The driving hip-hop beat made the fallen god want to take off his clothes and pulse around the nightclub. What about the music captured his fancy remained a mystery, but clearly the revelers around him felt the same way. They packed themselves into the cracker box of a nightclub known as Eliseo by the droves, just for the opportunity to flail around to the unsullied throbbing rhythm.
Bacchus displayed a toothy grin as he moved through the various levels and side rooms of the nightclub. The summer months in Miami yielded a vast array of guests from the main dance floor to the elite gatherings in the VIP room. He dug the energy all over, but something about the vigor with which the privileged few partied attracted him. He sauntered up to one of the counters serving the VIPs.
"How’s it going tonight, Fede?" Bacchus called to the young Cubano tending bar.
"Very good, Mr. Gustafson," the young man addressed him with his alias, Bach Gustafson.
Both of their gazes followed the stream of nubile cocktail waitresses who dropped off orders and ferried a rainbow of mixed drinks to their eminent clients.
"Hello there, Miss Arianna," Bacchus greeted one of his favorite employees.
"Hello, Mr. Gustafson." She avoided his gaze and focused her attention on loading glasses onto her tray.
"You’re looking lovely this evening."
She didn’t smile or return the compliment. "Thanks."
Bacchus leaned down to speak into her ear. "You all right this evening, love?"
Arianna skittered away from the sudden close proximity. Casting a shifty, uneasy look at him, she assured him everything was fine, then hurried away, drinks in tow.
His gaze followed her across the floor to a red velvet chaise where a predatory peacock of a man lounged. The man’s hands roamed all over the poor girl. Bacchus motioned to a member of the VIP security team, a glorified bouncer.
"What’s up, Mr. Gustafson?"
Bacchus made a subtle motion in the direction of chaise. "Cliff, warn our friend over there to keep his hands to himself, please."
"Right away, Sir."
The wall of muscle packed into a teal polo shirt strolled over to the man who had an arm hooked around Arianna’s thighs.
Though he couldn’t make out the words, Bacchus could tell the bouncer’s message had not been well received.
When the young man returned, he made a gesture of confusion. "He says she’s his girlfriend and she confirmed it so…"
"Really?" Bacchus replied, stunned. "How dreadful for her."
Cliff rubbed his fingers together in the sign for money.
"I’d never have taken Arianna for a ‘gold digger,’" Bacchus said, using a bit of slang he’d picked up.
"Not to be disrespectful, Sir, but all women that look like Arianna are gold diggers."
"And why do you think that is?"
Cliff smirked. "Because they can, Sir."
"You’re a wise man."
Bacchus took leave of the bouncer, entranced by the oblivious manner in which Arianna’s boyfriend conducted himself. Every expression on the woman’s face told Bacchus she didn’t want this man within fifty feet of her, much less slathering his hands all over her. But the self-centered fellow didn’t seem to notice. Bacchus knew as well as anyone could that souls united for a variety of reasons and he’d had more than his fair share of lovers. Even for a god he’d been a tad on the promiscuous side, but every body he’d ever touched quivered with longing beneath his fingertips. If Arianna responded to this man at all, her quaking would indicate revulsion. And something else—fear maybe?
Not that her boyfriend was without his own dark beauty: chiseled jaw, black waves of stylish hair, almond-shaped golden-green eyes. Singularly striking golden-green eyes. No doubt the man begun as an innocent baby boy, but life had decayed him. Bacchus could read the legacy of pain that marred the man’s soul, apart of his brain that twisted him into something grotesque that no amount of physical beauty could cloak. The ability to read souls was the singular talent he’d had as a god that remained with him in his human form. Perhaps a gift from The Council or a part of Bacchus they’d been unable to eradicate.
Arianna appeared again at the bar to collect another round of drinks for her section. Bacchus scooted next to her.
"Now, I know you told me you’re okay and I don’t mean to pester you," he spoke into her ear.
"But you don’t seem to be enjoying that man’s company."
She shook her head. "No, he’s fine. I’m sorry he’s all over me at work. I’ve told him he can’t do that here, but he doesn’t listen."
Bacchus placed his hand in the small of her back, but pulled it away when she stiffened. "I’m not scolding you, Arianna. I’m just concerned."
"Thanks, Mr. Gustafson."
