The Summer Soiree

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SophrosyneCrickets chirped in the long blonde grass. The road leading down away from the house shimmered in the heat. Miles and miles of open plains stretched out and away down the valley beside the lake. Spiky shrubs gave way to large squares of stressed looking crops. Every day the lake receded further like a strong distant tide was drawing the water away and would give it back all in one go.

Eleven-year-old Hubris sat on the shady veranda of his house wondering if he had been cursed by the Madonna.

Four weeks ago, his family had moved from Athens to the outskirts of Didymus, a large town in the middle of nowhere.

A car solidified out of the shimmer at the end of the road.

“Hera. Zeus. The guests are here.” Hubris had not heard his grandfather come out of his study. It was rare for him to make any sort of appearance since Grandma died. There was a gentle clunk of pottery against glass as Grandfather placed a beautiful sealed urn decorated with images of the muses into the ‘talking spot’, a display cabinet in the centre of the lounge.

There were stirrings from inside the house. Hubris’ mother and father would be laying out the jugs of cold drinks. The idea of serving lunch outside had been abandoned due to the relentless heat. Even for natives of Greece, this was hot.

The door slid open and Hubris’ twin sister Sophrosyne joined him on the veranda.

“Are you okay Hubris?” she asked in Greek as she placed a picnic basket on the table.

“Sure,” he replied in English pulling out the vowel into a drawl. He had been practicing their mother’s lessons every day in front of the mirror and now felt ready to mingle with English speaking kids.

“Unless the Madonna curses us.” He said in Greek, glowering at her. She had led him through the crowd and right under the carriage of the Madonna as She was paraded through the neighbourhoods of Didymus at the height of the Paniyiri festival. Was it the sheer glee of the moment or the Madonna’s disapproval that had rippled along his spine?

“Stop worrying Hubris and live up to your name.” Those were Grandma’s words.

The car pulled up and their mother Hera made a big fuss over the arrivals. A wan looking couple and a pair of the most beautiful girls Hubris had ever seen stepped out of the car. The girls were identical.

“Professor! Elinor! Girls… my haven’t you grown?” Hera clasped her hands in faux-glee.

“Please Hera, call me Malcolm,” said the Professor.

“Of course.”

“Hello Hera, it’s good to finally meet you.” Elinor offered her hand and, after a second, Hera took it covering her confusion with a smile. She bustled the guests indoors, introducing Elinor and Malcolm to Zeus, slapping drinks into hands, and purses and hats onto the stand.

Malcolm stepped out onto the veranda. “Goodness me, is this Hubris and Sophrosyne?” He had a round open face that should have projected honesty, but instead gave the impression of many secrets held close.

“Hello Professor Rudderman,” Hubris said in his best English extending his hand like a grown up.

Professor Rudderman shook it. “Hello young man. My, aren’t you the image of your father? Quite the demi-god in the making.” When the professor turned to Sophrosyne, Hubris discreetly wiped his hand on his shorts.

“And my dear Sophrosyne. You are so well named.” Sophrosyne smiled in the serene detached manner she reserved for grownups when they made this comment.

“And this is Ruth and Sarah.” The two beautiful girls stepped forward at their names. Identical but different. Ruth was clear of eye and calm of manner. Sarah was aloof and her sharp eyes flicked over every imperfection Hubris possessed. A small metal circle was clipped to her hair behind each ear.

“Sarah is hearing impaired.” Professor Rudderman stood behind Sarah and placed his hands on her shoulders.

“That’s no problem Professor.” Sophrosyne said and signed. “So was our grandma.”

“Yes, I was sorry to hear about that,” said the Professor. “How is your grandfather holding up?”

Hubris followed the simple conversation in English well and eagerly replied. “Excellent, sir.”

By the drop in Professor Rudderman’s expression and mild amusement on Sarah’s face he knew he had got it wrong.

“He’s fine, sir.” Sophrosyne corrected. As Hubris fought a blush, he felt a small warm hand slip into his own. It was Ruth.

“Well, I’ll go on up and say hello to him. He might be a bit difficult sometimes children, I know better than most. But he is a brilliant man.”

“Mother says all brilliant people are difficult, but you are sufferable.” It was Ruth who had spoken. Hubris smiled at her along their joined arms. He silently mouthed the word ‘sufferable’ and made a mental note to look it up in his English-Greek dictionary. Sarah watched his lips with wry amusement.

