Chapter 5

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. My house was absolutely still.

"Mom?" My voice rang out into the empty halls. "Dad? Pups? Anyone?"

No one replied. Normally when I opened the door I was tackled by eight mongrel dogs. The number of dogs we had fluctuated as some grew old and passed away but we always had a large assortment. They were usually stray dogs that my mother insisted on bringing into our family no matter how much it cost us a month in dog food. Mom had never been the type to let things go without a loving home. I guess that's why I ended up with my parents instead of foster care. I was just another stray that got taken in to be loved, and honestly I was happy with that.

Stepping inside the front entrance, I kicked my shoes off into the shoe cupboard before continuing through my home. The floor boards squeaked familiarly under my weight. The house was built in the early sixties which left much to be desired in the actual structural integrity of the building. So far I had managed to: fall through the stairs into the first floor bathroom, cause a water pipe to the outside tap to explode when I didn't drain it at the start of winter, watched the septic tank shoot out of the ground when the frost heave formed, and took down a kitchen cupboard when I used it to balance myself in order to grab the blender out from above the fridge. So many valiant trees lost their lives to build a house that was intent on killing me.

Although the house had been a disaster when we bought it thanks to a remodel done in the 1980's, an era of shag carpeting, and vivid, tacky colors, we had managed to make it look modern. The floors were covered in laminate wood and the kitchen had been replaced since I took the one cupboard down with a bang. The walls had been repainted in my mothers favourite colour: brown. The entire house was the same shade of brown except a few accent walls that were just darker shades of brown. My room was the only room that was different. It was grey with a few black and white photos just to make use of wall space.

None of that really mattered to me now though as I slowly crept from room to room, looking for any signs of life. I searched the house top to bottom before coming into the main living space to find Kat on the phone with her mother. I could hear the concern in her voice as they spoke about what had happened at the school and where her family had been at the time of the attack.

Jack sat on the arm of the Lay-Z-Boy sofa with his eye on Kat. Wandering into the kitchen I grabbed a glass of water, not wanting to disturb Kat's conversation. I could still see her since we had an open concept kitchen/living room combination since our remodel, but I wasn't disturbing her.

I thought about calling my family but both my mother and father had left their cell phones sitting on the kitchen counter to charge. Perfect.

Leaning against the kitchen island I took a sip of water before promptly spitting it out all across the counter as the woman from the school appeared in my living room with a flash of light just like the last time. Jack squawked loudly, and Kat toppled backwards on the living room chair, hitting the ground with a thud.

I watched as Kat righted her self, and quickly told her mother that she would call her back. I don't think Kat's mom managed to even say goodbye before the receiver clicked off.

Finally my eyes were drawn back to the drop dead gorgeous woman. She looked even better now than she had the first time we saw her. Her hair managed to flow down her back in such a way that it made her look more curvaceous and her eyes were absolutely enchanting.

"Hello Katarina, Tabitha," the woman said as though my name was an after thought. "I assume you have questions that-"

"Who are you?" I blurted out before she could continue on with her train of thought.

The woman looked at me with a raised eyebrow that let me know she was displeased with my interjection but answered my question nonetheless. "I am Athena. Goddess of wisdom, strength, and strategy. Just to name a few."

Kat and I glanced at each other with a look that said "we smacked our heads on the desks and are dreaming this shit right?" before looking at the woman with suspicious glare.

"Katarina," Athena said, completely disregarding my existence.

"It's Kat, actually," Kat stated.

The goddess rolled her eyes before continuing, "Kat. You are the last living member of the Salem witches. We need you to stop this apocalypse before it gets to much worse. People are dying at an alarming rate, and it will soon become enslavement or extinction."

My mouth hit the floor whilst Kat just had a blank look on her face. Neither one of us knew what to say. That was a load of information to drop on anybody.

"W-w-what can I do?" Kat managed to stutter.

"You and Tabitha will go seal the portal," Athena said with such conviction I was actually instilled with a sense of confidence, until I remembered the demons.

"Are you going to just teleport us there?" I asked, praying that this woman didn't want us to walk half way around the world to Greece or something ridiculous like that.

"Of course not!" Athena replied with a look of disbelief on her face. How dare us puny mortals not want to trudge across the world to gods know where for gods knows what.

"So what? We walk to Greece?" Kat asked with a look that said "Ah, hells no."

A twitch appeared underneath Athena's eye. Clearly our questioning bothered the goddess. She didn't think we would actually go on this insane trip just because she said we were the last hope. Who did she think we were? Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker?

Clearing her throat Athena did her best to cover up the laps in snobbish demeanour she had displayed. Straightening up she replied to Kat, "You're not going to Greece. You're going to this United States of America."

"You're going to have to be more specific," I told her. "It's a big place. I'm pretty sure you could fit Greece into America five times over."

"Thanatos will lead you there," she stated before a large man appeared in the room.

The man looked to be in his late twenties with long, black hair that went down to his upper back. Bright blue eyes stared me as he crossed his arms over his magnificent chest. I practically drooled at the man's scrumptious body. He had that sexy "V" shape to his torso that directed your eyes towards the goods. He was only wearing some sort of battle skirt that left little to the imagination, which was absolutely perfect, and a protective arm guard on his right arm. The man had abs I could do laundry on and the slightest hint of a treasure trail. Mama was getting warm in the secret spots.

I snapped out of my reverie as Jack squawked loudly. Casting my gaze towards the raven I saw him bob mockingly from side to side. He did it intentionally. That little bastard.

"This it Thanatos," Athena stated. "He will be leading you to your destination. Good day."

"Wait!" I screamed before Athena could flash out. "You come into my house, tell me I'm someone's sidekick, drop a six foot six beast of a man-"

"Six foot seven," Thanatos cut in.

"Sorry, six foot seven beast of a man into my living room, and now you're just done helping us. How are we supposed to get there? What do we do? Kat doesn't know magic. We don't even have a way to defend ourselves from those monsters out there!"

Closing her eyes, Athena attempted to calm herself over my out burst. Holding out her hands she made a sword appear in one, and a bow and quiver appear in the other. "Here. Take these. They have my blessing."

"So does that mean they'll never miss or something?" Kat asked as she reached for the bow.

"The bow is not for you Katarina," Athena snapped like the bitchy princess she was. "My blessing just means I sanction it. You guys have to figure the weapons out on your own. Thanatos is pretty good at killing people. He can teach you."

Taking the bow out of Athena's hand I looked it over. I had never strung a bow, nor shot an animal. Well, I had been gopher hunting a couple times, but that was because it affected the horses. I was pretty handy with a pistol though.

Glancing at Thanatos I realized he had yet to take his eyes off of me and judging by the scowl on his face, he wasn't looking because he liked the goods.

"I wasn't told I'd be working with an elf," Thanatos complained to Athena. "I don't work with elves."

"Well I don't work with pricks," I retorted. It was a lame retort but I had nothing better on hand.

"You have no choice in the matter. Either of you," Athena snapped at us. "You will help them reach the seal. You will help them close the rift. And you will be grateful for the opportunity. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes," Thanatos muttered.

Athena's glare turned on me next. "I understand," I replied awkwardly as I averted my eyes.

Jack squawked in the living room, flapping his wings as if he know what was happening. I could swear that was his version of laughing at my pain.

"Now, figure the rest of it out yourselves. Oh, and Than, I gave you some of your powers back. You should be able to summon some modern clothes and a weapon or two." With that Athena flashed out of the room, leaving us to awkward silence.

Thanatos stood there with his crossed arms, and a sour look on his face. Kat looked at me, and I at her. We were in way over our head and had no way out.