Write a short story (under 1000 words) using the “Fantasy Character Concept”.
“A foppish thief is seeking entrance into the Underworld.”
An Old God’s Challenge
Bartholomew Dansbee, known to his fellows back in Ravenshire as “The Dandy,” sat stone still on an exquisite quilt overlooking the river Acheron. He took a deep breath. The tip of the dagger pressed against his multi-colored wool jacket, directly in line with his heart, like Stefan’s cock was to his ass earlier this morning; not quite penetrating but close enough to cause excitement. Or in this case, fear.
“I can’t do it. I just can’t.” Bartholomew shook his head in defiance; his beautiful golden locks, swaying back and forth like reeds on the river’s edge. “Nope. Nope. Not worth it.” He’d done things. Terrible things. Things that even minstrels would never sing of. Would the judges even let him pass? “This isn’t even mine,” he said as he flung the dagger aside.
Hermes retrieved the dagger from the cold grass, gold glitter flaking off his body as he moved. The Greek God then knelt beside Bartholomew and held the dagger out in front of him, as if offering the beaten man a gift. “Dansbee the Dandy, afraid of a little prick? I never said it wouldn’t hurt. Death is, what it is… you yourself have dealt quite a few hands of it in the past. Is it not as invigorating the other way around?”
Bartholomew frowned. Sure, he had dealt his fair share. Men. Women. Whoever stood in the way of his prize. But he had always done it out of necessity. It was part of the job. People died. The dagger, he acquired during a seemingly relaxing evening with a Baron, until the bastard tried to tie him up and have his way. The Baron had to die. The outfit, pilfered from a popular politician, who enjoyed Bartholomew’s company, but was oblivious to the fact that Bartholomew only entertained him because the man’s wife was excellent at playing “hide the meat stick”. Not only was this a fantastic game that he loved to play, but it also gave him free reign to ravage the wonderfully rich politician’s closet. The guards, who just happened to walk in at the wrong moment, had to die. He had to do, what he had to do, and that was that.
“No Hermes, it is not.” He gently took the dagger from Hermes’s hands. “You’re sure there will be a way from me to come back?”
Hermes smiled, his features reminded Bartholomew of a sinister child, who had seen too much of the world at too young an age. “I never said there would be a way back. But if a human could, it’d probably be you. I wouldn’t be playing the game properly if I told you everything.”
“The game of Gods, is a game even I will never master,” Bartholomew stated absently while his eyes traced the carved snake on the dagger’s hilt.
There were moments in his life when he felt invincible. Like the night he skipped across the battlements of the usurper King’s fortress, his footfalls like whispers amongst the Carnival Streets, his prize, the succulent warmth between the Princess’s thighs and the King’s gemstone crown. He toppled kingdoms. Shared the bed with men and woman like high society of the past. Yet, he knew this time was different. Hermes had an agenda. Gods always did, even the old ones.
“If you did, you would be considered one among us,” Hermes said.
Bartholomew did not wish to be a God, too much responsibility. He wanted a risk. The unobtainable. Hermes presented him with both. Venture into the Underworld and return with Persephone’s robe and love.
He stuck the dagger into the grass and began unbuttoning his jacket. His delicate fingertips worked the buttons with ease, shedding the brightly colored garment, leaving him in a loose, white woven shirt. He rolled up his sleeves. He pushed his hair back and used the leather strap, usually wrapped around his wrist, to tie up his ponytail.
“No need to undress,” Hermes said, watching Bartholomew with curious eyes. “Cerberus will gnaw your body until only your bones remain, before he allows you into the Underworld.”
“This jacket is not meant for such a foul place.”
Bartholomew “The Dandy” Dansbee snatched the dagger and held it in place above his heart. He took a long, deep breath and as he exhaled, he pressed the blade ever so slightly into his skin. A stream of blood traced down his chest and dammed at the open collar of his shirt.
“You have the coin?”
Hermes nodded. “I do.”
“Charon is on his way?”
“I can see the mist forming along the horizon.”
With Hermes’s last words, Bartholomew plunged the dagger into his heart until the hilt lay flush with his chest. Hermes caught him as he slouched over, and gently laid him on his back. His fingers glinted in the last rays of sunlight as the shadowy mist began to overrun the banks of the Acheron. The messenger God, placed the silver coin in Bartholomew’s mouth, and waited by his side until the ferry arrived.
Chuck Wendig, thank you. Stuck between rewrites and queries, this was a much needed breath of fresh air. Not perfect. But quick and fun. I’ll have to check Terrible Minds more often.