Kronos Got Drunk – Part Seven
A shadow paced in an alley behind a small apartment somewhere in Canada.
His guest was late.
This amused the shadow more than anything else; His guest dripped irony where ever he went—it was one of his saving qualities.
A light wind whistled through the alleyway. The shadow huffed and set his back to it.
Tonight was important. The shadow had spent many painful centuries building the trust of his guest. He had waited patiently, pressing when appropriate, to make it to this pivotal night. These things took time. He knew that better than anyone.
The shadow sniffed the air: It was exactly midnight. Behind him sounds of night life filled the air. Thumping bass drums and screaming twenty-somethings pierced the tranquil twilight like knives on flesh.
The shadow shuddered and pulled a large overcoat tighter around his shoulders.
“Bloody cold country.” He muttered. It had been snowing for several hours.
Presently, a second shadow entered the alleyway. It approached the first shadow precisely, without hesitation.
“You’re late.” Said the first shadow.
“Is this the house?” asked the second shadow, ignoring the first shadow’s comment.
“It is,” replied the first.
“And the details remain the same?” the first shadow nodded.
“Show me who I am to be,” ordered the second shadow.
A photo of a young adult male was presented. The second shadow studied it carefully. Very slightly, its face began to twist and contort, increasing in severity as it went. The shadow’s height and girth adjusted accordingly. In moments, the second shadow bore the exact countenance of the person in the photo.
A sadness filled the air. The first shadow tore up the photo and ate it. He chuckled.
“You enjoy strange things.” Said the second shadow. The first shadow shrugged and smiled, holding its arms wide.
“What was his name?” asked the second shadow.
“Jonathan Hughes,” said the first shadow.
“Poor fellow,” said the second shadow. The first shadow sneered.
“Whatever,” he said, “you’ve got an important task to take care of, Jonathan Hughes.” The first shadow let out a final chuckle and extended a hand. When the likeness of Jonathan Hughes took it, the shadow pulled him in close: “Do not forget how much rests on this,” he whispered. The likeness of Jonathan Hughes strained to hear the faint words, not noticing the weight lift from his pocket.
The shadow held his guest at arm’s length again and smiled widely: “You’ll do fine, friend! Just pretend it’s the old days.”
“I enjoyed this sort of thing in the old days,” said the likeness of Jonathan Hughes, and he began walking to the front of the apartment.
The shadow listened as the likeness knocked. A door opened.
“Ah,” said a voice with a slightly drunken slur, “you must be Steve’s friend! I’m Bill. Here, you’ve got a lot of drinking to catch up on.” The door closed.
The shadow grinned and waited.
The fur-clad boy trudged steadily from the base of the sundial to the doors of the café, making a beeline for my table when he entered. He plunked himself down across from me and stared blankly for a moment.
“I had a grand one-liner just then.” He said, “I think…nope, it’s gone.” He extended a hand: “Epimetheus, pleased to meet you, Bill Commonly!”
I took the boy’s hand, saying nothing.
“I presume Prometheus has told you nothing good about me,” said the boy, “if anything at all.”
“He seemed quite eager to get away from you in the forest.” I said flatly.
“Well, that told you he didn’t want me around, but that doesn’t tell you much, seeing as he doesn’t seem to want any of the gods around.”
“So you’re a god, then?” I asked.
The boy laughed aloud. “Of course I am! What else would I be?”
“Crazy, manic. You could be a feral child or a caveman, for all I know.”
Epimetheus frowned: “What gives you that impression?”
I gestured at his wardrobe with a nod. He looked down and subsequently broke into a fit of laughter. He brought himself to tears before gasping, “I’ve forgotten to change!”
There was a click, or a flash of light, or I blinked; I’m not sure which. Whatever it was, the fur-clad boy gave way to a handsome young man in shorts and a t-shirt.
“They call me the God of afterthought.” Chuckled Epimetheus, “I wonder why?”
I sighed deeply and closed my eyes. I thought about how much easier it would have been back at the apartment to accept my book as lost and get on with life.
“Why were you in that forest and why are you here now?” I asked. “Are you here to help us find Kronos?”
Epimetheus’ voice took a suddenly serious tone. “Not exactly. I’m here to find out why Kronos and my brother have been spending so much time together. I was hoping you could provide some insight.”
I threw my hands in the air: “Wonderful! More family drama amongst the gods! Which one does your brother do? Subconscious thought? Immortality? Thunder? Lightning? Day dreaming? Stupidity?”
Epimetheus stared at me intently without reply. I let out a heavy breath.
“Tell me this, god of afterthought, what on earth have I done to gain so much interest with your type?”
My frustration sagged in the air between us. Epimetheus furrowed his brow and cleared his throat. When he spoke, his words came slowly, carefully.
“My brother is the God of forethought.” He said.
previous: Kronos Got Drunk – Part Six
more by ISAAC GOLLE
photograph by Romain Briaux