“Are you two ready for this?” I squeezed Jax and Juni’s hands and took a deep breath. The three of us were standing in the deserted library, Jax on my left and Juni on my right. The lights were still off and the only light that illuminated the area was the moons fragile rays.
“I think I might pee myself from the excitement.” Speechless, I turned to look at Juni and just stared at her. Jax gave a bark of laughter. Juni shrugged, grinning. “I drank a lot of coffee this morning.”
“I did not need to know that, but okay.”
My father appeared from the shadows and smiled at me. Juni watched him with bright silver eyes, her face a mask of indifference. Janus waved his right hand and the world in front of us shimmered and split open. The rend sat in between two book shelves, it shimmered golds and silvers. Pinks and teals sliced through it to make it seem like we were looking into a nebula.
“Go through the rend, and you will meet your aunts.” He took a step back, his own form already beginning to fade away. “Be careful of what you say.” He warned, “I cannot save you once you cross over.”
“Let’s go meet my aunts.” I muttered, staring into the rend to the other world. Jax, Juni and I took a step forward and walked through space and time until we did not know where we were any longer.
I tightened my grips on the hands in mine. “A hand to take,” the voice was faint, lost in the echos of the world’s.
“A grip to break.” I felt Juni and Jax’s hands slide from mine, panicking, I tightened my hands, using all of my might to hold those two to me.
“A wish to steal.” I felt invisible hands on me, searching my pockets, touching me. I resisted the urge to squirm.
“A wish to kill,” this one seemed to be whispered directly into my ear, the image of Negal flashing before my eyes, blood everywhere.
“A hand to take is a soul to break.” The world became clear everything pristine.
Jax, Juni and I were jolted into a room, my hands were clasped around their wrists. The room was large, pastel colors were everywhere, the walls were a light green, the floors a light pink. In the middle of the room was a small table, it was white with iron wrought legs. Seated around the table were three beautiful women. One had long hair the color of the morning sun, bright red tips. The one in the middle had shorter hair, the color of the daytime, a bright blonde. The third and final one had short hair, so much like my own, a blueish black of the night sky.
“Hello nephew.” The first one with hair the color of morning acknowledged. She continued sitting where she was, one leg crossed over the other. She was wearing a long flowing dress a pale cream color. Her eyes were a bright reddish hue. She smiled at me, her lips a pale red color. I was guessing this was the oldest of the triplets, Clotho.
“We’ve been waiting.” The second woman warned. Her sun bright hair reached just passed her shoulders. She was seated in the middle of the three, her long legs stretched before her, her arms crossed over her chest. Her eyes were pinpricks of gold, one eyebrow was raised as if she was waiting for me to comment back. She was wearing a pair of jean shorts and a teal tank top. This one was the second oldest, Lachesis.
“It’s so boring waiting,” the third woman groaned. She was shorter than the rest, swinging her legs back and forth, her feet not touching the ground. Her short black hair continued to fall into her eyes so she blew it away, covering her purple eyes with every breath. She was wearing skinny jeans and a dark red hoodie. She had to be the youngest, Atropos. She looked over the the first woman. “Clotty, I’m bored, let’s get this over with.”
“Hush, Atty, Lacey looks even more bored than you.” Clotho said to her youngest sister. Their middle sister, Lachesis just rolled her eyes.
“I can’t believe Janey up and had a child without us knowing.” Lachesis muttered, turning her eyes on me and staring me down. Janey must have been my father’s nickname. I resisted a snort. I could just see him roll his eyes at his three sisters. Atropos jumped out of her seat and meandered toward where the three of us stood. She stopped in front of Juni and stared into her silver eyes.
“Oooh,” she whispered, then reached out and poked Juni in the shoulder. “It’s been a long time since I’ve met one with fey blood.” Juni let go of my hand, when I tried to grab it back she stayed my hand, telling me she was alright.
“It’s a delight to meet you, Atropos.” My youngest aunt giggled and clapped her hands. Her black hair bouncing.
“Even better, you’re a seer.” She giggled again. “I must know,” she whispered, “what do your visions look like?”
“Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints.” Juni was telling my aunt.
“It takes and it takes and it takes.” Atropos singsonged, happiness in her step. Juni and Atropos walked away talking about visions and death. It seemed oftly morbid from this side of the conversation, but the two of them were talking animatedly.
“You’re Nemestrinus’ offspring.” Lachesis volunteered from her casual spot at the table. Jax gave a slight bow.
“I appreciate you not calling him my father, he does not deserve the praise.” My second oldest aunt grinned a large toothy smile and stood up. She walked over to Jax and stared into his green eyes. She tilted her head, examining him from different angles.
“You do not look like him. He’s such an old man. Prevy and an ass at that.” Jax laughed, nodding in agreement.
