Remembering

It is nearly lunch time and the line to the cash register consists of two men and three women. Each person has a different issue of a comic they possess in their hands. One male was holding a My Little Pony, Deadpool, and Dr. Strange comics while the female behind him appears to be clutching to her chest a Justice League and Thor comic. Catching a glimpse of these titles leads one to believe that these people enjoy the storytelling of magic worlds and intense violence dealing with the main character in the comic. Maybe to them, it is their mental release from reality and a break from the social conventions of their lives. In the background, you can hear the pitter-patter of a young child’s shoes across the wooden floor. Another child not too far from the other is grabbing comics off the lower shelves that allow his stubby arms to reach. One by one the child pulls the comics out of the slots and places them on the floor to try and read them. Moments later, the parent of the child embarrassingly puts two or three back upon the shelves and internally prays their kid did not mess up the comic book. Adjacent to the parent, a different kid cries because they could not have the comic they wanted because the material was too pricey for the wallets that paid for their ice cream. The line becomes shorter after fifteen minutes of a nerd and a geek debating who would win in a fight: Superman or Green Lantern. Thankfully before an argument about which DC Comic superhero would win, a group of teenagers come down the stairs and have more to add to the store, which was named Gotham Comics.

This group of teens comes in with stories of their lives and how they made a decision to check out the local comic books store. Some are new and have no idea what or where they are walking into. Almost as if they have taken a arcane transportation to a magical land of some mystery. The owner greets them in a friendly manner. Presumably, the owner has known two of the teenagers for quite some time because he starts a quick conversation and there ensues a few laughing moments between them. Once the moment is over, the owner starts to make sure the shelves are well-organized. The owner, he keeps the shelves filled with comics, board games, action figures, and other stock neat and orderly for a customers’ gaze and consumption. This allows paying individual to feel like it is a professional establishment. It becomes pleasing to the eyes of the buyers and regulars that come into the store from the back entrance leading in or from the front entrance of the store. The store has a counter made of glass and within that glass counter houses fantasy card games, such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering. In the back of the store is a large glass case that holds dvds with comic book characters and anime TV shows from row to row. To the right of it is an assortment of full-size action figures that consists of Superman, Aquaman, Wolverine, Sabretooth, Star Trek, Transformers, and more. Horizontal to the action figures is a stand that is holding how-to books on writing for comics and illustrating comics that also have a mix of regular fantasy novels just below on another shelf. It has been this way since learning that the store owner has remained there in the city of Westminster Maryland for at least fifteen and a half years with his store.

One of the teenagers passes by the rows of trade paperbacks that range from titles, such as Superman, Batman, and  Preacher to Constantine, Sandman, Fables, and more. Within those books are one to eight issues of comics that are compacted into one volume. Others are complete stories that make it easier and more convenient than having to painfully and painstakingly search through the long-haul section of different comics for a single issue of a comic. The teenager walks away from the trade paperbacks and scours the store some more. More and more people have come in a few seconds later. It is odd for this many people to come in at a time like this on a Thursday afternoon when normal hours consist of roughly two to four people. At this time, I am currently carrying a comic I just paid for, but I find myself lingering around the store because there was more to see and find out what was there. I find that my ear has caught a conversation between the store owner and a new customer.

A male asks the owner of the comic book store if there are any Dungeons & Dragon tournaments to sign up for, but unfortunately, the owner lets the male know that the positions had been filled. The person’s face is shocked by the fact that they have missed their chance. This man, about 5’9’ in stature with square glasses and short unkempt hair, is an employee from the Weis supermarket because he is still in his uniform. The man then looks around for an item for a different game he has, finds what he was looking for, pays for it, and eventually leaves. After ten minutes of witnessing this, I began looking over the board games in a corner of the store that is right next to the owner’s office. His door resembles an atrium design for lavish houses, but it is miniature in comparison. The walls in this corner share a company of games like Risk, Betrayal at The House on The Hill, Payday, Lost Cities, and more. Of course, these games have their own rules and regulations within the confinements of the captivating boxes.

The atmosphere of the comic book store is cozy and quiet on some days, and when talking to other people there is a wholesome friendliness in the store, so that no matter where you come from, young, middle-aged, or older, everyone is treated respectfully by the owner and those that come in the store. Especially the new people who have never been to a comic book store before because the level of respect brings good experience and new customers that just might seek to return. The comic book store is a place of nerds where comics are treated like gold and can be discussed without feeling out of place, geeks who can trade and sell card game characters, and people who want to buy presents for those individuals who are unable to hang out within this place. I should know because I would hang around for the fun of meeting new people, interacting, and talking with them on new and old comics. There is always something more to see since the last time a person was there. That could range from new comics, new trade paperbacks, tournaments, and even comics and other merchandise that go on sale for a limited only. A comic book store in its own popularity is a place to buy these written and artful materials that express imagination, drama, cultural representation, and most importantly great stories with a feeling people will come back again. It is a place that cannot be missed anyone due to a fantastic wonder of exploration and discovery that at times takes a few hours to sift through everything.

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Lust

Heart

Lust, desire, and passion-filled every pore. It was what happened whenever she was around him. He was forbidden fruit to her. He was with another, but each time either of them saw each other the lust took over. They hadn’t given into the lust and desire that was experienced between them. They made sure they never were alone together. It would be too much temptation if that ever happened. A few stolen moments were all that they had shared. She longed for his touch, longed to inhale his scent, and longed for his attention upon her very soul. Her body ached for him because she could not verbally express what she was feeling when around him. She had a meeting with him, they were both in charge of a huge charity event at the moment. She took a deep breath and opened the door and stepped into his office with confidence and courage. Her heart beat faster as their eyes met. She could feel a burning sensation in her heart and it wasn’t heartburn; it was a raging desire for the man she saw before her.  The lust in her eyes was matched by his. There was an off-limits vibe to this situation, but what could be told from a small encounter between them that they had this very moment? Could she make it through this meeting, she had a feeling that she wouldn’t. The lust was in the air and it was just a matter of time before the desires outweighed the boundaries stricken between them.

