Zeus gave her one simple job: Kill every human. Atropos—daughter of Zeus and the third goddess of Fate from Greek mythology —spends her eternal life snipping human lifelines when their mortal lives are over. As if being a killer doesn’t make life miserable enough, she and her Fate-wielding sisters must live amongst the humans on Earth thanks to a long-running feud between their mother and Zeus. Living on Earth means they must mingle with the mortals, attend the local high school, and attempt to fit in—or at least not stand out too much.
Killing and mingling don’t mix, which is why Atropos’ number-one rule is to avoid all relationships with the humans. Caring for the people she has to kill is a fast track to insanity. However, when Alex Morgan walks into her first-period English class, she knows she’s in for trouble. He’s the worst kind of human for her to like—one with a rapidly approaching expiration date. And he makes Atropos want to break all the rules.
When he struggles to sit up, I help him. He looks down at the blood and goo splattered on his clothes and the wounds on his chest. Then he looks at me and takes in the blood splatters on my clothes. Finally, he looks toward the cave entrance and sees my sword standing at attention there. Turning to me again, he asks the only reasonable question.
“What the hell was that?”
He follows it with the only other reasonable question and the one I’m dreading more than any other.
“And what the hell are you?”
My heart breaks a little at the betrayal in his voice. I was a fool for thinking I could keep my true self a secret.
“I always knew you weren’t normal,” he says. “Always running off, missing school, never talking about yourself except in the most general terms, never mentioning your family. I knew there was something you were hiding. But I never dreamed it would be this, this—” He falters, unable to find the right word to describe what he’s just witnessed.
“Disgusting? Frightening? Horrifying?” I try to finish for him, hanging my head in shame. “You’re right. It’s all of that and more.”
He thinks for a moment, and I see the most amazing transformation pass over his face as he processes what just happened. He actually smiles at me.
“No, no. The word I’m looking for is badass. I had no idea. I mean you were so cool with that sword. And those horses! That was so awesome.” His smile is huge now. He’s thrilled by what he’s seen, not scared.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I end up giggling a little hysterically. Here I am expecting recriminations, fear, and hatred, and he’s complimenting me? This guy is crazier than most of the gods. I force myself to stop laughing and to treat this mess with the seriousness it deserves.
“You’re not traumatized? Scared? Afraid to be in the same room with me because I might do to you what I did to the Keres?”
“No. I’m a dead man anyway. Even if you intend to kill me, it doesn’t matter, does it? But I would like to know what you really are and what that was about.”
I hang my head. “I’m not supposed to tell you,” I say, knowing the right course of action is to flush his memory immediately, not engage him in conversation.
“Hello,” he says, motioning to the still-bleeding wounds on his chest. “I’m the one with holes in me, here. I deserve to know the truth, don’t you think?”
He’s right. Even if I can’t let him remember it forever, in this moment, I owe him the truth.
“You’re not going to like me when I’m finished,” I warn.
“I’ll judge that.”
I inhale and decide to begin with the simplest yet hardest fact. The one that will turn his admiration of me into hate and fear.
“My real name isn’t Sophie. It’s Atropos.”
When that doesn’t get a reaction, I press on. “I am the third goddess of fate. I am the one who cuts human lifelines and ends your mortal lives.”
Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six and her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents.
Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. You can visit her at her official website:www.JenniferDerrick.com.
792 total views, 3 views today