Across The River Styx

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Literary_Dreamer, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Caleb Galiger stood on the banks of the Styx with his mentor, Thomas Christie. They were waiting for the ferryman, Charon, to arrive on their side of the river. It was a momentous occasion. It was the day Caleb finished his apprenticeship and began collecting souls.

    Caleb shifted his weight nervously. All of his earlier confidence was ebbing away. He’d not been particularly certain he was the one for the job in the beginning but he’d been proud to discover that he actually had a talent for this role. Now he was starting to wonder if it hadn’t just been Thomas helping him because he wanted to retire. Since the job, the role, was that of Death, Caleb couldn’t afford to make a mistake.

    “So…Thanatos…” said the figure of a woman who sat on a large rock by the riverside, her feet dangling in the water. She might have been a beautiful woman once, but she’d been soaking in the fetid water of the Styx for too long. She was, in fact, Styx herself. She only occasionally left her river to spew venom on passersby. “I thought you were in Elysium, retired and whatnot. Don’t you trust the boy?”

    “Styx,” Thomas answered with a tired sigh, “you know that I have to remain here for another decade to supervise before I can enter Elysium. You also should know that he is Thanatos now, not I. I am just a humble spirit who aids Lord Death.”

    Caleb shivered at the title almost as much as he did at the cackle which Styx let out.

    “In other words, you don’t trust the boy,” she said.

    Caleb knew that her words were aimed at tearing down his confidence and he wanted to tell her that she was too late; he was already lacking as much confidence as he possibly could. He didn’t dare speak to the river spirit, though. He was afraid of her.

    Part of him reminded the rest of him that he’d regain most of his confidence once he left the poisonous atmosphere that was always present near the Styx. He was thankful that this was the last time he would have to use Charon’s ferry as a means of exiting the Underworld. Death had his own ways of leaving and entering the Underworld and after today, Caleb would be able to use them.

    As Caleb digested that knowledge, Charon’s ferry arrived. Charon wasn’t a very pleasant person. It was demonstrated in the fact that he was the only person who really got along with Styx. He had, however, taken a shine to Caleb shortly after he’d died and so he smiled uncharacteristically, waving when he saw the new Thanatos standing on the shore.

    “Just a moment, Thanatos,” he called, remembering Caleb’s new title immediately. “Let me get these cretins ashore and then you can come aboard.” He then proceeded to violently goad the new arrivals to the Underworld off his ferry. The newly deceased were already shocked by their deaths and the rough treatment caused a number of them to begin weeping at their situation. Those who tried to avoid Charon by jumping into the water screamed in agony as they touched the acidic water, upsetting the others even more.

    Once the ferry was clear, Charon held out a hand to help Death aboard.

    “It’s official, then?” he asked, noting that Thomas did not follow Caleb onto the ferry.

    “Ah, yeah,” Caleb answered.

    Charon clapped him on his shoulder with a bony hand. “You’ll do fine, lad.”

    Once they reached the other side, Caleb slipped off to the Underworld’s entrance, choosing not to watch as Charon herded the next batch of the dead onto his ferry.

    Caleb stepped out of the Underworld and into a hospital. An advantage to being Death was that he always was where he needed to be when he left the Underworld. There was no fuss or wasted time over trying to find where he was supposed to be.

    He recognized the hospital as the one where he’d died and his stomach did a little flip. He’d not been back to the hospital since his death and he wasn’t sure he was comfortable being there now.

    He caught his reflection in a window and wished he looked more impressive. He was average height and slim, but in an almost scrawny way. His thinness was somewhat hidden by the long, black coat he wore but that didn’t help his face. He had a long, thin face that he felt only lacked the word “nerd” tattooed on his forehead. His eyes were a rather striking dark green, admittedly, which could be intimidating if he looked with just the right expression. His hair was also black, which seemed suitable for Death. He only wished he were taller and stronger, but he’d wished that even in life.

    He turned and walked down a hall on instinct. Instinct was the best way, he’d discovered, to find the dying. It had taken a lot of practice to forget his usual urge to ignore his instinct but he was getting much better at it. He turned into a room on instinct and there was an old woman, surrounded by her family and monitored by many machines.

    She looked at him, the only one in the room who could see him, and he smiled gently.

    “I’m sorry if I am late,” he said, approaching her and gently touching her hand. Suddenly, she was standing next to him and the machine monitoring her heart beeped an alert that it had stopped beating.

    “You’re Death?” she asked uncertainly.


    A peaceful smile crossed her lips. “And I am dead?”


    “Thank you.” The woman took his arm and they walked to the door. A nurse rushed through them to attend to the woman’s body but neither of the spirits felt it. As they stood in the hallway, they were passed by someone who caught Caleb’s attention, someone who would die soon. He wanted to follow the figure with his gaze but he had to attend to the woman before him first.

    “Do you see the light?” he asked the woman. “That is the entrance to the afterlife.”

    “I see the light,” she breathed.

    “Take this coin,” Caleb told her, pressing a silver coin into her hand, “and you will be treated well. I cannot go with you any further. Give the coin to the boatman when you reach the river.”

    The woman nodded at his instructions and slowly walked through the gates of Hades and into the Underworld.

    Free of his charge, Caleb turned to look at the person who had passed him a moment before. He was shocked to see that it was someone he knew.
    #1 Literary_Dreamer, Mar 14, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  2. "Hey Caleb, can you come and pick me up?" Chris had gone to a party without her parents knowing, now she couldn't stay even a minute longer. It felt suffocating with all those people drinking around her. Why had she even gone with them to begin with? Because they were her 'friends'. Well, at least that's what they said. But Chris had had enough of her so called friends.

    Caleb didn't say no, he never did. Even though she had used him so many times he still kept on smiling and helping her with whatever she asked. The only reason she had done it was because she didn't want to loose her so called friends. She felt disgusted with herself, how could she have let it go on for so long? It wasn't like that thought were new, she had been thinking about it for weeks. But she should have done something about it sooner.

    "Where are you going?" Amanda asked. Amanda, a name that meant 'worthy to be loved'. How was she worthy of love? The one that cheated on guys from left to right. Still everyone loved her and wanted to be around her, it wasn't like Chris was any different. But she wished that Amanda had never asked her to come and sit with them during lunch that day. It changed everything. First she left her best friend for the popular kids, and then she started to use him just for her new 'friends' entertaining.

    "I'm feeling a bit sick. See ya tomorrow." Chris said while putting on her jacket.Even if she would see them the next day she wouldn't really talk to them, she had already decided that it was over. They weren't the kind of friends she wanted to have. But at the same time she knew what risks she took. They could make sure no one in school would ever talk to her again if they wanted to.

    She couldn't say she wasn't frightened. Some parts of her brain even told her not to do it. Would she do it? Would she not? She wouldn't know before the next day. Would her fear take over?

    She stepped out from the house and waited for Caleb to arrive. He came much faster than she thought he would, if someone had called her to come and meet her in the last minute she would probably have taken much more time even though her friend were waiting. It surprised her how faithful he could be towards her even though she had treated him so badly. Either he had done her favors or been ignored by her.

    There were nothing she could think of to talk about, so she kept silent. There were so many things she should apologize for, but she couldn't find the words. How many times had she wanted to apologize the last two weeks? Too many for her to count. The words just never came out.

    The cars engine sounded loudly in the silent car. He might have said something, but she were too into her own thoughts to hear his words.

    Then it happened.

    "Caleb, watch out." Chris screamed even though Caleb had already started to dodge the car that was on its way towards them. But it was too late. The car crashed into theirs and pushed it up on the sidewalk and into a brick wall. Chris's head got thrown into the window and blacked out.


    "Christina" A voice called. Chris blue eyes shot up and she breathed heavily.
    "We are here now." Joanna told her before giving a concerned look. "Did you have a nightmare?"

    "I don't remember." Chris lied and gave her cousin a smile. She had been about to take the bus to the hospital to visit her father whom gotten injured a while ago. But while she waited for the bus Joanna drove by and asked if she wanted a ride.

    "Thanks for the ride." She said before opening the car door and left the vehicle. Her light brown long hair got caught in the wind and almost covered her face. She forced it back and tied it up in a ponytail so it wouldn't get in the way.

    I thought I had started to forget about that.
    Chris thought to herself. It had been a long time since she had dreamed about that night. At least it didn't go on to when she woke up in the hospital and got to know about Caleb's death. Maybe the memories had arisen since her father were in the same hospital as she and Caleb had been. Had it already been a whole year? She wondered if he were somewhere thinking about the accident himself.

