Can you believe this month marks 10 whole years since Creatura first hit the world of publishing? I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for continuing to follow me on social media. I appreciate all the new readers you've sent my way, and your support throughout the years. Many of you have approached me and asked me to write a new book, a new series, or even spin-offs of the Creatura characters. Maybe some day...
I will forever be deeply in love with the characters from the Creatura Series, and yes, there are characters I wish I could focus on to write backstories or even conjure up new adventures for. A character that is dear to my heart and has always been a reader favorite (and on my top 3) is Eros, the mischievous god of love.
So, to thank you for all the love and support you've given Creatura and me these past 10 years, I give you this tiny token of my appreciation for you to enjoy.
Before you read this material, I must preface it by saying that:
1. I didn't plan to display this work publicly, but why not share it with you?
2. This is a work of fiction, and any all likenesses to real people is purely coincidental.
3. This literary work of fiction is property of Nely Cab and Copyrighted by ©️Nely Cab, 2021, and may not be reproduced without written consent of the author.
4. I hope you like it!
LOVE IS AN A**HOLE
by Nely Cab
Edited by Melissa Ringsted
Copyright©️Nely Cab, 2021
Love, since the beginning of time, has been an asshole. I know this because I was born being that asshole a very long time ago.
Throughout my long life, I’ve learned several things …
Love wreaks havoc on the soul, either making it shine brighter than the sun, or the opposite, sucking the life force out of you like a black hole … thus, resulting in a void and a broken heart. It can go from one extreme to the other in the blink of an eye, leaving devastation in its path after a once thought happy ending. But even with the uncertainty of the outcome and the pain that may arise from it, ah, how sought-after love is.
My job is fun, sometimes boring, but never lonely thanks to lust—the cause of most of my past troubles. Ironically, the last time I was in trouble it was love that was to blame. Well, lust too, since they go hand in hand. In the end, I lost the only people I could call family because of it. Or maybe it was because I’m an asshole.
Okay, yes, I admit it was wrong of me to try to steal my best chap’s woman, but after centuries—or maybe a millennia—of not finding a single interesting soul in my path, she stole my heart from the moment she resisted my glamours. Mon Dieu, the challenge!
She made me feel alive. But what was it about her that made me so mad with desire and emotions?
Oh, my sweet! How I miss your savage, demi-human ways.
“Fuck!” I say to myself.
Why does the mere thought of her still make my trousers so uncomfortably tight? I fidget in my seat as I drive along the California coast.
After all I did for her, she still chose Dahveed over me. I should have stolen her like Hades did Persephone when I had the chance. I hadn’t any enchanted pomegranate seeds to ensure she’d be mine forever, but I could have certainly served as her personal Fruit of Misfortune. Come to think of it, Hades’ and Persephone’s relationship turned out rather well after all the kicking and screaming desisted. Who’s to say we wouldn’t have worked as a couple? Alas, sometimes, even I have morals. Sometimes.
After hours of driving in traffic, I see the entrance to the hotel. I steer toward the valet.
“Welcome back, sir,” the young man says as I toss him my car keys.
I step closer to him and hand him a twenty-dollar bill.
His soul looks dim, and I feel like having a bit of fun, so I wink at him, and he blushes. It takes no effort to make mortals happy. Especially when you’re the God of Love.
As I walk into the lobby, I’m hit with the aroma of freshly ground coffee beans. I suddenly miss Paris and its many cafés. I round the corner and await the hostess to seat me. On a pedestal, I see a replica of a Greek museum piece. It is the bust of a man without a nose. I snap a picture with my phone camera and almost send it to my ex-best friend. Shaking my head, I delete the message. I laugh with disbelief. I ask myself how much he must hate me, and then I remember him holding her on their wedding day. My chest constricts.
I think it again … She chose Dahveed over me. And even after all this has come to pass, I do miss him, my brother in arms. I miss Nyx’s cooking and motherly attentiveness. I miss all of them.
Actually, no. I don’t miss Galen. He’s a prick.
“This way, Mr. Lamoureux.” The hostess leads me to a table on the patio, overlooking the gardens. I take my seat, and she hands me the menu. “Your server will be with you shortly.”