Elinor, overhearing her daughter, tsked at Zeus and Hera. “Kids! Hear everything, understand nothing.”

“Would you like to see our tree?” Hubris asked Ruth extending the invitation to Sarah by facing her and enunciating his words clearly.

“Yes please,” said Ruth.

“Hats girls! Sunscreen! Mind your skin.” The girls grumbled and sullenly submitted to their mother’s fussing. Hubris took up the picnic basket and Elinor handed another basket to Ruth.

“Is George coming?” Ruth asked.

“Hera says he might. If he and Stavros do come along you must be gentle. He hasn’t been out of the hospital long.”

“Yes mother.” Ruth said and Sarah signed.

Hera hugged Hubris and dropped a kiss on the top of Sophrosyne’s head. “Now run along children and amuse yourselves but stay out of the sun and away from the lake. The grownups have much to discuss. Be back in time for dinner.”

The four children trooped off to the huge old apple tree that stood between the house high on the hill and the receding shoreline of the lake. As soon as they were out of sight of the house, Ruth and Sarah ripped off their hats in unison and threw them up into the air where they were caught by the boughs of the tree.

Sarah’s face fell. With a grin, Hubris flexed his growing biceps, pleased to have a quest to win the favour of this princess.

He shimmied up the tree and threw down the hats and a few apples as well. He was rewarded with a pair of smiles. Ruth’s open and genuine and Sarah’s coy and catlike. Sophrosyne tried to look annoyed with her brother.

Sarah helped Sophrosyne lay out the picnic blankets and unpack the baskets. Ruth picked flowers and munched on one of the apples.

From his vantage point in the tree, Hubris could see all the way to the other side of the lake. The receding waters had left a set of rings of differing shades, like the ripples on the urn in the talking spot. A dust devil whipped along the road behind a car.

“Look!” The three girls turned and as one, shading their eyes. The dust devil whipped out of existence as the car reached the gravel part of the road.

“Do you think it’s George and Stavros?” asked Ruth of Sarah.

Doesn’t look like their car. Sarah signed back to Ruth.

“Oh!” said Sophrosyne, “Is that Agape and Ariadne?”

And so it was. Hubris, still up in the tree watched another two beautiful young girls, also identical, skip down to the apple tree after waving goodbye to unseen parents in the house. They held hands and smiled. Only when they came close did Hubris realise that one was blind.

“Hi Ariadne.” Sophrosyne waved. The sighted twin waved back. “Hello Agape.”

“Hello Sophrosyne,” said the blind girl.

Ariadne held Agape’s hand, guiding but not leading her around a large rock under the apple tree to the picnic blankets.

From his godlike perspective Hubris looked upon the uncommon sight of the two sets of identical twins. So attuned with their speech and manner. He looked upon Sophrosyne. Her frizzy hair, pale skin and freckles so very different from his own sandy hair and olive skin. As much as he loved his sister, he envied the depth of connection that the identical twins held. To have an external half of himself. To make common cause and share deep secrets without ever saying a word.

He pushed the thought away. Sophrosyne was as fine a sister as anyone could want. Even if she had brought the Madonna’s curse down on him. Sophrosyne sat under the shady boughs of the tree weaving field daisies into Ariadne’s jet-black hair.

Hubris hung over the limb of the tree like a leopard and watched the girls gossip and squabble. They had forgotten all about him. He didn’t mind.

Sarah and Agape worked on something he couldn’t see. Sarah had a set of short tubes the same colour as the dry grass all around them. A knife glinted below. Hubris looked closer.

Sarah handed each tube to Agape, who blew across the top sounding a clear note. Agape measured a little from the top of the tube with her thumb and Sarah cut it. After a few more tries the tubes were wordlessly pronounced satisfactory. Sarah held them in a straight line as Agape wove a string along them.

Pan pipes! A blind girl and a deaf girl assembling a musical instrument seemed the finest thing in the world to Hubris on this sunny summer day lying in a tree guarding five beautiful girls against predators.

Another car arrived and a pair of identical twin boys got out with their parents. This was not a happy family. The parents were stiff and proper. Spines like spikes and hands to themselves. The boys looked wearier than the trip up from Didymus would justify.

After a few minutes inside the house, the boys came out. One was walking gingerly and the other was attempting to swagger for the benefit of the girls but kept close to his brother, ready to offer a hand for support.

Ruth got up from the picnic blanket and ran to the boys with her arms wide.

