My first Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge. It practically wrote itself.
The Hell that Could Not Embrace Earth
“So, he’s finally done it.” Zeus rubbed his brow.
“Yes my Lord, Hades has finally managed to succeed.” Hermes floated before the throne, head bent.
“Why now? What’s changed?”
“My Lord?” Hermes hovered closer.
“What gave him the push he needed to go the final step? He’s been talking about moving the Underworld to another dimension for a millennium.” Zeus stood and paced in front of his now vacant seat.
“Other than the worsening conditions on Earth, I don’t know my Lord.” Hermes clutched his hands together as the Father of the Gods prowled in front of him.
“Call a Gathering. Let none deny you. Go, now.” With a wave of his hand, Zeus dismissed his messenger. Hermes nodded and took off at top speed.
The Lord of Olympus left his great hall, the animated heavens on the ceiling darkened with roiling clouds at his passage. Thunder clouds built with the pressure of his worry. Lightening arced randomly and lit the echoing hallways. After several twists and turns, Zeus arrived at his destination.
“Come in, dear husband.” The dulcet tones of Hera welcomed him before he could raise a hand to knock.
“You expected my arrival.” Without a single touch, the door swung in and Zeus stepped through.
“Of course. What kind of Goddess would I be if I couldn’t tell when my beloved approached.” She faced away from him, gazing out over the gathering storm.
“You always did have a special sense for my needs.” A smile formed on the chiseled features of his face.
“And you always had a way of manipulating me into doing what you wanted. What is it that troubles you now?” Her slender fingers glided over the silky feathers of a peacock, sitting beside the Goddess on a pillow.
“May it trouble you to learn that Hades has taken the Underworld and moved it to a new plane of existence.” A schooled mask of emotionless features settled over the face of Zeus.
Hera’s head snapped up, eyes flashing like quicksilver, and fixed the man before her in a steely gaze.
“Treason. Betrayal. How will the souls find their way to the afterlife? Purgatory will overflow and the dead shall walk the Earth.” Hera stood, spilling her pet tot he floor as it gave a startled cry.
“Yes. Which is why I’ve called a Gathering.”
“You would remove our presence from the mortal plane? Even for a short while? The insanity continues!” Green and blue folds of gossamer cloth billowed around Hera while her anger crackled in the air.
“What choice do we have? A decision must be made, and now. This move will tip the balance into chaos, and there are far too many planes for me to search. By the time I brought him back, it would be too late.” The air thickened with tension. Energy sizzled as the two immortals stared at each other.
“I accept that you may be right. However, I wish to remind you that the human race you love so much will surely fall. Will you stand by while that happens?” She stepped forward, her arms folding across her chest, and her head tilted back.
Zeus’s all seeing eyes cast down, the muscles of his jaws flexing rapidly and his fists balled up at his sides. Then he brought his gaze back to his wife. His spine straightened, shoulders leveled, and he looked deep into her hardened face.
“I will do what I must in order to preserve our way of life. Even if that means abandoning my wayward children.”
A smile tugged at the lips of his Queen. She nodded and the tension broke in the form of a thunderclap.
“To the lower chambers then my love.” She swept from the room with Zeus hot on her heels.
When they arrived in the bowels of Mount Olympus, the doors to the massive Gathering chamber stood open. The din from so many voices made conversation impossible, but still the throng murmured. Silence fell and all eyes focused on the couple who ascended the dais. Hermes hovered nearby, the only other God to stand out from the masses.
“My family. It has been many years since we’ve all stood in this room. Unlike that time, today we gather to discuss our future. Hades, my brother and Lord of the Underworld, has taken his dominion and moved it to another plane. As you all know, this will throw the mortal realm into chaos. I can’t find him and bring him back in time to stop this from happening. So I ask, should we leave the mortals to their fate and find a new home? Or should we stay and face what is to come?” At first there was no response, and then the din that followed shook the walls of the great mountain.
“Silence!” The thunderclap of Zeus’s voice echoed through the skies surrounding Olympus. When the noise abated, he continued. “I will make this easy. You will use your voices to cast your vote. The answer that gets the greatest response determines our course.” He looked to Hera, who stood aside with a haughty smile upon her face, and then back to his kin.
“We’re ready, my Lord.” Hermes said.
“All those in favor of staying,” Again, the sound shook the walls and brought a smile to the face of Zeus. “All those wishing to leave,” His smile disappeared as dust and rock were shaking from the stone above. “Very well. Go now, you may bring nothing of this world other than what is upon you.”
With his final words, a gate opened in the rock wall. Slowly, the Gods and Goddesses left their home. Zeus and Hera left last, walking hand in hand.
Down on Earth, a hand clawed its way up through the ground as the first of the dead rose from their slumber.