Hi, Hey, Hello!
So I’ve encountered a bit of a problem in that the rest of the Act 1 songs that I have left run out of steam half way through being written and then just sort of hover there, so I’ve moved to Act 2 while I work out a couple of things with the rest. I knew I was being super ambitious with the whole chronological thing…Anyway, today’s post kind of already existed buried in a notebook somewhere and I’ve just tweaked a few things and whaddya know, it works for the springboard quote…
‘But the sun comes up and the world still spins.’
The dreamscape exploded in a flash of red and Aphrodite startled awake in a cold sweat. She sat up quickly, pushed her damp hair of her face and took three deep, shaky, breaths. She pushed the duvet off her legs and swung them onto the floor. The carpet felt cool under her feet and her twitching hands went to pick up her phone.
She exhaled loudly before she took note of the markings on her wrist.
Where the name ‘Hermes’ had been proudly imprinted on the soft skin of her inner wrist in an elaborate swirling of black ink when she went to bed, it was now a harsh red that looked like it had been scratched onto her skin. Aphrodite felt her blood chill in her veins and let her phone slip carelessly out of her grip as she went to tentatively trace the mark. It radiated heat before she even make contact with the skin and when she finally touched down on it it felt raw and tortured. Her forefinger caught on the edge of the ‘m’ and she looked down at her fingertip noticing a slight covering of blood. When she looked back at her wrist she saw a single trail of blood drip its way down her forearm. She watched in mild fascination as the line of red made its way to the crook of her arm and when it pooled in the crease of her elbow a drop of water splashed into it.
She swiped under her eyes to remove any excess tears and blinked rapidly until the urge to cry lessened. When she had collected herself she pushed up off the bed and walked in a daze through to the bathroom. She turned on the hot water and waited until it was nearly scalding before she threw her marked wrist under the stream. She flinched slightly when contact was made but soon took comfort from the pain that surged across the area. When the mark looked almost non-existent she pulled her wrist free and watched it well up with red again before she threw the nearest towel to hand over the word and pressed down. Hard.
When the area was dry Aphrodite let the towel drop onto the floor and walked back into the bedroom, heading immediately for her phone. She picked it up with her good arm and unlocked it, opening up her contacts and scrolling down to ‘H’. She clicked on Hermes and nervously brought her phone to her ear.
Two rings and then ‘Hey, sorry I’m missing your call right now. Don’t leave a message I’ll call you back before I listen to it. Talk soon. Bye.’ Aphrodite let the call end and then repeated it. The more she heard the cheery tone of his voice the more hollow and numb she felt.
Finally she heard him say ‘bye’ one too many times and threw her phone onto the bed after she hung up. She curled up in the fetal position with her marked wrist in plain sight and stared at it as her gaze clouded over with unshed tears. As she blinked the tears onto her face Aphrodite tried to recall the last words Hermes has said to her face to face. When they came to her she scrunched her eyes shut, but the image of his name on her wrist was almost burned onto her retinas. However instead of hearing his continual loop of ‘bye’ in her head it was replaced with ‘whatever you say Dite, I believe you. See you later hon.’
‘See you later hon.’
‘See you later hon.’
‘See you later.’
The first mark, the “true” mark as it were, appeared on the left wrist at any time between 15-18 on everybody. It starts in white ink, a subtle reminder to yourself and anyone that gets near to your arm that you were on the path to finding your soulmate. When you finally met them, whether you knew it or not, the white ink changed to a bolder green that usually left people more confused than anything as they actively started seeking the person who had their name. When they did find them after about a week that green dulled into a run of the mill black.
It stays like that until the death of your partner. Natural causes sends it a dull, almost completed faded, grey colour on the surviving person. Any other cause of death caused irritation of the mark. It scratches itself into the skin and leaves it harsh and red. Sometimes it bleeds, but it never truly fades out like it does when your partner leaves naturally. It’s a continual harsh reminder.
Made harsher should another name be “destined” for you. It serves as a permanent reminder that your original intended was taken from you before your time was truly up. It added a taint to your ‘journey’ that was never spoken about.
In fact none of this strange tradition was ever really talked about. Some people kept the names on their wrist a closely guarded secret. Others flaunted it the moment it started embedding its way onto their wrist. There were some who lived in fear of the name. There were others who counted the days from their 15th birthday to the day of its appearance, left disappointed as the number increased. Some liked the notion of knowing that the pressure to find someone to spend “forever” with was gone. Then there were the people who hated the idea that no relationship they ever personally forged would last because some unidentified force had so. The apparent fickleness of the “system” bothered them.
Aphrodite was one of those people. Until her name collided straight into her. The first thing she noticed about him was his eyes. Blue, instantly drawing her in. She forgot she hated his name because it seemed kind of pretentious (she recognised the irony of that judgement). She forgot to be annoyed at him for running into her and causing her to take an elbow to the ribs. And annoyingly for her, she understood the hype that her parents were always going on about when it came to meeting “the one”. In fact in that tangle of limbs she felt a sense of calm that she hadn’t experienced since the safety of childhood and when she eventually separated herself from him she didn’t have to look at her wrist to know that it was changing colour.
She had eventually fallen into a fitful sleep, curled up in on herself, but when she blinked her eyes open she was still greeted by his scratched out name on her skin.
His stupid, pretentious name that slipped from her mouth as easy as breathing. The one word that she could rely on. It had made her happy and all that other cliche stuff that she spent 13 years swearing to herself she would never give into. But she had. She had caved and it had been beautiful. She screwed her eyes shut before the tears could start falling again.
After she had counted to five slowly she opened her eyes and uncurled herself to lie on her back and look at the ceiling. She focused on a damp spot on the ceiling that had formed from the incessant rain that fallen all day previously and laughed humourlessly at the pathetic fallacy.
As her gaze clouded over she felt a familiar stinging on her left wrist. It was familiar, but hadn’t happened for 11 years. She choked on another laugh and turned her head to watch the beginnings of a white ink marking underneath the red, red skin of Hermes.
Find me here: