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Donnelle's World

LJ Idol Week 27: (Open topic)

LJ Idol Week 27: (Open topic)

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Me me
Hesychia jolted upright before she was really awake, the sound of a fretful baby twanging an instinctive, maternal place inside her. She eased to the edge of the bed, careful not to jolt her sleeping husband, and reached for Aeolus before his disquiet could turn into full-blown crying.

She scooped him up from the crib beside the bed, sshhh-ing him gently, and cradled him against her shoulder. The vertical motion startled him. Aeolus fell silent, and she felt his body stiffen against her hands. He broke wind with a volume surprising from one so small. She leaned him back to look at his face, and his murky eyes gazed back with an expression of comical astonishment. Hesychia laughed quietly to herself, and put him back against her shoulder, patting his back. He'd never settle if he was full of wind.

Her patting settled into a rhythm that reminded her of an old song, and she found herself humming it under her breath. Her husband, Hypnos, twitched and rolled over. Hesychia froze. He'd be dreadful in the morning if he didn't get enough sleep.

Aeolus filled the silence with a resounding burp. Hypnos grumbled incoherently and pulled the blankets up around his ears, as the baby began the head-bobbing searching that indicated he was looking for milk. Hesychia sighed and settled into bed, arranging the bedding and pillows so that Aeolus could safely feed while she was lying down. At least it might be quiet enough for her to doze, that way. She'd need her energy for the morning.


Mornings were always a disaster, and this one more than most. Homados thundered down the stairs, his dark hair tousled from the tumult of the night. He never slept well, his dreams full of glory and the roar of battle. "Mom!" he shrieked. It didn't matter how often Hesychia told him to call her "Mētēr", he wanted to do what his classmates did. He didn't like the old language.

He devoured his cereal as if he didn't know when he'd get to eat again, his cutlery clashing against the bowl. Hesychia flinched at every clank, with one ear attuned for sounds of Aeolus waking. She was tired, and her muscles ached from dozing on her side, curled around Aeolus with her arm for a pillow. Her body yearned for a coffee. She didn't have time for it, though, as she bustled around making lunches and assembling the paperwork that this society seemed to find so essential for schooling.

It was so much easier in the old days. Hesychia smiled as she remembered her lessons, around the table in the big house on Olympus. Her mother, Dike, had been big on morals and ethics lessons. There was this one time—

Oh! The time! Normally Eris would be at the table by now, hiding the spoons and salting the sugar. Hesychia padded up the stairs and called quietly for her. No response. She checked Eris' bed, expecting her tousled blonde head on the pillow, sneaking a few more moments of sleep. Not there. Hesychia called for her again, raising her voice more than she liked to.

"Eris! Where are you? It's time to get ready for kindergarten!"

No response. Hesychia checked all the usual places— under the bed, in the closet, behind the door— without luck. Her pulse accelerated with each place she looked. It was probably just Eris being Eris... but what if it wasn't?

Hesychia poked her head into the master bedroom. Hypnos snuffled and snored to himself, but at least he wasn't obnoxious about it. Hesychia peered into Aeolus' crib. After feeding him, she'd weathered three more burps and a borborygmic serenade from his nether regions before getting him back to sleep. He was still sleeping, tranquil and still, and Hesychia suppressed a surge of jealousy.

It was just about time to try to get Hypnos up for work, anyway, so Hesychia "accidentally" jolted the bed as she checked under it. When he didn't noticeably rouse, she steeled herself and coughed loudly. "Honey, have you seen Eris?"

He snorted and rolled over. She wondered if she should keep searching the room, and then realised that if Eris had been in here, it would be obvious. She could never resist playing tricks on her sleeping father. At least his eyebrows had grown back in... mostly.

Hesychia trotted through the house, trying to curtail her growing alarm, and calling for Eris. At last she heard a faint giggle from the bathroom. She'd already checked there, and mentally crossed it off her list, but she groaned to herself as she realised she hadn't checked behind the shower curtain. The rings rattled as she yanked it back.

Eris gazed blandly up at her mother, her blue eyes disingenuous as always. She was dressed in her favourite party dress, coated in a thick layer of viscous goo. Hesychia sniffed the air. She couldn't tell what all of it was, but there was definitely Homado's blue bubble bath, Hesychia's expensive conditioner, and ice-cream. The ice-cream was obvious, because the not-quite-empty container was perched upside-down on Eris' head. A chocolate trickle ran down her pert little nose, and a pink little tongue stuck out to catch the drip.

Hesychia screamed silently through gritted teeth. They needed to leave in ten minutes. Aoelus would need feeding, lunches weren't made, Hypnos was still asleep, and now she had to deal with THIS?

"Mētēr! Look at me!" Eris beamed. "I'm an ice-cream truck!" She leapt out of the shower, ducked past Hesychia and ran down the hallway, shrieking the familiar song. Sticky drops of blue bubblebath and chocolate ice-cream spattered behind her.

"STOP! WOULD YOU JUST STOP?!" Hesychia bellowed. Eris' footsteps skidded to a halt, then came padding cautiously back towards the bathroom. They stopped outside the door.

