I nearly skipped out of my last class, and started dialing Wilma’s number speedily. As I went over the details with her of the papers that needed filling out, I made my way to her house on foot. I was still on the phone with her when I had reached her door step. What a dork. I must have been wearing what looked like a painted on smile when Wilma greeted me at the door. “Well hello, darling” she said in her sweet, little granny voice. “Won’t you come in dear?” I was tempted to hug her, but I resisted the urge yet again. She had rollers in her hair, and had the TV blaring in the kitchen with the CNN news. So much for keeping the noise level down. She guided me to the kitchen table where the lease contract was laying with a pen beside it. “You know dear, times have changed so much. It’s a real shame how all these terrible things keep happening” she said solemnly as she creased her brows.
“Yes, I know. I prefer not to watch the news” I replied.
“Well dear, we live in this world, so we need to keep informed of what is happening around us” she said, her voice quivering. The way she put emphasis on her last words didn’t quite sit well with me. She had an odd way about her. Her eyes were wide open, and she stared right through me as if she wanted to warn me about something. “Just be careful dear” she said quietly, as she rubbed my hand. I didn’t even know what to reply to that. Careful of what? She turned the volume knob on the TV down, and invited me to sit down. “I can’t wait until the first of October” I told her with a big smile.
“Yes dear, I look forward to having you here. Your apartment will be ready for you a couple of days early, if you want to start moving things in” she replied as she reached for a cookie jar in her shelf. “Take one dear” she said as she offered the jar of chocolate chip cookies.
“Thank you, you’re very sweet just like your cookies” I said to her. Ok, that was corny, whatev-.
“You must be hungry after so many hours in school dear. You have to take care of yourself”
“I do my best” I responded as I slipped my shoes on.
“But really dear, take care of yourself” she continued with that same concerned look in her eyes. As I turned to wave at her from a distance, she opened the door a crack and yelled “be safe!” and a bright, white light shone all around her. Huh. So Helios had really been stalking me, with his high beam tactics. Very funny, I thought to myself. I just wished I knew what was going on. It was as if there were warnings all around me, but I didn’t know what they meant. Kind of like those ‘Finding Waldo’ books I read as a kid. I figured my brain was tangled up enough from thinking so hard, so I tried not to think about it until I was going to encounter Helios again. I mean, what choice did I have? I headed for my apartment, in hopes that I wouldn’t run into Jen. I was so relieved when I walked into an empty apartment. I dropped my bag, and got to work. I packed for at least three hours that night. I was pretty dang proud of myself for how much I had accomplished. Everything was now in neatly organized categories. Once I ran out of boxes and bags, I made my way back home. Tomorrow was going to be a hectic day, with classes and work back to back. Eeek, and to top things off, I had less than two weeks to get everything packed and moved into my new place. On my way home I heard my cell phone beep. Ooops. I had a ton of missed calls. I probably should have told my mom I was going straight to the apartment after school. It was taking a lot of getting used to going from the bachelorette life, to living with parents again. Each message was more frantic then the last. I didn’t waste any more time to call her back.
“Look, mom I’m sorr—‘
“I’ve been worried sick about you! Do you know what time it is?”
“I’m sorry mom, I went to the apartment to pack and I guess I didn’t hear the phone since I had it stashed in my backpack. I totally forgot to call you”.
“I was about to go driving around looking for you”. Get real, like where exactly? I suppressed the words, and decided against verbalizing them. “I’m fine mom, I’m still alive” I said with a sigh.
“Can you at least give me a quick call next time before you decide to go MIA?” she said in an exasperated tone of voice. “Yes mom, sorry. I guess I’m not used to checking in. It’s been a while”
“Ok, dear, I know you’re an adult now, but I’m still your mom and I worry about you. Oh, and Jen’s been trying to get a hold of you all night”.
“Got it, and what? Why is she calling the house when she knows perfectly well that I have a- (oh, ya right, I forgot. I didn’t exactly finish listening to the rest of my messages) I mean, what the hell does she want now? Hasn’t she destroyed my life enough?” I blurted out, scatter brained.