    Just walking into the familiar hospital was a hard thing to do, she stood outside it for a couple of minutes before she were able to enter. At least her father weren't in the same room as she or Caleb had been. That would definitely have been too much for her to take alone.

    She walked through the corridors, looking for her fathers room. At the way she glanced into a couple of rooms where the room door was opened. It wasn't out of curiosity, it was just a reflex every time she noticed something moving. The first one she saw was a nurse that gave a patient her medicine. Chris fast turned her head away and kept walking.

    Soon her eyes turned to another room, a nurse rushed into that room as if someone were about to die. Well, that wasn't surprising since it was a hospital. Then two figures came walking out. An old lady and a young man. She didn't pay attention to them though, she just kept walking and soon passed them. But just as she passed them she noticed something about the man, it took some more steps before she actually stopped though. As she turned around the old lady was gone. But the man was still there.

    He looked just like Caleb. The same black hair, the same green eyes. She wasn't certain about the body though since it was covered with a long black coat. But the face was identical to his. Was she still dreaming? Or had she gone insane? She wasn't certain, and she didn't want to know either. At the moment she couldn't even think about the possibility of him being a look-a-like. After all, they said that everyone had one or two people identical to themselves somewhere in the world.

    "Caleb?" The worlds were barely able to come out, but somehow she managed. Then reality struck her, it couldn't be him. Either it was an illusion, a dream or someone looking like him. Caleb was dead, and he wouldn't come back. "I'm sorry, I must have confused you someone else." She said as she tried to pull herself together. "Excuse me." She couldn't look at him, someone that were so much alike her dead best friend. She turned around and started to walk towards her fathers room again. Some part of her wished that the man would stop her and tell her that he were Caleb and he actually hadn't died. Another part wanted him to be a stranger that she would never meet again.
  3. Caleb was rendered speechless for a long moment. “Ch-Chris…” he finally stammered, but Christina had already walked away. He wanted to follow her. He wanted to talk to her. Hearing her voice had reminded him of the feelings he’d tried so hard to forget that he had for her, since it was impossible for anything to come of them now that he was dead.

    He wanted to do so many things but he couldn’t because he was Death. He was just a spirit, invisible to all but the dead. He couldn’t even reach out to touch her because, if he did, her spirit would be separated from her body and she would die.

    He was about to return to the Underworld to lament his untimely demise when it dawned on him that she had seen him. She had spoken to him, even, assuming she’d confused him for someone else. If only he could tell her how wrong she was but he’d missed is chance…if she could hear him. But there was a puzzle here, because only the dead could see him. Chris couldn’t be dead, though, because Thomas had sworn to Caleb that she had survived the crash and that Caleb would be the one to escort her to the Underworld when her time came. He’d sworn on the Styx, which was a very serious oath (more serious than Caleb had realized when he had Thomas make the oath), so she couldn’t be dead. Then how could she see him?

    Caleb wished he was in his office so that he could ask Thomas about it, or at least consult some books on the subject. Suddenly, he realized that he was in his office. He couldn’t remember moving or even any time passing. In fact, he was still in the same position he’d been in at the hospital, staring after Chris.

    Caleb still wasn’t used to the supernatural, especially when it occurred suddenly, and he wondered if the whole event hadn’t just been a—

    “You’re not dreaming,” said a voice around a yawn.

    Caleb started at the voice, only partially because he’d thought he was alone, and turned towards his desk where Hypnos was reclining. Before his death, Hypnos had been a Dutchman named Jasper. It was a fact that was nearly forgotten due to his inclination to sleep for decades on end. When Caleb was chosen to be the next Thanatos, he roused himself enough for proper introductions. Tradition, after all, had it that Hypnos and Thanatos were brothers and it would be rude of him not to greet his new brother.

    Caleb still wasn’t entirely sure what to make of Jasper. He appeared, at first glance, to be incredibly lazy but there was vivacity beneath that which Caleb couldn’t understand. They were very much alike in some ways—their love of books and art, for example—but were incredibly different in others. The most striking difference was a warm and easy-going nature which Jasper had but Caleb lacked.

    The differences in character were made more profound by the fact that their appearance was nearly identical. Jasper had lighter hair, a rich warm brown in contrast with Caleb’s sharp black, and his eyes were a lighter, smokier green than Caleb’s were. Aside from that, there were no differences in their physical forms. It wasn’t easy for Caleb to get used to seeing his own face on someone else.

    Once he recovered from the surprise of seeing Jasper at his desk, he asked, “How did you know that was what I was thinking?”

    “You had a look about you, I suppose,” Jasper answered with a negligent wave of his hand. “Thomas didn’t tell you how to get back to the Underworld, did he?”


    “Well, now you know,” Hypnos told him with another yawn. “But what was that panicked look you had when you came back?”

    Caleb filed away the questions he still had about returning to the Underworld to discuss with Thomas later and focused on Jasper’s question. “Someone saw me today,” he said, “a living person. People aren’t supposed to be able see me if they are alive.”

    “Thomas isn’t a very good teacher is he?” Jasper commented. “Those who are about to die can see you, too, especially if they have thoughts about you on their mind.”

    “About to die!” Caleb choked. “Wait…thoughts about me?”


    “Right… But about to die? That’s impossible.”

    Jasper smirked. “Death is possible for everyone. You’re ubiquitous, unstoppable. Nothing can evade death. You should be proud.”

    “But I don’t want her to die!”

    “You went to see someone you knew? You should never do that. It’s bad for the heart.”

    “I didn’t go to see her,” Caleb protested. “It was just chance that I saw her.”

    “Then the Fates are being cruel,” Jasper replied with a shrug. “They like that.”

    Caleb was cast into despair. He turned the problem over in his mind, he couldn’t let Chris die but the Fates wanted her life to end… It seemed hopeless. Nothing could stop death.

    “But I’m Death, aren’t I?” Caleb asked. “If I don’t want her to die, she won’t die.”

    “The Fates are strong,” Jasper said. “They could put you in a position where it would be mercy to kill her.”

    “Haven’t you ever heard of fighting fate?” Caleb asked. He wasn’t generally a confident or rebellious person but he had always been stubborn. Now that his stubbornness was not held in check by mortal considerations, it made him daring.

    A grin spread across Jasper’s face and he jumped up with more energy than Caleb had yet seen in his so-called brother. “Fighting fate? I like the sound of that.”

    “But how?” Caleb asked, some of his old uncertainties returning.

    “From the living side of things,” Jasper answered, “the best battleground for fate fighting.”

    “But I’m dead,” Caleb pointed out.

    “You just need a living body.”

    Caleb was outraged. He still had his morals. “I will not take someone else’s body!”

    “Who said you had to take one?” Jasper asked. “Why not make one?”

    Make a living body?” Caleb was skeptical.

    “Morpheus, my servant, can help.”

    Jasper was so excited at the prospect, that he almost literally dragged Caleb to his home where they found Morpheus.

    Morpheus, being the king of dreams, had no problems making golems for the voyage into the living world. There was one for Caleb and one for Jasper.

    “Why do you have one?” Caleb asked, examining his own with awe at its perfection.

    “Because I’m coming with you,” Jasper answered simply.


    “I’ve never felt this energetic in my entire existence,” Jasper answered simply. “I’m not going to let it go to waste.” He touched his golem gently, then vanished. The golem sat up and smirked at Caleb.

    “How—?” Caleb asked.

    “Just like when you returned to your office earlier,” Jasper instructed. “Wish you were within the golem and you will be.”

    Caleb did as he was told and, after a few moments, he was within the golem and feeling bizarrely solid after having spent a year as a spirit.

    “Here’s a pomegranate seed from the Underworld,” Jasper said, pressing the dark red seed into Caleb’s hand. “When we’re done with our quest, eat it and it will kill you dead. Everything will go back to normal then.”

    “What about my job as Thanatos?” Caleb asked, doubting himself again.

    “Mostly it just goes on in your head, or so I’m led to believe,” Jasper answered. “Visiting them is just a courtesy. If you can’t stay away, just leave the body the way you entered it. It will go to sleep while you’re away and you can enter it again at will. Don’t do it too much though, or to body might learn to like being without you and it won’t permit you access anymore.”

    Caleb digested those facts and put the seed away safely so as not to lose it.

    “We’ll leave from here,” Jasper said. “My home leads out of the Underworld and, this way, we won’t have to face Charon.”

    Jasper led Caleb into the living world and they emerged on a street near the hospital as twilight faded into night. In the low light, it was impossible to see the differences in appearance between Caleb and Jasper and, since their voices were as identical as their faces, Caleb worried that they would run into someone he knew and they would mistake Jasper for him. He knew it was a stupid thing to worry about but he had been born a worrier.

