Through the darkness he will rise. James Olympia has spent his life moving from one foster home to the next, viewing himself nothing more than an orphan making his way through high school. That is until a stranger appears on his doorstep offering him the chance of a lifetime. Suddenly, his world is turned upside down as he's whisked away to a new and exciting environment. He soon learns nothing is as it seems. Truths long buried are discovered, and a great destiny looms before him. With each choice made, his path becomes clearer. But, waiting for him, is unimaginable darkness.View More
“Boom, boom, boom,” the bass blasted from the speakers drawing everybody in the room into a rhythmic trance. As the beat pulsed and vibrated through his bones like the strikes of a war drum, his turquoise-blue eyes raked the dance club hoping against hope to spot a new object of desire. Seeing a possibility, the young man put a hand up to ruffle his sandy blonde hair, swallowed back his nerves, took a deep breath, and made his way through the throng knowing that tonight was going to be a productive night. He saddled up to the bar and turned to his left. “Can I buy you a drink?” he asked the raven-haired beauty. She was resting against the polished metal countertop in a suggestive way: all hips and attitude; she wore a skin-tight black dress that came down to her knees and left little to the imagination. A slight smile broke across her face as her eyes took him in, but then slowly, sarcastic indulgence washed out all else from her expression. “Maybe next time, sweetheart,” she
The setting sun created a beautiful mosaic of reds, oranges, yellows, and violets as James stared across the waterfront. As the light played across the water as if flames were dancing on the current, he thought about all that had changed in the past few months. He had set out on just another fork in life, or so he thought, but now he had discovered more about himself than he had ever known. He’d also gained more of a family than he had ever had before. His heart had grown as if by magic, and he cared for more people than he ever thought possible. James breathed a heavy sigh. That train of thought brought the tearful goodbye with Eliza this morning to the forefront of his mind. She had been through more than any one person should ever have to go through, kidnapped, tortured, and in fear for her life. He tried to be helpful and sympathize with her, but in truth he knew he couldn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what she had been through. He just didn’t have any experiences to com
The dog, if you could even call it that, was enormous. Cerberos had a wide and stout body like that of a pit bull’s, except this body stood at least ten feet tall. The three, fear-invoking heads, rose a few feet higher. Its skin was completely hairless, the dark, leather-like material stretched taut over sinew, muscle, and bone. Teeth as long and sharp as daggers emerged as each of the heads pulled back its ugly black lips in a show of hatred. Each head reminded James of a decomposing Doberman; ears flat back in agitation, black pits for eyes. The middle head barked a low bass-filled roar. He could feel the rumble in the pit of his stomach. Eliza was trembling uncontrollably in his arms. No doubt a hint of the hallucinogen still lingered in her veins. “Don’t look,” he murmured. She complied and buried her face into his shoulder. “My god . . .” Blakeney whispered fearfully, more to himself than anyone. “Cerberos. But . . . it can’t be.” He was beside himself. “We . . .” He swallowed
The building where Eliza was being held turned out to be some kind of old factory or manufacturing plant from the early 20th century, only it looked more like a stone castle than a factory. The drive had taken almost two hours in a general northern heading, into the heart of rural Pennsylvania. The place was huge, and the only vestiges of a plan that they’d developed was for Oliver to take the search on the upper floor, Blakeney going through the main and largest level, while James would take the basement. Infrared imagery from a passing satellite had revealed only two human-sized heat signatures—and some kind of large heat blob, likely a heating source for the building—but when dealing with Hades, anything was possible. No kind of advantage could be seen as they made their way to the outskirts of the property. The Academy’s Mercedes was parked a half-mile back. Blakeney held up a corner of the dilapidated security fence. “Go on through, you two,” he whispered, following right after.
The sun had reached its zenith and was now arcing towards the western sky on the first leg of its descent. James had barely moved for hours, just sat in the chair, staring emptily at his phone that lay on the bed. Several additional text messages had gone completely unanswered. Nothing. No response. And it wasn’t as if he would be seeing her on Monday. School was now over for the summer. His stomach rumbled, clearly in need of food, but he seemed to be a man completely immobilized. What few scraps of food he had eaten this morning had been forced upon him by Tres, Svet, and Adonis. They had all even tried to get him to come down to the pool with everyone else who had stayed at the hotel, but he had flat-out refused. He didn’t deserve any kind of enjoyment or distractions—at least not in his own eyes. So there he had sat for hours, patiently awaiting that one message from Eliza, that one lifeline thrown that could get him moving again. James closed his eyes and sighed, bringing
“Have you seen Eliza Masters?” James asked a random passerby fretfully, probably for the hundredth time. The girl shrugged and walked on. Seeing a friendly face, he ran over, desperate. “Ricky, you seen Eliza?” The dark-skinned boy bit his lip. “Um . . . not that I—“ Ricky’s eyes flashed in remembrance. “Oh, wait. I did see her heading to the valet parking lot. Does that help?” “Yeah, thanks,” James declared anxiously as he jogged out the door. He sprinted up and down each row of the car-filled lot, the heels of his dress shoes clacking loudly on the pavement. But it was all to no avail. The Fiat was nowhere to be found. I really screwed up this time. James pulled out his phone and sent a quick text to her. In only seconds there was a reply. It read: Leave me alone. He clenched his jaw and cursed himself as he sent another text. This time, there was no further response. His heart felt as if an Olympic strongman was crushing the life out of him with their bare hands. Once agai
“Hey!” said Eliza cheerfully the next morning at breakfast. “Hey.” He gave her a short kiss on the lips. Her searching eyes studied him. “You okay?” “Yeah, I’m fine,” he lied. “Why?” “You just . . .” She hesitated. “…seem a little put off.” He shrugged. “Probably just nerves cause of finals.” Eliza nodded, still not fully convinced. “Speaking of which,” continued James, “Director Blakeney gave me the rest of the week off to study.” “Well, that was nice of him. I know I could use the help.” Apparently, she had decided to let the earlier topic go. “Consider me at your disposal then, your royal hotness.” She rolled her eyes and directed herself at Adonis. “So who are you taking to the dance, Adonis?” “Um . . .” he started, “I didn’t really have any takers.” “Are you kidding me? I could probably name at least twenty girls that would die to go with you,” Eliza pointed out. Tres began to mumble something that sounded like, “But none of them is James,” until Svetlana kicked his
The weeks went by like a flash of lightning and before James knew it, the last week of May had arrived, the last week before summer break. At Mount Olympus Academy, instead of a prom for juniors and seniors only, they held one for all the students on the Saturday after the last day of class. Kind of a last gathering before everyone went their respective ways for the summer. Of course, he and Eliza would be going together, and since Tres couldn’t date a computer—no matter how adamant he remained that he could—Svetlana would be his date for the evening. It was a formal dance, and in keeping with such occasions, he and Tres had rented tuxedos from a local formalwear shop. Eliza had flat out refused to tell him the color of her dress, so James just picked a vest color that would flatter her eyes—an iridescent gold with sparse green accents. He was, he admitted, incredibly excited to go to his first formal dance. And, being able to add to the many lists of first-time events he had with El
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