He opened his mouth to say more, but she turned and walked away with her tray of drinks. An angry exchange passed between Arianna and the dark man. The entourage around him broke out in mocking laughter. Bacchus could feel distress coming off the young woman in waves. She placed a hand to her mouth and hurried toward the alley exit. The man took his time pulling his sleek form to his feet, then followed after her. In Bacchus’ not-so-humble opinion, this turn of events would not play out well. The former god sauntered after the pair.
The shouting resonated into the hallway that led to the back alley. Bacchus opened the door to find the weasel inches from Arianna’s face, spewing insults at her. With uncharacteristic reservation, the fallen deity leaned against the wall, arms folded, but ready to intervene at the right moment.
"You fucking little whore," the man spat.
"Please, Dezi, just calm down. I didn’t do anything. Mr. Gustafson didn’t do anything. He was just checking on me."
"You think I’m fucking stupid? I saw him touch you. I swear if you’re fucking that faggot, so help me—" He grabbed her throat.
"Don’t," she gasped.
Time to intervene.
"Why don’t you let her go and throttle me?" Bacchus asked.
Dezi turned to see who spoke. "Isn’t that cute, your little maricon boyfriend is here to protect you."
Bacchus pulled himself up to his full height of six feet five inches, caught the hand about to crash into Arianna’s cheek and glowered down at the despicable man. "I take exception to the word ‘little.’ And in case you’re too stupid to understand what I meant, I’ll make it simple for you. Let the young lady be and leave my establishment."
With a vicious shove, Dezi pushed Arianna away from him and turned on Bacchus. "You sure you want to get mixed up in this?"
"You don’t know who you’re messing with, pretty boy."
"Nor do you. I’ve sat at the same dinner table with Darkness and dined with demons. I assure
you, there’s nothing about you that inspires fear."
"What the fuck are you talking about? You mental or something?"
The slime ball tried to wrest his hand free of Bacchus’ grasp, but the former god held tight. At least The Council had blessed him with a strong, capable human body.
Pan appeared in the doorway. "Everything all right, Sire—uh Sir?"
"This man and his friends were just leaving," Bacchus replied.
"Of course, Sir."
The old goat, in full human form, grabbed Dezi by the neck and pushed him toward the door. "Let’s get your friends and walk them out, too."
Judging from the glazed look on the greasy man’s face, Bacchus could tell Pan had taken control of Dezi’s mind. How the god missed pulling tricks like that on his adversaries. With a sigh he turned to the frightened woman.
"Are you all right, love?"
All the blood had drained from Arianna’s face and she trembled. "You don’t know what you’ve done."
Bacchus walked over and took her by the hand. "There’s nothing to worry about now."
He led her into the club and to his office. After he settled her in on the black leather sofa, he poured a glass of Sandeman for him and two fingers of rum for her.
"Thanks." She took the drink but didn’t taste it.
The fallen god knelt in front of her. "Drink that. It’ll calm you."
She took a small sip, then sputtered and coughed. "Strong."
"It’s one-fifty-one rum. I find it an efficient libation."
Tears welled up in Arianna’s eyes and her lower lip shook.
"Don’t cry." Bacchus stroked her hair. "Please don’t cry. I’m not very good with crying women. I don’t have much experience with them."
A reluctant chuckle escaped Arianna’s lips. "No one’s ever stood up for me like that before. Of course you’re a dead man now."
"There are worse things than death, love."
"No, I mean it. He’s part of the Cuban mafia."
"What’s that?"Bacchus asked.
"Some very bad people. How can you not know that?"
"I’m lacking in current events."
Her faced blanched again. "What am I going to do?"
"What do you mean?"
"Oh my God." Her voice rose an octave. "I can’t go home. He’ll be waiting for me."
"Hush now. You can come home with me."
"It’s not that simple."
"It is that simple. If this man is so dangerous, you need to be rid of him. Make a clean break."
"I can’t—I can’t." Arianna got to her feet and started to pace.
Bacchus stepped in front of her and cupped her face in his hands. "You have to. You’re too good a soul to be trapped by someone like that. You’re coming home with me and that’s final."
"And just what is it you think you know about my soul?"
A gentle expression overtook the former god’s face. "I can see you as a very little girl, with a sunburned nose, missing a front tooth, but you smile anyway. You liked to curl up on your mother’s lap and she would sing you songs about Cuba. Songs her mother used to sing. The fuzzy dandelions in your front yard were your favorite feature of your new home. That little girl is still inside you and she tells me you are a good person. Perhaps one who’s made some ill-advised choices, but still good."