    “So, where does this girl live?” Jasper asked.

    “I don’t know,” Caleb answered. “It’s been a year, so she may have moved. I don’t want to go to her parents’ house if she’s not there. It will be hard enough explaining myself once…and I don’t want them calling my parents if I’m only going to die again soon.”

    “All right,” Jasper said. “Then I’ll procure us a place to stay for the night.” He immediately approached the first female to pass them.

    As Jasper spoke to the female, Caleb looked up at the brightly lit hospital. Chris had been there earlier. Visiting someone? He hoped so. He wondered if she was still there or if she’d gone home.
  4. "Something is wrong." A young voice said.

    "Someone is trying to change destiny." Another older woman replied.

    "Let them try, it won't change anything." A old lady's voice told them.

    Three women voices spoke to each other as they weaved on their fatal weave. The three sisters of fate. Clotho, the spinner that determined a persons time of birth, Lachesis, the meassurer that determined the length of life and Atropos, the cutter that determined the time of death. Clotho looked young, almost like a child, but she was wise. Lachesis looked as if she were in her mid-life while Atropos were an old woman.

    "But sister, what if they change destiny." Lachesis said worried.

    "No one can change destiny, let them try and fail." The old lady told the woman.

    "You shouldn't underestimate a strong will sister." The youngest of them said. "But I won't go against your decision. I just hope you know what you're doing."

    "We should tell Nemesis. She could stop them." Lachesis told her sisters. "I'm against letting this go any further."

    Clotho gave of a small giggling sound. "I think we should wait and see what happens before we do anything. After all, if we do something without knowing if they'll actually have a chance of succeeding then we could become the cause of change. Don't you agree, sisters?"

    Both the older women looked at their sister and nodded.

    Chris had been standing outside her fathers room for five minutes before she dared to walk into it. She had to calm herself before she could meet her father or else he would think something had happened. Something had happened but he didn't have to worry about that when he still weren't feeling well.

    "Hey dad." She said as she walked into his room. He was sitting up when she walked in and he turned his head and smiled. He didn't seem that unwell, but he had been in the hospital for a while so it wasn't such a surprise if he had recovered.

    "I'm sorry I couldn't visit you earlier." She apologized as she walked towards him and sat down beside him.

    "Don't worry about that. I'm just happy that you are here now. Are your studies going alright? You could move back home if it becomes too much with both school and work you know." Her father said and Chris looked down on her knees. She hated when he brought up that subject.

    After Caleb had died, and Chris had gotten out of her worst depression, she decided that it was best to move away from home. There was too many memories inside her childhood home to be able to stay in it. It would just remind her of how Caleb and she used to be. Her mother had helped her to find a nice small and cheep apartment close to the school and home, and thanks to her fathers contacts she had been able to get a job that gave her enough money for the apartment, food at the table and some free time between school and work. Her father had tried to make her come home at many occasions though, even now he didn't like the idea of his 'little girl' being away from home.

    "I'm fine dad, I can take care of myself. I'm still in the top of my class and top ten in the whole school." She told him and tried to keep her voice steady and soft.

    "I know, but if you get problems with money or school, then don't hesitate to ask us for help." He continued, it was hard for a father to see his little girl grow up and become independent. But that wasn't the only reason he worried, both he and his wife knew that she mostly moved out because of Caleb's death, that's why he was worried that she wouldn't make it by herself.

    "You worry too much dad, its you who are lying in a hospital, not me." She reminded him and gave him a small smile.

    "I guess you're right." He laughed.

    Their conversation continued for another ten minutes before Chris kissed her father's cheek and told him goodbye. She hadn't planned to stay long, and she had to get back home before night time since she would be waking up early the next day.

    As she walked out of the hospital she worried a bit because she might meet that boy again, the one that looked like Caleb. She didn't want to open up those old wounds again, especially not since she stopped taking antidepressive medication just some months earlier. She really didn't feel like going back to those stupid drugs her psychologist used to give her. If it hadn't been for her parents paying for her therapy then she would never had gone to them at all. Now a days she was pretty happy that she had gone to a psychologist since it had helped. But at that time when it started she just felt like it was a waste of time. At that time she went once or twice every week, now she only went once a month since he wanted to check so she weren't falling back into old tracks.

    She walked towards the bus stop since she had no one to give her a drive home. She could just walk home if she wanted to since it only took forty minutes from the hospital and she actually liked a long walk, but at the same time she just wanted to relax a bit, and sitting on a bus half asleep, even if it only were for twenty minutes, was very relaxing.

    As she came to the bus stop and looked at the time table she decided that she should just walk since the bus wouldn't come for another fifteen minutes. She would be home just five minutes after the bus if she started walking immediately, which she did.
  5. Caleb fell into a kind of embarrassed despair as he watched Jasper’s awkward struggles at flirting girls into letting them spend the night. Having spent the last five hundred years in a dream world, Jasper’s tact was both out of date and out of practice. As Jasper humiliated himself again and again with unflagging determination, Caleb sank deeper into the shadows.

    Just as it seemed that Jasper would give up, a young woman stopped to talk to him. There was something about her that Caleb didn’t like. Her eyes were a little too big, her smile just a little too wide. Her clothes almost matched but didn’t. She was wearing a tank top with no jacket even though the spring night had become quite cold.

    Caleb was about to voice his concerns to Jasper when his twin turned around with a grin and said, “Caleb, I’d like you to meet Morgan. She’s offered to let us spent the night at her house.”

    Caleb could only stare at this Morgan skeptically. Morgan, meanwhile, greeted him warmly. She suggested that they go straight to her home because it was rather chilly and she was tired. When Caleb hesitated, Jasper pushed him into motion.

    If Caleb had been paying attention to where they were going, he would have been alarmed to discover that their destination was an abandoned building. He was too preoccupied with wondering whether Morgan was some sort of psychopath murderer or not to notice, however. He only paid attention once they’d entered Morgan’s “apartment” which appeared to be a very normal living space.

    “The guest room is through there,” Morgan directed.

    “I don’t know if I feel comfortable staying in a strange woman’s house,” Caleb whispered to Jasper.

    “You should have said something before now,” Jasper replied. “It will be fine, though. Just go to bed and don’t worry about it.”

    “I don’t think I can sleep here,” Caleb said.

    “Nonsense,” Jasper laughed, flicking Caleb on the forehead.

    As soon as he’d been flicked, Caleb felt so intensely tired that it was all he could do to stumble over to the bed before he fell asleep. Once asleep, he dreamt so vividly that, as long as he slept, he believed that the dream was that he had died.


    Caleb woke to the sound of his phone on the nightstand beside him. He hated the sound of his phone in the middle of the night but it was a sound he’d become much more acquainted with since Chris had become popular.

    He sat up with a groan and picked up the phone to check the caller ID, wincing at the bright light of its screen on his eyes. The ID confirmed it was Chris, which he’d suspected because no one else called him at…He checked his alarm clock which noted that it was well after midnight.

    “Hello?” he asked. He didn’t even bother to try to hide that he’d been sleeping just moments before. It wasn’t as if Chris would care anyway. Chris had long since stopped caring.

    Why Caleb loved her so much, he didn’t know. He wasn’t a very sociable person and he could go days without speaking to anyone without feeling the least bit lonely. He was one of those rare human beings who didn’t particularly need any human contact to function.

    The only exception was Chris. Chris had always been the exception. Ever since childhood, the only person Caleb associated with on his own was Chris. He’d thought that it was because she was kinder to him, more understanding than anyone else he knew. He was on the border of being a genius and he was paranoid and strange, which made honest kindness and understanding rare things in his life. She’d always pulled him a little further out of his shell than he would have liked, but he always allowed it so that he might impress her.

    Lately, his theories about Chris had been proven wrong. Not only had the kindness and understanding disappeared but they’d been replaced by cruelty and mockery. Up to a certain point, Caleb could blame his actions on a remembrance of the friendship they’d once shared but no logical person would have gone as far as he had.

    After examining his emotions for a long time, he’d finally been forced to term the driving force behind his stupidity, “love”. It was a sick love, weak-willed and blind, and Caleb hated it. What Caleb hated the most was that he had absolutely no desire to end the love. He’d been at war within himself for some time after that but it had been quite a while since he’d surrendered to the love. His last effort of resistance was to apply to a university far away to separate himself from Chris. He hadn’t told her that yet because he knew that if she asked him to stay and be her lackey for the rest of his life, he would. He’d let her find out when he moved away.

