“C’mon Mel, he’s not that bad looking.”
Melpomene, the Muse of Singing, looked around the circle of her eight Muse sisters, all nodding their heads in agreement with the delusional one.
“You have got to be kidding. Have you been hanging out with Ate again?”
Erato shuddered at the reminder. Ate, goddess of delusions, once caused her to believe she was a nine year old human boy for a week. The only thing nine year old boys loved was to destroy. Not something that enticed the Muse of sappy love poetry.
“No. I have not.” Erato shifted in her seat and flipped her hair over her shoulder. “Phorcys is powerful. You should be honored that he even wants to meet you.”
Melpomene let out the hot breath she’d been holding. “Should? You think I should be honored to meet a crusty old sea-god who is one half man and the other half crab?” A song that was part-grovel, part-scream threatened to escape her throat.
Mel chewed the side of her cheek, keeping the song in control, and glared at her sisters, each one pushier than the last. She gripped the arms of her chair and looked at her lap, wishing she had her own Muse of Schemes-to-Get-Out-of-Bad-Blind-Dates. Or better yet, if she were that Muse.
She raised her eyes just high enough to look at her sisters, each one a monolith stone, weighing her, shackling her to her chair, to her responsibilities, to her life.
Mel allowed her mother to select her dress, her jewels, and her hairstyle. She’d learned early on that you do not, repeat, Do Not, argue with a Titan goddess, especially not the Titan goddess of memory.
She pulled the green dress over her blonde curls, let the silky fabric fall so it accented her curves. The nymphs fell to her hair, their long nails scratching and pulling and tweaking each strand until it was in the ordained place.
Erato glided behind her, holding an emerald necklace enchanted to captivate the sea-god. The sea-god who was old before Melpomene sprang from her mother’s womb. The sea-god who had claws for hands and crab legs for feet.
The sea-god she had a date with as soon as the white moon rose above the ocean’s surface.
Melpomene bowed her head, allowed Erato to slip the necklace onto her neck, and arrange it so the emerald would gather the moonlight.
Mel’s mother, Mnemosyne, dipped her crystal scepter in the pool of water blessed by the starlight of Delphinus, trickled the water over her shoulders, and turned her to face the ocean.
Melpomene leaned against her balcony, set into the side of Mount Helicon, and watched the tip of the moon crest the ocean’s surface far below. From here, the ocean looked calm, a mirror to reflect the night sky. The water shivered against the moon and a silver-white path appeared on the ocean’s surface.
She raised her arms towards the moon and sang, begging him to slow his ascent in the night sky. The moon turned a deaf ear to her, its white light, once so peaceful, now stung her skin with betrayal. He rose, his white crescent a blemish in the darkness.
Melpomene swallowed a deep breath and tried to ignore the sickly-sweet scent of disaster souring the air.
It was time.