“Muse!” Apoyo laughed. “Get over here!”
Stumbling over various thrones of the gods and nearly tipping his serving tray, Muse rushed to his side. “Yes Apoyo?”
“I think it’s time for the final test of your internship. Granting the request of a human.”
Muse’s eyes light up. “Really?”
“Are you sure? Muse is still a kid. He’s not ready to be a full-fledged god.” Permes chuckled tossing back his eminence afro. “Remember last decade, when he set himself on fire trying to make Afrodite’s banana foster? Remember that Afrodite?”
Afrodite swirled the golden wine in her crystal glass. “Yes, I agree with Permes. Muse is too young. He’s barely a millennium old.”
“I’m a millennium and a half old!” Muse countered, agitated.
“Let the kid intern for maybe a couple more centuries before bringing him out in the field.”
“I can do it!” Muse reassured. “I know I can, just give me the chance ! Please, Apoyo!”
“Alright, alright.” Apoyo dragged out a crumpled, wine-stained piece of paper from the cushions of his throne. “Here’s your request. We weren’t originally going to grant it, so if you screw up, it’s not that big a deal.” Apoyo handed Muse the sheet. “Well, not a big deal for the human world. Still a big deal for you though. If you fail, your essence will still be squashed and juiced into wine like all the other interns who failed.”
“And what fine wine that is,” Afrodite commented, taking another sip.
Muse grimaced. “Don’t worry! I’m going to succeed! And when I'm done, I’ll be a god. One with my own interns to treat like the dirt beneath my feet!”
“That’s the spirit!” Apoyo championed.
Triumphantly, Muse rushed off to the human world, eyes skimming the paper as he did. Camila De Valle, whoever you are, Muse thought, you are going to get one heck of a completed request.
However, back in the throne room, the gods continued their daily afternoon gossip. “Hey, Apoyo,” Afrodite said, “why did you actually send him down? You know he’ll fail.”
Leaning back in his seat, carefree, he answered. “Nothing entertaining ever happens around here. It’ll be fun to watch him fail.” He took a sip from is own wine glass. “Plus, we were running out of alcohol. Immortality and sobriety do not mix well.”
Afrodite giggled and raised her glass. “Then here’s to the entertaining failure of Muse!”
As I lay on my bed, flipping through last year’s fashion magazines, I couldn’t help but feel a small hole in my chest, like a was missing something. This was true. I was deeply missing something that would undoubtedly leave me empty for the end of time. Was it the friend I was missing? The friend I had prayed for? To comfort me in my loneliness—oh, never mind, my butler, Geoffrey, is here with the milkshake I ordered half an hour ago. I’m done being melodramatic. For now.
“Geoffrey, what took you so long?” I impatiently stuffed a straw into the beverage.
“Apologizes, Miss Camila. It was hard to find a ‘anti calorie’ double fudge milkshake.” He explained.
“Whatever I don’t care about your peasant excuses, just leave.”
“Right away, Miss Camila.” He paused at the doorway. “Oh, I was instructed to tell you that your parents won’t be home for your 18th birthday next week.”
“You say that like it's news!” I laughed.
He frowned, but my mood didn’t falter. “Well, if you ever want me to plan anything for you, like a party or something.”
“No, Geoffrey. That will be all.”
“Right, Miss Camila. I’ll be off now.”
“Wow, that’s kind of sad. Your folks not being home for your birthday,” a new voice commented. “Is that why you requested a friend?”
My head shot up and scanned the room. “Who’s there?”
“I’m Muse,” the voice said from behind.
Leaping off my bed, I raced across my room to the door and caught a glance of him. He was scrawny boy, probably no more than twelve. Next to him was another boy, closer to my age with an above average face. However, he looked like he were so far zoned out, you could hit him with the other’s bony body and still not notice. So the big question is, what was this prepubescent monkey and his tag-a-long doing in my room?
“What are you doing here?” I asked skeptically.
“I’m an inte—god. I’m a god. And I’m here to grant your request.”
Muse hopped off my bed. “Yeah, you prayed for a friend. So ta-da!” He gestured to the handsome boy shaped potato still on my bed. “Here he is.”
Slowly creeping across the room, I tried to get his attention. Even after snapping my fingers a dozen times, no response. “Welp, he’s broken.” I crossed my eyes and stared down at the pint-sized ‘god’. “I want a new one.”
“What? You can’t just ask for a new one! That’s a person!” Muse gasped.
“Yeah, poorly made one.”
“It was my first time, okay? Have you ever tried to make a person?”
“Not for another dozen years.”
My neck snapped to the human potato. “So he can talk.”
“But his vocabulary doesn’t seem to be very good.” I remarked. “Look, just get me a new one and I won’t be mad.”
Muse looked aghast. “No! How could you even ask for something like that.” Suddenly, Muse began to glance around my room. Really taking it in. All the designer brands and unnecessary gold trimmings that shouted ‘I’m better than you’. “Oh, I get it. You’re a spoiled brat. That must be why no one wants to be your friend.”
My temper—and nostrils—flared up. “How dare you! How dare a prepubescent monkey judge my life! I was doing just fine on my own!”
“Is that why you prayed for a friend, huh? Because your life was ‘just so darn great’? Money can’t buy happiness!”
“Well it’s a lot better to cry in Mercedes than in a mold-infested shower!” I yelled. “So just get out of here!”
“No!” Muse refused. “This is my first request! I’m not gonna let you mess this up for me!” He started chanting. “σκύλα τι στο διάολο…”
“What is that?” I asked startled by the sudden up wind.