    “Hey Caleb, can you come and pick me up?” Chris was asking on the other end. He could hear the noise of the party in the background. He supposed she was leaving the party so early (early was a relative term, he’d picked her up from these parties before, sometimes even on his way to school) because she’d gotten in trouble for sleeping in class, or something like that…Caleb wasn’t certain because he hadn’t been in that class with her and she didn’t tell him anything anymore, except to order him around.

    “Yeah, sure, I’ll be there in a bit,” he said. His mind was already working over the problem of getting out of the house without his parents noticing. He had no idea the punishment he’d receive for sneaking out of the house at two thirty in the morning and he didn’t want to find out…


    “Thank you,” Jasper said as the three figures before him resumed their natural forms. The image of the apartment melted away around him and only the bed on which Thanatos slept, remained. Morgan became Morpheus, a cat jumped off a chair to become Phobetor, and a statue made itself into Phantasos. These were the Oneiroi, the brothers of Hypnos and Thanatos and they served Hypnos as dreams.

    “You are welcome, Hypnos,” Morpheus, the leader of the Oneiroi, said, “but take care not to include us any further in your war against our terrible sisters. We will not have it.”

    “I should not have to,” Hypnos said. “But this war is just, remember it. Atropos has acted too long without a true Thanatos to aid her. She has forgotten that their wills must always coincide peacefully and she may need to be shown the chaos that will result if they do not. You may leave me now; I have many things to do before the morning breaks…wait, Morpheus, stay.”

    With that word, Morpheus remained while the two other dreams returned to their allotted places.

    “I need one more thing of you,” Jasper said, “and then I shall need you no more on our quest.”

    “What do you ask?”

    “Read my twins dreams and find the name and the face of the woman he loves.”

    Morpheus silently moved over to the bed where Caleb slept and touched his forehead lightly. After a long pause, he looked up and took the form of a young woman. “Christina,” he said.

    Jasper thanked him again and Morpheus, resuming his natural form, returned to his home. One left alone with his sleeping twin, Jasper made sure that Caleb would not wake until he returned and set off to find Christina.

    As Hypnos, he could find anyone who was asleep and he used this means to discover Christina as soon as she slept that night. He used the rest of the night to find her abode. As locks can keep out Sleep no better than they can ward off Death, Jasper easily made it into Christina’s room once he had found the building.

    Jasper waited until Eos had begun her trek across the sky before waking Christina, satisfied that he could not be readily distinguished from Caleb in the dim light of early dawn.

    “Good morning, Christina,” he said. “Do not worry; I am not here to harm you. I only want to talk.”
    #5 Literary_Dreamer, Mar 25, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  6. The soft breeze lifted her hair, without realizing it Chris had been taking a much longer way home than necessary. Even though she had planned to get home early she still stalled it. She hated to be alone when she was reminded of Caleb. She was afraid of having more dreams about him if she fell asleep, and there was no other things to do when she were alone at home. Except for eating. If she could she would simply walk around aimlessly for days, or weeks, or month's. Just so that she wouldn't have to sleep, just so that she wouldn't have to think. But reality didn't work like that. She had a job and school and she needed to take care of her body by giving it sleep and food.

    In the end she ended up in her apartment, a bit against her will. She was alone. All the memories she had tried to suppress for so long poured down into her mind and she couldn't help but cry. Why did she have to see him? Why did someone that looked like Caleb suddenly stand in front of her? It couldn't have been an illusion, because every time she had seen an illusion in the past it had disappeared after she blinked. But the guy she had seen, he had been standing there, staring back at her. He had been real. But it wasn't Caleb. It couldn't be.

    Then she felt something brushing against her leg. Chris let one of her hands down beneath her kitchen table and patted her furry cat that craved for her attention. Or maybe it just tried to comfort her. It was probably doing a bit of both.

    The cat, Maja, jumped up at another chair and then continued up at the table. As Chris continued to gently pat the cat she started to purr. The cats sound calmed Chris down. "What would I do without you." She said quietly to the cat whom answered with a equally quiet meow which made Chris laugh a bit. "Yeah, you're right. No fun being with a cry baby. That guy didn't even look like Caleb, it was just my imagination playing pranks on me because I dreamed so weird in the car. Right?"

    The cat just stared at her as cats usually do before she proceeded to lick herself. "You will cough up hairballs later if you do that. Don't you ever learn?" Chris asked without getting any answers.

    The cat had been her cousins idea. When Chris just had moved out and felt lonely in the apartment Joanna had been telling her to get a cat. It took away the loneliness and if she felt like talking to someone but didn't want to be judged then the cat would be there to listen to her. At first she thought it would be worse if she got a cat, but Joanna came over with Maja just days after the suggestion and told her to take care of it for a week. If Chris really wanted to get rid of it after that then Joanna would simply take it to her house and take care of it. She already had three cats so one more wouldn't kill her.

    When that week had passed Maja had become a big part of Christina's life. She couldn't possibly give the little fur-ball to someone else, she had gotten to attached to the cat.

    She rose from the kitchen table and Maja didn't seem pleased with being left without anyone patting her. But once the food was being poured into her bowl she was fast on her paws on the floor. "Don't eat too fast, you will get stomach pains." Chris warned the small cat while she started to make herself something to eat.

    Once she had finished eating her french fries and chicken, that almost got stolen by Maja, she rose from her seat and fast took care of the dishes. Then she went to bed. It took some time before she fell asleep, she couldn't stop thinking about Caleb. She knew he was dead, but she was still worried. What if she had seen a ghost earlier that day?

    Her mind got affected by the dark and she started to worry about that his ghost had come back to kill her because it was her fault. What if he hated her. There was no reason for him not to do that. She had never believed in ghosts, but because of the dark she couldn't help but think about it. She knew that she would think of herself as stupid for considering such a thing once the sun was up.

    After Maja had curled up beside her she calmed down and were able to sleep. But the dreams weren't that pleasant.


    Chris was walking outside, the streets were abandoned and the houses and apartment buildings seemed to be in ruins. The sky was darkened by clouds and all trees that was planted seemed to have been burnt down. What had happened there? She wasn't certain, but it looked like something taken out of a horror movie. A zombie apocalyptic movie.

    She didn't know where she was walking or why she was walking in that direction, but something seemed to pull her forward. An eerie feeling gave her chills down her spine. It felt like the walls of the buildings were talking to her.

    'Run. RUN' Words that wasn't truly said but still heard echoed through the town. But she didn't run, she just kept walking. There was a place she had to see, but she had no idea what place it was. But she still had to see it, because she hadn't taken the courage to do it before. That's when fear entered her heart. It couldn't be that place, she didn't want to see that place. She wanted to turn around, but her legs didn't allow it.

    Then she was there, on that place. She couldn't breath. "Caleb..." She whispered. Why had she said his name? As if she had expected him to come and save her. Save her from what? "Caleb." She screamed. He couldn't be dead, but she knew she was standing on the place he had died on. Or at least the place where the car had crashed into them. But when did it happen? Did it really happen? It couldn't have happened. He couldn't be dead. "Caleb." She screamed again. She had no idea if he was alive or dead anymore, hadn't he died? But she hadn't seen his dead body so how could she be sure? She saw the coffin. What proof did that give?

    "Christina." A voice echoed from beneath the earth. Chris stopped in her steps and could barely breath. "Ca.." Her words stopped coming out as a hand grabbed her leg and started to pull her down into the earth. "Help." She screamed but no one was there. The further down she was pulled the more of the horrible creature came up from the earth. A human that had rotten and being eaten by earth's creatures. "Caleb?" Her words were once again a whisper and she couldn't take her eyes off of him.

    When had she stopped moving? When had she stopped trying to get herself free? She didn't know, but she didn't try to move again as he continued to push her down into the ground. Suddenly it was dark, and she couldn't breath.


    "Good morning Christina" A familiar voice suddenly said. She jumped back in her bed almost hitting the wall behind her. "Do not worry, I am not here to harm you. I only want to talk." The man said.

    Now there was two possibilities. One, he was Caleb that had come back from beyond the grave and wanted to speak to her for one reason or another. Or two, he was a look alike that just had broken into her apartment. She didn't like any of those explanations.

    "Caleb?" She asked as she stared at the male in front of her. In the dim light she couldn't see any differences between this man and Caleb. "Am I dreaming?" She found a third possibility, but it felt like she was awake, and nothing, except for Caleb, seemed to be something that only could be in a dream. Everything seemed so normal. And he seemed so alive. "How..." She couldn't finish the sentence. Why was he there?
  7. “Sadly, no,” Jasper said, not clarifying what he meant by that. Of course, the answer was to both of her questions. He hoped, however, that she would be more willing to talk to him if she believed he was Caleb.