Robbie

If there is one thing to learn about human life, it would be at some point our existence will end. Some people spend their whole lives in fear of dying, and in return, they never see the true beauty in our world. Unfortunately, some people aren’t given the same opportunities as others, but isn’t that what life is about? Taking what you may or may not have and making the best of it. Back in the day, there was really only one thing us young boys did without our time. It was fought for our country and the rights that we built our nation off of. Us soldiers were proud of our country and would do anything to protect it, even die so it may live on. But at what point does something like war give just-cause for ending people’s lives. Just because two people didn’t like each other, us ‘subordinates’ have to fight against each other to prove one was right. Now that may be a little exaggerated, especially when we’re talking about WWII, but the point is we didn’t need to lose so many men; fathers, sons, and brothers. The things I have seen and done for the betterment of our ‘cause’ is borderline criminal. It has taken roughly eight years for me to write this, but what I have done must be told. I still can see it as it happened yesterday. Today marks the date of the ‘anniversary’ of when it happened. Even using a word such as anniversary to describe such thing. Funny how of all things I am nitpicky about, it’s whether anniversary fits what I am trying to write. Nevertheless, if I had the balls when I came back from the war, I’d probably be rotting in some jail cell. Anyway, this whole story-more so atrocity-began back when the Japs first bombed our naval yard in Hawaii.

I and my best friend Robbie Anderson were only eighteen at the time, and we were as prideful as Uncle Sam himself. We wanted to be in the action. We wanted to get those Nazi and Japanese bastards. As two boys from the podunk town of Rock Hill, North Carolina, all we knew was we needed to fight for freedom. Several years of trying to convince our parents went by, while our boys were fighting to end the tyranny that had risen in the world. By this point, I wouldn’t get to see any action to contribute to our victory. One Wednesday in early 1944, the military came to town asking for new recruits for the army. I had talked with Robbie about it and we both agreed to go in together. That night, I had to convince my parents that this is what I wanted. After I returned home from school, I did all the chores and homework, as to get on Ma’s good side. Pa would be the hard one to convince since he’d seen all that war shit from WWI. He wouldn’t have been too happy.

It was quiet that evening, and we just finished saying our prayers for dinner. Ma made her famous meatloaf with string beans. It was always my favorite. We all sat down at the newly finished wooden table Pa had made for Ma’s birthday. The house smelled like pine trees for almost two weeks. My silverware sat in front of me as I thought about how to bring it up. I felt my face warm up, and the faint yellow light emitting from the ceiling seemed awfully too bright. I felt as though I were to be investigated on the spot.

“Ma, Pa, I want to join the army!” I yelled as I stood up from the table.

The words spewed from my mouth so fast, I sat down avoiding eye-contact. Neither of them said anything at my first iteration. So, I spoke up again to find a confirmation of their decision. “Well, aren’t you going to say anything about it?” I questioned while I looked directly at my father. He didn’t even flinch. In the meantime, Ma paused her eating, made a quick glance with her eyes at me and Pa. Pa finished his last slab of meatloaf and placed his silverware next to his plate. His head tilted upwards as he glared me down with a face I knew all too well. As he stared at me, I forgot about the scar he had on his left cheek. He never told me where he got it from, but always just said that it was from the war. I noticed Ma had left the table, acting as if dinner had already finished. I heard the sink turn on from the kitchen. The silence had finally ended when Pa answered my striking question.

“Listen here boy, if you wanna risk your life in some God-forsaken place halfway ‘round the world, then do it. My time in the war must’ve taught you nothing. War is no place for a boy like you,” Pa drilled into me as he went back to eating the rest of his plate. When he had finished, he left the table and went outside. I don’t really remember much else that evening other than hearing my mother’s voice screaming through the walls as much to my father for not saying anything more about steering me away from joining a war I supposedly had no business in. All I did for the rest of that night was stared out the window of my room, watching the stars above glow with excitement. A strange combination of excitement filled my head, but the only thought in my head was that I needed to do this. The orange shine from the morning sun filled my bedroom, and I had already been up getting ready to meet Robbie by the Town Hall where they would ship us off to a boot camp. I rushed out of the house wearing my Sunday best to impress the officers that would be there. Robbie’s short black hair and bulky body stood out from the crowd of young men lining up on the buses.

“Hey Robbie,” I bellowed at him. His head spun and a grew a smile grew on his face as he waved at me.

“Hey Frank, how are ya this morning?” he responded as he tried too hard with his accent. It was okay because to be far he had only been in North Carolina for a couple of months now. Robbie grew up in New York City but had to move for family issues, as he told me.

“I’m doin’ good,” I chuckled in response to his accent. “Is this where we get on?” I added.

“I think so. Those officers up there were tellin’ us to,” he answered back. I could see two or three gentlemen at the front by the buses wearing army-green uniforms. This was our big chance to be soldiers, to be men, but important to be heroes.

We loaded up onto the bus, and Robbie and I sat down in the back. The chatter of young men around filled the confined quarters of the bus. The engine of the bus revved and let out a thick smoke. With a jolt of the bus, we were off to be trained soldiers in the west war of the world. I looked back at the Town Hall steps. After turning my head away, I found myself back into the attention to the chatter of the boys around me. It didn’t take me long to forget about my last sights of Rock Hill, North Carolina, something I regret today. The next seven to eight weeks were spent in basic training. It was not a very pretty two months, but Robbie and I were luckily together in a platoon to keep each other going. We both had our ups and downs trying to survive our Sergeant’s constant bickering ad blabbering. Nothing of much importance happened in basic training other than the typical struggles every man, or woman nowadays, goes through. After basic training was over, we were given specific positions. Somehow I was placed in medical school, but I took this an opportunity to be the hero everyone will need on the battlefield. Robbie wasn’t really given anything goo, but I often teased him because it made me feel smarter than him. By the end of medical training, we heard rumors going around that Eisenhower and Montgomery were planning a BIG invasion somewhere in France, called Normandy. Robbie, our division, and I were supposed to be deployed a couple days afterward if it succeeds. When summer had rolled around, the word had been given we were to be shipped out England to be ready for our full-frontal assault inland.

Thankfully, our boys pushed hard on those beaches and paved way for our division D-day that Robbie and I arrived at the Normandy waterfront. The air was still with thick fog and the sea had still been stained with blood. Silence had never been so quiet before in my life. It was a weird sense of peace and calm, but impending doom. Like the calm before a storm. Yet, we were heading straight into the middle of it. Many two-man medic teams were out across the shoreline caring for those who had fallen. Robbie and I looked at each other. His face appeared as though he was a lost child in a supermarket, but his mother wouldn’t be around to comfort him.

The end of the Third Reich was nigh, but the toughest battle Robbie and I had to face was fast approaching. It had been five or six months of constant fighting. We had been through hell and back, but the Battle of the Bulge was its own hell. It was my own hell the more I think about it. How ironic that the hottest place we could think of happened during one of the coldest times of the year. The Allied forces had been pushing and pulling for control of the battlefield with the German forces. Our division had been nestled quite uncomfortably between forests in Belgium and the fighting had quelled for the night. Our platoon had made camp for the time being as distant artillery shells went off. The surrounding forest was layered with snow as far as I could see. Tree branches snapped under the pressure of so much snow. It was beautiful yet terrifying. Robbie and I sat down together at camp as he tended the fire.

