High School Again? Ugh! Ch. 09byJoeDreamer©
Last chapter...finally! Thanks to all of you who stuck with it. I hope you enjoy the conclusion.
I've stalled on posting this chapter for quite some time for one basic reason. There's no sex in it. Yes, I know the site is for erotic fiction, but I couldn't find a way of putting it in that didn't seem contrived and after all the time I'd put into writing this and you put into reading it, I didn't want to ruin the ending by forcing it. On the other hand, it didn't seem fair to not mention this little fact before you started reading the chapter.
Have you ever looked madness in the eye? I mean true madness. Insanity on the level that strips an individual of any humanity they once held. If you have, then you know. It's horrifying in a way that can't be described, only felt.
"Awake again? Finally!" I would know that voice anywhere. It belonged to the monster that fueled and filled my nightmares. I resisted opening my eyes because once I did the pain would return. Well, that and I was slowly becoming convinced that you could only look into the eyes of madness for so long before it began to infect you.
Of course, if I kept my eyes closed too long the pain came anyway. Hera would not be denied her pleasure.
I dreaded the thought of seeing her ecstasy as she fulfilled her ever growing need for vengeance by scouring my body with as much pain and torment as she could devise. Seeing her literally dancing in my blood when she was done took a little bit of my soul each time, or at least that's how it felt. Yet despite that, I pried open my eyes with some effort. They were crusted over with salt and sand. I had to blink for several seconds to break through the crud covering them.
The weather was perfect. The weather was always perfect in the small rocky cove that had become my new home, my prison. I'd studied every inch of it that could be seen from my vantage point without ever touching the ground. The chains that held me a mere six inches off the sand were heavy, but I'd gotten used to the weight as time passed.
I was almost certain that I was once again on the island Hebe and I had shared a lifetime ago. It just felt right, but I didn't remember the cove from my first visit and I'd explored that isle in detail. That didn't bother me too much. I remembered Grandmother's mountain and waterfall appearing and then disappearing. The gods could do amazing things and Hera was one of the strongest. I made myself look at her.
"That's better," she grinned. There was nothing friendly or warm about her words or her smile. The hatred and loathing for me that came off of her in waves were only matched by my feelings toward her.
I'd only truly loved one woman in my life, or lives, depending on how you looked at it. Tara was my soul mate. She was as far from perfect as I was myself, but that didn't matter. Our love was perfect and that made all the difference in the world. We shared an entire lifetime together that I had no memory of because of Hera. Instead, my memory was of a life of loneliness. That by itself was reason enough to hate the goddess.
The rest of the gods, particularly the Fates were just as much to blame for keeping Tara and I apart, but their interference was less vindictive. On some level, despite my anger toward them, I understood that their actions weren't personal. I could see it from their viewpoint when I forced myself to be objective.
It was time for the next generation of gods to be born and take up their responsibilities. If that didn't happen soon then Armageddon would arrive. Destroying the lives and happiness of two people would be worth that price from their viewpoint.
It could be argued that Hera was doing what she did for the same reason, but I didn't believe that. Frankly, I'm pretty sure she could care less about the possibility of Armageddon, or at least that her concerns about it were far less important to her than her own desires and ambition, and that's why she hated me so much.
Hera had worked millennia toward her goal of being the mother of the next generation of gods. I was the means to her end. Yet, I'd refused to give her what she wanted. Instead, I made Tara the mother of the next generation of gods like the Fates wanted, although not in the way they expected thanks to Grandmother.
I'd taken Hera's dream away from her and she didn't react well. In short, she'd gone completely mad. The concept of a being with her power doing that was horrifying not just to me, but to the other gods as well. I could see it in their expressions in the beginning when they watched Hera punish me. They had no idea what to do about it, but they knew they'd have to do something eventually. Currently, her madness was focused on me and me alone, but that wouldn't last forever, or at least I wouldn't.