“George!” she embraced the weaker of the two. “I thought I’d never see you again. I have something for you.” She turned and embraced Stavros, who accepted the hug with awkward grace.

He’s still afraid of girl germs. Hubris had gotten over his own fear of girl germs last year. Sophrosyne had pointed it out to him.

Ruth pulled something out of her pocket and offered it to George. It was roughly man-shaped and about the size of the palm of his hand. Sarah looked up from plaiting Agape’s hair. Agape turned to face Sarah and asked, “What is it?”

Sarah took Agape’s hand and traced letters into it.

M-A-N-D-R-A-G-O-R-A.

“Wow! How did you pull out the mandrake? Its scream will kill anyone who hears it.”

A smug smile leapt from Sarah’s face to Agape’s. “Oh, of course.”

A mandragora? Hubris pondered for a moment. That’s a talisman against harm. And a really powerful one. Ruth hung it around George’s neck. He gave her a bold kiss. Stavros rolled his eyes and landed a gentle punch on his brother’s arm. George rubbed it thoughtfully.

Hubris let his mind wander as he focused upon the mandragora around George’s neck. The method of its making, spoken in his grandmother’s voice, came to him on a burst of lavender and sage.

With great care not to hear it scream, take the mandrake out of the ground on a Monday, a little time after the vernal equinox. Cut off the ends of the root and bury it at night in the grave of an executed man. For thirty days, water it with cow’s milk in which three bats have been drowned. When the thirty first day arrives, take out the root in the middle of the night and dry it in an oven heated with branches of verbena; then wrap it up in a cloth from the executed man’s grave.

His grandmother’s teachings brought a sweet ache to his heart and pushed tears to his eyes.

Sarah stood and helped Agape up. Sarah held out the pan pipes to Stavros. He looked at her and then at the pipes. After an awkward pause he realised that the pipes were a gift and took them with a polite smile.

I don’t like that guy.

George and Stavros faced each other under the boughs of the apple tree comparing gifts. George was impressed, Stavros not so much.

Hubris slid off the branch landing with the stealth of a leopard behind Stavros. George startled and flailed backward. He tripped on a picnic basket and fell back hitting his head on the large rock.

The girls gasped in horror. Sarah slapped her hand over Ruth’s mouth as she was about to scream. Ariadne helped George up. George put his hand to the back of his head and rubbed it. He held the mandragora around his neck.

“Wow, that really should have hurt.” He grinned. “And who the hell are you?”

“Oh that’s just Hubris,” said Sophrosyne with a scowl. A deep unsettling note sounded in Hubris’ breast. Sophrosyne had never sided against him before.

“Hubris, that’s a weird name,” said Stavros.

“The arrogance that invites the wrath of the gods.” Ruth offered.

“Well Hue-boy. You sure make a good ninja.” George offered his hand and Hubris shook it. “Man, I’m starving.” George took up a chicken drumstick and ate it with wonder at his own gusto.

“You are sick?” Hubris asked as he sat down beside George and Stavros flipping the lid off a bottle of soft drink.

“Yeah. I sure was. But I’m feeling a lot better now.” George touched the mandragora around his neck again. “Thanks Ruth.”

Stavros was looking at the pipes as though he had no idea what they were. Hubris smiled and extended his hand. Stavros gave them over. Hubris sat on his haunches and began to play. The girls were impressed even though his skill was modest. Agape stood and danced. Her movements were so measured and confident that Hubris thought the nymph of the apple tree had possessed her.

After a few spellbound moments, Hubris stopped, handing the pipes back to Stavros and lay back on the rug. Sarah smiled at him. He had won her tightly held approval.

Who taught you to play? she signed.

My grandmother, he signed back.

But wasn’t she deaf?

Yes. But she could hear with her feet.

Hubris smiled. He liked Sarah. It was as though his heart had opened a secret door and a part of Sarah had stepped inside. This was the best day of his life.

“In Didymus, are you all twins?” Hubris asked.

Ariadne laughed hardest. “No silly. That’s not how it works.”

“How does it work?” Hubris smiled at Ariadne as Ruth shot a sidelong glance at George and blushed fit to match her hair. If Agape is the wood nymph, Ruth is a fire spirit.

“Well young man, you do know how babies are made?” Ariadne impersonated the lecturing tones of Professor Rudderman.

Hubris smiled, “Sorta.”

“Well when the ovum and sperm merge sometimes a magical thing happens.”