“Do you ever think that this was worth it?” Robbie asked, interrupting the artillery.

“What do you mean?” I looked up to see a young man who looked like he aged fifteen years in the last six months. HIs back was slumped, bags under his eyes, and he flinched from the distant shells exploding.

“I mean, do you regret leaving Rock Hill” Robbie continued as he looked at me with that same lost-child look he gave at Normandy.

I inhaled and let out a big sigh, “I don’t know. It feels like such a long time that I barely remember my parents’ faces.” I noticed Robbie lowered his head, poking the fire with a stick.

“I just hope we get back in one piece,” I heard Robbie admit. I stand up from the cold-wet log I sat on.

“Let’s make a pact that whatever happens we get out alive..together,” I suggested to Robbie as I held out my hand to him. Taking notice of Robbie’s resolve, he looked up at me and took my hand into his and shook it firmly. I pulled him up and gave him a hug. “Let’s hit the hay. Try and get some sort of sleep,” I continued as Robbie and I retired to our tents. It was was hard to get any sleep that night for some reason. It wasn’t the constant barrage of artillery fire or the fear of being killed. I just felt uncomfortable as if I felt something off. I must have fallen asleep for a while because I awoke to the deafening sounds of enemy artillery the echoed in the night. They must have figured out our location.

I stumbled to grab my gear regroup with my platoon. My first thoughts were of Robbie to see if he was okay, but my training as a medic was more important. I scurried to find if any our men were wounded badly required urgent medical attention. The rain of shells continued to fall for several more minutes, but then silence fell over our camp area with only the sounds of the wounded breaking through. I surveyed around to see fear personified in each man; the screaming and chaos ensued. Still no sight of Robbie, though. I took a few moments to patch up a guy who had bleeding gushing out of his side. By the perfection of my skills, I was not able to stop him from bleeding out in front of me. The hemorrhaging was too great and he had already lost too much blood and all I could do was watch as the man’s eyes faded back into his head and witnessed his last breath. I looked down at the blood-stained dog tag that laid still on his chest and it read the name ‘Jacob Noland’. I heard a familiar voice and it was crying out for help. I jerked my head to see the soot-covered face of my friend, my right-hand man a few feet away from where I was kneeling down. My hands shook and the feeling in my fingers began to leave. He calls of suffering continued, and I felt a cold streak of water roll down my bruised cheek.

Our Sergeant yelled at us and the remaining soldiers, “Everyone! Get down and shut up!”

I got down and scanned to see what the issue was. Indistinctive and unrecognizable conversations could be heard through the thick foliage. The Germans were moving forward to finish what their artillery didn’t. Robbie’s agony continued through the silence we were trying to keep. The Sergeant turned to us whispering hard, “Quiet down over there.” The German chatter grew closer and closer; Robbie wouldn’t quiet down beside me. He was going to reveal the location we were hiding in and get all of us murdered on this snowy night. What could have I done? There were only two options I was subjected to: reveal our position or silence Robbie. I looked back at the few that were still hoping to go home and see their folks. The Sergeant with a look of worrisome and luck of not being found. I told myself over and over again that the needs of many outweigh the needs of the few. I tried my hardest to convince myself that the decision I had to make was the right one. Cold streams of water fell from my face again as I reached for my knife. I placed the cold steel against Robbie’s cerebral as I closed my eyes and with a sudden thrust the deed was done. I had made Robbie’s displeasure cease. Opening my eyes to see my best friend laying still motionless, I removed the blade and I laid there. I noticed the blood covering my hands from the knife. A distinct image of Ma darts into my memory and I find myself wanting her at this very moment. This was no place for me anymore. This was not a place a young boy like me belonged. Pa was right.

By the time the Germans had passed, we had reinforcements cutting off their advance, trapping them. I had to leave my best friend and move onward through the shattered defenses. The next day, the fighting continued, but my so-called heroism was short-lived when a German grenade exploded nearby by a tree as I was tending to a severely wounded man. The shrapnel from the explosion had taken a significant chunk out of the left side of my face and caused me to be partially blind as my shoulder took most of the blast. It was my ticket out of this mess. Back in the states, I was awarded the Medal of Honor for some reason. All I thought about was how me killing my best friend was an award that was granted to me the greatest honor to receive in war and serve my country. I would say that this thought plagued me through most of my adult life. Even through all of the therapy sessions and PTSD drugs to help with the nightmares. All I know now after eighty years of lamenting and confusion is that I still miss my best friend. Even through the couple of wives, children, and grandchildren, his face was still as clear as day to me. I will never forget Robbie Anderson. And this all took just one look at a picture of him before we left for the war.

Sultan of The Underworld

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Deep in the bowels of the earth was the Underworld. This place existed as a world unlike the world from above. There was no spring and no summer. The sun did not shine only darkness could be called home. A world where the living did not exist and the dead were the ones that resided in this darkened and voided place of light. There was no forgiveness here, but only pain, misery, and torture. Some would call this place Hell, but the meaning of this word was just a scratch of the surface. There had been very few who have escaped the Underworld and lived to tell the tale of their journey. The other poor souls who were more unfortunate at failing at their attempt at freedom suffered a fate worse than death; oblivion. Most mortals despised and looked down upon the Underworld, but the Underworld was always there and therein would remain for all eternity.

As living is as natural as nature, so was dying and everyone feared the lingering shadow of death for their souls would go to the place they hated the most. They would plummet straight into the world of the dead and into the hands of the great Hades, God of The Underworld. The eldest brother of Olympians and one of the top three gods one does not want to pick a fight with. Hades was king of this realm and no one could tell him different. He ran the Underworld not with hatred or deceit, but with fairness. Every soul that entered and walked through the Plain of Judgement of his realm was judged on their actions from the living. If a person lived a humble, honest, and just life they would be rewarded for their deeds were able to bask in the wonders of the Elysian Fields. If a person lived a foul, menacing, and black-hearted devoted life this soul would be condemned to an eternity where screams and other unfathomable screeches could be heard for eons.

At the core of the Underworld was the kingdom of Hades. His royal palace was uncontested by the likes of Olympus itself. Hades was the riches god in existence and he embedded every diamond and precious metal at will into his kingdom. In the royal throne room, Hades was sitting on his necropolis throne with one leg over the other. His skin pale and his body covered in charcoal Olympic armor. His long black hair flowing down his shoulders as index finger is pressed against his temple. Hades seemed to be rather in a long deep thought or was annoyed by a certain someone for disrupting his peace.