    “It does not matter how I am here,” he continued. “What matters is why I am here. There is about to be a battle (I hesitate to say war) over your life. I am here to determine whether you are worthy of this battle. I have the means of stopping the battle if I choose.”

    Jasper pulled a phial out of his pocket and showed it to Chris.

    “I don’t expect you to know what this is, so I will explain. This is water from the Lethe River. The Lethe is the river of forgetfulness and she grants blissful forgetting to anyone who drinks her water. If I give this water to Thanatos, who is the god of Death, he will forget his goal of saving your life and there will be no battle and you will die…not immediately, but within the next year or so.”

    Jasper glanced out the window at the rising sun and knew his ruse wouldn’t last much longer. The light would betray him.

    “This crusade is dear to Thanatos’ heart,” Jasper said, speaking a little more swiftly now. “If it were not, I would not have hesitated to force the water upon him. Instead, I have come to determine your worthiness. I know it is early and you have only just woken up, but why shouldn’t I just let you die?”


    Meanwhile, Caleb was waking. Sleep did not hold him as firmly as Jasper would have liked. Death would always be stronger than sleep and when Caleb was done with it, he cast the sleep off like a light blanket. He sat up and looked around the deserted building which was lighted by the first rays of the sun.

    It took him a moment to recognize that Morgan and her house had been an illusion, most likely created by Hypnos. He was both flattered and insulted that Jasper had gone through so much trouble. He was flattered that Jasper had cared enough to create the illusion but insulted that he so obviously meant to leave Caleb behind—it was clear that Jasper was no longer within the abandoned building.

    If Caleb had been brave enough, he would have wished himself to wherever Hypnos was and would have been there in an instant. He was afraid, however, that he would lose his body in the process. He was wary of Hypnos’ warning that the body might decide it wanted to live without him and he wasn’t certain of its safety in this abandoned building.

    Caleb wasn’t sure how, but his instinct told him the direction Jasper had gone in. Perhaps it was that Jasper was his twin, perhaps it was part of him being Thanatos (because the feeling was just like the one he had when looking for those about to die). He didn’t question the feeling because he was too determined to find Jasper and demand an explanation.

    As morning painted the sky in reds and pinks, Caleb trudged down streets he didn’t recognize in search of his twin.
  8. Chris looked into the eyes of the man that was an exact copy of Caleb. She had no idea if it really was Caleb or not, if he had answered no to her first or second question. One part of her wanted the man in front of her to be Caleb, she wanted to apologize and tell him how much he meant to her. Another part hoped that it wasn't him and that it all just were a dream.

    A shiver went down her spine as the man continued to talk. "A battle.. over me?" She whispered so quietly it probably could not be heard by human ears. If the man in front of her really were Caleb then he should know already if he thought her worthy or not. When thinking from his perspective she could only think that Caleb would always see her as someone to protect even if she took his life. That was just the kind of person he had been. If after his life had been taken he would change his mind then he would probably be against her no matter what, but for him not to decide one side, impossible. She couldn't believe that the man in front of her was the same person she once had known if he had to ask her. But even if he wasn't Caleb, it didn't mean that what he said wasn't true, something bad was happening. Was it a dream? Or reality?

    She looked at the vial the man was holding in front of her and listened to everything he said. Why did the God of death want to save her? Didn't that go against his nature? Death was just another part of life, no one wanted to go through that part of living, but everyone had to. Chris felt her hands shaking a bit when he mentioned that she would die in maybe a year. She didn't want to die, at least not so soon. But what made her worthy of living? Nothing.

    Her eyes was locked on her hands for a moment as she was deep in thoughts. What should she tell him? 'Don't let me die, I'm not ready'? But who was ever ready for death? No one. With that thought she looked up at him again.

    "You're not Caleb, right? If it had been him, he would already have decided what to do without asking me." She told him. She wasn't certain if he would have tried to save her life no matter what or if he would have let her die because he held a grudge after his death, but she didn't think he would ask her what he should do about her life and death situation. If he wanted to save her then he would, if he wanted her to die then he would do nothing.

    "I don't really understand why this God of death wants to save my life, I don't think I'm worthy of saving. I used my best friend for years and then I became the reason for his death. I don't want to die, but that doesn't mean I'm worthy of living." She explained. It was weird that Thanatos were going so far as to start a war to save her life, why would he do that? She only knew one person that could be so stubborn, but there was no reason for death to... Her mind went blank for a second. One person that's stubborn enough to even cause a war for her sake. Caleb.

    "It can't be..." She mumbled as her eyes was fixed at the vial in the strangers eyes. Caleb couldn't be death, he had only died a year earlier, and death had existed forever. Was there more than one death God? Maybe. "It couldn't be that Thanatos actually are... Caleb?" She asked, shock was written all over her face. "It couldn't be right? That's ridiculous." She started to laugh nervously, there was no way that he had become the God of death after his own death. Was everything a dream? Would she wake up soon and realize that nothing that had been said was real?

    But if it was real, if everything around her was actually happening, then Thanatos was trying to save her life. And Thanatos might be Caleb. How come when she thought of the God of death coming to save her she felt that it shouldn't happen even though she was scared, but when she thought about the God of death as Caleb then she wanted it to happen. Why was she so hopeful all of a sudden? She might be wrong. And either way, if she were going to die then she should just let it happen. Even if he saved her, she would still die eventually. She took a deep breath and forced herself to pull herself together.

    "If it really is him, if it really is Caleb then please, let me speak to him. If he still doesn't feel like abandoning his mission after that then you should give him the water. Even if he saves me now, I will just die later. A humans life is short and that's why it's so precious, I guess I forgot that after his death. I walked around as if I were already dead, first when I hear that I might die within the year I start believing that I want to live. Even if I only have a year I should try to make it a good year, there is really no reason for you to let me live longer. There's no reason for it to become a war because of me. I don't want to be that selfish anymore."
  9. “I am impressed,” Jasper said, going to the window and opening the blinds so that the morning light would reveal how his appearance differed from his brother’s. “You are a sharp girl. I am not Caleb. My name is Jasper and I preside over sleep. Thanatos is my brother and it is my care for him that led me to make this unwelcomed visit.

    “The battle is a just one and it must be fought eventually. It will pose a great danger to my brother, however. I fear he does not yet have the strength to win. If he could succeed where he otherwise would have failed because he was granted more time, can you fault me for seeking this?

    “I am sorry that you must die for this, I truly am. I know what it is to die young because I died young myself. You are a brave girl and I admire that bravery. If you have trouble once you are dead and in the Underwold, find me—I am called Hypnos there—I will do whatever I can to help you. It is the least I can do when you are sacrificing yourself for my brother’s cause.”

    “Who’s sacrificing themselves for what?”

    Jasper turned around at the intrusion of a new voice to see Caleb leaning in the doorway. He looked impressive and, for once, he wasn’t trying. His only thoughts were on trying to repress his anger so that he did not kill his brother on the spot. In his anger, his already pale face had gone livid and made his complexion almost bone white. In the shadows, where he stood, he looked almost skeletal. Dressed all in black, he appeared very much like a menacing Grim Reaper.

    Who’s sacrificing themselves for what?” Caleb repeated.

    “Caleb—Thanatos…” Jasper said, struggling for words to explain himself with. He hadn’t expected his brother to arrive.

    “You said you were going to help me.” Caleb’s voice was low and dark. Caleb had always been a soft spoken person, but now his quiet tone was worse than if he had yelled. “Did you lie to me?”

    “No,” Jasper answered, almost breathless in the face of Caleb’s anger. “I never lied.”

    “Then what are you doing?” Caleb demanded.

    “I am helping you. This battle will be difficult. You aren’t strong enough. If you fight for the wrong reason you will fail and you could be banished to Tartarus.”

    “The wrong reason?” Caleb repeated. “And what is the right reason? Who are you to decide for me? Is it because I am too weak?” In an instant Caleb was across the room and had his brother by the neck. “I am stronger than you. Remember that and do not betray me again.”

    Caleb took a deep breath to calm his anger before turning to Christina.

    “I’m sorry that you have to be caught in the middle of all this, Chris,” he said. “I initially planned to protect you without getting involved in your life. I can still do that if you like. Just go back to sleep and this will all have just been a nightmare. I’m going to take care of everything. After all, what are friends for?” He smiled at her, but his smile was forlorn and full of sorrow.
  10. As the man in front of her let the light shine in on him through the window she could clearly see the difference between him and Caleb. It wasn't big, his hair was a bit lighter brown than Caleb's and his eyes was another kind of green. At first she thought that it might have been the man in front of her that she had seen in the hospital, but now she was certain that it had been Caleb she had seen and not the man in front of her.