I could remember the pity in their eyes as they watched Hera. It wasn't an emotion I shared. To them she was a fellow god, in some cases even a mother or a grandmother. I knew Hera for what she really was, a monster. I think maybe they started to see the truth as well because after a time they stopped coming. These days it was just Hera and me.
I understood why all of the gods agreed that Tara needed to be sent back in time after my death in the lifetime where we'd lived out our lives together, but it was Hera who had her daughter Hebe send Tara back to be raped by her uncle a second time. Then, after my own trip back in time, it was Hera I found in the hotel room in Las Vegas with her priests raping the woman I loved yet a third time.
I would have hated her to the grave and beyond for either of those actions alone, but then Hera had Tara killed while I slept under Grandmother's care. At that point Hera and I both believed that I'd given her what she wanted. There was no reason to kill the woman I loved. No reason except one simple truth. Hera was a monster.
I was horrified to my core when, after being sent back in time a second time, Hera ordered the Cabreiri to kill Tara yet again. I stood transfixed as their blades entered my love's heart and brain, but despite that, I wasn't surprised. I accepted Hera for what she was by then even if no one else did. Killing and raping were what monsters did.
I'd been able to save Tara using the power Grandmother gave me, but that didn't change what Hera was. She deserved whatever pain and suffering I caused her. I think that was why I continued to open my eyes to face her each time she returned to punish me again. It was all that was left to me to do to show her that I knew the truth and that no amount of pain and suffering would change that.
"Not bored yet?" I asked flippantly. It would cost me, but then again, Hera didn't need an excuse to hurt me and it wouldn't be long before she did her worse yet again, no matter what I said. I had no idea how many times we'd done this, but it was more than enough to drive a normal person insane. I'd stopped counting as the days, weeks and possibly even months went by.
"I see you've finally recovered enough to make this fun again," she replied, her purple eyes looking somehow snakelike and cruel. I forced myself to meet them. She didn't quite frown when I did, but I could tell it bothered her.
"Yep, I feel good to go," I said with as much defiance as I could muster. Honestly, I did feel pretty good physically at the moment. I always did when Hera first returned. It no longer surprised me, but there were moments where the surrealism of it hit me. Moments like now.
I was chained to a pole in the patch of sand near in the middle of the cove. There were low cliffs nearby, the bottom section of which had water marks at eye level where the tide rose to its peak. I don't remember eating or drinking since I returned to the island. I should have died from that alone a multitude of times, but Hera clearly had other plans.
She always came when the tide was low to do her worst. She would walk in circles around me, making sure her abuse was evenly distributed. My blood would cover the sand around the stake by the time she was done. Sometimes, after I'd been beaten and tortured almost senseless, I would notice the mix of sand and blood ooze up from between her toes. It covered her feet and made her smile in a way I refuse to describe.
Each time, just before the tide threaten to wash away what remained of my torture she would strip off whatever she was wearing and begin to dance around the pole, her movements lewd and downright vulgar. She even reached out to touch me at times, but I was pretty sure that was just to see my revulsion, or at least that's what I hoped.
I was convinced that her madness always peaked at that time. She seemed somehow empowered by this sick act. The bloody sand would splash up and cover her as she stamped her feet to music only she could hear. Frequently, her movements were so vigorous that the bloody mix would actually reach her face and cheeks.
Hera would stand panting afterward, with the gore that had once been part of me dripping down her body. Her expression twisted in some sick, horrific, triumphant smile that made no sense to me.
The tide would come in once she was done and gone. In time it would wash away my blood, leaving the sand clean and ready for her next visit.
I could mark time by how high the water was on my body. Each inch set more of my body on fire as the salt water seeped into the open wounds Hera left. I should have died a thousand times, but I didn't. Not even when the tide became so high that it actually covered my head. I can remember drowning on multiple occasions. Yet, afterward I would always awake to Hera's cruel voice once the tide receded again.
My body would be whole despite whatever she did to me. I'd lost eyes and even limbs during my time with Hera, but when I awake, they are always back. Or perhaps I just imagine they are. After all, I'd been staring into Hera's eyes a long time.
