merchants and thieves, hungry for power, my last deal gone down; Who: Percy and Hermes. What: Hermes has a message for Percy, the equivalent of don’t get us hurt by looking for creepy stalkers or so help me Zeus you will regret it. Where: Dreamland, a land of dreams and a place for dreams to land. When: Half past midnight, March 11th.
The information about Bryan Stations collected slowly, into word documents and a google drive, the browser’s favorites folder and the cache listing. Percy had been digging for what seemed like hours, working from the basis of information Obed had revealed to him in a private message. The more he found out about Bryan Stations, the more disgusted he became.
Typically, researching criminals and their activities proved to be an ever-interesting endeavor, one which fascinated Percy beyond a surface level. He focused primarily on thieves, from petty theft to white collar CEOs, writing about their scandals with a sense of respect and glee. Stealing money or belongings was just child’s play, and the motives behind each thief’s reasoning for their crime were generally all-too similar.
He was discovering, however, that the reasons behind Bryan Station’s criminal status were far removed from lifting jewelry in a failed heist, or money laundering a fellow corporate executive’s trust funds. This was a man who would not give up in his torments of Isobel. He was like a pitbull that has latched onto a man’s arm and locked its jaws, not willing to let go until the arm is severed and the duty has been done. Even the presence of Obed--as seen by recent events--was not enough to deter Bryan from his goals.
Percy had never truly learned to be afraid of anyone; if he had ever faced trouble, he’d skirted around it or set off like a light should his words have failed him. He knew he’d been lucky in that respect.
Isobel clearly had not been.
Feeling mentally exhausted from the information he’d dug up concerning Bryan, Percy saved his files and shut his laptop with a solid click of finality. He flopped back on his couch, staring at the ceiling, mind awash with the details of Isobel’s, and by association now Obed’s, situation.
At the Cherry Blossom Festival, Isobel had seemed almost innocent and unsure of herself. She had been kind and inviting, qualities which Percy did not doubt had drawn Obed into her life. To think that such an unassuming woman was being tormented by Bryan seemed inherently wrong.
Such were the thoughts milling in Percy’s mind until the late hour caught up with him; he fell asleep upon his couch, his dreams errant and out of vogue. He thought he had awoken with the twelfth strike of his wall clock, a tall man swathed in a cloak standing before his television set.
In the dim light from the moon, he appeared to be wearing sandals with small wings attached, the soft sound of feathers fluttering when he walked to an armchair and sat down. The stranger rested a long staff across his thighs, the top of it designed in an emblematic manner; large, golden wings were outstretched, with two snakes entwined both together and around the staff itself. It was, Percy realized as he sat up slowly, almost the staff of a shepherd.
“And it is also the staff of a messenger,” came the man’s voice, lilting with an accent which was reminiscent of modern Greek but older, more exquisitely ancient. There was the force of subtle, but intrinsic, power in his words. With one hand, the man pushed the winged petasus off his brows, fixing Percy with an open and direct gaze.
“Have you considered what you have committed yourself to, Percy Chapman? Have you truly thought about the potential repercussions?”
Turning slightly on the couch in order to better face the stranger, Percy went slack-jawed for a moment, before recovering what remained of his composure. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I do know you’ve entered my home without permission. Considering that’s against the law, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” His eyes darted around the room, trying to place his cell phone in the low lighting. While the stranger didn’t seem dangerous, per se, he was nonetheless an intruder, and Percy wouldn’t hesitate to call the police.
“But you have already invited me in, Percy. I am not inclined to ignore the rules of hospitality,” the stranger responded, a strangely familiar smile upon his lips. “I have come only to give you a message, and it will be as swift as my flight. If you do not heed my warning, it will mean danger for both of us. Although I have tried to reconcile my own desires with your own, I will not allow you to act in such a rash manner that our welfare would be at stake.” He leaned forward in the arm chair, fingers splayed over the staff; if Percy squinted, it almost looked as if the snakes were in fact alive, and wriggling against one another in time with the man’s intonations.
“Do not permit yourself to draw too close to this Bryan individual; be certain to keep your distance at all costs. It would benefit both of us for you to remain in good health. Or else,” the man sat back again in the chair, his smile morphed into a disapproving frown. “I cannot help you. Do you understand?”
Incredulous, and somehow wrapped up in the stranger’s message--especially its implications, Percy remained sitting on the couch, his mind attempting to rationalize the irrational. He nodded his head in understanding, eyes bleary with sleep but mind already awake and alert. He was still sitting, oddly quiet, when the stranger stood. The stranger’s cloak swished against his legs as he walked to the center of the room, the only sound he made other than the sandled wings’ whispers in the air.
“This won’t be your last visit, will it?” Percy asked, his mouth dry for want of water. He was trying to place the stranger, his mind going back to the storybooks his elder sisters would read to him as a child.
“No,” came the stranger’s simple answer. “I will come when you need me, and my advice, as is my duty; but I will never stay for long, as I have other business to attend to--surely you are familiar with these terms.” The wriggling snakes that were twisted around the staff began to quicken their movements, and Percy could have sworn they flashed their sharp fangs at one another, as if in warning. With a friendly tip of his wide brimmed hat, the stranger spoke but once more. “Farewell for now, Percy Chapman. Step lightly where you may, and be wary.”
In the hastened flash of a single thought, the quick blink of an eye, Percy’s unusual visitor was gone. He remained alone again in his apartment. The moon shed light into the living room from a window, a circle of illumination focused on the spot where the stranger had once stood.