She searched Bacchus’ eyes for something, but clearly failed to find it. "What kind of devil are you? Why do you want to help me so much?"
"I’m no devil, I assure you. Quite the contrary. It makes me happy to lend you a hand…it reminds me of someone I used to be."
"I can’t repay you and I won’t—"
"I’m not looking for payment in any form. I’ll send Pan to get your stuff from your locker and take you to my place."
"What if Dezi shows up there, too?"she asked.
"Then I’ll kick his ass like I wanted to just now."
"He has friends—lots of nasty, dangerous friends."
"I have a few friends of my own. Don’t worry, Arianna. You’re safe with me."
Arianna huffed, wiping away tears and snot. "You’re really not afraid of him."
"Not a bit."
She leaned in and planted a kiss on Bacchus’ cheek. "You were very brave. Muy macho."
The ex-god brightened at the praise. "Was I?"
"Oh yeah." She nodded. "Well, except that part about having dinner with demons. That sounded a little gay."
"Really?" Bacchus furrowed his brow. "Because that’s actually true. I have. Nasty sons-a-bitches, that lot."
Arianna shook her head. "You’re so strange."
He swilled a mouthful of port. "You don’t know the half of it."
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
“Sire, wakey wakey,” a gruff voice intruded on Bacchus’ slumber.
“Mmmm, Angela,” he murmured and wrapped his arms around the person trying to rouse him. “Where have you been you naughty girl?”
A swift kick to the shin fully awakened him. With a howl of pain, Bacchus started upright.
“Hey, what do you mean waking me up like that?” the fallen god asked.
Pan struggled to his feet. “I do so apologize, Sire. But you know how hands-y you get when you’re half asleep.”
Bacchus took in his surroundings. The beach? How in the world had he wound up on the beach? The sun incensed the pounding in his head.
“Ugh, what time is it?” he asked.
“Three in the afternoon, Sire.”
“Already? Damn, I feel like I just fell asleep.”
“What time did you stagger home last night?”
“I don’t know, maybe ten this morning.”
Pan helped Bacchus stand and strained to brush sand from his master’s broad shoulders. “You need to start taking care of yourself, Sire. You’re not immortal anymore. You’re killing yourself.”
“I don’t care if I am. What have I got to live for?”
“Please, don’t talk that way. We’ll get you reinstated. I’ve been reading about Bodhi’s earthly philosophies. I think The Father gave you the clue you need to appeal the decision.”
“You’re a loyal friend. A fool, but a loyal friend.” Bacchus lit a cigarette and exhaled. “Fuck me, why do my feet feel like they’re on fire?”
“Ah, well, Sire, maybe next time you pass out on the beach you should do it under a tree large enough to shade your entire body.”
Bacchus looked down at his lobster-red feet in contrast to his pale legs and shook his head in disbelief. Though Pan had offered to carry his lordship, Bacchus endured the walk to his apartment, wincing with every step.
After a quick shower, Bacchus trotted to the kitchen, still naked and wet, opened a beer and washed down an assortment of over-the-counter medication, some to relieve the pain of his sunburned feet and some just because he liked the way they mixed with alcohol. The refrigerator held little of interest, but he rejoiced in finding a spongy apple and small piece of cheddar.
“You know—” Bacchus took a bite of the red delicious—“I think I’ve lost some weight since I haven’t had the palace food to gorge myself on.”
“Oh yes, Sire, you’re looking very svelte.”
“I might have company tonight, could you straighten up a bit?”
“Of course, Sire.”
Pan surveyed the state of the fetid apartment. Overflowing ashtrays, heaps of garbage, buzzing flies, and toppled liquor bottles had replaced the overflowing urns of flowers, heaps of delicate chocolates, winged dark faeries and scattered, silken floor pillows that once surrounded the fallen god. In a vain attempt to clean, Pan picked up a soggy dishtowel. The rag proved more putrid than the surfaces he wiped it over. With obvious disgust he abandoned his efforts. He stepped with care to avoid a discarded needle and a couple empty dime bags.
“I thought you were finished experimenting with junk, Sire,” Pan asked with caution.
“I am. That was from my friend last night. Amy…Anna…”
“Yes, that’s it. How did you know?”