I spent far too much time thinking about the special kind of madness Hera must have. After all, she would torture me for hours, leave me for all but dead, and then heal me to perfect health to start all over again. This happened twice a day. In her lunacy, her torture and healing sessions followed the tides like clockwork.
The only thing that I spent more time thinking about than Hera's insanity was my own. I knew no one could survive the type of attention I was getting from Hera and keep the madness at bay. Yet, although I typically slept during the time between when the tide begins to recede until the sand is clear once again for Hera's cruel dance, sometimes I'm awake and I feel...well, I feel like myself and that's impossible, so I know I'm mad. That's the only explanation that makes sense.
I never know what to make of my insanity, but mostly I try to simply accept it. It's not like I could cure myself even if I did understand it. Besides, I'm not sure I'd want to. After all, what good would it do me while I was still in Hera's clutches? I was better off remaining the way I was.
This was my reality now. Sure, I was a mix of pain and despair, but there was also a pureness of hatred for Hera that somehow gave me strength, or at least a reason to continue.
Yet deep down, I knew that it wasn't quite true. I couldn't live on hatred alone, even in my current state. Sure, it helped me persevere for a time, but eventually Hera's torture stripped me of everything including that. Well, everything except for the memory of a single smile.
I could see it now, crooked, but warm and loving. These days it remained in my mind's eye even when the pain came. Tara's loving and playful eyes filled me and somehow blocked out the worst of what Hera did.
It was as if I somehow separated into two different people when Hera began her torture. One was tied to the pole and enduring as best he could what Hera heaped upon him. He screamed out his hatred and pain to no avail.
The other pulled away from my body and reached out to Tara. She greeted him with open arms and that imperfect perfect smile of hers, protecting the spark that made me unique. On some level I knew it wasn't real, but in some ways it was the only real thing left in my life.
After Hera was done with her dance and she disappeared the two versions of myself came back together in a way that somehow comforted the former while leaving the latter intact. The sea water would be receding by this time and I would feel strong once more, almost hopeful. And that was the most telling detail of my insanity. Hope was an impossibility, yet I felt it just the same.
The seagull's flapping wings woke me as it settled on top of the spike I was tied to. I noticed it was one of the larger ones. She was a beauty, her feathers a mix of white and soft gray. I imagined that I could feel her little heart beating as she swallowed the fish she had caught a few moments earlier.
The seagull looked down at me afterward. I smiled. What else could I do? I guess I should have been worried since I was unable to defend myself if she decided to attack, but I wasn't. Could she really do worse than Hera had already done? Besides, she wasn't going to attack. I was just a curiosity to her. This proved to be true a few moments later when she flew off in search of more food.
I watched her go and smiled. Her wings were larger than I expected when I first saw her. They flapped for a few seconds and then bent to catch the air current as her feathers fluttered in the breeze. I dwelled briefly on the miracle of natural flight. I tried to imagine what it would feel like. I lost myself in that dream for a time.
The water level was just below my knees. I had no more than an hour left before Hera returned and the cycle of pain and torture continued. The realization should have bothered me, and I suppose it did on some levels, but whatever emotions someone would typically have to this situation were burned out of me long ago, or at least blocked in a way that left me somehow calm and in control. I'd felt them too often without any real chance of succor to continue to let them have their way with me.
So, instead of gibbering like a lunatic I took the peaceful times between Hera's visits to enjoy the world around me despite my current limitations in seeing it. I knew that just because I wasn't gibbering, that didn't mean I wasn't a lunatic, only that I refused to act like one.
The blue green of the water below me was as beautiful as any beach resort. Hera had me tied facing the water at first and the sight of the ocean and the sky meeting was spectacular, especially when the sun rose. Now I faced the small cove and the low ridge surrounding it. There was beauty there as well, but I missed the horizon.
Hera shifted the direction I looked to cut off my view of the sea, but not because it was beautiful. She did it so that I could no longer see the tide moving close each time it rose. She wanted me focused on my pain and not the relief from her torture it brought. I think she also liked the fact that I had to watch the water recede as low tide came and announced her return.
