Things in Zach's perfect life begin to go horribly wrong. A murder attempt and a miraculous escape from certain death leads Zach to unheard-of powers, as an angry god seeks vengeance.
The one girl Zach can't have--the beautiful, intelligent Allie Connor, who hates his guts--is the key to everything.
When myths become reality, Zach must decide to sacrifice the girl he loves or let the world come to a fiery end.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)|
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Descending OlympusThe Stygian Chalice
By Velvia Wylie Keithley
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Velvia Wylie Keithley
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThat's a Dream for you ...
Before the chaos, six weeks earlier, it never occurred to me that my dream—which I will describe momentarily—was anything other than an ordinary dream. My dreams have always been very vivid, so you can't blame me for not realizing the dream for what it truly was.
It was one of those dreams where you can look down and see yourself—usually sleeping. In this dream, though, I watched myself play Rock Band with my three best friends. We were upstairs in my lair—really just a reinforced attic living space with all of my junk in it, where my friends and I hung out. I could see me and my friends laughing and insulting each other. You know, having a great time.
Slowly, in the way of most dreams, I drifted along, down the stairs that led from the attic into our kitchen. I could still hear my own laughter and loud rock music drift down out of the attic, as I watched my mom search through recipes in the kitchen. She sighed, and said, "Oh, Zach," and walked towards me.
At first, I thought she was talking to me, but she passed right through me and firmly closed the door that led to the attic.
I was invisible! And immaterial. At that moment I began to believe it was a dream.
I realized something else. My mom hadn't spoken aloud. I was hearing her thoughts. Weird. But that's a dream for you.
At that moment, my mom, Rae, was thinking that our fairly upscale, well-to-do neighborhood, Elkins Lake, was not so uptight that the neighbors would complain about my rock music, but she wanted to get control before things got too out of hand.
Before she could head up to yell at me and my friends, the doorbell chimed.
"Good! Pizza's here," she said to herself. "That was quick."
At the door, a young blonde woman stood stiffly, holding a large pizza warmer. My mom could smell the sauce and cheese. "Nikolas? Four large pizza, two 2-liter cola, two 2-liter root beer?"
"Yes, that's us. I've got four hungry boys upstairs," my mom said, smiling.
"That will be $48.50, Madam." The young woman spoke in a soft voice and shyly kept her head down. Mom could barely see her face, especially with the bill of the "Joe's Pizza" cap pulled down low. Golden blonde curls escaped the cap, and my mom could tell the girl was prettier than the awkwardly fitting pizza delivery uniform showed.
My invisible self tried to see the girl's face, but I couldn't make my body move. I was stuck, invisible, on the ceiling. I hate dreams like that.
"Please come inside while I get my purse." My mother invited the girl into the large open foyer. "You can sit the pizza right there on the foyer table."
The girl, maybe 19 or 20-years-old, stepped warily inside. She craned her neck, eyeballing as much of the house as she could—into the dining room to the right of the doorway, and the library to the left, up the stairs, and down the foyer to the kitchen. My mom thought that perhaps delivering pizzas wasn't as safe as it used to be, especially for young women. But the girl appeared strong, with lean muscles in her arms and strong leg muscles apparent through the cheap polyester pants. Still, one couldn't be too careful.
"You haf' four sons?" Her voice was a soft hum. My mom and I both noticed the girl's stilted speech and slight accent.
She must be foreign, Mom thought. Definitely European, I added.
"Oh, no. Just the one. Three of his friends are here."
"This is he?" The girl reached out a slim, white hand and touched a picture frame sitting on the foyer table, which held a recent photo of me. Another framed photograph showed me in my soccer jersey, balancing a soccer ball on my head. She caressed the photo slowly, thoughtfully.
"Yes, he's my pride and joy," Mom beamed. Invisible or not, I blushed. My mom loved me crazily and didn't mind sharing it with everyone she ran across, including perfect strangers.
"He is handsome boy." The girl studied my photo intently.
"Thank you. Everyone says so."
Mom attempted to get a better look at the girl. She realized a long time ago that young girls and not-so-young girls were very taken by her extremely attractive son. At six feet tall, I was nearly as big as my father. With my dark blond hair and blue eyes, square jaw line and full lips, the girls couldn't seem to stay away. I wasn't egotistical. I just knew that girls really liked me, and I didn't mind in the slightest.