“Sire,” the servant said as she took a knee to her king’s presence. “I have news that awaits your humble attention, my lord,” she added as her head was bowed before him. Hades observed the servant and took a moment.

“Well, go on then. What news do you have they will not partake my time in guiding these wretched mortal souls that my youngest brother has positioned me in?” Hades scoffed at her while rolling his eyes. His servant has heard it many times before, but her job or her lowly existence hanging in the balance.

“Y-Yes sire. The council that governs the Plain of Judgement…One..of the council members..has escaped the Underworld,” she responded as she appeared to be mildly trembling. Hades sighed and rose from his throne with elegance. He waved his hand for her to leave his sight and as such she did. Hades did not get angry or mad that one of his council abandoned his post to venture upon the surface. Hades walked passed the servant, through several corridors and finally arrived at the well of souls. He reached out his hand in the swirling vortex of souls and created an eagle-eye view of his would be loyal councilman dashing through the mortal fields. He was getting close to the mortal civilizations and Hades could not have such an unloyal employee. At the snap of his finger, a creature with the ability to stretch its limbs emerges behind from the ground and hog tides councilman by the legs as he yells for it to let him go. He tries to drag himself away from the creature, but no avail he could break free of its tight grip. The creature pulls and pulls until it brings him to a hole from which the creature had burrowed its way up from the ground. The councilman attempted to claw the ground but it was too late, his fate was sealed and he was head back to the Underworld.

Hades smiled, closed the view, and made his way back to the throne room. Meanwhile, the councilman was being dragged all the way back down to a place devoid of the Apollo’s rays and Gaia’s sky. He was slammed from rock formation to rock formation. The size, sharpness, and consistency did not matter for each encounter were more painful and unbearable as the last. In his agony, the councilman screamed and begged for mercy, but the creature was just a mindless lap-dog that only did what it was bid and nothing else. The councilman’s pleas were upon deaf ears and his rough journey was reaching its final destination. A hole opens into the Underworld as the creature pulls him through. The creature takes the captured being to the royal throne room where Hades had last been seen heading off to. Once there, the creature tosses the councilman at the sultan’s feet unpleasantly and vanished into a black cloud.

“Ahh, welcome councilman. I expect your arrival was a pleasant one,” Hades said towering over the councilman with his hands behind his back and a small but menacing smile expressed on his feature. “I actually thought you were going to make it, but here we are, talking aren’t we? Shame really, you would have liked the living, but that is not your place. Your place is here, in my realm. Tell me, do you know the crime of desertion and leaving the Underworld without my permission?” asked the king of the dead.

“The p-punishment is exile and to live my days a restless soul among the many–,” the councilman was interrupted by a hand grasping his throat and lifting him up off of his feet. “Agk!” The councilman was struggling and grasping the wrist of the hand wrapped around his throat. He could not break free from Hades’ grip. The councilman stared into the eyes of the king.

“Wrong,” Hades exclaimed while holding the councilman by the throat. The Underworld rocked violently as if the whole place was going to explode “You are hereby stripped of your title and sentenced to oblivion for your actions,” Hades announced as his eyes burned with a glowing purplish hue. Hades was not angry or mad at this point, but he sure was pissed off.

“No! Anything but that! I beg of you my lord, anything but–,” before the councilman could finish his sentence towards Hades, his body turned into a pile of ash on the floor. The Underworld seized rocking and Hades had found himself with relief. Turning back to his throne and sitting once more in it, Hades placed his index finger back on his temple with a sigh as he closed his eyes.

“It is /hard/ to find good help these days,” Hades stated as he opened his eyes and flashed them purple. The ash pile blows away into the winds and the Underworld ran just the same. Those who were wise enough to stay clear of Hades’ fury were intelligent. Hades was a benevolent god, but anyone who crossed him and invoked this dark god would face the wrath of endless harrowing and discomfort.

Hades to Persephone

Spring approaches my dear;

It seems my heart will grow cold without you near.

I do not say much,

But this is my last joyful cheer.

Your beauty shines this wretched realm;

Where I can never overwhelm.

I will miss it so;

I cannot tell such lie,

For six months I must say goodbye.

Though you are away from me;

I dare not weep;

Together we are free.

I will wait for you once more;

That I am sure.

Eternal and bound;

I will suffer this merry-go-round.

Reprisal of Hades

For many years, the story of Zeus overthrowing Cronus and claiming the seat to Olympus was told generations after generations. What was not told was the eventual tyrannical rule of the mighty Zeus under his absolute rule. The power grew to the head of the youngest son of Rhea and Cronus and most powerful of all the Olympians. In time, the other gods and goddesses noticed Zeus’s obsession and control for power by silencing anyone who would oppose his reign. Zeus’ temper and demeanor grew cold and relenting unlike the stories portrayed of him by the mortals that worshiped him. A being of rivaled power, could not stand idly by and watch as his youngest brother ran a muck of his kingship and make a mockery of what a true king ought to be. There is where the real story begins where Hades steps into the fray; involved in a secret plan to dethrone the cosmic ruler of the Heavens.

Over the centuries, Hades has been known as the King of the Underworld, the one who possesses all of the riches of the earth, and who stole Persephone from the world above against her will and tricked her into becoming his faithful wife. As time progressed, all mortals and gods alike feared Hades and his dreaded Underworld realm for he himself was a being of immense power and no one to underestimate. Hades came to be a ruler of the Underworld from drawing unsuccessfully among his two younger siblings, Zeus and Poseidon, after successfully defeating Cronus and imprisoning the Titan within the depths of the inner sanctums of the Tartarus. Seeing that this Titan never roams the earth ever again. This portion of the story was mostly foretold to be the truth, but what was not shared within the recollection of this tale was that Hades was the eldest and as a right to the throne of the heavens, he was tricked out of his rightful position as king of the skies and ruler the gods. If this was not enough to kick sand into the eyes of the eldest god, Hades was forbidden to set foot on Olympus ever again, since his new occupation required him to be secluded from everyone he knew as family.

In order to secure his throne, The Skyfather concocted schemes to distract those that would dare question his rule and try to unseat him. The most well-devised plan was to place the blame that Hades had snatched Persephone during her time playing with other maiden goddesses while being supervised by Artemis and Athena, and as she discovers a rare narcissus on the ground once she was alone. What was not told during this time, was that Eros, the God of Love, was instructed by Zeus himself to strike Hades with one of his love arrows so that he would fall for Persephone. Approaching Eros in the flourishing fields that nymphs roamed and ventured, Zeus made his appearance to Eros in his traditional white and golden toga. Eros, having felt the need to express his love began to fire his arrows away into the air; hoping they may find and love just as much as he. Taking notice of his king, Eros quickly took a knee so that his respect would be looked upon as a sign of loyalty.

