Fovos image1


An Excerpt from Marin

A May 2024 Monthly Story Challenge Winner

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Quick disclaimer from the author. This book talks about Greek mythology, so there are many different versions of the stories. I have tried to use the most common interpretation.  Thanks, Marin.

Chapter 1

I get knocked out earlier than Jason Grace,

even though I do not know who that is  

            My name is Fovos, and my life was pretty great, at least for my time. I lived in a wonderful village with my amazing father who was always experimenting with different things. He would never tell me everything he was working on, but that did not really bother me. Undoubtedly, I would learn about it in time. He also had a really wacky sense of humor.

My story kicks off on my sixteenth birthday, a very important time when I transitioned into manhood. I did not feel ready to be an adult and to get married. I still wanted to be a kid but I was kind of stuck growing up too fast. I was supposed to be married to the beautiful princess of a nearby town. I did not want to marry anyone, truly, but it was not my choice. It’s just how things work. To be honest, I never really wanted to marry anyone, but it was going to happen no matter what I wanted. 

So, I was taking a walk through my father’s garden at midday. The sun was beating down on the back of my neck and all the plants around me glowed sparklingly in the sunshine. My father was working on some experiment or another so I decided to take a walk in order to not disturb him. I liked to come out to the garden to marshal my thoughts. It was a calming place for me and it reminded me of happy memories. Like for example, the time when my father and I had planted the tomatoes, or when I was little and would hide from him behind the corn stalks. Anyways, I liked to come out and process my emotions, especially now that my wedding day was drawing closer. Just two more days. I wasn’t ready and there was no way I  could get out of it. It would be seen as a disgrace to me and my father and to the whole village. In a sense, someone who didn’t want to marry or have children had no place in society. So, I guess, I just had to live with it. 

I sighed and began to slowly meander back to my house through the garden. While I was walking back, I noticed that rather suddenly, the sun’s rays didn’t seem to shine down against the back of my neck so hard. I began to feel a chill in the air. This was strange since it was mid-July and peak summer. I looked up at the sky and saw clouds forming above my house. This was strange because the clouds seemed to come out of nowhere. Someone must have done something to offend Zeus. 

I began to run towards the house as I did not want to be caught in the rainstorm that I knew was about to follow. I was about fifty feet from the house when it started to pour heavy sheets of rain battering against my face as I ran. Suddenly, a bright arc of electricity streaked through the sky and struck my house just as I arrived at the gate. A loud boom almost deafened me. The house exploded as shrapnel flew everywhere! I screamed as a roof tile slammed me in the face and I blacked out. 

Chapter 2:

I may never emotionally be the same

             While I was out, I imagined a voice. The female voice rang in my head, sharp and commanding. "The fates have great plans for you. Don't mess it up."

I awoke with a start. The first thing I felt was a throbbing pain in my head. I looked around, but I didn't recognize my surroundings. I was in a dimly lit room with clay walls and two small wooden batches that seem to serve as seating. The dirt floor rubbed against my sandals. A gentle rain, droned against the thatched roof.

An old woman came running out into the room, "Fovos, thank the gods! You are awake!" I recognized her as Btilnta, our neighbor. 

"Where is my father?" Why am I here?" I asked her.  I had a horrible memory of our house being struck by lightning and I hoped it was just a dream. 

Btilnta's eyes shone with sympathy as she said, "My dear boy, your father is no more."    

The world seemed to collapse around me. "He can't be dead!" I said in a panic, my breath coming out in a sharp burst. "There is no way he is gone!" I pushed past her and ran out into the yard ignoring my pounding head and the rain thrumming against my neck. 

She yelled for me in a panic, but I did not look back. As I ran and turned the corner, I saw my house. More precisely, what was left of it. It was a pile of rubble. I ran towards it, tears streaming down my face. "No, no way has my father left me all alone in this world." Dozens of emotions swirled in my brain as I collapsed near the rubble of my home. I wished I could have told him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. The last thing he heard me say was, "Bye father, I am going on a walk." The last thing he had said to me was, "Okay, see you soon." But I would never, ever, see him again. 

It dawned on me that I was all alone in this world, for the very first time. I did not know what emotion to feel first. My brain seemed to be a jumble of emotions-sadness, anger, confusion, and most of all, grief. Grief, not just for my father, but also for myself and the life I had lost. I sat there for a long time, my grief and sadness overtaking all rational thought. It began to rain, heavy sheets pouring down on me. Yet, still I sat there, not being able to tell if I was crying or if it was the rain crying for me. I realized that my childhood was officially over and nothing would ever be the same again.

I looked around at the sky and saw it was almost pitch black. I felt the same darkness inside as the great big sky. I started to notice stars in the sky, a glimmer of hope in the darkness. A sign that maybe I could go on and survive with this great big grief. After all, everyone dies, eventually, except for the gods. The gods… They had caused my father's death.

I felt a deep anger bubbling inside. I knew that there must have been a reason for Zeus to kill my father and destroy my life. I thought about the voice I had heard and it seemed quite godly, or more precisely, goddessly. I remembered the stories of the Greek gods my father had told me about. They always punished mortals who questioned them and their authority. I wondered if my father had truly believed in the gods himself because if he had, why would Zeus have killed him? I decided to direct my brain away from that dangerous thought. I was questioning the gods. That would undoubtedly get me killed, just like him. I got up as the throbbing pain in my head was still there just as sharp, but it was stamped out by the pain of losing my father. I turned away from the rubble of my house and slowly, and sadly walked back to Btilnta's house.

She was waiting for me, sitting down one of the benches. I sat down across from her a she poured a glass of wine. We sat in silence for a few minutes.  

“So what about the funeral arrangements?” she finally asked.

To be honest it never even occurred to me. “Oh God!” I said, “ What about the wedding? Do I still have to get married tomorrow?”

“Oh, God’s, no,” she said. “The wedding will be postponed this week to allow for funeral arrangements. Have you organized his funeral yet?” I asked.

“Yes, I have,” she replied.

“How did you even have time to do that?” I asked.

“You were out for a few days” she replied

“A FEW DAYS!!!” I exclaimed, stunned!

“You got hit in the head really hard, Fovos,” she replied. "I'm not surprised you were out that long."

"Where will I live?” I asked her.

“You can stay here until the wedding and then you will move. You will move in with your wife,” she said.

My stomach filled with dread. but I tried to not let my face show it.

“What about the house?” I asked.

“The land is yours now, someone will come and remove the rubble soon, I think tomorrow,” she said.

“May I look through the rubble,”I asked her.

“Of course you can,”  she replied. "Just be careful not to injure yourself. But, get some rest first since you are still injured.” 

I finished my grape juice, and lying down on the couch, my head throbbing with pain and my brain rattled with grief. It took me a long time to fall asleep, but finally I managed. I hoped the woman wouldn’t speak to me again, as I drifted off into dreamland.

To be continued...

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