Of Monsters Gods and Heroes, Book I


Below is a preview of my new book, Ixion:

Eternal Torment …

“Damn this fucking place!” he shouts but no one cares to listen. “Fuck every blade of grass! Every tree! Every fish in those polluted rivers!

People below him don’t even look up at him anymore. Well, unless they’re in the mood for his scorn. “Do not ignore me! I’m. NOT. MAD! I’ve just about seen it all! In that, I’m your better. I’ve been here longer than most of you put together!”

He’s rhyming. He figures it might be a good day. He looks down and a world swirls, swirls and swirls below. A kaleidoscope of colors he has learned long ago to distinguish … to collate into mountains, rivers, lakes, and fields.

Seeing all this, his good mood melts away. That all below is there to TEASE him. TO MOCK HIM!

“By Zeus! You utter bastard!” a curse, an ancient, useless curse escapes his lips. A blasphemous curse from someone that no longer matters. “For thousands of years I’ve been upon this blazing wheel, spinning just below the ceiling of this damnable realm. A ceiling that is hidden by a perfect illusion.

“For far too long I’ve heard screams, shouts, anguish—intermixed with laughter, glee and joy—echo against this awful faux sky.

“But you think that your punishment strips me of my pride? My strength? My passion?” If he was able, he’d shake his fists in the air in defiance. But all he can do is shout: “No! It now drives me! Keeps me going! I endure the spit of the snakes binding my wrists and ankles, even though the venom still burns. Even after all these years! Yes, it still burns despite you taking my life long, long ago. And thus I endure and submit to the will of an ancient king. He who no longer visits. He who has left me here forever for my defiance? My disgrace? My discovery of the truth?

“But, at least, you no longer make me say those stupid words. Those stupid words that you made me say—

“You should show gratitude to your benefactor!” he says it even though he needs not to any longer. However, few things make him feel alive as when he utters those words, even though he can’t remember if his benefactor actually ever made him say them …

He shakes his head, realizing the oddity in that. He—an ancient, damned soul—has twirled endlessly across the sky of the Underworld for far longer than he could ever wish to count. He initially tried, losing track after the first thousand years. But he eventually gave up, focusing instead on a monologue, a diatribe he’s said every morning for an eon … maybe more.

Naturally, he wonders if he really means it at this point. Wonders if he has anymore hatred left. Begins to wonder why he was so angry in the first place.

He smirks at that. He woke this morning like any other. For millennia he has spun end over end. Tirelessly and eternally paying for the wrongs he committed against Zeus and his wife Hera. His punishment meant—per legend—to humble him. But after so many years of paying this debt, he has forsaken any hope of redemption. He has lived his day to day by cursing the life of the Olympians. Damning this world that holds him. Wishing that an eternal soul could somehow be destroyed. And wishing upon all else that he could destroy it all!

That was his wish, right? End Zeus’ handiwork? To incinerate every last tree, child, man, woman, creature is a fanciful wish. To end the joy of the ones in the Elysian Fields. To see the suffering of those in Tartarus finally be put to—

He suddenly snickers, mocking the supposed torment of the souls that are to suffer for the wrongs they committed in life. All of these fates before him and of the ones that he has imagined after him—those people who were born before and after his sinking to these depths—have been the objects of his jealousy, his contempt and rage. Different fates …

“I … I will see you ALL burn,” he has said that so many times that even he’s grown weary of the words. Possibly he says it because it’s all part of a daily routine? Of course, a smile registers on his face once more. He knows that this punishment is a farce. His sentence not for the actions against his Benefactor but of the knowledge that he had discovered.

This is what he is beginning to remember. After all this time, his memories are still a kaleidoscope of jumbled thoughts. But, over centuries, longer, slowly they have begun to stitch back together.

“But you will never get the best of Ixion! You hear me? You …” He has noticed that a snake has seen his joy. It uncoils from one of his wrists, causing his arm to swing unhindered as it moves down it, and then strikes, biting into his neck and sending its venom deep within him. The fire from the poison causes him to scream and bite at a snake that can’t be killed.

However, he soon starts laughing and cursing at the same time—seeing the silliness of his free arm as it flops around wildly. “Yah! Your venom still burns, but it doesn’t matter. You have been forsaken like any one of us. You four miserable beasts, who continue to bite and strain to bind my limbs, you have the worse fate! For you will never see the sun! Never be able to slither in the grass of the upper world! And will forever hold me on this fucking spinning, flaming wheel!

“I am punished for my sins? But, you poor creatures, are too daft to know that you got the short end of the stick!”

“But the view is nice.” One named Crystal tightens around his neck. “And not only men can be damned. We are snakes after all, or have you forgotten?”

He can’t breathe. It doesn’t matter. The dead only respire because they are used to doing it for so long. But his lungs still burn out of memory … “How could I?” He wastes what air he has in his lungs anyway. “I am the only one who knows.”

“No.” Crystal smiles, a remarkably amazing thing that dead snakes can do. “As you know there are others. But I grow weary of your words and I am going to give my brothers and sister a break from your voice. My God! After so many years, how can you still have anything left to say?”

The snake—only big enough to reach around his neck—coils itself tighter and he simply watches the world spin, spin, spin.

You will not be spared. He grins regardless of the vice coiled around his throat. I will throw you into the fires myself when I find them. I know I will and this all will no longer matter!

Such is a day in the life of a damned soul. Such as it has been for thousands of years. Such as it will be for thousands more …