Wanderlust

Brenna R. Singman


"I'm just finishing up," said the sharply dressed CEO into the phone base. And still he never glanced from the monitor and the thread of unchecked emails. "I don't need mothering, Rhea."

"Oh, but of course," said the secretary through the speaker. " You're the boss, boss."

Silence returned to Zed's office and, too, his serenity. Hence he stole away from his post when time permitted. Olympus hailed the never ending cacophony. Humans were chaotic yet were much simpler creatures than gods.

And another email arrived in Zed's inbox. He thought it no more than a west coast client tying up loose threads. The email had an attachment. Many wagered to see if his clientele knew the difference between PDF and PNG. However it was the subject line that disrupted him in its atypical wording. A thousand more times he saw ATTN: Zed Lympus or RUSH ORDER PRODUCT CODE ETC.

This one was titled as one does a developed phishing scam. Its wording, mostly articulate, was just casual enough to seem human. The way humans flaunted their imperfections. Zed opened the message for amusement.

"Efficient," said he. He rubbed his prickly chin of mature grays to give his idle hands a task. "Picture in both the body and attachment." His mind did not bother with the words of the lone passage, too busy seeking the website someone thought to trick him into entering. In no more than a week of mortal time did he learn how to avoid such scams as he amassed his fool's fortune.

As Zed came to realize the truth of the dark image, he took on a cold sweat over his body. He saw a bulbous green shape made of pixels cast over the wash of black. Within the sack-like outline was a more acutely designed figure, akin to a profile of one's crown, perhaps an arm. The message ended:

Most exalted of the Gods, to know your kin would be the kindest of fates. Do not rebuke the one whose passion you denied but for your own.

From,

your Leda.

To his shame, Zed allowed the sudden fright to strike him. He finally regained his composure and reread the email thoughtfully. He knew every trick of the trade, every gamble one might take to achieve and excel in the realm of men. He did not become one of the richest among mortals by allowing harpees to best him.

The woman spoke of a date some months back. Zed maintained his memory in the slow-witted world of mortals. Man raced through life in a fury while exchanging their use to Zed for naught in return. Zed kept mindful because humans liked to think themselves larger than gods. They found meddling ways to weasel through the cracks of the foundation of an unaware elite and ensnare a modest sum of attention and profit. Zed would not allow it. For this woman to claim intercourse that Zed could not recall was a dread condemnation.

And yet–one night, now crossing his mind, struck as vague. He lavished the hours in celebration of an underling. A beauty approached them, flicking a lock of raven hair over her bare shoulder.

Zed checked his calendar for the date of the outing. Four months thence just as Leda claimed. He drank nothing of the modern mortal wretch proclaimed as alcohol. He partook of a stash of wine from Olympus. Those pale blue eyes of hers, yearning for his gaze in return, continued to fade in and out of his memories. The painted lips curved into a luscious smirk and beckoned him–to dance? To speak? Zed clapped his temples. The secretary entered.

"I said I was finishing up!" said he. Rhea, a voluptuous blonde in a purple suit dress, flicked away his fire and offered an insulated mug in its place. Grinning devilishly, she spoke, "Thought you could use an evening pick-me-up."

Without waiting for a reply nor scolding, Rhea excused herself.

Zed growled and consumed what should have been a scalding beverage, but it knew nothing of the heat of Hades' domain. The beverage was a sweetened mixture of autumnal spices that were sharp in his throat, but pleasing. Mortals had much fascination with pumpkins. And as the warmth coated his mouth and slowly filled his belly, his mind awoke.

That beautiful woman at the Glade Bar, her bobbing courtiers following her every action, and yet somehow she looked like the innocent handmaiden. He wanted her, and he had her, but he knew well enough not be outwitted by her. This was coercion at its most grim. Leda dared coerce the king of gods.

"What do you think you know, mortal?" said he. "I will discover it."

"Exalted Zeus, your chariot is at hand," Rhea hailed through the speaker.

"By the gods! Hera?"

"You didn't think I would let you waltz across the mortal plains alone, did you? It retards your thinking. Now hurry up if you want to investigate this golddigger."

Zed held his rebuke in place of his more ultimate victory to banish the one who thought herself a queen over his kingdom.