“My baron, what humbles thee to visit me on such a fortuitous day of love and grace?” said Eros to the king.

“I have come to assign you a special task in mind,” responded Zeus with a calm manner. “Command me as you will my lord. I am a servant to you and Olympus. I shall serve what needs of my king,” Eros replied.

“And that you shall Eros. Now, your duty as of this very moment his to render Hades to fall in love with my daughter, Persephone”, Zeus commanded while looking down at Eros. Eros, understanding his Godly title, rose immediately and attempted to express his wishes against this act.

“Your Highness, as much as I do enjoy sharing the gift of love to all mortals and deities, I must implore you that this not my duty to forcibly–

“You will do as you are told,” exclaimed the Skyfather as fulmination took the place of his sky blue irises. Eros backed down and once again took a knee. Eros knew then that he could not reason with the king of this decision made.

“As you command my king,” Eros spoke as he proceeded to equip his bow and arrows. Preparing the will of love to venture into the Underworld, Eros pulled back with all his might and with a light release of the feathered silver and gold arrow; it shot to the skies with great speed that only Gods could bear witness. Its velocity was as high as Olympus itself and its descending path soon struck the earth like a fallen meteorite, but this arrow burrowed its way through the earth, through Hades’s realm, and found its trajectory in Hades’ back during his fornication with his once beloved Mint. Soon after this, Hades’ affection for Mint grew distasteful and he no longer felt love for her. Tossing her out of the Underworld so that his love for Persephone would expand and envelope. With this strategy of mischief in play, Hades sought to seek an audience with Persephone when her mother, Demeter, is off working her magic for the mortal world. The mighty Zeus, taking advantage of his brother’s vulnerability, allowed Hades to converse with her by placing that narcissus for Persephone, so that she may wander off from her protectors. Hades’ heart grew big and wide and his love of Persephone drove him to take Persephone from her shielding mother, his sister, that kept her away from other males due to Zeus’ opposed rape of young Seph. During this abduction, Zeus had turned his back to the ordeal and Helios, God of the Sun, who observed everything under his vision; watched as Hades split open the ground and took Persephone down into the Underworld. Helios, wanting nothing to do with Demeter’s rampage, avoids to reveal the truth but is confronted 20 years later by his sister, who has been told to ask Helios about her daughter’s location. Helios caved and admitted what he had seen. As punishment and eventual discovery of the whereabouts of Persephone, Hades was scolded and required to return Persephone back to the surface world due to the changing of the season for the mortals above.

‘’I shall not give up Persephone, for she is my wife and queen of the Underworld,” Hades remarked to not let Seph go. Zeus, wanting to nip the squabbling and inquiries in the bud, proposed a compromise to keep the peace between siblings and kin. Seeing this deal as a trick to keep Persephone away from him for eternity, Hades divulged with his wife in private before the deal was made. In this privacy, Hades presented Persephone with six seeds from a pomegranate that he later informed that they were not only editable but were a representation of their love. He added that she should only take them if she felt the same about him. After a moment’s thought, Seph downed the seeds one by one. What he did not tell her was that the seeds represented a return effect that brought her back to him. His beloved Persephone would spend half of the year with her mother and the other with him, who arose to come to love Hades over the ages of time.

When Hades was alone without Persephone, he grew awfully miserable, unpleasant, cranky, annoyed, and downright mean to the bone. His love for Persephone was only half what he could feel and the other half was a plot for revenge against his brother of the skies. Hades could not come to terms that Zeus had betrayed him of ruling Olympus. With revenge constantly in his heart for half of the year, Hades could wreak havoc upon Olympus at any given moment he saw fit, but with his age and cunning ability to seek out the best possible way to make Zeus suffer for his wrongdoing; Hades had the upper hand in strategy. Aiding him in his endeavor, the Erinys assisted in increasing Hades’ powers through harboring hatred that dwelled in the King of the Underworld’s heart for his brother by prosecuting wars throughout history and gathering mystical items once thought lost during the Titanomachy.

Hades grew weary of Zeus’s cuckoldry and disrespect for his wife, his sister, Hera. To truly set the plan in motion, Hercules had entered his realm because of the twelve labors he must complete, but Hercules expected a fight to ensue. Hades informed Hercules he had no quarrels with him and that he may proceed on with his labor, which meant freeing the Titan, Prometheus, who stole the flame that started mankind’s civilization; from his 3,000-year imprisonment. Turning a blind eye to Hercules’s task, he allowed the highly praised son of Zeus to release the one that defied the god’s instruction to bestow humanity a sense of purpose upon the earth. Hades, providing a small bit of information to Hercules on how to set Theus free, added on to slay the winged tormentor as means of completing his labor.

“Once you have found Prometheus, it is highly important that you slay the imagine of Zeus. It symbolizes your completion of your task nephew;” proclaimed Hades as he left Hercules with his rescue mission ahead. After Hercules’s visit to the Underworld, Hades sat upon his throne tapping his finger on a necropolis armrest. Hades felt a surge of growing and exponential power rushing through his very being. Hades’ power now was tenfold with the audience of  Dionysus, Apollo, and even Artemis within his realm. Taking them aside and compelling them to tell Hades of their departure for the Underworld. Once he learned of their demise and Hera’s possible great scheme of her own involvement, he tosses his nephews and nieces souls into the deep pockets of the Tartarus where they will rest in peace for eternity. Hades adds onto this plot of revenge by instructing Medea, the half-breed offspring of Helios to become Zeus’ consort and to keep him occupied with her body for awhile upon a visit to her chambers late one evening.

“I will not do as you say,” argued Madea as she stood in a greenish dress that covered only a small portion of her shoulders and flowed down into a modest v-neck. Its close fit removes the focus from her breast, but without sloppy presentation. The waist of the dress was thin with a cloth ribbon wrapped around her and tied into the front. She wore ballerina flats, a strange, yet a seemingly perfect choice. Medea turned her back on him. Making that grave mistake, Hades clasped his pale deathly hands upon her head.