I look at her over my sunglasses. “I thought we were on a first-name basis.”
“You almost got me fired,” she says in a whisper, her face sour.
“It was not my intention, cheri. You’re still employed, are you not?”
“You,” she breathes loudly through her nose, “Eros, you left me tied to a bed for a day and a half. You said you’d be back in five minutes.”
“I don’t recall giving a time frame.” I glance at the menu. “Are the eggs Benedict any good?”
She huffs. “It’s been a week! Had it not been for housekeeping …” I hear her teeth grind. “You’re an asshole.”
I knit my brow and my tongue pops at the same time. I don’t need worries over mortals and their resenting love matters. The world is already far too messed up as it is.
“My name is Barbara!”
“I knew that.” I touch her hand, and she pulls it away. I manage to hold her stare, and I entrance her with my eyes. I caress her heart and her mind with my influence as I speak, not too heavily, else she’ll have an ill fate with the power of my glamours. “Mary … Eh, I mean, Barbara, listen to me. I don’t want us to fight. You must forgive me, yes?”
Barbara blinks. Her face softens. It takes a moment before she lets out a giggle, and I know I’m in the clear.
“Okay,” she says with a sigh. “You’re so irresistible.”
“I know …”
Her eyes flutter. “I can’t get over your French accent.”
“Thank you, cheri.”
“See you tonight?”
“About that …” I reach for her hand, and she lets me take it. “I’m sorry, but you’ve grown too dramatic. You’ll have to forget I exist. Now.”
“Wha—” is all she manages to say, before her face draws a blank. She seems confused for a moment, and then she smiles. “Your server will be with you shortly, sir.”
And just like that, I’ll need to find another willing soul to entertain me, to derail me from thinking of my heartache. After two years, I thought I’d be over this stupid heartbreak bullshit. But being that I am the God of Love, I tend to dwell on matters of the heart much longer than mortals and immortals alike. I feel love more profoundly. Ache much deeper. As much as I love to be me, I can’t help to think this life of mine is a burden, as well.
Three lovely ladies and a handsome man are trying to get my attention by attempting to touch me in the royal jewels. I feel a bit used. Aroused, yes, but more like a plaything, rather than the deity I am. Clubbing night after night for the past two years has lost its appeal. Being drunk on ambrosia all of the time and whoring myself to lonely men and women is going to land me in deep trouble one of these days if I don’t clean up my act. By law, I’m not supposed to have romantic interludes with mortals. But who cares about laws? Not I. Afterall, it’s a win-win situation, as I see it. Mortals enjoy having me, and I need to keep my mind and body occupied … otherwise, I might find myself back in the village in Texas, dueling with my ex-best friend to the death over a demi-human woman.
Who does not love me.
Who will never be mine.
Whom I cannot stop thinking of.
I’d like to cry, but I haven’t been able to do so since I was thrown out of Caelum by dearest Mommy and Daddy. It was eons ago, and still they refuse to let me go home. I laugh at my misery in my drunken state.
“Leave us,” I hear a male voice speak over the blaring music.
My company vanishes into thin air. I see one of them appear on the dancefloor, oblivious to the fact that she’s been repositioned like a chess piece.
“Rude,” I say.
I don’t know if it’s the level of inebriation I’m in or if it’s the blinding strobe lights, but the male’s face is blurry. He takes a seat in front of me on a chaise lounge.
“Erosmus.” He leans forward, placing his elbows on his knees, and his face becomes visible. “I’m to escort you to a summons.”
It’s as if I’ve jinxed myself by thinking it. Deep trouble has, in fact, found me. And of all people, they’ve sent himto make matters worse.
“Well, well …” I glare at the messenger. “What a true displeasure to see you again.”
Tipping my cup, I drown the whole of ambrosia left in it. I touch the rim of the cup, and it’s instantly filled with the sweet juice of happiness. After fishing my cellphone out of my pants pocket, I take a selfie kissing my full cup of joy.
