I shout it and slam my hands on the door as Iapetus’ blood drains from the gaping wound. He is calm as the aircraft starts towards the end of the hangar. He doesn’t struggle or scream or fight. He simply stares at me and smiles sadly.
The blood pumps out and the light fades from his eyes.
With a final breath, our brother dies.
The Colonel lets go of the fistful of hair and Iapetus falls face forward with a thump, a pool of blood spreading out from his body. He wipes it on the back of Iapetus’ shirt and sheaths the original Titan blade, turning to his men and giving an order.
The missiles leave a smoke trail as they fire from the batteries, taking direct aim at the aircraft racing down the length of the hangar. The pilot clenches his jaw tight and hits a switch that sends diversionary flares sprouting from the back of the aircraft but neither missile takes the bait in the enclosed space.
I am nearly tossed to the side as he maneuvers, his knuckles white on the controls.
Phoebe grips Coeus’ hand in hers and closes her eyes, Coeus just stares ahead and rocks in his seat. She mutters something and then opens her eyes again but gone are the beautiful blue pupils. Instead her eyes are a storm of grey and ice blue that roils as she continues her prayer. Her head tilts back and a pulsing wave emanates from her body into the hangar.
Everything stops around us.
The hands of time are still.
Iapetus’ pooling blood stills from an ever widening circle around his limp body.
The Colonel is still, his mouth open and arm raised towards our craft.
The missiles are still in the air, surrounded by flares that do not descend.
Nothing moves. Only us.
She holds this for a few moments and then crumples in her seat, Themis and Crius rushing to her. I squint as the brightness of the sun starts to build, she calls out to me.
Our pilot pulls on his controls and the craft takes a nearly vertical climb outside of the hangar entrance while the missiles harmlessly rocket off into the distance before slamming into a mountainside.
He levels it out and begins a hasty flight down the length of the mountains that I can recall, heading south and west towards the coast.
He looks at me and give him a slight nod of approval. Then he looks down and takes a long, deep breath.
“That wasn’t ass-puckering.”
I don’t laugh.
Even as the sunlight strikes me and I can feel my power coming back once more, even as we escape our ten thousand year prison. None of that feels celebratory now.
The mountain disappears behind us and we leave him – his body behind.
Oceanus holds Tethys as she cries into his shoulder. Cronus stands with me staring at the mountain that had been our home. Rhea holds Mnemosyne in her arms, Crius and Themis try to revive Phoebe and Coeus stares ahead.
He looks at me very suddenly, moving with jarring motion, eyes boring into mine.
“Did we kill the the Titans? Can’t remember. Can’t forget.”
Then he stares ahead again.
And I slump into a seat and scream into my hands.
Derek swallowed hard and chewed his lower lip, dreading what came next.
Surprisingly the large man took a deep breath that practically sucked all the oxygen from the room before sinking into his very expensive leather chair.
The man spun to look out the frosted glass of his office that overlooked a sprawling New York, templed his fingers and pressed them to his chin for a moment. He was a fit man that looked to be in his early sixties. Though he was a few years older than that. He lived a clean life and had always made the right choices to get to the top. He kept a neatly trimmed beard and short hair, both once a deep brown but now mostly grey. Under the cuff of his expensive and finely tailored blue suit was a tattoo that he now absently rubbed with his other hand.
He stood suddenly and fished his phone from his pocket and dialed a number from memory.
“Call the others, they escaped. Yeah, shit. I know. Just call everyone and get them here.”
He struck the end button with a thick thumb and threw the phone on his desk.
Turning back to the window he returned his attention to the absent rubbing of the tattoo.
The black ink was older than most of the cities in the world but no one would ever know that. He would simply take a new name and continue his reign of wealth and power. They would never know better, as long as the money flowed everyone around him was pliable.
They had always thought the tattoo was because of his position and company and it had even caught on with some of those around him in this life. There were some executives with matching ones which made switching to a new life much easier.
His would always be the original.
He looked down at it and smiled, drawing some comfort. If it was false bravado was to be determined.
“Let them come then.”
Fixing his attention to a plan for the Titans he spared just one final thought on the subject of that tattoo. A thought of time.
He’d had the lightning bolt there for longer than he could remember.