    Chris listened carefully to what Jasper was saying. If there was any part of her that wanted to go back on her word of sacrificing herself then that part was gone. She didn't know what it meant to loose a war when you were already dead, could the soul be destroyed? In that case, would Caleb stop existing completely if he lost? She didn't want to ask, she didn't want to know. As long as she thought that it was the case then she could think of it as repayment, he once died for her now she could save him by dying. Her hands were shaking a bit, and maybe she became a bit pale, but she couldn't say that she wanted to be saved. She wondered for a moment if she even would remember Jasper's offer of help once she died, would she even remember the moment she had seen him in her apartment after he was gone? Or would she force herself to believe that it was a dream?

    Suddenly a voice spoke, but it wasn't Jasper. Chris turned her head and saw Caleb. He talked with a voice Chris had never heard before, it sounded so dark. She felt like taking her hands to her ears so she wouldn't have to hear his words, but she held her hands together at her lap, forcing them to stay in place. There was no way she could try to get in between them, the atmosphere around Caleb was as uninviting as it could be. But she was certain that nothing would happen more than words, at least that's what she wanted to believe.

    One word in their conversation bothered Chris more than anything else they could have said. Tartarus. She knew that she had heard about it before somewhere. A place in the underworld where the wicked would be tormented. In her thoughts she had completely lost track of their conversation and suddenly she noticed them being across the room. Chris immediately rose from the bed as she thought Caleb would actually hit Jasper, or worse, but before she had gotten anywhere he were already about to calm down.

    His words stabbed worse than a dagger in her heart, friend, how could he still say that. How could he look at her with those sorrowful eyes and say such things to her. She didn't say a word as she walked closer to him, except for his clothes he looked just the same. It was as if he hadn't died at all, as if he just had taken a vacation and then returned. She looked up at him, maybe a second or two passed before she felt her hand rose and she slapped him as hard as she could.

    "Stop being so damn stupid." She screamed at him. She would have preferred if he hated her, despised her for always using him. But instead he were the same as usual, even though he was hurt by helping her he still continued to do it. "How exactly are we friends? I used you over and over and over again until you died. And now you want me to do it again, letting you get yourself thrown into a war that you might loose just to buy me more time. I will die Caleb, I will die no matter what."

    Even though there was so much she would have liked to apologize for, so much she wanted to make up to him, non of the words she had wanted to say came out.
    "Were you really so thick headed so you didn't noticed no one actually liked you, we were using you because we knew that you wouldn't say no to me." She didn't know when, but at some point tears had started to fall down from her eyes as she screamed at him.

    "Couldn't you at least get some sense after you died and hate me for what I did?" Her hands had turned into fits and she dug her nails into her skin as she forced herself to quiet down a bit. "If you are going to be so damn thick headed, then at least say yes when I tell you not to bother with me or my life anymore. You always do everything I tell you right? Then let me die." She couldn't look at him, in the last of her sentences she had turned her face towards the floor. She could barely remember half of what she had screamed at him, she just knew that nothing of what she had said was what she had wanted to say.

    But maybe it was for the better like that. If she had told him gently how sorry she was and that he should stop with what he was doing then he might still do it. If he thought that she was just as cruel as the people she used to hang around then maybe he would stop it because he realized how stupid it was to protect someone like that. even though that wasn't how she had wanted to do it it was too late already. Instead of showing how she changed maybe it was better if she pretended not to have changed. It was better to simply be the bad guy that no one would risk their life for.
  11. Caleb tenderly touched the place on his cheek where Chris had slapped him. “You know,” he said, “it really is bizarre to feel the pressure of a slap but not the pain...”

    He paused then, as if considering everything that Chris had said. In his silence, his posture changed from relaxed to one that exuded a careful arrogance and his expression shifted from sorrowful to cold.

    “Well, at least you are consistent,Christina,” he said. “Which is really a good thing because you have almost nothing else going for you—even the Fates are against you. But, seriously, I'm glad you didn't go all weepy on me just because I died. I'm not sure I could be more disgusted with a woman like you but I think I might have managed it if you had.

    “You must really think I'm stupid, though. You can't possibly believe that I was unaware that you and your precious little friends were mocking me behind my back. I already knew that everything you made me do was one big joke. I was nothing more than your nerdy little servant boy. I think we both know that the worst part of it was that I did everything because I really and truly loved you. I can't even fathom how it was possible.

    “We can both be glad now because that was a long time ago. Neither of us has to be burdened by my feelings any longer. I don't have any. I don't love you but I don't hate you. You are so puny now. It would be a waste of time. You are a tool, however, and I'm sure you can understand that because I was the same thing to you once upon a time. I want my revenge on the Fates so I'm picking a fight. I could have had a long and happy life but the Fates decided to kill me young and so I'm going to give them hell for it. You simply happened to be nearby and I decided to use you.

    “So, you see, this has nothing to do with you. I'm not listening to you any longer. In fact, you'll be lucky if, when I've put the Fates back in their places, I decide to make your life a living hell. It's not personal; it's purely destructive fun, like burning ants with a magnifying glass. After all, it gets boring being nearly all-powerful and completely immortal since I can't die twice. Enjoy your life.”

    Caleb then turned on his heel and walked out of the room. He'd never spoken up to Christina like that before and he now knew why—it left a very bad taste in his mouth. Still, if he couldn't use sugar to convince her, he had to try vinegar even if he didn't believe a word of what he'd just said.

    Jasper remained with Chris, completely dumbfounded.

    “I don't know what's gotten into my brother,” he said when he found his voice again, “but if he goes into battle with that mindset, he'll lose for certain. Even if I wanted to give him the Lethe water now, I don't think he'd let me close enough. I've...lost his trust. I know you probably won't believe me, Christina, but if anyone can stop him, I'd bet that it would be you. It must be uncomfortable for you to deal with the dead like this but if you can help in any way, I swear that I will do everything in my power to grant you one wish, whatever it might be.”
    #11 Literary_Dreamer, Apr 20, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
  12. Chris could feel her cheeks becoming red, she didn't know if it was because of anger or embarrassment though. She waited for Caleb to answer, or hit her back, or just walk away, she was prepared for everything except for what actually happened.

    Caleb's posture and expression changed and as she looked into his eyes there wasn't a trace of the person she used to know. He was too cold. It almost made her step back but she forced herself to pretend she wasn't moved by the sudden change.

    His words were like a knife cutting right into her heart. Going all weepy on him was exactly what she thought she would have done when she saw him. She thought she would have apologized for killing him, asking him while crying that he should just stop the nonsense he was trying to do. But no, instead she had yelled at him, made herself into a bigger jerk than when Caleb had been alive.

    But she had thought he was stupid, stupid for listening to her even though she wasn't worth it. Loving her even though she was selfish and just wanted to please her so called friends. Even though she herself had never truly loved him, she had seen him as her best friend for years, and even when she used him she had wished for them to be friends, but that had been impossible for her other friends would have ditched her. She hurt her best friend because she thought popularity was more worth. Just like him she couldn't understand how his love for her could be possible.

    The knife dug into her even deeper as he told her how his feelings was completely gone. No love, no hate. Even though she was happy he didn't hate her, no feelings at all was even worse. Now he was even using her as a tool for his own happiness. Chris tried to breath but somehow she had no idea how to do that for some time.

    She didn't even have a chance to say a word after he was finished before he had walked out. As he was gone from the room she started to walk backwards towards the bed and sat down on it, still staring in shock towards the door Caleb had just left through.

    He had just spoken in a way Chris had never heard before, he was always nice towards her. Had he changed so much since he died? It was as if he was a completely new person, she couldn't recognize him at all. If she hadn't been so shocked she might have noticed the hints of lies in his words, but the thought that he might not have meant what he said didn't even cross her mind.

    "How could I do anything now? You heard him, he doesn't even care about me anymore." She told Jasper and noticed too late the panic in her voice. She forced herself to calm down. "I don't want him to get hurt, but how could I stop him when he probably wouldn't trust a word I say to him? I could tell him to stop, but do you honestly think he would listen to me now?"

    Even if she apologized now it wouldn't matter, he had already made it clear that he didn't care for her. If she apologized he would probably just tell her that he didn't care, maybe even think that it was because she wanted to get out of being used by him. Her only chance to apologizing had completely disappeared out of reach and now she would probably never get it back.
  13. “No,” Jasper said. “I do not think you will be able to change my brother’s mind. There is nothing that will. He is more determined to save your life than I’d ever imagined. I’m actually quite amazed that you stood up to him the way you did after you saw how he reacted to my defiance. You’re not really that person any more, though, are you? The look on your face tells me not. The two of you misunderstand each other so much I’m astounded you’ve gotten along so far without a translator. Don’t worry now, you silly little girl. I’ll be your translator. I might not have known my little brother very long but I think I understand him fairly well.

