Origin of the Sphinx

Origin of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner

Book: Origin of the Sphinx by Raye Wagner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Raye Wagner
PROLOGUE

    Athan watched Hope go. He wanted to follow, but knew better. They were both angry. A little space and time would help cool them off.
    She’ll be back , he reasoned. All of her stuff was here. She would come back. And then they could talk.
    He stepped back on the drive and turned to the house. The front door was still open. With a sigh, he decided it would be more comfortable waiting inside, and he crossed the threshold into Hope’s house.
    Closing the door behind him, he surveyed the living room. It was full of boxes, most of which were clearly marked: books, clothes, towels. There were a few boxes off to one side, marked with just the name Leto .
    His initial thought was colored with surprise; he hadn’t known the Titan goddess had any other children besides Apollo and Artemis. His confusion was heightened as he thought about what Hope had said about her mother dying; how she hadn’t known her father. No. It wouldn’t be the first time a god had raised their child. It was rare, but it happened. And Leto could have easily faked her death. Or more likely, Hope was just repeating the story the Titan goddess had instructed her to.
    He lifted the lid off the first box. On top of a folded cream sweater lay a large, leather-bound book. It looked much like a journal; the cover a soft deep red. The gold lettering on the cover was in ancient Greek, and Athan traced the inscription κατάρα as he read aloud to himself the translation, “Curse.”
    Curious, Athan cracked the cover, and started flipping pages. Three distinctly different scripts scattered through the pages, and while the lettering was the rich black of fresh ink, some of the first pages were yellowed, as if by time. The latter pages were crisp, white, and blank.
    On the inside cover a blurred inscription in gold caught Athan’s eye. Athan focused, and the words shifted to solid lettering.

    On this night, and in this land
    Hear the curse, How it will stand.
    Your body and your beauty be
    Touched and marked eternally of me
    And when your family is complete
    Then Death will visit on swift feet
    And rob you of the joy divine
    The joy that should be yours and mine
    Until we wed, and love and more
    This shall stand forevermore
    — APOLLO

    Athan flinched. His best friend had been Apollo’s son. Symeon. Despite the fact that it had been almost two decades since his death, the wound still felt fresh.
    Athan shook it off and forced himself to focus. He racked his brain, thinking of curses Apollo had placed. The most obvious one was the Sphinx. He had been searching for the monster when he stumbled across Hope.
    His interest piqued, Athan sat on the couch and, by the soft glow of the floor lamp, he started to read.

CHAPTER I

    She was livid. No, not livid, more than that. What is the word , she thought. Anger was too mild a description. She realized there is no word adequate for the emotion. She could see the seething red, taste the bitterness of betrayal. He was cheating. AGAIN! Hera had agreed not to lead another rebellion, but there had to be a way to strike back!
    She was sitting on a hill, far away enough from Olympus that he wouldn’t notice her. He almost never noticed her anyway. If Hera hadn’t been so upset she would have observed that it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining; the clouds thin and few. The birds were chattering about the urgency of nests and food. Shepherds had started staying out in the far grazing areas for days, even weeks, at a time.
    The bleating of a lamb pulled her from her reverie. As she raised her head, he came over the crest of the hill. Everything about him seemed warm and inviting. He was tanned from a life spent mostly out of doors. His umber hair was touched with gold and his eyes were a rich hazel. There were small creases at the corner of his eyes, and she could see, as he came up the hill chasing after the lamb, that he was smiling. So engrossed in his chase, he didn’t notice her until he caught his quarry

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