“You called me that name this morning when you tried to spoon me, Sire.” Pan picked up the paraphernalia. “May I pitch this stuff?”
“Please. I’ve no need for it. Why would anyone want to use a drug that induces comatose sleep and makes the cock limp as an overcooked noodle? Morpheus was welcome to preside over that mess.”
True, Bacchus still dabbled with human pharmaceuticals, but he preferred the usual sacraments: women, wine, and song. And really he could do without the song if need be. During the first several months after his fall, he’d nearly murdered his mortal form with booze and an endless parade of strumpets. After his first case of the clap the fallen god reevaluated his lifestyle. Not that he’d slowed down much, but at least he’d taken the healer’s advice and started using a penis sheath. And Bacchus had stumbled into a source of income a few weeks ago; he’d won a nightclub in a high stakes poker game. The healthy endowment The Council had bestowed upon him as a sort of severance package wouldn’t last forever and with the former deity’s spending habits, he’d be lucky if it lasted a decade.
To his surprise, Bacchus found he enjoyed his newfound status as business owner. He’d made some rookie mistakes like placing his first order with the liquor supplier under the assumption that the club goers would drink at the same rate he did. But hey, now he had back stock that would last for a couple years so no biggie, right?
The employees were a source of endless fascination for him. All the lovely young women dressed in tight satin dresses, such giving souls they’d been. Even some of the young men who worked there were pretty enough to catch his eye. And how cool was it to work all night around libations? The ex-deity didn’t appreciate the human curse known as a ‘hangover,’ but he’d learned to live with it. And poor Pan. The old goat shouldered the near impossible task of ensuring Bacchus’ timely arrival at the club each evening.
“How was your night?” the fallen god asked.
“Fine, Sire. Thank you for asking.”
“I don’t know why you don’t just sleep here.”
Pan shook his head. “Thank you, Sire. Not to complain, but it’s hard for me to remain in full human form all night. I’m struggling enough with the long hours at the club. The last one of your female companions who saw me in my true body ran screaming. The swamp suits me just fine at night.”
“As you wish.” Bacchus skulked down the hallway of his beachfront condo. Catching a glimpse of his torso in the bathroom mirror, he paused. With a flex left and a flex right, he admired his sculpted abs. Though he’d been no fatty in the millennia he’d spent as a god, his human form held a certain lean firmness. He’d never known the body encompassed so many individual muscles. As a god he’d never gained, lost, or expelled anything for that matter. Urination and defecation had been adventures to master on their own. He flexed his obliques again and marveled at his resemblance to a marble statue.
“Vanity, thy name is Bacchus.” Pan appeared behind him and nudged him toward the bedroom.
“Please, Sire, you must get dressed.”
“Right, sorry. I got caught up in my reflection. Am I very handsome?”
A sincere expression crossed the satyr features. “You are as beautiful as I’ve ever known you to be, Sire, which means you’re stunning.”
“What would I do without you, old friend?”
“Show up late every day to the club. Now hurry, hurry.”
Bacchus donned a garment known as a t-shirt and a pair of jeans from some singularly talented tailor named Calvin. Though the clothing lacked the grace of a toga, he had to admit the vestments accentuated the positive. He checked out his buttocks in the mirror.
Satisfied with his appearance, he swept into the living room to find the place sparkling clean.
“Pan—” Bacchus said in a low voice.
“Before you fly off the handle, Sire—”
“Magic when visiting Earth is forbidden, Pan.”
“Now that’s not quite true. You were defrocked. No one said I couldn’t use my powers.”
“It’s in the Code of Ethics. ‘No Divine Being shall alter the natural course of events.’ You know as well as I do what that means.”
“Sire, how often is that rule actually enforced? Besides, one could argue that the putrefaction of a god’s domicile is not a natural course of events.”
Bacchus took his friend’s hand. “One day you’re going to have to accept that I am not a god anymore.”
“I’ll never accept that. They’ll have to render me inert first.”
“Thing is, Panny, if you don’t accept it, then I never will either.”