“A toast to love himself!” I gulp until my cup is empty. “Now, where did that cute brunette go?” I look over my shoulder but can’t find her. A girl with pink hair catches my eye and I blow her a kiss. Or is that a guy with pink hair? Does it really matter? I throw a smoldering look in the pink person’s direction.
“Did you hear me?” the idiot sitting before me asks.
“I did, and this is me ignoring you.”
“Don’t make me take you by force, Eros.”
“Oh?” I laugh. “I much doubt you're able to.”
He stands and takes a step forward.
I raise my hand, my index finger pointing at him. “Look here, boy—”
“Boy?” He scowls at me.
“Boy,” I reiterate. “I no longer serve your useless deity government, so leave me be. I don’t wish to cause a scene in front of the mortals. I have a reprupuration … repru … sation?” I lean forward. “What’s the word I’m looking for?”
“Yes! That’s what I need to hold on to. A reprurpuration.”
His eyesight floats over the humans on the dancefloor, and then he looks back at me. “Just so you know, it’s your mother who summons you,” he says. “Not the Council.”
My stomach sinks to my feet.
Starr hasn’t called on me for more time than I care to remember. But whatever the cause, it can’t be good. The last time I was summoned before my father and her, I was cast from Caelum, Land of the Gods, for all eternity. I can only imagine what fresh hell awaits me this time.
“You can tell the mother goddess, Starr, I’m indisposed.” I snap my fingers, and my cup fills with ambrosia. Thenhe snaps his fingers, and the cup disappears altogether. I sigh. “You’ve always been such a nuisance, Galen.”
“As have you.” He returns to the chaise and takes his seat. “Do you want to know what I most dislike about you?”
“I’m not curious in the least.”
“I dislike that you wronged my family.”
“Do we have to do this now?” I groan. “You’re killing my party vibe.”
“Yet, they still hold you in high regard.”
“Do they?” I look down at my feet, hiding my surprise at his words. “How,” I hiccup, “are they?”
“Not that it’s any of your concern, but they’re well.” He scans me up and down. “Which is more than I can say for you.”
“Pfft! I’ve got one for you, since we’re playing this game … What I dislike most about you is you.” I wave my hand in a circle. “All of you. Down to your last arrogant particle.”
“The feeling is mutual,” Galen says. Out of thin air, gold chains and cuffs appear on my wrists and legs. “Time to go.”
In my drunkenness, it takes me a moment to react. In an effort to break the chains, I spread my wrists apart with force, but they don’t give. My eyes widen as Galen steps toward me and lays a hand on my shoulder.
“No, no … No!” I scream.
Before I know it, my vision blurs. Then I’m sitting in a room encased by glass walls. I recognize the chair in the corner with the Book of Laws laying upon it. I’m in Caelum prison. I’m in my old cell.
The glass encasing gives a false sense of freedom, but I am without a doubt caged within four very tall walls, surrounded by darkness, save for the indiscernible light source illuminating the crystal compound from above. I’ve not seen a single being since Galen left me here hours ago. The shackles render me weak and unable to move much or fly the coop. As I sit on the white marble floor, I stare at the metal chains hanging from my arms. In the hardware details, I admire the uncanny craftmanship of the gold rounds on my wrists. This piece has the handywork of the great blacksmith, Vulkeni, who forged my first sword and battle armor.
“My son,” I hear my mother’s voice.
I tense as her footsteps approach. I’ve not seen her, much less heard her voice in … so long. My throat hardens with a mass that I can’t seem to swallow. I force down the pain and rage I’ve felt for years upon years.
“Starr,” I say after a moment.
“You shall not call me by my given name.”
I snort. “Well, I’m sure as Hades not calling you Mother Goddess.”
“I am your mother.”
From my place on the floor, I raise my head and see her face for the first time in millions of years, my eyes burning. Her unchanged beauty takes me by surprise, and memories of my childhood tug at my heart strings.
She hasn’t been a mother to me for eons.
I clench my fists as my anger boils, erupting from within my core.