‘I’m binding your soul to Gavin’s.” Muse answered in an echoing voice.
Oh, shit! This pipsqueak really was a god! “Stop!” I cried and glanced around nervously. Wind flicked my hair around, nearly blinding my vision.
But he wasn’t listening. “ δεν ξέρω μαγεία!”
A soft blue orb grew in Muse’s hands. Then, he opened them and it expanded across the room and out of sight. The wind died back down and I could see again. There was a strange fuzz in my chest, that sharpened to pain when I stumbled back from Muse. “Dude, what the fuck?!”
“I bonded your soul to Gavin’s. Now you two can never part.”
“Gavin’s not ever here anymore!”
Muse glanced around. “Oh. That’s not good.”
“‘That’s not good’?” I echoed. Anger ignited, I stormed over to him. The pain in my chest lessen as I got closer. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“It means that you and I are the ones bonded now. I’m not quite sure how that works when one of those souls is a god, but I’ll guess we’ll find out.
Grabbing the collar of his shirt, I lifted him so his toes were off the ground. “Fix. It.”
“I don’t know how.”
I dropped him on the ground. “The fuck you mean you ‘don’t know how’?” I mocked.
“Look, we’ll figure that out later, but right now we need to find Gavin. That poor kid has the IQ of a plant.”
Muse snagged my arm. “That’s right, bitch, you’re coming with me.”
“Good luck with that!” Muse stormed out of my room and the burning feeling returned. “Oh god, am I having a heart attack? How much do I have to pay to make that go away?” I crouched in pain. “Is this because of that bonding thing?” I glared at the doorway. “Muse, I’m gonna kill you for this.”
“Gavin!” Muse cupped his hands and shouted. “Gavvviiinnn!!!”
“Hey, prepubescent monkey, don’t you dare leave without me.”
“Oh, the ice queen had a change of heart did she?”
“The only thing going on with my heart is the absurd amount of pain you put it through by leaving.”
“Because you love me?”
“No, because you cursed me.”
“It’s not a curse, it’s a bonding.”
“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes. “If we find Gavin, will you undo the curse?”
“Sure.” Muse lied.
“Alright then.” I surveyed the hallway. “He couldn’t have gotten far. This house is basically a maze. Follow me.”
I took off speed walking down the northern corridor. “After two rights, one left, and an escalator ride, we would be in the security room. We could use the cameras to find Gavin. Brilliant plan if I don’t say so myself.” I monologued.
As we walked, Muse had some unnecessary urge to talk to me. “You know I don’t get you, Camila.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You said you wanted a friend, but you act like you’re repulsed by the idea of actually getting close to someone.”
“What makes you say that?”
“You refused to come with me without being in pain.”
“I guess what I’m trying to say is, why did you ask for friend?”
“Eh. I sort of wanted one. Someone I could shape into an obedient lackey, you know?”
Muse gasped. “That’s horrible.”
I swung left at the final turn. “Is it?”
I snorted. “Fine, if you think I’m such a horrible person, then it’s a good thing you don’t have to deal with me for a long time. We’re at the security room.” I braced my hand on the knob. “So you can go ahead and return to whatever ‘divine’ life you had before.” I turned the knob and cursed under my breath. “Fuck!”
“What is it?”
As I stared down a room full of hungry German shepherds, I explained. “Next room over in the security room. This one is where they train the security dogs. And I’m guessing they forget to feed them.”
“Running sounds good.”
Instantly, we both took off and ran for our lives. No need to turn back and see if we were being chased, the dogs’ growling snarls were tell enough.
“Where do we go?” Muse demanded.
“The moat! They can’t swim across the moat!”
“What kind of mansion has a moat?!”
I scoffed. “Yeah, right. A mansion without a moat. Like that’s a thing.” I snatched Muse’s hand and veered sharply left. “This way!”
We plowed down a flight of stairs until I saw the moat in sight. “There it is! Jump!” Our bodies splashed into the cold, slightly swampy water.
“Ugh! This sweater is cashmere!” I cried.
“Just keep swimming!”
Out of breath, we reached the other side. “Ha!” I coughed. “Take that you dumb dogs.”
Muse nudged me. “Umm… Camila, the dogs are swimming towards us.”
“What? Awe, crud! We gotta keep running.” I pivoted around to start running only to smash my face into a wall. “Ow! What the…? A wall? Wait a minute. This isn’t the moat! It’s the lazy river! God, I always get those two confused! Anyway; we’re trapped!
Muse stared at me. “What kind of mansion has a moat and a lazy river?”
“Yeah right,” I scoffed. “Mansion with a moat and a lazy river. Like that’s a thing.”
The dogs were about halfway across the lazy river now. “Muse, if this is how we die.”
“You die. I’m a god.”
I glared at him and continued. “Anyway, if this is how I die, there’s a confession I have to make. I didn’t want a friend just to turn them into a lackey. I just… I never had a real friend before. Everyone was always trying to get close to me because of my money, or hated me because of my money. And my parents are never around.” A few tears slipped. “And I would just be all alone if it wasn’t for Geoffrey!”
“I knew it!” Muse shouted. He snapped his fingers and the dogs vanished. “I knew you were lying about why you wanted a friend!”
“What—what’s going on?” I stuttered.
“I tricked you into thinking you were about to die so you admit the truth. Ha!” Muse laughed. “But you learned your lesson, didn’t ya?”
I shoved Muse into the river. “Drown.”