"Here you are," said Mom, giving the delivery girl five $10 dollar bills, plus a generous tip. "You must be from the university. I haven't seen you around before."
"Yes. I have just begun working here, delivering pizza to area homes," the young woman said.
My mom smiled at the girl's odd phrasing. "Thank you very much."
"It was my pleasure, madam." The girl left with a quick bow.
Mom smiled again at the girl's retreating back. It is always nice to meet people from different cultures, she thought.
After the door closed, I floated easily through the thick wooden door, which was a trip and a half. I could see the minute particles of the grains of wood and even the paint pass before my eyes. Outside, I saw the girl standing and looking back at our home. Her eyes narrowed in obvious concentration.
What was she thinking? While I could hear my mom's thoughts in this crazy dream, the girl's thoughts were a mystery to me.
The girl turned on her heel and hurried to a dark sedan waiting two houses down the street.
Even more weird. I expected a car with a pizza sign on the top. Where's her pizza car?
Lifting the lid of a garbage can sitting on the curb, she quickly dumped the pizza warmer and replaced the lid. She swiftly entered the back seat of the car and addressed a man sitting in the shadows. I tried to get a look his face, but I couldn't make out any details. The shadows seemed to purposely obscure his face.
But suddenly I didn't want to see him. Ever. My bladder was unexpectedly heavy with an urgent need to pee, and I wanted to be a thousand miles away from this man. Even though I was invisible, I was certain that if he looked up, he would see me. I held my breath and willed myself to wake up. It didn't work.
"This is the home." The girl's voice was no longer soft, but strong and certain. Unmistakably European. Maybe Russian or Turkish. I'm not great with languages, so I couldn't pin it down. My best friend Darius would have known.
"Are you certain?" The man's voice was somehow warm and cold at the same time.
Wake up, Zach! I pleaded with myself silently
"Yes, Bashta. I am certain the boy lives here. I spoke with the woman and saw photographs."
"Good. Very good," he replied with slow, obvious satisfaction.
He was pleased. Displeasing him would have been ... unpleasant. That much I knew without having to hear either of their thoughts. They were talking about me. What did they want with me?
"Will he know what he is? Has he gotten his memories?" she asked.
"No. If he had discovered his pasts, he would have come looking for me by now. But he is still just a boy. We have time."
"How will we discover if this boy is the one you are looking for?"
"Time will tell, Adrestia. Time will tell."
"If he is the one, she will try to stop you. She has been protecting him. Because of her interference, he has remained hidden all this time." A snarl escaped her lips.
Mom? Someone else? I hated not understanding. I wanted to scream, "Give me some exposition, please!" But my fear vastly overwhelmed my curiosity.
"She can only do so much. She is bound by that ridiculous pact. She won't risk interfering too much. If this boy is the one, I will destroy him."
My head was spinning. No, my whole body was spinning and I found myself floating back towards my house.
Did he say that he was going to destroy me?
An uncomfortable bubbling began in the pit of my stomach, and suddenly I was really tired of this weird dream. When the blackness overcame me, I went to it willingly. Later, I didn't remember anything about this weird episode.
Gods, I wish that I had.
Chapter TwoI Wish That I Had Jessie's Girl ...
When I heard angry footsteps stamping up the staircase to the attic, I knew I was in for a tongue-lashing. My mom appeared with her palms smashed into her ears.
"Really, Mom, I can understand you don't want to hear Darius screeching—," I began.
"Ah, come on, man ..." Darius interrupted, with a pout....
"—but surely classic Bon Jovi makes you feel rejuvenated?"
My mom tried not to smile, but I was her only child and most of what I did made her happy. And I knew she loved "Living on a Prayer."
"Heya, Mrs. Nikolas," said Darius, my best friend since kindergarten, still frowning from my remark about his poor singing ability. The two other boys called greetings. Red-haired, freckle-faced Austin Silcox currently manned the drum set. Marco Thomas, another friend from back in the days of grade school, waved frantically. He played the bass guitar.