I could see a school of small, shiny fish like the one the seagull had eaten shimmying a few feet away. Eventually they moved around the pole looking for food at its base. Some of them swam between my toes briefly. I watched and smiled until the water receded enough that they had to move deeper into the ocean.
I wasn't expecting Hera for another fifteen minutes when I felt a shiver along my spine. Someone was coming and it wasn't her. I looked up from the water and out over the small cove. I knew its every detail and would have been able to spot the slightest stone out of place, but there were none. I frowned, but it only lasted a moment. Hera's daughter appeared directly in front of me no more than ten feet away. Hebe didn't look at me at first and when she did, she frowned.
"Where's my mother?" Hebe asked.
"I don't know," I replied. "But she will be here soon. The tide is almost low enough." Hebe continued to stare at me.
"You look well," she said, clearly surprised.
"I am, physically," I said, shrugging despite the chains holding me. "Your mother is quite adept at healing, though not painlessly. She likes to wait until my wounds are on fire from the salt water."
"You sound okay as well," Hebe said, moving closer.
"I am," I smiled. "Of course, I'm quite mad, but that's to be expected. Although, I'm still a fair bit better off than your mother, monster that she is." That brought the frown back to her expression, but by this point I could care less.
"You should have given her what she wanted," Hebe replied. "In the end, she'll get it anyway."
"I don't think so," I smiled. There was nothing Hera could do to me to make me give her a child. Besides, Tara already carried the first of the next generation of gods. "And frankly, I'm not ever sure she wants it anymore. She's done so many horrible things to me that my mind simply refuses to remember most of them, but none of them involved us having sex. She hasn't even broached the subject in her mad ranting. All she talks about is vengeance and pain. Well, that and power."
"Mother will recover her senses eventually," Hebe said, more to herself than me. "She always does." I looked at her and saw that deep down she knew better, but it wasn't something she was willing to face.
"You're smarter than that," I said, shaking my head.
"You don't know anything!" she snapped angrily.
"I know you," I insisted without heat. "Or at least knew you. You won't remember it, but we once spent a fair bit of time alone on this very island. We became lovers here and friends of a sort. You told me that in some ways it was the most satisfying time of your life."
"You are mad," she said, looking at me oddly.
"Agreed," I said. "But it happened. I remember."
"And yet here we are," Hebe said, clearly still not believing me. I was pretty sure I could convince her of it, but what would be the point? I wasn't even sure why I brought it up other than to have a conversation with someone other than her mother.
"You know, despite what you did to me and your being Hera's daughter, I still find myself feeling bad for you at times," I continued. "I think maybe you really are trying to do what's right, but at this point it's all so pointless anyway. Your generation of gods is done with the new one growing inside of Tara. My child's birth will be the end of an age. I wonder if the next will be better. I sincerely hope so."
"We will survive," she replied confidently.
"Like the Titans before you?" I asked. "I hope you're ready to spend an eternity imprisoned in Tartarus."
"It won't come to that," Hebe replied. "The next generation of gods will need us. We can help them."
"Do what?" I snorted. "Learn how to be selfish and childish? Let's be honest. You're generation for the most part is a bunch of powerful juvenile delinquents. You are constantly infighting and destroying everything around you. You use mankind as cannon fodder and think nothing of it."
"We are what your kind made us," she replied, looking surprisingly old for the goddess of youth.
"Of course," I agreed. "But we've grown and changed over the last few thousand years whereas you've stayed the same. That's why it's time for the next generation of gods. I bet if you ask Gaia, she'd tell you."
"I don't need Grandmother to explain what obvious," she retorted. "Mankind never truly changes. Without the gods you'd destroy yourselves. You're doing it now that the gods are distracted by the war between Hera and Zeus."
"War?" I frowned.
"You don't think simply impregnating your girlfriend would end the conflict, did you?" Hebe asked. "We're searching for her and no matter where Zeus has hidden her, we'll find her soon enough." I had no doubt what they'd do once they found Tara.