• The Gods are Alive It had been sprawled onto a dark-blue billboard that stood over a busy highway and Dionysus couldn’t have been happier with his work. Originally it had read God is Alive, probably by some Christian fanatic group, but with a few added phrases, it now read with enough praise to please even the most arrogant of Gods. If they were drunk like he was.
    “ Stupid Christians I showed ‘em. They put up stupid signs like that and I’ll mess with it. That’ll teach ‘em “ Dionysus slurred as she stared up at the sign, extremely proud of himself. Laughing to no one in particular, he reached down to pick up the bottle that had given him the “brilliant” idea in the first place. To his surprise, it revealed to be completely empty when he lifted it to his lips. Out of desperation, he tipped it over and shook it vigorously, hoping to hear the drops, perhaps even a trickle, of remaining liquor, but of course there was none. It was bone dry. Cursing himself and various other people for his misfortune, he threw down the bottle, letting it fall to the ground with a crash.
    “ Damn it All of the stupid shops are closed “ Dionysus grumbled to himself, followed by a long string of more colorful language. Stuffing his fists into the pockets of his coats, he decided to walk off his anger. Luckily the rain had died down in the hour since the storm had officially begun, so all there was to deal with was a light drizzle. It was still too much to handle, as his buzz was already dying and he could feel a hang over working itself into him.
    Rubbing his forehead, it took him a moment to realize where he had strolled up to. In front of him stood a large mansion the faint gray color blending into the sky behind it. Although it hadn’t been tended for in a few months, the front lawn held the appearance that it once was extravagant. Even the overgrown grass couldn’t hide the glamour that once ruled throughout the garden, which now peeked out demurely. The ivy, very fitting for the residents, still remained wound around the Romanesque pillars in front of the house, and it was this that he leant up against. The house itself was extremely grand. Of course, it was large in size, but it was its sheer architecture that created the impressive aura. From the beautifully crafted stones that made up the wall to the gigantic windows that were pristine in their cleanliness, the house seemed to have come from years past. Even the spiraling towers on either side, seemed to be belonging in the historic castle. But it wasn’t the building itself which made Dionysus grin.
    “ Send for the Master of the house Tell ‘im a friend is here to see ‘him “ He instructed whatever servant had answered the door, not caring if he slurred or swayed. The person on the other side of the door may have been a maid, butler, or another failure working a menial job, with what little he took notice. Heck, he wasn’t even sure of the gender of the figure. All he knew was that the human had ran off to do as Dionysus had instructed. He often scared the help. A moment later, a tall man with perfectly groomed hair, despite the black roots, and caramel brown eyes, arrived in the doorway. The one whom Persephone referred to as Father.
    Strangely enough, despite his few flaws, the most obvious being his bad dye job, Father was quite attractive. There was a morbid mystery about his appearance that proved to be irresistible to the women. All of the Gods had great looks, down to the youngest of them all. Even Dionysus was quite handsome when his copper hair wasn’t a complete mess and he remembered to clean up a bit. His slow and gentle smile was the usually the first thing to be noticed about him, closely followed by his emerald green eyes, when they weren’t bloodshot. Many often complimented him on his generally sophisticated appearance, which he took great pride in.
    “ I’ll have to inform the servants on who is of priority to see me. What is it that you want now Dionysus? Are you all out of your precious alcohol? “ The man hissed lowly, obviously displeased with the arrival of the drunk who now stood on his doorstep, reeking of the foul beverage. The stench, coming from both his breath and his clothing, which he had surely spilled on, rafted into Father’s nostrils. There was a sudden urge to retch, but the millionaire was luckily able to swallow this. Instead he merely watched as anger shot up the drunk’s body, and it showed through his facial expression. Obviously, this comment didn’t sit well with him. But figuring his anger would do him no good this time, he forced a cheerful smile onto his face.
    “ Oh Hades, my dear friend, you surely jest I noticed that it is the final day of summer, by mortal eyes, and by tomorrow evening your garden will be filled with flowers once again. A celebration is in order “ Dionysus exclaimed, trying to keep himself from slurring in order to lessen Hades’ criticism. This didn’t seem to work as a knowing grin spread across the rick of the two’s face, and a low chuckle escapes his lips.
    “ A celebration . . . with wine? “ Hades questioned, slowly raising an eyebrow. The corners of Dionysus’s mouth lowered and he slowly nodded, his head hung low. There was no denying it now.
    “ A celebration with wine. “ He confirmed, his voice barely more than a low whisper. Cruel laughter exploded and echoed in the hallway, as he was motioned into the house with a single flick of a well-dressed wrist. This gesture confused Dionysus, as he had expected to be turned away as soon as he arrived at the door, but he followed the other man nevertheless. The inside of the mansion was even more grand than the outside, with its intricate chandeliers and numerous paintings that were doubtful of being just prints. From the burgundy curtains to the various antiques located around the room, the furnishings of just the hallway itself had to be half a million in cost.
    Despite the wealth, everything, down to the smallest detail, gave off a morbid aura. Whoever had done the decoration, Hades himself most likely, must have been inspired by the Gothic architecture of Europe, with its grim elegance and class, and it showed in every aspect of the house. It fit Hades well, what with him being the God of the Underworld, but it still unnerved Dionysus greatly. Even the three German Shepards that followed at their master’s feet, seemed too cheery compared to the rest of the house.