“Magical?” Hubris shared a smile with Sophrosyne.

“Yes. The fertilised egg divides in two. And nine months later twins are born.”

Ariadne would make a fine professor.

Ruth piped up, “And here in Didymus, we have more twins than anywhere else. No one knows why.”

“Magic,” Sophrosyne nodded sagely. Stavros snorted in disbelief. Sophrosyne eyed him with rare annoyance.

“Only the philistine scorns what he does not understand.” Stavros was unconvinced but let it drop. Lucky for him.

“People say that there’s something in the water here,” said Agape. Hubris stood up and dared George and Stavros with a look.

“I’ll put something in the water!” With George and Stavros flanking him like bodyguards he ran down to the receding edge of the lake and pulled out his willy. The three boys stood shoulder to shoulder and let loose into the lake.

“Twin power!” All three shouted.

The girls all squealed with laughter. Ruth shouted, “The whole town drinks from that lake!”

The boys tucked in and turned around to find Sarah and Agape behind them smiling prettily.

“Turn your backs,” Agape ordered. They did but not before they saw the girls lift their skirts and point their bottoms toward the lake. Sophrosyne, Ruth and Ariadne joined them, nearly doubled over with giggles.

The tinkle behind the boy’s backs of the coordinated female urination into the lake was interrupted by five voices shouting “Twin power!”

“You can turn around now.” The girls chorused, still giggling.

Everyone should have a twin. Hubris closed his eyes and felt the wish leave him and spread across the lake like a fisherman casting a net. Grandma had taught him well.

They stood at the edge of the lake in a loose circle. Ruth took the hand of George and everyone joined in. The eight children stood in the sun at the edge of the lake connected by a circuit of held hands.

Sophrosyne’s face stilled and her eyes shut. “Twin power.” She stated with the supreme authority of a priestess. The heat all around them shimmered. Hominid shapes formed, danced and disappeared. Just for a moment.

Stavros reeled back and then forward. “Whoah. What was that?”

“Nothing a philistine would understand,” replied Sophrosyne dropping the hands she held and breaking the spell.

“That was cool,” said George. “What else can you do?”

“Plenty.” Sophrosyne replied with proud modesty. “But I’m nothing compared to Grandma.”

“How did she die?” Ariadne’s question was kind but firm.

“An accident.” Hubris answered before Sophrosyne could.

The moment stilled into the golden hush of late noon. The sun beat down on Hubris’ bare head, heating his hair and tickling the tops of his ears. He looked to his right at Sarah and Ruth and saw that their fair skin was reddening. They were burning in the sun and they would get in trouble for it.

An idea arrived.

“Let’s show them the cave.” He said to Sophrosyne in Greek. She brightened and took the hands of Agape and Sarah. The three zoomed off in the direction of the dark cleft in the rock on which the house sat.

Grandfather had told Hubris that the cave had been uncovered by this dry spell. And most families who had lived in the house before them had not known it was there.

George and Stavros flicked the picnic blankets into sacks worthy of Santa and in unison threw them over their shoulders with a ‘hup!’ They ran off after the girls with Ruth. Hubris picked up a dropped knife and put it in the picnic basket. Ariadne picked up the other basket and they followed together.

“Twins are magical.” Hubris said to Ariadne.

“Science will work it out one day,” she replied.

Sophrosyne, Agape and Sarah had reached the foot of the cleft that was not quite a cliff just as Hubris and Ariadne brought up the rear. The cleft stole the sight of the house filled with parents and his grandfather. Hubris never used to wonder what parents were doing when he wasn’t around, but after Ariadne’s lecture about babies he was suddenly suspicious.

The shadow of the cleft stole the heat of the waning day. Sophrosyne, Sarah and Agape disappeared into the slender gap. George and Stavros set aside their bundles and followed the girls. Hubris and Ariadne went through last, playing a game of stepping only in the footprints left by the others.

The hairs along Hubris’ arms prickled as he stepped through the cleft. This was a secret place. A sacred place. This was where Grandfather and Grandma would come at night. This is where Grandma had died.

He slipped through the crack and into a crowd of impressed kids. The stone cleft widened into a rough tube open to the sky. The sand covered floor of the open cave begged to be gripped by toes. Hubris pulled off his shoes and socks. The other children followed suit.

Hubris loved this place. He thought of it as a small opera house awaiting a performance. Or a massive chimney in need of a bonfire.