I wondered how long Mom had put up with the loud music, laughter, and the grunts that accompanied making rock music, even on a video game, before coming upstairs. Despite her smile, I noticed tell-tale signs of eye strain, a look she got when I was being particularly worrisome.
"Zach, can you guys get a grip on the noise levels? I was trying to work downstairs and my teeth are rattling."
"Sorry, Mom. We can totally keep it down." I flashed my 1000-watt mega-smile at her, all innocent eyes and pleading forgiveness. Some of the strain left her eyes, as I knew it would.
"We didn't know you were home. We didn't mean to be so loud," I apologized.
"You are trying to charm me, mister. But that's okay. And," she said, smiling with love in her eyes, "you were loud the day you were born. All fury and defiance, and pink baby butt.
My faced turned bright red.
Darius, Austin and Marco's guffaws were deafening.
Mom asked, "So I guess the Rock Band was a great Christmas present?"
Four days into the New Year, my friends and I had played the video game just about every day since Christmas.
"Oh definitely, Mrs. Nikolas," said Marco, flashing a winning smile at her.
Marco was in love with my mom. Not in a weird, gross way. But I was pretty sure he'd kill me and take my place as her son if he could. Mom, traitor that she was, smiled at Marco and reached out to give him a hug. He practically dove into her arms.
"Listen, Halfie, back up off my mom."
"It's alright, Mrs. Nikolas—I'd rather be a halfie than an Italian sausage."
"Boys!" My mom was horrified.
"At least Italian sausage goes great on pizza. Coffee with cream is for chicks and little kids!"
My mom stared openmouthed. So did Marco. He couldn't think of anything to say.
I made a shooting basketball motion and said, "Two points."
"Whatever, dude," Marco said. "I'm still up 15 points anyway."
"Only 13 points now! Remember yesterday when I asked if you got your pants at GapKids?"
"Yeah," Marco snorted, "that was funny!"
"Pat yourselves on the back all you want. I'm the reigning champ!" Darius crowed. "Remember when I said you guys looked like rejects from Animal Planet."
We all laughed.
I glanced over at my mom and my laughter dried up like a desert stream. Thunderclouds were rolling on her face. I knew we were all in trouble.
"Come on, Mom. We don't mean anything by it. It's just a game. We try to one up each other," I began.
Cutting me off, Mom forced the words through her teeth. "I don't care what you call it. It is not a game. It is not 'cool' to poke fun at each other in that way, especially about someone's racial or ethnic heritage."
The four of us stared at the floor, slightly ashamed. I glanced over at Darius and saw his lips twitch, and he winked at me. Some of us, obviously, were more ashamed than others.
"I, for one, am completely proud of my Greek heritage, and your father's Italian heritage, Zach. Marco, there is nothing wrong" —she shot me a dark look—"with being biracial African-American and White. Nothing!"
"Well, I'm totally cool with my rich, dark blackness," Darius offered.
"The Irish are still considered an underclass in some parts of the world, you know," Austin stated, his red hair glinting in the sunlight.
Ignoring them, Mom insisted, "You could be hurting his feelings—even if he says that you aren't." Her eyes were getting decidedly red.
Marco put himself into her arms again, and hugged her tight.
"It doesn't hurt my feelings, Mama Nikolas, but we'll stop the insults. Don't worry."
Marco, several inches shorter than my mother, rested his head on her chest. She placed her cheek on the top of his curly head, and squeezed him.
Time for a subject change.
"Mom, best mom in the world, oh most gorgeous of moms ..."
"Heard that!" Marco exclaimed, still in my mother's arms.
"... Could you order some pizza for us? We are starving!" I pleaded, my blue eyes staring into hers.
"It's already downstairs, you heathen child. Four—" she began
"Larges," I interrupted. Out of nowhere, I felt weird. Dizzy.
"Déjà vue," I stated.
My mom looked at me, concerned.
"I just had a weird feeling of déjà vue," I said, looking around the room at my friends, at my mom. "This has happened before."
"And it will all happen again?" Darius intoned sarcastically, and then rattled off something in Italian. "Tu sei davvero strano, il mio fratello di un'altra madre!"
I shook my head slightly to clear the cobwebs clinging to my mind.