    “I’ll tell you what I know,” Jasper continued, sitting on the bed beside Chris, “but in return, you have to seriously consider the choices I give you at the end.

    “First, you must understand that at the beginning of the universe, the one who created it decided that great people would be placed in charge of running the world so that it would not devolve into chaos. Unfortunately, it takes time to breed great people. Therefore, in the meantime, substitutes ruled. Each substitute was replaced by a greater individual until the perfect person for that role. Five hundred years ago, I became the perfect ruler of sleep. One year ago, our friend Caleb became the perfect ruler of death. This was always Caleb’s fate, from the moment he was born. Because Death is young, the twin of Sleep, he could not have survived his twentieth year even if he hadn’t died in that accident. If he’d survived the accident, he would be dead or dying now anyway. He knows this; he knew it even when he told you that he wanted revenge on the Fates for cutting short what would have otherwise been a long life.

    “Next I’d like to tell you a story I heard about Caleb from Thomas (Thomas was Thanatos before Caleb). I’m sorry the story has to come second hand but I’ll tell you that I heard it before I met Caleb and I didn’t believe it until I met him. This is almost word for word what he told me.

    You know how much I dislike taking the lives of children, Brother, so I’m sure you can imagine what sort of shape the boy was in when I was called. I can only assume that it was the doing of our sisters, because he had to die, as we now know. The only life that was left for him was connected to machines, not even aware that he was alive. That’s not life, so I took him. It was the greatest mercy I could do. There was a girl with him but there was no reason to take her so I let her be. I only mention her at all because she’s important later. I waited until the boy was at the hospital to take him because I didn’t want him to see the horror of the wreck which was the instrument of his demise.

    When the boy died, it must have been like waking up to him. His mind had been so completely destroyed by the impact that I cannot imagine the type of existence he had before I took him. He was stunned by his return, I could tell. He was so dazed that I took him to sit down near where they’d placed his body to wait until someone, anyone, had time to move him to the morgue. The girl was still in serious condition and much more important than a dead body. I was about to tell him the bad news when some sort of understanding hit him and he spoke.

    ‘I’m at the hospital, aren’t I? No, don’t tell me. I know I’m at the hospital. There was a…car. I tried…I couldn’t…do anything. An accident…we…we…we crashed…’

    It was hard for him to remember the accident and the more he tried the more frustrated he became until he simply gave up. He fell silent for a moment then looked at me with a clarity I’d never seen in someone who had just died before. ’What happened to Chris?’ he asked.

    At first, I thought he was talking about himself. I didn’t know his name and, though it would have been bizarre for him to refer to himself in the third person like that, he was bizarre enough already for me to believe it. Then he repeated, ‘What happened to Christina?’ and I knew he meant the girl who had been with him.

    ’She is injured,’ I told him, ‘but she will recover.’

    ’Completely?’ he wanted to know. ‘She’s not going to be paralysed or blind or anything, is she?’

    ’Completely,’ I told him. But that wouldn’t satisfy him. He wouldn’t be pleased until I’d sworn on the Styx that she would recover completely and that the accident would have no effect on her lifespan. He was quiet for a while and I suspected that he’d realised what had happened to him but then he spoke and surprised me again.

    ’How am I going to explain to my parents why I crashed their car at three in the morning on a school night? I’m glad that Chris won’t be able to party for a while because I doubt I’ll have access to a car. Oh, and my mother’s going to be crying because she was worried and my father’s going to be yelling loud enough for the entire neighbourhood to hear. I feel guilty already.

    ’Aren’t you curious about what happened to yourself?’ I asked. I didn’t want to tell him what had happened but there was no way not to. He had to know that he was dead at some point.

    ’Why? Chris is all right. I’m not in pain. What happened to me isn’t important. I’m just glad the car hit my side and not hers.’

    ’How can you not be curious?’ I demanded, perplexed by this strange boy.

    ’Because,’ he said, looking at me with strange eyes, and I realised that they only looked strange because he was trying not to panic or cry, ‘I have a good idea what happened to me and I’ve been trying very hard not to think about it. Because…that’s me over there, isn’t it?” He pointed to the gurney where his body still lay.

    I’m glad it’s him, now. I’m glad because he’ll be a good Thanatos and he’ll be good for the Underworld as Thanatos. He knew, I think, from the very moment he died that he was dead and yet he worried about that girl and his parents before he grieved for himself. A person with a heart that big, that unwavering is perfect for this because he won’t change no matter how much this world tries to change him.

    “I’m sorry if that was uncomfortable for you to hear that. It was the first thing I heard about Caleb. I didn’t believe it at first because it’s scary as hell to die young and violently. Suddenly, you are separated from everyone you love simultaneously because they’re all still alive. You don’t know when you’ll see them again but you know that it will be a long time and you don’t know if they’ll even remember you when they die because it will have been so long and your life was so short and insignificant that you can’t possibly believe you’ve left any discernible mark on anybody. All of that had to have been going through Caleb’s head that night and yet he remembered you and worried about you before he worried over the life he would never have.

    “It’s not just that, though. He remembered you even after he moved to the Underworld. It would have been so easy for him to sip some Lethe water and have no more pain, no more hurt, no more love, no more Chris. He didn’t, though. He did try to get over you, though, the hard way. Sometimes he’d talk to me because we had similar experiences with love (yet so very different, I’ve come to find out) but more often than not, he’d keep it all to himself. I listened when he would let me and I learned what I could about my brother.

    “He loved the person you’d been before you became popular and started using him and what you did hurt him every day until he couldn’t take it any longer. He was going to study far away just to be free of you, until the Fates handed him a one way ticket to the furthest place he could go. He wasn’t free of you, though; he couldn’t forget you. He wondered what had happened to you but he didn’t dare go see you. He hoped that the accident had reminded you that life was too important to keep living it the way you had been and that you had become the person he loved again. He feared that it had cemented in you a feeling that ‘you can only live once’ and that you became worse.

    “When Caleb saw you at the hospital yesterday, he still loved you. There is a law that only the dead and those who will die within a year can see Thanatos. Caleb hadn’t known the second part of that law when you saw him. He knew that you weren’t dead but he couldn’t understand how you could see him. When I explained to him that you had, at most, a year to live he said, But I don’t want her to die!

    Don’t mistake me, he didn’t mean that he didn’t want you to die ever; that would be cruel. He just doesn’t want you to die young. He doesn’t want you to feel all that hurt that comes with dying young, like he felt, and he doesn’t want you to die without doing things like falling in love or having a family or whatever else you might want to do because no matter how nice the Underworld might be, it isn’t life. All he wants is for you to have a long happy life because he loves you and that is the best he can wish for you.

    “I was worried that you weren’t good enough for that. I was afraid that he’d just imagined the good girl that he loved, that you’d always been the one who hurt him and always would be that person. I now believe I may be wrong. You’ve just proved to Caleb, however, that I might be right.

    “Who know? Maybe he’s still clinging to his truth and you’ve just let him down or maybe he is really convinced now that everything he ever loved is just a figment of his imagination. Maybe he really believed every word he said to you or maybe he knew it for the lie it really was. Either way, he’s angry and he’s hurting and he’s probably confused. That is no state of mind to fight a battle in.

    “Now, I don’t know if you’re the sort of girl who would just leave the man who has been so loyal to you for this long to fail and suffer the torments of Tartarus for rebelling against the Fates only to be returned to his post (because he cannot be removed from it permanently as he is the perfect Thanatos) as a twisted, heartless creature who will teach people to fear death as they never have before without even trying to save him. If you are that girl then you are exactly what I thought you were. This will have all been a dream to you and you will die before the year is out, regardless of Caleb’s fate.

    “If you are not that girl, then you have to at least try even if it is hard. Caleb probably won’t listen to you right away but, if you don’t try, both of you are doomed. You don’t even have to convince him to let you die. If you can just convince him to fight the Fates with a level head, convince him that he deserves to win against them, then you are worthy of living anyway.

    “So, what do you choose? Go back to sleep and doom both yourself and Caleb or come with me and have a chance at saving Caleb and possibly yourself?”
    #13 Literary_Dreamer, Apr 29, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  14. She couldn't stop staring at Jasper as he told her how she and Caleb had simply misunderstood each other. She had a hard time believing that she could actually misunderstand Caleb that bad, especially since they had known each other for all their life. As he spoke the differences in his and Caleb's personalities really shined through. Jasper's words felt calming and assuring, Caleb had never had the chance to show that side of himself if he had it.