Without response, Pan assumed his squat, troll-like human form and walked with his master to the parking garage.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Okay, so I'm shamelessly jumping on the Twilight band wagon. I've tried to remain aloof and indifferent about the movie, but my inner teenager who loved Lost Boys is dying to see Twilight. Whew...I feel better for confessing that, lol. Then again, what's not to like? The cast is uber-hot! The only thing that gives me pause is the Robert Pattinson's hair off screen (see pic below). I know, I know, it's supposed to be a style statement, but I makes the mother in me want to send him back to his room to comb that hair.
Feel the same way or think Mr. Pattinson is just fine like he is? Vote in my blog poll :)
Friday, November 21, 2008
The scroll Bacchus held in his hands belonged to another god. Granted, the address read “to Bacchus,” but this foolish human had prayed to the wrong deity. Had the world fallen so far into disarray that a vintner didn’t know to whom he should make entreaties relating to the current crop of pinot noir? Of course Bacchus would gladly partake of the finished product, but really he didn’t care if he imbibed wine, whiskey, pilsner, or peppermint schnapps. Humans had come up with so many ways to pay homage to him. Their propensity for creative self-medication endeared the species to the God of Intoxication and Ecstasy.
“Pan,” Bacchus called to his steward, “This is for Liber. How I tire of being confused with that pompous windbag.”
“My apologies, Sire. I’ll see that he gets this.”
Bacchus took a swig from his wineskin. “Please do. I’d take it myself but—well, last month’s lecture on the qualities of cork will hold me over for a lifetime.”
“Of course, Sire.”
“Oh and make sure the nymphs are oiled up for the festivities this evening. Are Pele’s accommodations ready?”
“Yes, Sire. I inspected them myself.”
“Good, I wouldn’t want a repeat of the last time she visited us. I hear they’re still unearthing charred remains in Pompeii. And Vesuvius—” The god’s voice arrested. Even in his inebriated haze, Bacchus could make out a flash of gold from the bottom of the pile of correspondence.
“Pan—am I hallucinating or is there a scroll from The Council thrown in with the common post?”
The little goat-man flushed a deep shade of red, apparent even through the silver of his facial fur. “I-I-Sire, I think, maybe…”
The beating of cloven hooves echoed in Bacchus’ private hall as Pan scurried to the heap. Mortification twisted across the steward’s face, his worst fears confirmed. The golden scroll had settled among the other messages, smug in its self-importance. Pan snatched up the regal communiqué and ferried it to Bacchus.
“Just read it to me, Panny boy. It’s probably for Liber anyway.” Bacchus laughed at his own humor.
Stubby fingers worked at the crystal seal, but a ruckus in the outer chambers startled him from his purpose. He’d barely had time to alight his beady eyes upon the text.
A trumpeter flew into the gilded chamber and blasted a hurried version of Hail to The Father. Guards, nymphs, and courtiers snapped to rigid attention. Even Bacchus pulled himself to his unsteady feet.
In a tidal wave of snowy robes and untamed, silver hair, The Father washed into the great room. A brush of his hand silenced the fanfare.
Bacchus executed a deep, though somewhat mocking bow. “And to what do we owe this great honor, My Lord?”
“Good afternoon, Bacchus.” The Father glanced around at the scattered floor pillows and the sycophants lounging them. “I need a few moments of your time. Alone.”
No one waited for the God of Intoxication’s dismissal. An implied request from The Father carried more weight than a direct order from anyone else in the Palace of Light. Oh sure, when She felt ornery, The Mother could contradict The Father, but only She dared to do so.
“Thy will be done,” Bacchus gave the standard answer.
Once the hall had cleared, The Father motioned to a chaise. “Please, have a seat.”
Bacchus staggered over to the lounge chosen for him. He kept his eyes on the wizened deity. The Father’s usually glowing face made a poor show of hiding a scowl. Not to mention The Father’s pacing would soon leave a crater in the marble floor.
“I trust you received the scroll from The Council,” said His Lord on High.
“About that, there was a bit of a mix up with the post this morning…”
“No matter. I’d rather tell you this in person anyhow.”
Perched on the edge of his seat, Bacchus searched The Ancient One’s eyes for answers. “It’s very bad news, is it?”
A sigh heaved from the great chest. “I won’t insult you by candy coating it. Since Bodhi joined The Council he’s done some excellent thinking on The Sorrows of the world. Please understand, he didn’t target you specifically.”
“Target me?” Bacchus huffed a sarcastic chuckle. “Am I being summoned before a firing squad?”
“No, no. Not literally anyway. Has Bodhi talked to you about his premises regarding The Sorrows?”
