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OUT OF TIME - Part 1

The minutes are slowly passing.

The girl is constantly watching. The horned beast is quietly salivating.

The mist clears.

The girl screams. The beast roars.

“Are you ready to play my children?” The God of the Underworld, Hades, speaks softly. “Hide and seek is so much fun when a vile creature and a fragile human play. The beast finds the girl and lives, or if it fails, the girl lives but the dragon starves.”

Hades leads the dragon to the north entrance of the maze. He orders it to sit and wait. Spinning around he disappears before instantly appearing beside the girl sitting on a bench at the southern entrance. “Take your time, Celena. He is slow, cumbersome and with his rancid breath, you will smell the beast long before you see him.”

Hades rises in the air. He looks down at the large crowd and raises his right hand for silence. “Soon the game will start, the winner will be rewarded, the loser dies, but remember, no matter what happens, I always win.” Like a mist in the wind, he fades away.

A flash of light.

A twist of smoke. A trio of women appear.

“Who are you?” The girl sobs as she holds her hands over her breasts.

“I am, Hestia, these are my sisters, Demeter, and Hera. Now listen carefully, Celena. Our brother is cruel. Do not trust his words for the beast can move much quicker than he says. But, Hades is correct, the dragon does reek of cow dung.”

“But why am I here? I haven’t done anything wrong, have I?”

“Listen to me, child. It’s likely you’re innocent of any crime, but Hades is in charge here. And he desires one of you to perish. Now stop crying, wipe your nose and listen.”

Hera spoke before her sister, Hestia could continue. “Forgive my sister for she can by a little brusque at times. The maze is made of thick greenery, too dense for you to push your way through. But the dragon will be instantly destroyed if it tries to fly above the foliage. Thus, the answer is easy; you climb. Pull yourself up to the top of the hedge and taunt the dragon. Once the creature flies above the canopy his body will turn to dust quicker than you can scream.”

Celena stood up, waving her arms at the three ugly women. “That’s it! You expect me to believe the trick will work. I’d be burnt to nothing in seconds.”

“Thank you, Hestia, how kind of you to portray me as you did. Celena, I know this dragon; he is without fire now. And so I say, No! You will not die by his flames for his fire is weak; nothing more than a few ashes spouted from an empty stomach.”

“What alternative is there, Celena? Do you have a plan?” Demeter spoke like a mother to her youngest girl-child.

“No! I’m frightened.” With her eyes shedding tears like a waterfall, Celena swayed like a rose in the wind.

Demeter quickly embraced Celena and whispered in her ear. Celena took her time. Eventually, she acquiesced and agreed. “I don’t have a choice, do I?” Celena’s face was the colour of a grey sky washed with dirty water.

The sisters looked at each other. It was time to act, to save the life of an innocent girl. Hestia gripped Celena’s left hand, Demeter, the right. Hera stood before them. “If we did not think you could survive, we would not be here to help you. Our brother is clever but at times he has the mind of an infant and is easily bored. The longer your torment, the more likely he will vanish, as your fear and the dragons’ indecision is tiresome. He desires action, terror, and ultimately death. If you do as we say, it will not be yours.”

Her body shook.

Her tears fell. Her mind made up.

Celena looked at the sisters and waited.

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