Hesychia collapsed to the bathroom floor, tears running silently down her face. She covered her face, ashamed that she'd shouted. Her shoulders shook as she sobbed with suppressed frustration and exhaustion. It was so hard. So hard. All she wanted was some quiet. She needed it.

She heard a new set of footsteps come down the hallway. There was a muttered conversation between father and daughter, inaudible except for his final words, "Use the hose then." Eris tiptoed away, her normal frenetic pace subdued for once.

Hypnos poked his head around the door frame. "You OK, honey?" he asked, trying to stifle a yawn. He came in and sat beside her, oblivious of the colourful splatters, and held his arm up, offering a hug. Hesychia leaned into him, relishing his closeness.

"It's so hard. I don't know if I can do it any more! What were we thinking?" she mumbled. Hypnos squeezed her gently, encouraging her to go on. "We used to be so good, you and me. We could be ourselves! Who am I now? I can't be the goddess of silence when all I do is yell at the kids!"

Hypnos yawned. "I know exactly what you mean. It feels like... it is eight years since I had a proper sleep." He shrugged. "It is hard. I just keep telling myself that it's not forever." He looked half-seriously at her, his newly-grown eyebrow arched. "It's not forever, is it?"

Heschyia laughed. "They'll grow up some day," she said, then froze, stricken by the thought of what a teenage Eris might be like.

He grinned. "Until then, you can be the goddess of sometimes-silence, and I'll be the god of wants-to-sleep."

Hesychia laughed, and leaned in to kiss him. He returned the kiss with interest, and reached to stroke her hair. A whoop from downstairs startled them, and they sprang apart.

"MOM!" Homados cried. "Eris put the hose in the piano again!"
  • I have completely reinvented the genealogy of the Greek pantheon, sorry! In case you didn't catch them all:

    Hesychia: goddess of silence
    Hypnos: god of sleep
    Aeolus: god of wind
    Homados: personification of battle-noise
    Eris: goddess of chaos and strife
    Dike: goddess of justice (and actually Hesychia's mother)

    Edited at 2014-11-03 09:39 am (UTC)
  • i love the change in setting, putting them all in the modern world and kind of adapting their various areas of influence. i mean, god of wants-to-sleep? hee! and i giggled at aeolus being full of wind. the whole thing is just really cute and clever.
    • Thank you! I had a horrible time writing for an open topic, arrrgh.
  • He broke wind with a volume surprising from one so small. She leaned him back to look at his face, and his murky eyes gazed back with an expression of comical astonishment.

    What is it with boys finding farting so hilarious? Grow up, kid! You're a God! Act like it!

    Aeolus filled the silence with a resounding burp.

    Oh for...!

    I really like how you not only brought lesser parts of the Pantheon to the modern mundane, but in a way that stayed in character.
    • Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun writing this one, though I'm pretty sure some of the pages I googled for info were pretty hand-wavey not-accurate ones.
  • Wow, this is awesome! Love the melding of mythology and technology, and I could totally envision Eris in the bathtub, LOL! :)
  • Another mythological entry :) This was fun :)
  • I really enjoyed this - it works perfectly as a story of every day life, and then the layer of mythology on top of it makes it even better.

    What is it with small kids and pouring things out of bottles? My little brother was known for this trick too.
    • Thank you so much.

      I started writing the baby and then googled for names. I laughed and laughed when I came across the god of wind!
  • Taking the gods out of Olympus and placing them in a modern family setting, is brilliant and this is a very enjoyable story.
  • There were so many moments in this that had me stifling a chuckle, but what really got me was borborygmic serenade from his nether regions, at which point I TOTALLY lost it, which was only COMPOUNDED when I caught that Aeolus is the freakin God of WIND!. Just PRICELESS!!!
  • ROFL.
    You know how I like rearranging the Norse pantheon, so how could I not love this story to bits?
    You did a job that would make Apollo proud
  • Hahaha, this is fun!
  • How do you pronounce Hesychia? I was reading it as rhyming with Jessica, with the Greek x sound. I'm assuming that could not be less correct.

    Also please tell me how to make offerings to the god of wants-to-sleep because I got like four hours last night.
  • He'd never settle if he was full of wind.
    As Aeolus could only be!

    God, the thought of having Eris for an actual child would be every bit as maddening as depicted here-- and then some!
    • When I shared this on FB, everyone immediately knew which one of my children was Eris.

      In ONE WEEK my boy twin pulled paint off the toilet wall, pulled wallpaper off the hallway wall, drew on the floor, and scratched the bejesus out of my tuba with a pencil. And pooped himself about four times.
      • Ack!

        Though here, it's not just the state Eris is in when her mother finds her. It's that OF COURSE she would run through the entire house shedding mess everywhere she goes. Yikes.
  • Welcome to parenthood...and a sweet, chaotic, depiction it is. Just like 'real life'. LOL... I always look forward to your pieces. This is no exception! ;0)
  • What a difficult family to raise! Poor Hesychia. I'm glad Aeolus is at least supportive when he's awake, if not so much while sleeping.
  • This was both clever and adorable. And I'm starting to wonder if my almost-four-year-old son could actually be Eris and I just haven't realized it 'til now. XD
    • Hahaha, my four-year-old son (he's five now) definitely provided lots of inspiration for Eris!
  • Modern day greek myth! Gosh, it feels like we need more of this :)
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