Hubris took the pan pipes from Stavros, knelt in the centre and began to play. The gentle notes blown across the closed tubes of the pipes bounced off the rough rock face and up to the darkening sky. Agape twirled around him weaving his music around her, grasping at the notes.

At the back of the cave, Sophrosyne opened a large wooden chest. She pulled out a lyre, a straight silver pipe and a tom drum. With great excitement Ruth took the lyre, George the drum and Stavros the pipe. An enthusiastic din filled the stone tube as the children played. The din was gently replaced by music as the voices of the instruments found each other and fell into step.

“We should start a band!” shouted Stavros.

“Awesome!” agreed George.

“We need stage names!” said Ruth.

Sarah strode into the middle of the music fixing Stavros with an intensity that implied epiphany.

N-I-G-H-T-S-H-A-D-E. She signed. Stavros tried it on for size and liked it.

Sarah turned to face George. M-A-N-D-R-A-K-E. George stopped drumming for a moment, touched the mandragora inside his shirt and smiled.

Sarah faced Ariadne and signed L-I-L-Y. She pointed at Agape. B-E-L-L-A-D-O-N-N-A. Ariadne nodded.

Ruth touched her heart in a wordless request to go next. Sarah thought for a moment.

F-O-X-G-L-O-V-E. Ruth swooned with delight.

“Sounds like an Apothecary’s Garden,” said Ariadne.

“Now that is a great name for a band,” said George.

Sophrosyne broke the spell with a rustle of fabric at the wooden chest. The children stopped playing one by one. Hubris stopped last and Agape stopped twirling.

“Hey wow, what are those?” George asked. Sophrosyne threw a black hooded cloak at him and smiled as he shied away from it.

“What is it?” Agape asked.

“Hold still.” Ariadne replied. Agape squealed in quiet delight as Ariadne spread a cloak around her shoulders, fastened it under her chin and raised the hood. The kids looked ridiculous running around in black hooded robes too large and long for them. George stood on his hem and fell forward, one hand clutching his mandragora. He landed heavily and kicked up a spray of sand just as Sophrosyne fetched something large from the chest.

“Hey, what’s this on the floor?” asked George.

Uh-oh.

Agape made three long sweeps with her bare feet and froze. “It’s a pentacle.”

“Awesome.” George jumped up. “Sophrosyne, can you summon something?”

“Sure.” Sophrosyne turned toward them holding grandma’s spell book.

“Sophrosyne…” Hubris got to his feet.

“If there’s something close enough, I can summon it.” Sophrosyne said with the confidence of a priestess striding into the centre of the pentacle.

Stavros scoffed in disbelief. “Go on then. I dare you.” He crossed his arms under his robes.

“Hubris is my name, not yours,” he said to Sophrosyne in Greek.

Sophrosyne ignored him and flicked through the thick pages of the spell book. Her head craned like a raven’s as she scanned down the pages.

“Oh, I don’t think this is a good idea,” said Agape.

“Sophrosyne…” Hubris warned.

“Just one quick spell and we’ll go up for dinner,” Sophrosyne said in her bossiest voice.

Bet you can’t, Sarah signed. Ruth shushed her by slapping Sarah’s hands down.

Sophrosyne found what she was looking for and quickly read aloud.

“Sophrosyne!” With a huge flump the sand jumped away from the pentacle. Hubris jumped in joining Sophrosyne, Agape, Ariadne, George and Stavros. Sarah shrank back pulling Ruth with her.

A shadow passed across the cave opening above them and a rough brown sphere flew at Hubris. He grabbed at it, fumbled and dropped it in the centre of the pentacle.

Grandfather’s urn, the one he had placed in the talking point display case before the guests arrived, shattered in the centre of the pentacle sending up a narrow cloud of black smoke. A rich heady scent of myrrh and sandalwood flooded the cave. Agape, Ariadne, George and Stavros jumped back and bounced off an invisible wall set at the pentacle’s circular boundary.

“Sophrosyne! Stop!” Hubris yelled, hoping someone from the house would hear.

“I did!” she shrieked and dropped the spell book.

The six of them huddled back to back as the smoke twisted into a small swirling comet. Ariadne whimpered as Agape held her. Stavros dropped to his knees slack jawed and wide eyed. George held it together, one hand inside his shirt.

The head of the comet split into a mouth.

“Didymus…” said a dry disembodied voice. “Didymus. Didymus!” A simple shock froze Hubris. Didymus is an ancient Greek word for twin.

