Prologue: What Came Before Lurks Even So, and Ch1: Mortal Maleficent's Isues
Sunset flashed on the ridge, a gleam of Achilles' divine armor. Doom dropped on the S.O. forces burning Greek ships. Smoke choked victory, snuffed out even stars. Dawn would bring death.
In the blood-red sunrise Achilles' chariot, drawn by immortal horses, charged. But leading the attack, it was only young Patroclus wearing the divine armor. Forgotten already were Achilles' instructions, "When in safety you have placed the ships, do not fight apart from my side..." (The Iliad).
Like a swarm of wasps, the fresh Achaean warriors descended on the panicked Trojans. Chariots bottlenecked at the gate. It was a bloodbath. Frenzied, Patroclus pursued the retreat across the plains of Troy. Still unheeded went Achilles' plea, "...while I hunger for your thighs!"
Nor would Achilles' wish be granted, "Return to me and leave the rest to battle on the plain... Would to Zeus, no Greek nor Trojan would survive but you and I, that we two alone might raze the sacred towers of Troy!"
Three times Patroclus surged, pounding the gates of Troy to no avail. Then God Apollo reached down and pushed Patroclus' shield, sending him back into the fray....
Terrible, Patroclus shouted insults, spearing the entrails from a screaming foe. Then in a dark mist Apollo stood behind Patroclus, snatched off the divine helmet that clanked as it rolled under horses' hooves. One mighty blow to the neck and Patroclus fell, dead. A Trojan spear severed his femoral artery, emptying his body of iron-red blood into the earth.
So ended Season One of Trojan War. What the general public wouldn't know is that the Elite gods viewed the MA reality version beyond mortal death. When the Talent playing Patroclus died, sword in hand on the battlefield, he was resurrected for Valhalla Club Studios. Lately he has taken a hiatus to live as a mortal again. But still fate binds him to Valhalla. Gods wait.
This the story of the immortal's return to Valhalla and the mortal family he couldn't leave behind. If the fleeting joy and sorrow of humanity appear mundane, they meant everything once lost.
1. Mortal Maleficent's Issues
Maleficent stopped. She rezipped her knee high black paten leather boots and uncrossed her long legs. She stood up. No. She wouldn’t stay home. She would follow to the party. Show him, for leaving without her just because she was on edge.
Who wouldn’t? Feel uptight. After opening such a letter. Note to self: No opening mail on a Friday night. It's never good news. Spoils the natural high of a weekend stretching out ahead.
What a shame. He'd seemed almost his old self, his euphoric self. Goofy, intimate. That charming smile, that chummy arm around her waist. So why had she remained tense despite his words, “It’s the start of the weekend! And no foreclosure, not yet anyway!”--?
“Yeah. But I just opened the mail. Just today used the new key the mail-lady left us. Guess what? The state canceled our assistance. I didn’t return the documents they requested-- the deadline was already past. What were the chances!”
“Well, maybe you can explain.”
“But I was looking forward to that credit, to buy food!”
She stopped following him around the house and went to serve the dogs leftover rice and broth. The pack circled and sniffed. She added egg to the puppy’s portion, locking the big dogs outside to eat. She straitened up.
“That smells really good,” she admitted, sniffing the simmering pan her man was stirring over the stove. The kids had eaten the pasta while she'd stuck to salad. Now he was drizzling red wine into the scant pan of sausage. Hissing steam wafted around them.
“Would you like some?” he asked.
“No, I want to be skinny and hungry!” She wasn't very good at sarcasm.
“Well," he said, "I’ve been hungry all day. You’ve been eating while I was at work--”
“No, I’ve just been snacking! Tiny portions, this big!” She held up her inched fingers. “And at book club it was just sweet little tea cakes.” The birds twittered and squawked.
The littlest child stuck his head around the corner. “Can we watch da' Two Towe's now?”
“No, it’s too scary. And we’re going out. Your brother is spending the night at a friend’s so he can’t watch with you. You watch some short funnies.” The boy trotted off.
“I’m not sure I want to take you out if you’re going to be bitchy,” said her Man.
“Well, for a glass of good wine I can keep my mouth shut and act, I think.”
“I’m sure it’ll be boxed wine.”
“Oh. Well maybe it’s not worth it then. You go. Hobnob with the Elite who pretend this isn’t happening. How can you care about their causes when our needs aren't met? Maybe you can get them to hire you back again.”
“I’m definitely not taking you out.”
But she didn't really want him back under contract... the things they'd had him do... she shuddered. It had been red blood money, letting them kill him in their goddamned edgeplay dramas. She'd helped nurse him back to health after his resurrection. Now free, if poor, this mortal life was saner. Honest green money he was earning now, though not enough....
Distracted, she picked up thermometer and ibuprofen, carrying them to the bathroom. She turned on the lava lamp night light in case a child got up in the night. The bulb needed replacing.
When she came out of the bathroom, he'd finished his solitary meal by candlelight. He put his dish in the dishwasher.
It did smell good. "Is there some for me?"
“Why didn’t you eat with me?”
“I’m too on edge--”
“Well, fine. I’ll see you.”
And she watched him go, speechless. It did occurred to her that it might be for the best, to let him go on without her. Her mood might have triggered him. Fear squirmed in her again. Best to let sleeping dogs lie. She refilled her little glass and paced over to check on the kids.
The little girl with the fever lay upside-down in the old leather recliner. The Two Towers was frozen. Maleficent bent over the keyboard, sighing. She used her knuckles, not to catch the flu.
“Hit ‘control F,'” instructed the Aspergers, still upside-down.
But the spinning wheel kept turning over the warning notice: “Error in player occurred.” They all sat for a few moments, watching the colors spin on the tiny wheel, sharing a sharp prick of disappointment.
Maleficent began unzipping her tall boots. Why was he even going to the party? As a guest? To bestow favors!
She stopped. “Forget it!” she huffed, rezipping her boot and standing. “Get ready for bed now and I’ll read to you before I go.”
“No!” protested the upside down little Aspergers girl with the fever.
“Yes. Go on,” answered Maleficent, exiting the room.
She could go to the party on her own, arriving dramatically late. Unlikely would she bestow blessings on their phony cause. A curse would be hard to hold back if they were using him again.
Pacing, listening to the bought heat clicking on, the birds tweeting, the youngest child humming, she reconsidered. Maybe she just really wanted to stay home and read to the children after all. No matter how attractively she’d done her hair and makeup. He’d told her earlier she looked good. It had been awhile since he’d said that.
“'AOO 'AS SHOO!” The girl called in a sore throat voice. A dog ducked through the pet door, running out into the bitter night with her slipper in his jaws.
Maleficent sighed again, opening the refrigerator for the nearly empty sack of shredded cheese. “Yahoo, come!” Through the sliding glass door the dog saw the cheese.
“Kennel!” she called. The dog jogged back inside, dropping the slipper, cold as glass, at her feet. “Kennel!” Maleficent repeated and all the poodles ran inside the sparse pantry. She sprinkled the cheese over the floor and closed the door on their snuffling hunt.
She turned around. The husky eyed her from the couch. She couldn’t be caged for mere snacks. Her nature was too wild to give in so easily. Maleficent sighed.
The youngest child danced into the room with a construction paper drawing. “It’s a dwagon that takes ene'gy fwom the whole city to become mo' powe'ful, then takes all the powe' fwom the whole entiwe wo'ld!... Whe’s that box I deco'ated fwom a't cwass? Can we get anothe' one and make a monste' jail? Do you think it’s a good idea?” The child spread his art kit across the floor.
“Uh-huh.” Maleficent sat down next to the husky and took off her beautiful boots.