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One Prank too Many
I frowned as a red-brown tinge spread through the water and the liquid became heavier, almost congealed. The river slowed its desperate sprint to a funerary march, and I sighed as the metallic scent of blood wafted into my nose.
“Not again,” I muttered, setting down my newspaper and standing up from my deck chair. “Artesion! ARTESION!”
My little brother appeared in a flash of light across the river. I narrowed my eyes, crossed my arms and gave him a disappointed look.
“You promised, Artie,” I reminded him. He clasped his child’s hands over his mouth and his body shook a little, his eyes glinting with mischief. “It’s not funny. The villagers are probably freaking out by now, and who’s going to have to re-transform the river and mind-wipe—oh, maybe ten thousand people?”
His hands fell to his sides and he shrugged. I shot him a glare.
“ME, that’s who. Don’t pretend that you don’t know it.”
He shrugged again and gave me a sidelong glance, as if to say ‘So?’
I gritted my teeth. “I finished cleaning up your last act three days ago. THREE DAYS. I need a holiday, Artie. I haven’t had a proper holiday since mom and dad zoomed off to God knows where and saddled me with you!”
He froze, and the satisfied smirk fell right off of his face. I was too far away to see if he was crying, but the loud sniffles I could hear were evidence enough. I sighed. It wasn’t his fault, really. An immortal kid who took after his trickster-god father far more than was healthy wasn’t exactly going to stay out of trouble.
So I succumbed. I opened my arms wide and beckoned him, and after a second he was in my arms, sniveling into my shirt.
“There, there,” I mumbled as my fingers stroked his hair. “It isn’t your fault that you inherited more from Hermes than you did from Aphrodite. At least we both got Mom’s good looks.”
He pried his snotty nose out of my clothes and grinned up at me. I grinned back.
“So, what was the inspiration this time?” I asked. He smiled a secret smile.
“Moses,” he said proudly. I rolled my eyes.
“Okay kiddo, this was bad enough. I forbid you to conjure up locusts or kill off people’s first-born sons, okay?”
He gave me a sweet little look. “Would I do that?”
I rolled my eyes, ruffled his hair, and then pushed him away so I could wipe off my shirt. “Of course you would. Now go play or something. I’ve got to clean up your mess.”
“Bye, sissy,” he twittered, and then he disappeared in a little puff of smoke. I stared. That was unusual. Well, the kid liked to experiment.
I rolled up my sleeves and faced the river. Right, time to get to work.