“Can you truly call yourself that after you shunned me?” I bark. “After you cast me from my home? You damned me to walk Terra during the most devastating times! And if that wasn’t enough, you took my powers for thousands of years and left me to fend for myself in a cursed wasteland,” I hiss. “Tell me, Mother, have you ever had to fight wild beasts and crazed mortals for a piece of rotting meat? Have you had to … to swallow maggot-infested food to survive?”
Starr seems unfazed by my uproar.
“Have you?” My scream is so deafening the sound bounces off the glass walls and vibrates in my chest.
“But, Erosmus,” she shakes her head, “you did that to yourself.”
I laugh in disbelief at her words. “Did it ever occur to you that maybe you weren’t the best of parents, and I acted out because I needed attention?”
Starr raises a brow at me.
“I’ve had a lot of years of therapy,” I tell her.
Starr paces about the room, nervously twirling a piece of her chocolate brown hair on her index finger like I remember her doing when I was a child. Her brow is furrowed as she comes to a stop and kneels beside me on the floor. She runs her hand over my hair and plants a tender kiss on my forehead. I don’t pull away from my mother’s touch, but I also don’t react to it.
“My son, how I’ve missed you.” She leans forward and hugs me.
I sit motionless, without attempting to reciprocate her embrace.
She releases me a moment later. “You know, I’ve watched over you as best I could.”
“Enough with the lies!” I seethe. “Why have you brought me here, Starr?”
Two lines form between her brows, and she rises to her feet, keeping her eyes on mine. “Erosmus, I am not your enemy. If anything, I’m the one single being willing to aid you.”
“Oh, now, you want to help me,” I say. “Have you heard that Terra has undergone miraculous technological and scientific advances? They call it Earth these days, and it’s a wonderful place.” It takes much of my strength, but I rise to a standing position and lean into her face. “Where were you when I was starving and living in a pile of my own shit in a cave? That’s when I needed you.”
“I couldn’t help you then!” she screams. Taking a deep breath, she composes herself. “Don’t you think it killed me to see you in that state? I suffered alongside you. Yet, you didn’t see it. Your father wouldn’t let me intervene, and I can’t explain it to you at the moment, but his motives were right.” She cups my hands between hers. “My son, I can help you now.”
I release my hands from her grip. “You’re too late. I don’t need you anymore.”
“But you do.” She turns her back to me. “Before the war between the Caelum Council deities and the Marker of Hope, your actions did not go unnoticed.” Her index finger winds one of her brown locks of hair. “You were spotted in Caelum, violating the terms of your exile.”
One of the glass walls turns into a screen, and then, clear as day, there I am displayed with fake sideburns and a pair of round sunglasses. First, I see myself in a scene at a Council meeting, followed by a side view of my face at the bar of the Nymph Forest Café.
“That’s not me,” I lie.
“How did you get through the dimensional veil?” she asks.
I don’t answer.
“I believe I know why you did it … break the law. What you don’t know is that there’s a witness threatening to come forth with accusations against you.”
I stiffen. “I don’t know wha—”
“Accusations of murder of Caelum citizens within the realms of Caelum, with four counts against you. The witness says you left her for dead.”
“During that time, we were at war.” I look her straight in the eye. “I killed no one that didn’t deserve it.”
“So, it’s true?”
“Was the Creatura worth all that trouble?” Starr asks.
“No,” I tell her. “She was worth more.”
“I see.” Starr paces a few times. “Then, for your sake, you must return to Terra and find her, the Marker of Hope, for she is the only one who can plead your case against the Council.”
“But they’ll execute you should they find you guilty,” she urges me.
“So be it.”
“You can’t mean that. Death is final for us.”
I let out a humorless laugh. “I have no one and nothing to lose. I have roamed the world for what could be considered countless eternities. I’m tired of losing at everything. What is the point of living?”
Starr’s eyes glisten. “My son, it pains me that you ache in this way. Perhaps I’ve failed as a mother. And … I’m sorry for what I’m about to disclose. You see, the element of love—you—can never die. Without you, we, immortal and mortal beings alike, are nothing.” She wipes a tear from her eye before it falls. “This is why another must die in your place should the Council find you guilty.”
“What in the actual f—”
“So, I’ve decided to serve as your proxy.”