“I am afraid you have no choice in the matter, my dear and for your insolence, you have forfeited your life and will,” insisted Hades. Before Medea could speak, Hades stripped her of free will and implanted dark, evil, and tormented ways that would even make Hades proud. However, Medea screamed in agony and pain, but there was not a soul to hear her screams. Hades had used his vast possession over the darkness to silence the room for just this one moment. Hades embedded the act for revenge within her mind and even gave her room to seek out her own desire to dethrone Zeus and take the throne for herself in an elaborate way. She was no longer the Medea people have come to know her. She followed each and every task that Hades had commanded her to do. From the shadows, Hades was pulling a majority of the strings against his brother and sister; Zeus and Hera. Hades had nothing against Hera, but a double cross to claim the throne was his end goal to achieve what he wanted; to rule over Olympus. With things set into motion, a new spiral of events is bound to happen between the Greek gods. When the time presents itself that Zeus shall feel his reign coming to an end; Hades will march upon Olympus with his legion of the dead, wearing his Helm of Darkness and wielding his Bident in hand. As the fall of an unfit king, a true king shall rise to take his place, for revenge is best delivered at the finest of any given moment it is presentable.

Dealt Hand

Dealt HandAbout 36 years ago when I was a young naïve lad of 21, I found myself living large and in charge. Back when the times were swinging and money ran like water in my hands. Those were days when I would look into the mirror and smile at my unseasoned face that I was finally free from those who tried to suppress my freedom. I was at the rightful age and I wanted to gamble that night. So, I took a stroll with my favorite gray shirt with a pocket on its left side and khakis. Even though I was told to never gamble by my granny I did not listen to that old coot. My granny knew nothing, at least that is what I thought. I admit it was spontaneous to be so young and feel like the world is in the palm of my hands. Well, that is what I felt at first before losing forty grand on a card game in one of the big casinos of Las Vegas and that was not all.

Win big or go home I conjured up in the cerebral cortex of my brain. So, there I was playing blackjack for the first time at this miniature table that resembled a football field. I knew a few things about blackjack from my father and I wanted to see for myself how it was done. I was not worried how small it was, but I sat down on a plush chair and played myself in with cash and bet ten grand on the first round. Oh my, how the seat was indeed comfy to rest upon.

The dealer of this particular game seemed odd to me. I could see the navy blue shade of his hair shining every moment he collected the cards from the table when he moved into the lamp light. His exterior was skinny, but almost scrawny to the point where I believed he was suffering from not eating a lot.

I found it quite bizarre at initial glance and his attire was a stripped green blazer, black slacks, black vest and a white shirt underneath it all. That was my perception of how he looked, but what threw me off was the fact that he was grinning the entire time during the game and not a single person around the room sat where I was. It struck me as bit suspicious, but I decided to play along. After an hour and half had passed by of my arrival at the table and I was on the fourth round the dealer asked me a peculiar inquiry.

            “So, I see you are a risk taker,” the dealer said smoothly to me while smiling and collecting the cards from the green lavished table. I took notice of his black fingernails as they swooped by with cards. Not wanting to be rude and not answering the question I spoke up.

            “How could you tell?” I asked as I was curious to know his answer.

            “Let’s call it a hunch if you will,” the dealer replied to me with that same smile on his face. “You remind me of myself if I may say Sam,” the dealer continued on as I listened to him as he began to deal another round of cards onto the table.

            “How is that so and how do you know my name exactly?” I uttered while leaning across the table towards him.

            “Please do not lean across the table sir, it is bad manners,” the dealer spoke as I positioned myself right back in the seat I was sitting. “Your name is simple, I guessed,” the dealer told me. “As for you reminding me of myself, let’s say I wanted to free from rules too. I wanted freedom and I achieved just that. Haven’t you?” he asked me.

            “Well, yeah. Am I not sitting here in this casino gambling money away hoping to win big?” I snapped back unintentionally.

            “Heh, quite so you are. But let me ask how far you are willing to bet on winning? Would you like to make a wager?” the dealer challenged me and this was an offer I was dying to not give up on and so I indulged in his offer.

            “Yes!” I quickly said nodding my head quickly with a rush of excitement flowing throw my veins. The dealers’ lips grinned wide from ear to ear as he seemed happy that I took his offer.

            “Fantastic. Now, since this is your last bet I urge you to call wisely and reach your goal of 21 this time. If you go over once more, you will lose. As for the wager, how about you tell me?” the dealer asked me. I was baffled at first of his question. It took me a few moments and then I had gotten the most wonderful of ideas.

        “I want to be free from everything that life has to offer. No more rules or regulations. No more living life restricted by those who fail to see that keeping a bird in a locked cage is harmful to their soaring nature. Do you know what I mean?” I blurted out asking him that question.

           The dealer looked at me and nodded his head as if he knew my pain. In the process of nodding towards me he was also smiling and looking down at the cards played before me. The game had not even started and I believed we started to bond over the same concept of wanting to be free. It’s a belief I wanted to believe, but with a carefree nature I wanted to make more money in the long run.

          “Very well, I will wager that if you lose you will have to take my place here and work under this casino’s rules and regulations. Shall we begin the game?” the dealer asked as he and I began to start the game of a life time. Well, mostly my life time because I was never offered a game like this and it sure was going to be exciting to win off of a silly bet.

            I looked at what I had and sure enough I felt good about my position in this game. I thought this was a story that I was going to tell to my kids and then to my kids’ children. I was so enthusiastic I think I shouted to draw a card from the dealer a few times. There I was, me and the dealer having a good old time.

           “Hit me,” I said to the dealer and the dealer dealt a six of spades on the board from the stack he was with holding on the other side of the table. I called for another hit some moments later and then the dealer withdrew a three of hearts from his stack of cards. My heart was throbbing with the impulse to call again and so I did. The next hit was a two of hearts and I was frantic that is was going to be some other card that would jeopardize my life in an instant. The next hit was a lucky of all numbers to appear before my very eyes and that number was in fact the seven of clubs. After four consecutive successful draws I was almost there to winning the big cheese. A six of spades, three of hearts, two of diamonds, and a seven of clubs were all faced up as if my luck was on fire. I looked up to the dealer with a sly grin and looked into his face.

          “Looks like I just might beat you this time Mr. Dealer,” I testified that I was sure going to win this one.

           “If that may be so, why do you take a risk and see what will happen?” the dealer goaded me in making the last call to play a card from the deck. It was all down to this last call that I had to make. I would either lose and take his place as this awful rule stricken establishment or live freely and freedom was what I really wanted. So, I called one last hit. The dealer withdrew a card from the deck on his side of the table. He laid the card fast down in front of me and revealed that the game was over. The game was over for he and I unfortunately because the grand win of a century happened where I had beaten a dealer with a three hearts for the landslide win.

            “Well played Sam,” the dealer congratulated me on a job well done.

           “So, what about my winnings and that freedom that you and I made a silly wager on?” I badgered the dealer.

            “The winnings will be sent to you in a check two weeks from now. Be on a look out for it. As for your freedom it is already done,” the dealer responded to both of my questions.

