- Vol. 04
- Chapter 06
Of Demigods and Men
I always knew my father was different, right from a very early age when other kids would play football with theirs in the park, whilst mine looked through telescopes, consulted astronomy charts and marvelled at demigod paintings on his study walls. He did this time and time again. Whatever the weather, my father would immerse himself in the fantastical, the elusive, the unknown.
My mother knew not to disturb him when he was holed away in his study and told me that I should go and play outside. It was such a nice day.
But I waited until she disappeared into the kitchen and pushed open my father’s study door. He stood not more than four feet away peering at one of his creepy paintings. I turned to leave when he called me back.
‘Come in, Stephen. I want you to see this.’
Slowly, I moved to where my father stood and followed his gaze. A ghoulish skeleton of a demigod stared back. It had the head of a stag and the torso and legs of a man. I shuddered and backed away.
‘That creature there, Stephen, is your grandfather, would you believe. Fitzwilliam was his name and he was a man of great character, as you can see.’
‘He’s a monster,’ I blurted out. ‘A demon. He’s not fit to walk amongst men.’
My father sneered. ‘And what would you know about that? You’re just an insignificant little boy.’
Our relationship was strained after that. We rarely exchanged a word at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Years later, when mother died suddenly of a stroke, I had no-one else to turn to. I returned home for a short while and knocked on my father’s study once again, now faded and decrepit.
Of Demigods and Men
I pushed open his study door and peered inside.
I hadn’t seen my father in a while, he had been adamant that he was fine and already had the one person he could rely on. I wasn’t sure who he was referring to. Mother had definitely departed this world and I knew he wasn’t referring to me.
‘You’re okay, Father,’ I told him last time, taking in his greying hair and his hanging jowls. He used to be such a proud and stylish man but now he looked defeated, wearing clothes that hadn’t been washed for weeks, his hair, lank and greasy, knowing full well that he was far from okay.
I can’t even begin to describe what I saw in his study: that ghoulish nightmare of a demigod hovered behind my father, a disgusting shadow I would never forget. I watched in horror as it crept over his shoulders, engulfing every inch of him, my father stolid as he disappeared into the shadow realm, a sinister smile scarring his face.
‘Your time will come, Stephen. And finally you’ll learn what it is to be a demigod amongst men.’