"Darius, my dad is not here to translate, so, first, speak English. And second, Mom, for real, I knew you bought four large pizzas. And there was a girl ..." My head hurt from trying to remember.
"Zach, sweetheart, my ordering four large pizzas isn't déjà vue; it is the reality of every weekend," Mom laughed easily. But I could see some of her eyestrain return.
"Dude, with you, there's always a girl," Darius said.
"Never mind. The feeling is gone now. Did you say there were four hot, delicious pizzas already downstairs in the kitchen?"
Mom smiled and nodded.
"Alright!" I darted over to kiss her, but Marco straight-armed me, and planted his lips on her cheek. Ripping him from her arms, I pushed him onto the couch.
I hugged Mom tight. "Thanks for the grub, thanks for the Rock Band, thanks for being my mom. You rock!"
I heard Austin and Darius race down the stairs to the kitchen to grab the pizzas.
"Yes I do," Mom said. "I'll leave you guys to it, then. I'm off to work. I've got a group counseling session this afternoon."
My mother worked as a private Licensed Professional Counselor. Her job allowed her to work as she needed and be at home for me when I was younger. I was older now, though, and she took more cases.
"Oh, by the way, Dad came home really late last night. There was some trouble at the prison, so he's napping. He's so tired I don't think you'd wake him even if you played your music in our bedroom. But still, keep a small lid on the noise, okay fellas?" She directed a firm stare at Darius and Austin as they entered with the pizza.
"We'll keep it down, Mrs. Nikolas," said Darius, and then in flawless Greek, "Emeís that ton kratíseiéxo apó to próvlima."
"You do that," replied Mom, "and keep yourself out of trouble, too."
Turning to me, she winked. "I'll see you tonight, Zachary."
She left to a chorus of "Thanks, Mrs. Nikolas!"
"Your mom is so cool," said Austin, diving into a pizza box.
"And she's hot!" Marco stared longingly at the door Mom had just exited.
"Dude, she's like a mother to you!" I slapped Marco smartly on the back of the head.
"My mom is not that fine," said Marco, absently rubbing his head. He grabbed for a third slice of pepperoni and pineapple from the second box of pizza. "Your mom is fi-iine!"
I held up the first empty pizza box and gave a questioning glance.
Austin shrugged. "Dude, you snooze, you lose."
Excerpted from Descending Olympus by Velvia Wylie Keithley Copyright © 2011 by Velvia Wylie Keithley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. That's a Dream for you ....................1
2. I Wish That I Had Jessie's Girl ....................6
4. I've got a bad Feeling about this ....................23
5. Fire in the Blood....................34
6. When All Your Dreams Come True....................46
7. Can't a Man Get Some Normal Sleep, Already?....................54
8. Open Mouth, Insert Foot....................60
10. Death Approaches on Silent Wings....................77
11. "And I'm Free ... Free-Fallin' ..."....................83
12. Medical Miracles....................91
13. Back to Normal, Almost....................98
14. Allie in Prison....................104
15. Psycho in the Brain....................115
16. If You Don't Get Help Here ....................121
17. The Confrontation....................136
18. The Past, Revisited....................144
19. Seeded in Time....................157
21. Need for Speed....................180
22. Love Is a Battlefield....................192
23. Kink in the Plans....................215
24. Spilling the Beans....................223
26. Mother's Truth....................248
29. "Let's Get It On ..."....................278
30. The Baby....................291
31. The Battle....................297
32. The Battle Rages On!....................306
33. Time Heals All Wounds....................312
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I think it is a really good book and cannot wait for the next one.
U R STUPID U CANT EVEN DO A JOB! SAY GREATHEART IS LOCKED OUT OF DARK FOREST AND THEN LEAVE! NO SIDETRACKERS!!#
I side with gaia
Im back hi winter
A very entertaining story. The characters seem real and relatable. It was hard to put down. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this story.
You can tell this author is a novice, but her writing style is sharp and funny. The story is fairly unique. She does a twist on Greek mythology that is nicely done. Her characters have real problems and real feelings and each chapter makes you want to keep reading. Definitely for high schoolers, but college-aged and older would enjoy it, as well, especially if you like your mythology brought into modern day.