            “Well, that was a load of –,” I halted as I could not finish the rest of my sentence as if I felt the room began to become dizzy. My head felt like it was caving in and that I was going to pass out. I started to wonder was it the food that I ate earlier, but all I could remember is crashing on the carpet floor only to black out moments later.

 I was in a blank area of space. There was no light as far as I could see. The experience felt like I was alone here in this darkness. Was I dreaming at this moment or was it all my imagination I wondered as I looked around. Out of the corner of my eye I witnessed a green figure coming close to me. It was getting closer and closer and I did not move a muscle as I could pick up the tapping sound of its’ heeled shoes. When the figure finally showed itself I was surprised to find that it was in fact the dealer. I could see his face clearly as I could see my own two hands in front of me. And then he said something to me as his hair was covering his eyes.

           “It’s nice to meet you again Sam,” he said to me as he was holding his hands behind his back.

          “W-Where are we?” I questioned him in response to his greeting.

         “Why, we are in your own mind,” he confirmed me of our location. “Quite empty is it not?” I heard him say.

        “Very funny,” I replied. “How is it that if I am in my own mind that you are here?” I asked the dealer.

       “Let’s call it a hunch,” he defended his existence to me. “As our wager stands you shall be free of all rules and even those rules of life. After this conversation you will not remember until the time is right,” he explained to me.

     “But what does that mean and who exactly are you,” I jabbed him for more information for my knowledge.

       “I am a demon and I have done my job. You will find out soon enough when the time was right. Now it is time to depart,” he said to me as I lifted my right hand out to reach for him. In an instant he was gone from my sight.

I awoke in a room unfamiliar to me. The aroma of the room smelled of fresh bleach and my head was throbbing. I asked myself what had happened last night as I began to lift myself up on what seemed to be a hospital bed. I was baffled as to how I arrived here from the casino, but then a woman, who was wearing a nursing uniform, came into the room. She looked at me and I looked at her. Her eyes widened towards me and then raced out of the room. She returned with the doctor and must have told him that I was awake. I had my questions to ask, but first I wanted here out what the doctor had to say. The doctor told me that I had hit my head and passed out on the carpet of the floor. I was also told that I was sleeping for one day in the hospital. I asked him what about the dealer that was there at the table with me that night. The doctor looked at the nurse and then towards me. He told me that there was no dealer at the table when I passed out.

I looked at them with eyes that could not believe what I had heard. Now, that I am older and wiser I understood what had happened. I see it all the time as I look into the mirror, only I do not look older at all. My face and exterior remained the same unseasoned texture as it did in my early twenties. As I pulled out this morning a seven of clubs from my favorite shirt pocket, a rush of memories flooded into my mind. At first it was painful, but then it was soothing to me. If only I had known then what I was playing with and what I was giving up I would never have taken the bet or risked anything, but here I am with a card that has caused me misery for thirty-six years. If I had known, I was giving up my mortality for my soul and immortality I would be different. I was young back then, though I don’t think my appearance has changed from 36 years ago. I guess that’s the price of the dealt hand I was given.

Changing

        Changing Image       Henry had awoken from his slumber, but he was quite dreary and weakened. After a long shallow evening he was indeed out of his wits. A breath of air exhaled from his lips as he laid his head upon the heaven like pillows that cushioned his firm head. Henry ventured off into dream land and thus he was fast under. The trees rustled in the night. Leaves danced in the wind. For a moment, outside seemed calm, but it did not last long as a loud boom jolted Henry awake.

        “What in the hell was that?!” he exclaimed. The rhythm of his heart beating fast like drums. He soon came to realize that it was only nature. With that thought in mind he fastened himself back to his slumber. Calm and collective he found himself once again dozing off to his dreamland. He witnessed a glimpse of a shadow just before shutting his eyes. He thought nothing of it and assumed it was just any old regular shadow lurking in the crevices of his room.

         There was another loud boom that woke Henry yet again. This time his reaction was opposite of the first time. His chest was as calm as the night after that loud shocking sound. Something seemed amiss from his first time waking up from the noise. The warmth of the room felt surprisingly cold to him. It was as if he had left the window propped open to require fresh air. It was then he rose from his cozy sheets and blankets and closed the window while trying to warm up his shoulders. Henry took a moment and rested on the bedside. His toes touching the bottom wood and yet even those were cold too. He felt unsure of what is transpiring to him. In that moment he had placed his right hand on his neck and glided it across from side to side as if something or some bug had gotten him. He found two peculiar places that was a bit lumpy, but soon ruled it out as pesky creatures. He reached and flicked on the brightness of the room. The dark shadows disappeared into the light. All, but one remained. His eyes widened like an owl in the dead of night.

           Henry’s skin was pale to complexion to that of a fresh corpse. He wiggled his toes to see if this was, but a nightmare. Unfortunately, it was not. Releasing his other hand from his shoulders, he put them out to observe what was hard to believe.  His eyes moved from one arm to the other until he turned them over and his tips were shaded black. He blinked twice and rose from the bedside. There was something tingling in his mouth and for a quick second he placed his right index finger on his new pearly white. The texture of this new white pearl was pointy and longer than his previous ones. He then checked his hair, which he pulled down to his face and to his discovery it was black as coal. “W-What is happening to me?” he spoke softly to himself.

           The brightness next to him flickered steadily until it quickly went out. The shadows had returned to the dark room. There was a sudden chill in the air similar to late January. Then, there was a scent that consisted of rotten eggs not long after. Henry looked around in the darkness of the room and asked a question that no one ever asks. “Hello?” he asked. “Is someone there?” he asked once more. There was nothing, not even a sound. He waited and then he heard footsteps. The moonlight had made its way into the middle of the room and there he witnessed a figure from the shadows standing half way into the radiant rays.

           Henry observed the figure and its features quickly only to catch the wide grin upon its face. He closed his eyes for the time being and as he counted to five and reopened them the figure vanished without a trace. He sighed thinking it was just his imagination playing a trick on him. “Maybe this is all a dream and I must be very tired?” he thought to himself. He hunched his shoulders and climbed into the cozy sheets. He still could not shake the sense that he was still cold as he climbed into bed. His heart was still silent and hardly ever beat the whole time he was awake. He laid on his side and fast asleep he went.

          He had woken up again to find that it was still dark and that the sun had not risen. He quickly sat up in the bed with an open mouth with stretched eyes. It was as if he missed an entire day and slept the whole time in bed. He looked over to his clock just on the dresser and saw that it was the next day, but only it was night. He put his hands-on top of his head and could not believe he had slept the whole day without waking up. He thought this was impossible even for him since he does not sleep long hours of the day. He had prior obligations to attend to this same day, but he missed them.