She places a hand on my shoulder. “It’ll be fine. I’ve lived long enough, and I am at peace with my decision.”
Mother waves her hand in the air, and the gold shackles disappear from my wrists. It’s not until I’m reaching for her that I realize I’m shaking. I embrace her with brute force. I can’t lose her. Not again. Sure, I’m still really pissed at her, but she’s my mother in spite all things. I just got her back. I won’t allow anyone to take her life as payment for my mistakes.
“Mother,” I say, pulling her away, “is there no other way to resolve this? Couldn’t we pay them off?”
“This isn’t Terra, Erosmus. Besides, the witness has already given air to the Council of what she knows. They’ve decided to wait before apprehending you as she’s yet to file a formal indictment. According to my sources, they believe she’s more than likely to go forward with her case within the next couple of days.”
“Does Father know?” I ask, a bit scared of the answer.
She nods. “He was furious—at me, at you. Then he disappeared for a few days, and I started to worry, so I searched for him. I found him between the shrouds of the tenth and twelfth dimensions in a rage.”
“What happened to the eleventh dimension?”
“Well, he was devastated. I believe he may have imploded it.” She twists a curl of hair on her finger so tightly that the tip of finger turns purple. “My son, there’s something else … I fear for your father’s well-being should you be found guilty, and I am executed in your place. He will not bear the pain of losing me. And I cannot fathom the thought of having him resent you for it. I’m certain the devastation that came upon us in the Era of Prelude will reignite. All life, universes, matter, light, and darkness will cease to exist.”
“I recall you telling me the story.” I press my lips together. “I’ll find a solution … to all this. Rest assured, I won’t allow you to die in my place. And then, Father and the rest of creation will be under no danger.”
“The Marker of Hope is the answer,” Mother reminds me once more. “If they listened to her once, they will listen to her again. She earned the respect of the new Council of Caelum when she led them to victory two years ago. Son, please, I beg you, seek her out for all our sakes.”
I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to face the love of my life and have my heart shattered when I see her happily married with a daughter and husband, who happens to be my ex-best friend. But then, if I don’t do this and my father loses it over my indictment and dissolves into oblivion, we all lose our families, not to mention reality as we know it. What a true shit show I’ve comprised of my life.
I spread my wings, and my mother’s eyes widen.
“Don’t send Galen to find me. Ever,” I tell her. “I’m going to see if I’m worth a few minutes of the demi-human’s time.”
“Will you be able to bend the dimensional veil on your own upon your return?” she asks.
I smirk. “That’s never been a problem.”
Before she has a chance to ask, I charge up at rocket speed, past the tall, glass walls and the surrounding darkness of my prison, leaving my mother below. Climbing high into the indigo and lilac skies of Caelum, I arrive at the Gateways of the Worlds. I make my way to the Terra—Earth—portal I left hidden before my exile, and I soar through without a problem.
In the blink of an eye, a forest green sign greets me. It reads, “Los Fresnos City Limit”. I’m back in the tiny Texas village. Since I have no vehicle, I try to dial a car ride service. My phone is dead. There’s no option but to travel the road on foot until I reach the last known address of the Chios’ home. The sun is hot and blinding as I walk into the sunset in the direction of the estate.
By the time I see the gated entrance, the sun is nearly gone. I walk down the vegetated path that leads to the old, white house. In my head, I practice my witty opening, but then I decide maybe I should be more serious. Or maybe I should wing it. Or maybe I should play it by ear and let them react first. And before I know it, I’ve reached the porch. I stand there deliberating on whether to knock or to find an alternative solution to my debacle. Nope. No other solution can be found.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
The sound of footsteps approaches the door, and it cracks open with a squeak. My heart drums hard against my chest, and then for a millisecond, time stands still. The door opens wider. My breath hitches in my throat as a familiar pair of eyes greets me.
We stare at each other for a long, mute moment.
“I’m sorry to show up unannounced,” I say, breaking the awkward silence. “I didn’t think I’d find myself back here again, but it’s somewhat of an urgent matter.” I look down at my shoes to hide the shame and guilt roasting my face. “May I come in?”