    It felt a bit weird that he spoke about Caleb as his little brother, but she noticed that she started to get used to it more and more. She listened carefully at what Jasper was saying, trying to process all the information he gave her.

    It felt as if everything he told her came from a movie and a mythology book, it was too unreal to be true. But how could she not accept it as the truth when they were right in front of her eyes. Chris wasn't much of a skeptic, if she saw a ghost then she believed in a ghost, if she saw an alien then she would believe it was an alien until it was proven to be wrong. That was probably why those 'friends' of hers had been able to use her as much as they had.

    As he told her about Caleb's reaction at the hospital she couldn't help but get teary eyes. She hoped he hadn't noticed it and turned to look at her hands instead. Caleb had cared for her, even though he knew he was dead. He had asked how she had been instead of caring for himself. He even thought about his parents, wanted to explain to them. If he hadn't been dead then it hadn't surprised her, but thinking about such things even though he had just died, that was a new level even for him.

    It hurt a bit when he told her how Caleb might believe that Jasper had been right about her. If she could turn back time and change her words then she would love to do so, but that wasn't an option as far as she knew.

    To go back to bed and forget everything felt very tempting at that moment, but even if she did that it wouldn't solve anything. She would still miss Caleb, she would still want to apologize to him for how she behaved when he was alive. And when she died he might still be in Tartarus and she wouldn't be able to meet him. Maybe he wouldn't listen to her immediately, but with enough time she might be able to apologize, get rid of all the misunderstandings.

    Christina took a deep breath before she spoke. "What's the point of falling asleep again when I just need to wake up soon anyway?" She had no idea what she could do to make Caleb listen to her, but she would at least try.

    "I loved the me before I became popular too. I might not have had many friends but at least I could live without hurting anyone. Caleb was always smiling and we used to play around in the park. We were so carefree then. Then I was invited to the popular table by the schools most popular girl. That was the first time anyone except Caleb had actually cared to talk to me if I didn't talk to them first. I felt happy.

    But then they told me I couldn't be with a geek like Caleb. At first I met him anyway, but then they started to spread rumors about me, putting disgusting things in my bag and such things. I don't think Caleb even knew about it. You were either against them or with them, that was the rules. So in the end I abandoned Caleb, I guess I was a bit scared, but it wasn't for the bullying. I didn't want them to stop talking to me. That was the first time and maybe only time I might be able to get into the popular table. So I was selfish, and I abandoned him." Chris explained, Jasper knew Caleb's version of the story and had thought about her as evil, she just wanted him to have her version of the story before judging her completely. It didn't justify her, but she wanted to get it off her chest.

    "Soon they got to know that he was in love with me, of course I had suspected it but I didn't want to destroy our friendship because I couldn't see him as more than my best friend. Then they wanted me to use him. They told me what I should make him do. First it was small things, they probably tested how far they could go for me. Then it became bigger stuff, and then I started to make him do things that was my ideas. Mostly that was to drive me to places or small things like that. I thought that if they were going to use him in my name then I should start doing it just so that the fault could be completely mine. I felt horrible in the beginning. Then I started to lay the guilt on him because he could just say no, still he didn't.

    At the night for the accident I left the popular group. I were at a party and decided that I couldn't do it anymore. It wasn't a new thought, I had thought it for weeks. But it was scary to break free from people I depended on. I called Caleb and asked him for a ride home. I had meant to talk to him, apologize, ask for forgiveness. I didn't think we could go back to how we once were, but at least I wanted to stop how we was.

    We sat completely silently for a long time in the car, I wondered how I should start the talk. But I never got the chance to say anything before it was too late. When I woke up in the hospital I didn't really think about my wounds, I just asked where Caleb was. I don't even remember how I reacted when they told me he was dead. You told me that he would have died soon even if he hadn't died in the car accident. Even if that's true at least he could have died without thinking of me as a person that only wanted to use him. If the accident had been minutes later then at least he would have known, and I wouldn't have walked to his grave time after time apologizing without even knowing if he could hear me or not.

    I can't deny that what happened was my fault, but I'm not more than human, and every teenager makes bad choices. The least I can do is to fix what I destroyed. I hurt him, and in the process I hurt myself. Now its time for me to do something about that. I won't go back to sleep, I won't forget it. I want to destroy the misunderstandings, I don't want him to get hurt anymore. And when I die, this year or the years to come, then I want to be able to see him without a wall of misunderstandings and doubts between us. Whatever it takes, even if it cost my life, I want to save him."
  15. “I understand,” Jasper said. “I really do. Human nature hasn’t fundamentally changed since I was alive. Not all of us are as strong as Caleb, able to withstand the enmity of those in power with that quiet dignity peculiar to him. Perhaps you have not seen his dignity, perhaps you felt too guilty to see it, but since I met him I’ve noticed it as a key characteristic in him. Not many are as dignified as he in the face of such misfortunes as he has faced. But I digress. I am more like you than I am like my brother. That is to say that, placed in a situation not dissimilar from yours, I reacted as you did. However, there was no reason for me to suspect that your sentiments were like mine, especially when I only heard Caleb’s side of the story. He may not have blamed you, blinded by affection as he was, but he did not lie about the facts. He did not blame you but he did not understand you and so I could not understand.

    “Things are clear now. You’ve made the right decision. I’m of the mind that it is never too late to be forgiven until it is too late. It is not too late yet. Still, we should hurry. Every moment we spend talking is a moment that Caleb could be getting himself into trouble. One misstep on any of our parts and we can kiss our chances at forgiveness from my dear brother goodbye.

    “I’ll leave you some privacy to dress but, before I go, there’s a question I would like you to contemplate. Don’t answer me right now but think it over and let me know when you’re certain. How well do you know Emma Galiger, Caleb’s younger sister from his human family? I’d like to meet her. If possible, I’d like to ask for her help. I won’t do it if you think it’s unwise but, from the little I heard, she and Caleb were close. She could be the foot in the door that we need. She’s not offended him lately, as far as I’m aware. I won’t do it if she’s too fragile or if it will scar her forever or something. Anyway, just think it over. If we should go to her straight away, if we should wait until we’ve checked everywhere else first, if we shouldn’t go to her at all—it’s up to you. I’ll leave you to change now.”

    Jasper left the room and went to sit in the kitchen to wait.

    Part of his reason for asking about Emma Galiger was, and he would never admit this to Chris, personal. Caleb was Jasper’s younger brother and Emma was Caleb’s sister. Because of that it felt like Emma was somehow like a sister to Jasper, even if they’d never met before. Jasper hadn’t had a sister when he was alive and so he wanted to meet Emma at least once, just to have that experience.

    He pieced together his imagined version from what he’d managed to get Caleb to tell him. She looked just like Caleb, only smaller and feminine. She was shier than him, though, and didn’t have any friends. She purposely wore her hair long so that she could hide behind it. She wasn’t very fond of Christina, a dislike which had turned to disgust and outright hatred when Chris joined the popular group. After Christina had started abusing her friendship with Caleb, Emma stopped using Christina’s name and referred to her only as “the witch.” The reaction had surprised Caleb because Emma was a kind and generous girl who was never violent towards anyone. At least, she was according to Caleb.

    The description led Jasper to believe that Emma wouldn’t lift a finger to aid Christina, but she might be willing to do a lot to help her brother. If Chris gave the go-ahead, Jasper would be counting on that second bit to gain her help. The girl clearly cared a lot about her brother. That might also mean that his death had left her deeply wounded and that she might not be up for helping them.

    Afraid that counting on Emma wasn’t necessarily the best plan, Jasper came up with all the places he thought they might find Caleb. There was the abandoned building, the hospital, Caleb’s grave, and, worst of all, the Underworld. Jasper was worried that his brother might have eaten the pomegranate seed. If he had, things would get a lot more difficult for them. It wasn’t unheard of for a living human to enter the Underworld, but the task was incredibly dangerous and that was only if Christina was willing to go into the Underworld before her time.

    Frustrated, Jasper ran his fingers vigorously through his hair. Perhaps he would have been better off just leaving everything to Caleb. Going back home to sleep sounded very good just then but he knew that he couldn’t just abandon Christina now that he’d asked her to help him save Caleb. Not to mention the trouble he’d gotten Caleb into by setting up the whole situation that upset him in the first place. No, Sleep would have to stay right where he was and wide awake for the moment.