            Henry was baffled and tried to work up a sweat, but he could not. He touched his forehead to find not a drop of steam on him. He reached over again to his dresser and pulled the drawer out to find a letter. He opened it and it told him that he had been transformed and to look out the window. Frantically, he threw the covers off him and made way to the window. When he arrived he was not in his home town? Instead, he was far from it. He was now in the land of the undead that was indeed filled with foul creatures that roamed the darkness of night. He was now a part of the family and there was no escaping this nightmare. Not now, not ever again.

Loathesome

In a late fall morning, a white lotus sport 250 pulls up along the tar and made itself rest upon the edge. A few feet from it was a tall building riddled with bountiful shiny glass windows that if the sun shined upon its exterior it would be blinding to a bystander. The engines roar came to an end as the jingle of keys powered it down. There was a middle age man sitting there in its black leather interior. The man checked the rear-view mirror and began to adjust his slicked-back strawberry blonde hair due to not having the top on as he was driving. Making sure everything was where they were supposed to be he looked at himself and winked his gray hues toward himself just before forming a sly smile. He stepped out of the car and began to fix his flawless attire.

With his phalanges he began to adjust his red two-piece suit, navy blue dress shirt, and red tie. He bends down to wipe off the miniature dirt hanging around on his glossy black Salvatore Ferragamo’s before he looked up to his building standing before him. As if he was like a king that ruled his country he smirked and began to head into the building. The moment he entered the lobby of Global Bugle he was greeted by the front desk clerk who seemed up beat for the day. He saw who was at the front desk, but his eyes averted from looking at he was making his way to elevator.

“Good morning Mr. Burrow. How’s your morning going?”, the man at the horizontal desk needled. Mr. Burrow waves his hand to him as the back of the suit was facing the man at the front desk. Mr. Burrow hit the elevator call button and waited.

“The same as always, but not now, I am too busy so speak with you. I am not paying you to chit-chat,” he responded without looking back at the man. The elevator arrived on the lobby floor and opened to Mr. Burrow who entered in. The doors behind closed and he pressed the 22nd floor knob. After doing so he began to fix his cufflinks on his suite and straitening his tie. A few moments passed, and he had now reached his desired floor. The opposite end of the elevator of which where he was standing opened to a luxurious office loft. There were tables almost the size of cars, but with a marble finish. The cubical rows were open and beige with workers at their desks. He put his hands behind his back as he held them walking out of the elevator onto the floor. He looks on as he witnesses his workers working about. The workers suddenly notice him standing there and stop what they are doing. It was early morning and they did not expect him to be there this early.

“Get back to work mongrels. This company is not going to support itself,” he demanded as his working people continued their routines and other duties. Their continuous back and forth swiftness of movement was a blur to him. Like bees, the workers were at work and the one in charge watched on. Taking a moment, he inhaled a fragrance of freshly printed paper and the polished oak wood floor. After he took his time standing there he began to walk to his main office, which was down the hall. On his way to reside in his office he spots a worker in in his cubical with an apparel that disturbed his view. In an attempt to address his worker of his clothing, he steered his direction off to the cubical. Standing now in front of the worker who was wearing a black t-shirt and khakis. Mr. Burrow crossed his arms and looked down on him. The worker looked up at Mr. Burrow with wide eyes.

“Y-Yes sir? Is there a problem?”, the man asked as he witnessed who was standing in front of him.

“That shirt of yours is not what is accepted here. It is wrinkled and unprofessional. Surely, you can afford better clothes than this,” Mr. Burrow responded to the inquiry of his worker.

“But sir, I just threw this together at the earliest convenience,” the man began to explain himself as to why he was dressed the way he was.

“I don’t want to hear such excuses. Fix the problem by tomorrow or find yourself in a better circumstance than where you are now,” Burrow snapped back at him before walking away to his office. Burrow had soon attained his office and closed the door behind him. He moved to sit in his plush plaid chair that was like perching on a cloud. He propped his feet upon the desk with a cross of his legs and just to the left of his slick shoes he could detect on his clock that it was nine o’clock in the morning. He leaned back into the suave chair to relax as he smiled to himself feeling distinguished and on top of the world.

“No one is better at running this empire than yours truly. If not for me, no one else could have comprehended these methods of connoisseur are able to keep up like me. For that matter I don’t think anyone would understand the word connoisseur,” he snickered as these thoughts arose in his mind. “I’m the best damn boss with world has ever seen in particular,” he added out loud as he boasted his self-esteem. He began to look on to the wall next to him. On the wall there were several awards for his outstanding achievements. They ranged from most achieved manger to the award for recognition. He felt like the world was his and nothing, not even his workers would stand in his driven obsession for power and recognition. In that twinkling point of self-gratitude, the phone rang on his desk. Taking his feet down from the marble he sat up right and picked up the phone. With a great posture he spoke on the receiving end of the line.

“Lance Burrow of Global Bugle. Tell me the 411. How can I help?” he inclined to the person on the opposite end. “Mhm…. you don’t say…. three hundred by two weeks…. you’ve got a deal,” he said as he finished his call, which took roughly twenty minutes to accomplish. He was ecstatic and with his good mood he withdrew from his office and out on the main floor. The people looked on to him as if they knew he had to say something. He told them right away that they had three hundred editorials and publishing to commence and finish by the next two weeks. A woman in far right cubical sighed sluggishly with discomfort of more work to do. Someone from the floor began to raise their hand to ask a question. Once Burrow noticed the hand he quickly shot it down verbally. “I know you have a question, but I will not answer it at this occasion. Maybe later O’Brian,” he causally said as he looked on to everyone else on the floor. A woman, who Burrow has forgotten her name so many times, stood from her little cubical in the middle.

“I have had enough of your shit Mr. Burrow,” she shouted as she stormed to the elevator. “Again, and again, you work us and that is unfair how much you work us on a daily basis. I am fed up with your treatments. This was the last straw. I quit!”, she said loudly as she approached the elevator.

“Anyone wants to join the deserter heading to the elevator?” he asked as he looked around for more volunteers. Not surprised by another person getting up and following her, Burrow shrugged his shoulders in the most unimpressed fashion as closed the door behind him. He headed back to into his office and sat down in front of his desk. He reached over and picked up the phone. He dialed some numbers and then put it to his right ear. The phone began to ring and within seconds someone picked up the other line.

“Hello, is this the office of employment?” he asked the person with respect to their duties. “I’ve recently had to let go of a few white-collar workers and of need of two freshly members who are of need of currency,” he said as he did not feel a thing for the two who had recently left the building. It was normal to him and he was very much unaffected by it. It was all about him after all and nobody else.