“Three of you! Oh! A feast so rich it will sustain me for another dozen centuries.”

“Oh my dear didymus! Such a treat for one long bound and starved. Fed only on shed blood staunched too soon. Didymus, sweet didymus… I need only take one each. For there is no finer umbral bridge to straddle than the bond between twins.”

“Name yourself,” said Hubris remembering Grandma’s teachings.

The thing grew eye pits that trained toward him as it slowed its swirl, testing the confines of the pentacle in all directions like a fly bouncing against a curved window.

“Who dares address Atë?”

Atë! Hubris groped through his memories of all Grandfather’s stories searching for the name.

“Atë. Goddess of madness,” said Sophrosyne. “You were cursed by Zeus never to set foot on the earth. And so you leap from head to head spreading delusion, folly and despair.”

“Well trained, you are, young acolyte. I am named, and so must you be.”

“Oh no. We are not playing that game.” Hubris replied. Never use your real name in the presence of a goddess. Grandma’s teachings reminded him.

Hubris switched to English. “Mandrake, Nightshade, Lily, Belladonna! Don’t say your real names! It can take you if you do!”

Sophrosyne said in Greek, “Our ancestors were the pharaohs and priests who bound you in that urn. Our family feed you. And my brother and I will re-capture you.”

Ohhh-kay. Ahh-tay. Keeping his eyes fixed on the swirling smoky tadpole, Hubris put the pan pipes to his lips. The shaky notes rattled Atë’s form. It seethed and roared. Outside the pentacle, Sarah held Ruth tucked into her armpit. Sarah’s eyes were locked on his.

Hubris lifted his mouth from the pipes just long enough to mouth, Run. She did, dragging Ruth with her.

The movement caught the attention of the beast. It turned its part-formed face away from the six children trapped with it in the pentacle toward the other fleeing two. As its face turned away, Hubris dropped the pan pipes, grabbed at its tail with both hands and yanked. It howled like a cat and whipped back at him. Hubris gripped its tail with one hand and ran the other up toward its head. The slippery smoky form solidified under his grip.

All I need now is a vessel to contain it in.

He looked around. Pan pipes, mandragora, Grandma’s spell book.

“Grandma’s spell book!” He shouted. Sophrosyne picked up on the cue and snapped the book shut on Atë’s eel-like body. The goddess writhed, howled and snapped in two.

The broken tension whipped Hubris’ arms apart and he stumbled back hitting the barrier.

“Hubris!” Sophrosyne shouted. She slapped her hand to her mouth too late.

The two halves of Atë ran along the backs of Hubris’ arms, up his neck and onto the crown of his head.

“Hubris! A self-fulfilling prophesy! That I have come to fulfil!”

A hook punched through the base of his skull. An external force took control. Five pairs of eyes focussed on a point three feet above his head. His body stood straight, his arms dropped to his sides, his toes gripped the sand.

“Ahhhhhh…” the words of Atë laid a hard edge upon his own voice. “Zeus! King of Olympus! I defy you! I touch the earth once more. The age of the new sun god wanes. The ancient and patient rise again. And Atë shall stride this world as its queen.”

“Atë!” Sophrosyne shouted. She grabbed at the barbed stem of the goddess on his head and yanked. The slippery tentacle wrenched free and Hubris fell forward. Agape rolled him onto his back. From his worm’s-eye view he saw the most wonderful day of his life end with the most horrible sight.

Sophrosyne held the struggling eel-goddess aloft and lowered it into her open mouth. The face went last, open eye pits and slashed mouth in pose of despair like a tragedy mask.

Sophrosyne swallowed and silently struggled, fighting and winning a great battle of willpower.

But for how long? And at what cost? Hubris heard Grandma whisper. He shook his head and rubbed the base of his skull. No blood. George helped him. Hubris stood across the pentacle to Sophrosyne and seized her by the upper arms.

“You’re supposed to be outside a pentacle when you summon something. And always have the bind spell ready.” Hubris quoted Grandma in Greek.

“You’re right, Hugh. Silly me.” Sophrosyne’s voice had a hard edge to it.

“Are you alright, Soph…ie?”

“I’m fine. Everything is just fine.”

——————————————————————————————————-

And what will become of Hubris, Sophrosyne, Agape, Ariadne, George, Stavros, Ruth, Sarah and Atë herself?

Find out in Sophrosyne

Ten commute-length murder mystery stories

available from Amazon