Chapter 18~Here Comes the Sun
We carried Kimi to a nearby park and laid her down on top of a picnic table. I took my jacket off and rolled it under her head to use as a pillow. I then pulled a small blanket from my backpack and laid it on top of her. By now the sparks that started to shoot from her hair had stopped, but her red hair had started to turn black, like the black ash left from after a fire.
“What is happening to her?” Aisling asked, looking at her.
“I don’t know,” I replied as I looked at her, sitting next to her on the bench.
“What happened to her in there,” she asked, brushing some of Kimi’s hair from her eyes.
“I don’t know,” I said again, folding my hands together and just looking at the ground in front of me.
“Do you think she is going to be ok,” Aisling asked as she turned toward me.
“I don’t know!” I shouted as I jumped to my feet. My hands split apart and turned into fists. I felt like punching something or destroying a monster, or just simply stabbing my sword back into the ground and hoping it stayed there.
“Hey, I know you’re worried, but that is no reason to go and bite my head off!” Aisling yelled at me. Normally I would let it go, but I was angry and frustrated, maybe a bit tired even after staying up half the night waiting for a thief that was in the museum the entire time anyway.
“Why don’t you think of something then, you’re supposed to be the smart one after all, being related to Athena and all!” I shouted at her. She looked a little hurt, but didn’t say anything after that in her defense. I remembered that she was slightly insecure about her intelligence in comparison to her cabin mates. My anger slowly faded, replaced mostly by shame at this point. “Look, I didn’t mean what I said.”
“It’s cool Ash,” Aisling said as a half smile appeared on her face, but it looked forced in a way and I could tell it wasn’t a real smile. I opened my mouth to say a few more I’m sorry’s, but she held up her hand to stop me. “Please don’t, or else you may make me feel guilty or something.”
“And that won’t help anyone, will it?” I asked rhetorically.
“No it won't” she said with a slightly bigger smile.
“That was a rhetorical question,” I told her as I shook my head.
“And I gave you a rhetorical answer. Plus, with all those unanswered questions in the world, I like to keep the answerable ones down to a minimum,” she said. I didn’t really understand what she meant, but arguing with her didn’t seem like the right idea. “So any ideas?”
“Just one; if we don’t know what to do, we need someone who does,” I said and I looked out over to the East. The sun still hadn’t risen and it always came up later during the winter, but we didn’t have time to wait for him. “Apollo! Get over here, you promised you’d help us if we did what you asked! Time to pay up!”
At first there was nothing, all I heard was the sound of my voice echoing in the distance, but besides that nothing changed. I didn’t really expect him to listen, but any kind of sign right now would have been hopeful. Just then, a light appeared over the horizon and I watched as a slim bit of light appeared. The sun rose in all its’ brightness and it stung my eyes, as a moment ago it was completely dark. A car pulled onto the dirt path next to the picnic area and the frost on the trees started to melt into puddles. The car door opened and Apollo jumped out.
“Man, Artemis is gonna have a cow about this later,” Apollo said nervously as he looked up at the moon. “What’s the big hurry anyway?”
“You’re the god of healing, right? Well we need you to heal her,” I said to him, pointing over to Kimi, who was still on the table. By now her hair was completely black and as I got a closer look at her, her hand was almost see through with small red sparkles glittering in place of skin. It was like she was fading away, like gods or monster did when people stopped believing in them.
“Oh that isn’t good,” Apollo noted as he looked her over. “What have you been doing to yourself?”
“I think it has something to do with the bow,” I noted, as Kimi never seemed right when holding it. Apollo seemed to understand and reached into her pocket. He recoiled his hand in pain and shook off a mouse trap.
“Curse Dionysus’ trickster followers,” Apollo said and reached in again, pulling out Kimi’s red bow. He looked at it for a few moments and his eyes lit up like the sun. He snapped his fingers and a small metal snake appeared in his hand. The snake crawled over Apollo’s hand before coiling around the top of the bow and resting in place. “Alright, that should prevent the bow from drawing on her life force anymore.”
“What do you mean?” Aisling asked quizzically and Apollo looked at her with a smile.
“This is no ordinary bow and trust me, I know a lot about bows. This one in particle was made by Hephaestus a millennia ago for himself. Unlike most bows that require an arrow to use, this one would create an arrow, drawing power directly from the element of fire that Hephaestus is so proud to be able to use in his forges. The bow was too powerful though, being a god, and the god of fire no less, the bow drew power from Hephaestus as well as the flame and it would drive him to burn anything. The bow would literally pull the power from him when he used it and combine it with the pure uncontrollable force of fire. He couldn’t control it, so he hid it away hoping no one would find it,” Apollo said as he placed the bow back in the jacket pocket.
“But how did it get here?” I asked him, shocked by the story.
“Don’t know, I mean every so often mortals stumble on items the gods would want hidden. I seem to recall someone taking it on the Hindenburg before it went up in flames. I can't see how it made it here, my realm is the future after all,” Apollo said as he shrugged his shoulders.
“And can you save Kimi?” I asked him and he turned and looked her over, taking not of her hand that seemed to be fading away.
“From the looks of it, when the bow couldn’t draw arrows from the power of fire, it started eating away at her existence instead. I’m sure a little fire will take care of things,” Apollo said and he went back to his car. He pulled the owner’s manual from the glove box and it started to mold into a miniature sun, causing me to cover my face as it was bright. As I looked through my fingers, I saw him place it right above Kimi’s heart and it seemed to be absorbed into her. She let out a startling breath and her hair went completely red all at once. It was like Apollo had injected her with pure energy as she opened her eyes wide. She then dropped back down on the table and her eyes closed, but she looked ok.
“Alright, she should be fine after some sleep. Now, didn’t I offer you a ride west?” Apollo said as he hit a button on his key ring and the car made a honking sound.