The god waved a hand. “Oh yes, he’s tried several times, bless him. His manner of thinking is so far beyond me. My Lord, you know I do whatever I can do to ease The Sorrows. I’ll admit I’m limited by my inferior mind, but I do try.”
“No one questions your dedication, Bacchus. The debate has arisen over your methods.”
“But my methods have withstood millennia and believe me the Puritan Era was no walk in the park for me and my devotees, but we’ve endured.”
“I understand that and believe me, no one entered into this decision lightly. And Mother is on the warpath. She’s always been fond of your company.”
“Am I being demoted?”
The Father exhaled and sat down next to Bacchus. “It’s worse than that, My Love. The Council has decided that desire does indeed seem to be the root of all suffering, Bodhi has proven that assertion beyond a shadow of a doubt. And since that emotion…well, it’s central to almost everything you do. Therefore we’ve decided we must revoke your divine power and disband your following. There’s no way around it.”
Bacchus reeled inside from the shock of The Father’s words. How dare The Council do this to him and behind his back? He hadn’t heard a word about these discussions. True, he was only a ‘lesser god,’ but a god of any rank was still a god. Why had no one come to him?
“So just like that I’m out on my ear?” Bacchus asked.
“We did debate this for over two centuries. It’s not a snap decision, I assure you. And Bodhi argued for you hardest of all. He deems you necessary to ‘the joyful participation in The Sorrows of the world.’”
“So who argued against me, then?”
“We shouldn’t get into that.” The Father shook his head in a dismissive manner.
“It was Antithesia, wasn’t it? She could use a good buggering to loosen up that tight ass of hers.”
Bacchus wanted to scream at The Ancient One. And Antithesia, well that smarmy, prudish little bitch had better not cross his path anytime soon, but Bacchus wrestled with his sense of outrage. A long drink from his wineskin settled his indignation a bit. A long time had passed since anyone had attacked Bacchus outright and he always managed to pull his pretty, fleshy bottom out of the fire. Perhaps he could finesse his way through this wrinkle; he knew better than anyone the proclivities of His Lord.
Invoking his cat-like female form, Bacchus draped herself across The Father’s lap, her hair a river gold, spilled over masculine thighs. She wound a long, slender finger around a lock of The Father’s beard. “Isn’t there anything you can do to help me, My Lord?”
A flash of craving broke The Highest One’s mask of gravity. Without words, Bacchus summoned her two most fetching nymphs, Maia and Saraesa. The lithe women fell at The Father’s feet and reached up to stroke Bacchus’ voluptuous curves. Tinkling strains of laughter resonated in a chorus of seduction that curled around the would-be lovers. Maia and Saraesa leaned into each other and their lips melted together.
Bacchus gauged The Father’s reaction to the kiss, then turned up the heat by stripping off Maia’s gauzy wrap and pulling the pert breasts to her mouth.
A low growl rumbled in The Father’s throat. “Enough!”
The nymphs disappeared in a flash of stardust, leaving silence in their wake. Bacchus reverted at once to his male body.
“This is exactly what I’m talking about. There has to be more to a life than pleasures of the flesh.”
The chastened god hung his head. “I agree, My Lord, but life cannot flourish either without ecstasy.”
“I used to believe that but now I see that’s where we’ve gone wrong all along. Many of our children lead happy lives of sobriety and abstinence.”
“Happy or uneventful? There is a difference.”
The Father rose. “I’m truly sorry, Bacchus, My Love.”
“There’s nothing You can do to help me?”
“It’s not my decision to make. The Council has spoken.”
“Every decision is Yours to make.”
“You know as well as I do, that’s not how it works. As of now your powers have been suspended. I’m sorry…I’ll leave you to your packing.” The Father turned toward the grand hall’s exit.
A sneer darkened Bacchus’ cherubesque face. Perfectly arched eyebrows furrowed with spite. “Some all powerful Lord you are.”
The Father stopped in His tracks, a burst of flames ignited around Him, but He doused them with a single flick of His wrist. Without turning to face the fallen god He replied, “I’ll let that remark slide. Wounded feelings surely have clouded your judgment.”
And with that, The Father disappeared. The gilded chamber fell dark and cold in his absence.
Bacchus sank his head into his hands. Darkness and chill would rule the rest of his life if he failed to think of a solution.