“I know you’re a grown woman, and are perfectly able to make your own decisions. I also know that I haven’t exactly always approved of Jen’s company, but this time, just this once, I think you should hear her out” she said concerned.
“Uh- what? Mom-“
I hung up the phone as I pushed through the front door and encountered her cutting up vegetables in the kitchen
“I don’t understand you! You never liked her, and now that she flat out, without a doubt cheats with my boyfriend, you decide I should give her a chance?”
“I didn’t say that. I’m just saying you should at least hear her out. I um, wasn’t exactly that honest with you the past week. She’s called a few other times, but I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to upset you. She sounds very distressed. I think it’s just worth giving her a listen. I’m not saying you should just blindly forgive her and forget, but just listen to what it is she has to say” she said in the most motherly way possible. “Well, I don’t wanna talk to her” I snapped back.
“It’s up to you hun, but I think maybe some closure would do you good” she poured the veggies onto the hot skillet and they sizzled loudly, emitting the most delicious aroma throughout the house. It wasn’t until then that I realized how hungry I really was. After all I hadn’t eaten since…lunchtime. It was now well past seven. My stomach growled as all the mouth watering aromas intensified. “Dinner will be ready in about ten minutes, dear” she said reading my mind. I went to the bedroom and sunk my butt into the bed. I stared at my cell phone, and scrolled down to Jen’s number, but I just couldn’t make myself press the send button. I went through the rest of my voicemails to better prepare myself for whatever shenanigan she had waiting for me next.
“Jaz, please I’m literally begging you to please call me back. I’ve been calling you constantly and I just can’t get through to you. Please call me when you get this. I need to talk to you.” I could even make out a little sniffling sound at the end of the message. Nice touch. But I’m not quite that dense. I was furious all over again. I wished I hadn’t listened to her pathetic voice on my voicemail. I figured I’d finish the job once and for all, so I dialed her number.
“Hello, beautiful. Not quite who you were expecting now, is it?” his voice velvety smooth voice intercepted the call. A very smooth, familiar British accent- OH MY GOD! “What?! What’s going on?”
“Settle down my beautiful little Goddess, how many times do I have to tell you? You have nothing to fear with me. I’m here for you” he said slyly. I was suddenly out of breath, and if it wasn’t for the bed’s sturdy support under my ass I would have already collapsed. Stupidly enough, I crawled up onto my feet completely appalled, and shouted “What the hell do you want from me! What are you doing with Jen’s phone?”
“Shh. Easy, beautiful. Don’t hurt yourself. You didn’t exactly comply with me in Hades, so I-“
“Hades? W-wait a minute, Is that where you took me when…?”
“No dear, that’s where you took yourself”. Click. I must not have realized how loud I was screeching, because… “Jasmine? Jasmine? Is everything ok?” was the next thing I heard right outside the bedroom door. “Yeah mom, I’m fine” I said as I continued to stare at my cell phone as if it was going to grow a mouth and take an enormous bite out of my face. I set it down on the night stand and composed myself as any normal daughter would act. “Jasmine, who were you yelling at? Was that Jennifer you were talking to?” she slowly walked over to the bed and sat right beside me. “You know Jasmine, when I suggested you call her back, this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind”. Yeah. No shit, Sherlock. I was still trying to process the what, where, why and how of the incident that just took place. All I knew was the who. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. EREBUS. How could I not have seen it all along? It must have been that persuasive, intoxicating effect he had on me. His voice just drew me in like a siren calls out to a bunch of dumb sailors. But it wasn’t until I realized there was something very wrong about his illusive seduction, that I started resisting it. Or at least I tried to. The pieces of the puzzle were slowly starting to come together. He mentioned Hades. His name is Erebus, and he’s a dark, dangerous creature; or, the God of Darkness, if you want to give him a title. He was the one Helios tried to warn me about all along. Every time he tried, something would interject. Well that would explain the powers he had over me. The fact that he wanted to offer me everything I wanted. Sounds like the devil alright. What was my first clue? Sometimes I truly surprise myself at how dense I can be. Then again, you try living a multi-dimensional life! It’s kind of hard to keep tabs on everything, not to mention your mental stability.
