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By @Tanya

Right now we’re all running for our lives, but maybe I should back up a bit. I am actually fairly good at staying out of the family drama, if you can even call it that, but I guess you can only run for so long. Or, at least, this is what I told myself when my cousin gave me a call last week. He said that ghosts of people we knew were coming back to haunt us, and I was just like ‘Alright, but this had better be the last time.’ Looking back on it, I don’t think I have ever made a dumber choice, but I guess we should just leave the past in the past. We spent the next few days planning how not to die in the first twenty seconds, which was fairly productive. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just pack my bags and run again, maybe block my crazy family’s numbers while I was at it. That’s for you to figure out, because I really don’t know.

“Hey, did anyone remember water, because I think I’m about to pass out?”

“Ari, you look a lot better than the rest of us, so do us a favor and just keep moving.”

Just some quick introductions, before I continue. Arianna, half sister of Ethan, the cousin who called me. We got Thorn, who’s been my best friend for 14 years and the main reason why I am still sticking around. (That’s a nickname, although some people have some real weird names, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Isabella is my twin and the other reason that I’m even here. Vanessa is somewhere around here, although it’s probably best no one sees her right now, given the part she played in why we are all here. Then there’s Ana, Thorn’s wife and my other best friend.

The next thing I now, there’s a huge blur of tawny colored hair followed by a loud splash. When I realize what happened, I can barely contain my laughter. Ari, in her rush to reach the stream, apparently slipped on a loose rock and tumbled into the stream, taking Ethan, who was trying to get her to slow down, with her. He got up and shot me a glare. Looking around, I realize I’m the only one laughing. I knew that they were stressed, but I didn’t realize just how much. Thorn’s face looked like it was being held up by worry lines and Izzy hasn’t said a word yet, which was unusual for her.

“Not a word of this, got that?” Ethan said, pulling me from my thoughts.

“Yeah, got it.”, I told him, just to keep a fight from starting, because that’s the last thing we need.

“Good, let’s keep moving, we’re almost there.”

“And where is that, exactly?”, Ari called. Good to know I’m not the only one being kept in the dark.

“You’ll see when we get there.”

As we continued on our hike, I realized that I recognized this place. When me and Ethan became co-leaders, we kept a few weapon stockpiles. I’m surprised he remembers this place, after all these years. We got to the litlle cottage, with it’s cute wood exterior, peeling paisley wallpaper, and moldy furniture. Once upon a time, me and my ex wanted to move in here, away from the mess we call our lives. It was a nice dream, but I guess we had to wake up at some point.

Vanessa finally perked up as she asked “Exactly how many weapons are here, and don’t just say a lot. Also, I call dibs on picking.”

“Relax Ness, no one was gonna get in the way of you and your borderline creepy obsession with spears, swords, and anything else that can stab someone.” Thorn answered, much to my relief. Last thing we need is Ethan rubbing his mood off on Vanessa.

Sadly, halfway through his answer, she managed to kick the door down and sprinted in, me and Ethan at her heels. The glorius stash of weapons had enough for each of us to get one, but no more than that. Funny, because our group has only gotten smaller. Vanessa grabbed a spear after carefully examining the assortment. She then immediately whipped around and hurled it at a target hanging up on a wall. Bullseye, but I was too relieved it wasn’t an actual eye to comment.

“WATCH IT!”, Ethan hollered, snatching it out of her hand.

“I was just testing the weight, which is perfect by the way.” Vanessa explained, snatching it back.

“Whatever, who’s next?”

“I want the throwing daggers.” I called out before anyone could claim them. I forged those three, and was pretty proud of them. The hilts were wrapped with a soft faux leather and the steel I used to make the blades was from the royal blacksmith. There was no better blade. It also helped that I sharpened to the point where the lightest nick could draw blood.

“Are you just going to stare at them all day, or actually grab them?”

“Just shut up Ethan.” I said hastily as I snatched up the blades and fumbled with the sheaths as I attached them to my belt. I added a little velcro loop to the back of the sheaths that make it much easier to carry. I slipped the blades in and backed up. Ethan snatched up the bow and quiver, fully stocked with arrows, which no one objected to. Never get between Eros and his arrows, unless you want one in the heart.

In case you haven’t caught on yet, yes, we are Greek Gods, or the descendants of them at least. Ethan, or Eros, is the son of Aphrodite and Apollo, Ari is the daughter of Apollo and one of his lovers, Vanessa, better known as Nemesis, is the daughter of Nyx and Zeus. Thorn is Demeter’s son, brother to Persephone and also a son of Zeus, who was a very busy man, as you can see. Ana, who is Adrestia in the myths, is a daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, making her a half-sister of Eros.

That leaves me and Izzy, who’s my twin, well, half-twin. You’d probably just want to think of us as two of the many grandchildren of Zeus. Our mom was his youngest daughter and didn’t make it into any of the myths, which was odd, as he wrote them. She was Hera and Zeus’s youngest daughter, and most powerful. After his “untimely” demise, she became queen for six short months, until she too was murdered, by her second husband. She had an affair while with her first husband, Izzy’s dad. Her lover was mine. It’s pretty embarrasing, because she had kids with both of them at the same time, which is more common in the 4th dimension than on Earth. Is it just me, or am I creating questions as I try to answer them? Anyway, when beings from the 4th dimension want to have kids, they send a small portion of their power down to fish a kid from Earth, who will then become a part of our awful world.

Now this can work in our favor, as some of us began to ask, if we can get here, isn’t it also possible to get back. To answer that question, yes, it is. We now have the ability to tear a hole through the fabric of time and space, or as we call it, portaling. Once we work out the kinks, we basically just leave. I worked this out the year after I got these abilities, and left immediately. It’s actually the reason why Ethan had to come to New York to call me. Most of them try to live in both places at once, but it’s impossible to hold a job in both places, unless you do what I do. The nic thing about ice-dancing, you get to choose your gigs, and get paid no matter what you place, although the extra pay of the top three places doesn’t hurt.

Everyone’s picked up their weapons now, Ana’s got a xiphos, which is a two-sided blade, Ari’s was holding a spartan sword, which is the only weapon she knows how to use, Thorn grabbed the other set of daggers, which I hadn’t even noticed, and Izzy has a long sword. As we stepped out, I let my fingers linger on the doorframe. The flames spread from my fingertips grew like wildfire, no pun intended. The place went down fairly quickly, and as it did, I felt a slight twinge in my heart. Shaking myself off, I joined the group, only turning back to make sure that the flames went out after the cottage burned, along with the last feelings I had for the last man I ever gave my heart to.

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