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Apollo

Holly Karlsson
Holly Karlsson

Holly is an American fantasy & science fiction author who loves magic, dragons, and old forests.

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Apollo stretched in the sun-drenched sheets. “Melete,” he called, voice light as the morning, “come back to bed.”

Amused laughter brought him up onto his elbows. His lover of the day was sitting at the foot of the bed, harp resting between her naked knees. “You were talking to yourself,” Melete said, peeking at him from beneath a fall of black hair.

“Oh?”

“Something about darkness and sadness? Spending too much time with your brooding father, are you, Lo?”

Apollo chuckled but felt the faint whisper of something across his shoulders. He’d been talking in his sleep? “Darkness?” he asked. Had he been summoning prophecy again, or had it been a drunken dream? He eyed the empty goblets on the floor. Too much wine, he thought.

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” Melete said, strumming her fingers over the instrument in her hands.

Was it nothing? Why then did he feel so unsettled? Another whispering sensation walked like fingers across his shoulders, as if someone worlds away was trying to catch his ear. “I should go,” he said, swinging his legs out of bed.

“Really, Apollo, you should stay. Enjoy yourself.”

“Thank you for a lovely evening, Melete,” Apollo said, reaching for his tunic on the floor.

Melete sighed. “I’m afraid, dearest one, it’s not quite over for you yet.”

Frowning, Apollo looked up to find the muse standing over him. There was something wrong about her face, her eyes. Fingers, bleeding black from nail to palm, snapped out to catch him around his neck, drawing him up. Her chin grew black, her sharpened teeth lengthening like a creature of the deep. “This, my dearest one,” the creature-not-Melete said, “is not a prophecy you may have. This city is mine.”

“No,” Apollo croaked, but the light was already fading from his eyes.

NOTE:

Day 7! Posting this in darkness with a candle and the light from my computer. Hello, unexpected power outage! I took a break over the weekend for my book signing in Snoqualmie, WA. I decided to participate in Inktober this year (a month-long art challenge on Instagram, created by Jake Parker) by writing short stories based on the prompts. Instead of drawings, my ink will shape words! 😉 I may be too ambitious (a new flash story every single day in October?!), but it sounds fun. I give you, #wordtober! Also, in addition to the official prompts, I’m using Holly Dunn’s #greekmythtober prompts for names.

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