to be strong for me, but she was a working class American citizen not some Greek warrior. Not like me.
I took her hand in mine and gave her a hopeful smile.
“Remember that time there was a rattlesnake in our backyard and I was about tot get bit and you just picked it up and threw it over the fence,” I said “This isn’t so different from that. It’s the same type of courage.”
“I only did that because you were in danger,” she said, blushing slightly, but laughing too.
“Well, this isn’t exactly safe for me now either, but I’ll be fine. I’m a big girl,” I told her encouragingly.
Silently I hoped to myself that all would go well.
We left the pier around one in the afternoon.
I took a look at Mount Tam in the distance, the constant cloud of mist swirling around it looked ominous and foreboding.
I gulped nervously, staring at where the sky met the earth.
I could feel something bad coming.