    Finally the pair arrived at the parlor, which, thankfully, had been decorated in celebration of the end of the summer. Fragrances from the roses and carnations that had been placed in glass vases all around the room, filled the air, all filling Dionysus with nausea. It was once again too much for his drunken stupor. Trying to find something, anything, to distract him from the ‘awful stench’, his eyes fell upon the two others in the room, along with the men. One was one of the numerous servants, he recognized this one as a maid, and other happened to be the delicate Persephone. Her long black hair, still damp from the rain, now hung gracefully, framing her face almost like a curtain before a play. Talking with the maid it was hard to see that she was much past the young age, despite the nearly sheer nightgown that would have looked scandalous on anyone else, she portrayed. The white nightgown only looked innocent on her. Everything about her did, from her girlish smile to her dainty little figure.
    “ Father. Dionysus. “ Persephone muttered in a polite greeting toward the pair. Once again, Dionysus had been staring at her, and her great dislike for the man was obvious in her eyes. How much she despised him could not be described in words. Still she had to force a smile onto her face, she had refinement after all, so as not to upset yet another God. She already had Zeus’s anger. She didn’t need another.
    Having left the parlor, missing Persephone letting Dionysus’s true name slip, the maid had now returned, holding a small tray in her hands. On the tray was two glasses of wine, obviously excluding the young girl. She understood. She did not crave the beverage, like a particular God. Bending down to smell one of the roses, their calming scent comforting her, she kept a cautious eye on Dionysus, whose loud laughter now rung through the room. He’s making a fool of himself, Persephone internally complained, and us for allowing such a rowdy guest into the house. So why does Father not care? Why does he continue to smile kindly and nod, as if he is oblivious to Dionysus’s attitude? It was true, with Hades situated in the chair opposite his guest, paying close attention to the far-fetched story spilling out of the other’s lips. Occasionally he would sip at his own wine and offer a comment, but for the most part he only listened and smiled, completely out of character for him. Confused, Persephone had always believed that Father despised Dionysus, so why was he being so welcoming?
    While his company would gradually drain his wine, Dionysus had already gulped down three of his own, begging for a fourth. He had just summoned a servant, slurring profusely, when a sudden urge came over him. Getting to his feet, he slowly walked over to Persephone, smiling brightly, slightly frightening the young girl. But he only intended to have a harmless little conversation....At first.
    “ When are you going to start planting those pretty little flowers you love so much? I missed them over the summer. “ Dionysus asked politely, but Persephone didn’t miss the swaying and drunken smile, that identified his usual personality. Nor did he miss the obvious discomfort with him in her body language, as she attempted to back away from him. Grasping at her upper arm, and most likely injuring her, he sneered angrily as she struggled to get out of his grip.
    “ Get off of me, you big brute. “ Persephone gasped, as thrashed about, her hair flying in every direction, with each turn of the head.
    “ I only asked you a simple question. “ Dionysus muttered casually, but he continued to hold her tightly, even going so far as to pull her up against him, wrapping his arms around her in a hug-like gesture. But it was far from it, as he smirked to himself. One hand remained tight around her shoulders, to hold her in place, while the other slowly started to lower down her back. Still struggling, it wasn’t until she felt the hem of her nightgown lifting, that she realized what Dionysus was doing. Her movements became more rapid and desperate, until she managed to escape.
    “ Marie! No more wine for our guest. He’s had enough. “ Persephone called out to the servant whom Dionysus had called. Attempting to remain calm, despite the anger which pumped through her blood, she used the most well-mannered intonation she could manage considering the situation. Immediately, Dionysus’s face changed from drunken bliss to alcohol-driven fury, and he took several menacing steps toward the defiant child. Yet she remained fearless, at least on the outside.
    “ You little bi- “Dionysus began, but was interrupted by Persephone.
    “ You are wasted! “ Persephone snapped in response, her voice more edgy and accusatory than it had been moments before. Eyes narrowed and hands balled into fists, she was prepared for the fight certain to occur, but his speed surprised her. With a single quick motion, his fist collided with her cheek. The force of the blow set her off-balance and she found herself flying backwards into the table behind her. For a moment, she was in a daze and the smashing clamor of broken glass seemed so far away from the rest of her body. It wasn’t until she felt the pain shooting through her body that it registered in her mind what had happened. Her flowers. Her precious roses. Slowly raising a hand, she saw the thorn protruding from her palm and it nearly brought her to tears. Not the pain so much, but the fact that she had ruined one of the few things she truly cared about.
    “ Persephone! Do you know what you have done?! He’s gone and I severely doubt that he will be back! “ Hades scolding seemed to awaken her from her melodramatic melt down. Dionysus had stormed out of the house, to go wreak some more signs to calm himself down, and the maid had also left the room, probably to spread the story of what had just happened. Raising her head, her hair was now splattered and splotched with the water from the vase, she stared up at her guardian, who stood in front of her, his arms crossed against his chest. Gulping, she knew she had messed up now, yet a rebellious thought echoed in her mind, and she felt the need to express it.
    “ But why Father? Why do you even care? I know you despise him just as much as I do, if not more! Yet you seem to thrive on his company! “ Persephone muttered, although regretting it as soon as she had done so. Now all she could do was hope that she wouldn’t be punished for her pure audacity and gall. Hades scowled at these comments and raised a hand as if to give her yet another cruel hit, and she must have expected this, as Persephone flinched and raised her hands to protect her face. But Hades only placed his thumb under her chin, to lift her face that had lowered in shame.
    “ That is none of your business my dear “ Hades whispered and kissed her gently on the forehead. It was a comforting gesture, but she knew that he would grow angry, if she didn’t respond to this in exactly the correct way.
    “ Yes Father. I apologize. “ Persephone whispered, using the most obedient tone she could manage, as she fought off the tears that still threatened to fall down her cheek. But Hades lips formed into a smile, and with a solitary nod, he left Persephone in the parlor alone. Alone amid the crushed roses.