“History obliterates every picture it paints.” He told the Goddess that created history. She chuckled and Jax slipped his hand from mine. I felt suddenly lonely without Jax or Juni. He trailed a finger down my arm once before he left my side to talk to Lachesis about his father and everything about his precious woods. With Juni and Atropos off in one side of the room and Lachesis and Jax in the other, it left me and Clotho. She waved a hand towards the seats her sisters had just vacated. I walked carefully over to the oldest of the triplets, watching everything out of the corner of my eyes, still wary of the omnipotent goddesses.
“Sit,” Clotho intoned. I obeyed, sitting in the seat across from her where Atropos had been sitting. Clotho unfolded her legs and leaned in, her hands folded beneath her chin. “Let me get a good look at you, nephew.” She reached across the table and turned my face to one side and to the other. When she pulled away, she was smiling. “You look just like Janus. It’s been a long time since we have seen him.”
“That might be my fault,” I whispered.
“I know,” Clotho sighed, “he is trapped in one of the worlds he created for your mother. That is why you and your friends are here, is it not? To find out how to defeat Nergal and rescue my brother?” Unsurprised that she knew my reason for being here. I leaned in, wanting answers.
“Do you know how we can succeed?”
“I have seen the entire life Nergal will live.” Clotho sighed, waving her hand in the air, images of Nergal’s life appeared. I watched him go from a young child to the scarred man he was today, then suddenly, everything went black. “However, whenever you or your father are involved, any life you touch is changed.” Clotho said, showing me that darkness on Nergal’s history. “It falls off the course my sisters and I have set for it.” She sighed and pointed a long finger over to Juni. The air around Juni brightened to a silver, but it wasn’t clear like her eyes, it was speckled with black darkness.
“Had she not met you,” Clotho whispered, she waved her finger again and even more of that blackness appeared on Juni’s aura. “That fey would have never come out of her shell. She would still be stuck in the nightmares of her past.” Another wave of her finger and that darkness fell away, making the silver that was Juni spark brighter. Green began to swirl into it, a blast of sweet sunshine hit my senses. “But because you are in her life, she has blossomed. Her cocoon is breaking and she will spread her wings.” Juni’s aura flared again, and like that first night I had met her, bright blue and gold wings flared from her back. They beat once, twice, then disappeared.
Clotho turned and glanced behind her at Jax. “Had you not met him,” she waved her finger again, Jax’s moss green aura blossomed into my vision, his, like Juni’s, was speckled with darkness. “He would have been captured by his father again and made to serve that no good god as a lackey.” She waved another finger, and that darkness disappeared, leaving nothing but trees and sunshine. “He will soon not need that bracelet he wears, he is getting better at controlling his own powers.” A final wave of her hand and Jax’s aura flared, turned from bright green into the violet of his powers. It was almost the color of his panthers fur. “He is becoming one with his panther, as it should be.” Clotho turned back toward me and gazed at me. Her face analyzing everything I was.
“Your powers are not fully awakened.” She did her finger wave on me, and out of the corner of my eyes, I saw fragments of my own aura. Unlike Juni and Jax, my aura was not whole, there were missing parts, it was patches of what it should have been. “I think that has partly to do with Janus. He is keeping something from you.” My aunt whispered, she waved her finger again and all those holes tried to connect to each other but as much as they strained, they never touched. With another waved, my aura disappeared. Clotho sighed and leaned back in her chair.
“I can’t see when you will get it back, nor can I see if you will truly free my brother. All I know is that you have to take this one step at a time, we do not control you, nephew You are truly an echo of your mother and father.” I sighed and rubbed my head, one of my headaches beginning to beat with my pulse.
“How can we defeat Nergal?” I asked, I knew she couldn’t make the future happen, but she must have a clue. “He needs to be stopped.”
“Nergal is a tricky creature.” Clotho whispered, she drew swirls and patterns with her finger on top of the table. “His life span is not up yet.”
“I don’t want to kill him. Just stop him,” I almost begged. Her finger stilled on one of the swirls she was drawing. She looked up, her red eyes sparking with a thought. She moved that finger along the table and lifted it until it was not even a centimeter from touching my forehead.
“There might be a way.” She moved that last centimeter and made contact with my forehead, her power, the darkness and creation of the morning sunrise flowed into me. I could feel all of the beginnings in that touch, it was like being touched by every mother in existence. Warm, comforting and yet, it frightened me. “With your powers,” she whispered, “you could rip away everything he knows.”
Frightened by the look in her eyes and the power flowing into me, I whispered back, “How do I do that?”
“You take every memory he has and erase it, it will leave him a husk to be recreated.” She pulled back, placed her hand back in her lap, and watched me. My headache was gone, I felt around my power and found that some of the holes had been patched.
“If you succeed in doing that,” she challenged, raising one eyebrow, “my sisters and I will come and pick him up to make sure he never tries to defy us again.” Power flowed up around Clotho. Where earlier it was a pale pink, this was raging red, like the color of her eyes. I knew she was not angry at me, but at Nergal, and for that I was glad. “We do not take kindly to those who try to defy the Fates.”