“Mom that was nothing. I…I-” I-I –I didn’t know what to tell her! “I’ll be down for dinner in a minute”
“You know I’m here for you if you wanna talk” she looked at me with puppy eyes.
“Thanks mom, but it’s really not necessary at this point”.
“Ok, well the offer still stands if you change your mind” she adjusted her voice with a resigned tone.
“Yeah, I know mom”. Phew. That went over quite well, considering the circumstances. A demon-man stalking me in my dreams and intercepting my phone calls. I guess I’ve been getting better at dealing with extraordinary situations. As my mom rose from the bed to make her way back to the kitchen, I couldn’t help but glue my eyes back on my cell phone. I didn’t know what the most prudent thing to do next would be. Should I try calling Jen again? I figured I’d attempt to outsmart Erebus, but I texted Jen instead.
Jen. I received your voicemail. Call me in about an hour.
I was pretty impressed with my shrewdness. I got a message back not even thirty seconds later that read:
Meet me at the apartment at 9 please. It can’t wait. We need to talk.
I mean, I knew we’d been on bad terms and all, and that Jen had been dying to talk to me because she’d been eroding with guilt, but I didn’t understand the urgency in her text.
I’ll be there at 9.
I couldn’t shake the strange feeling that kept creeping in my stomach. I couldn’t explain it, but something didn’t feel right. I pulled myself together and played my usual normal act around my parents as I took a seat at the dinner table. Not like my dad would have noticed anyways. He was practically sucked into the tube, while he chomped on the steak and veggies my mom had served him. Better that way. The more hypnotized he was by the television, the less time he’d have to make my life a living hell. It was bad enough I had to stand the sight of him.
“Mom, I’m gonna go do some more packing after dinner, so don’t wait up for me”. I couldn’t think of any other plausible excuse to explain my sudden lack of hostility towards Jen. After what she’d witnessed, there was no way she was going to buy the fact that I was actually going to meet up with Jen on civilized terms. And I wasn’t about to tell her about my demonic little phone chat either. Sooner or later, this multi-dimensional lifestyle of mine was going to start intercepting with my life on the earth plane, but for the time being, I needed to do whatever I could to keep a low profile.
“Just call me when you’re on your way back Hun. You know how I worry. Just humour me” she said as she ran her fingers through the tip of my pony tail. She walked over and collected my dad’s plate, came back for mine. “I don’t think so mom, I think you do enough work for the two of us around here” I said begrudgingly while I sneered at my dad with disgust. I exaggeratedly pulled the plate towards me, and stomped over to the sink, and started scrubbing it down with a soapy sponge. “You know mom, he doesn’t look incapacitated to me. Other than mental-“
“Jaz, please Hun. Please don’t get him started” she said in a hushed tone as she took the wet dishes and proceeded to dry them with a towel. “I just don’t get it! You need to learn how to stand up for yourself mom! I mean, you’re ok on your own. You don’t need him!” my voice started escalating.
“Jaz, just don’t worry about it. I’m fine. You worry about yourself”
“No, you’re not fine! I’m sick of him bullying you around!” now my voice was audibly loud, even to Mr.TV Zombie. “Is there something you wanna tell me Jasmine?” He started huffing.
“Not really, I prefer speaking to humans” I snapped back at him.
“Jasmine!” my mom squawked.
“No, let her be Deb” he scuffed.
“Well, I’d love to stay and chit chat, but I have things to do, as in not sitting my ass in front of the tube all day, and actually –“
“Jasmine! Just please stop!” my mom yelled in a voice that sounded like she was going to cry. That was the least of my intentions. I quickly shuffled back to the bedroom, grabbed my purse and made my way out the door to meet Jen at my apartment.