The Retribution

An ancient Greek god needs to be taught a lesson in humility. For this, the other gods devise an amusing plan to show him the results of his misdeeds.

Lord Hades was always on edge as the God of the Underworld. He was as merciless as fire and he had a demeanour colder than someone turning to stone by Medusa when it came to the pleas of the souls that entered the Underworld. The souls of criminals had a special level of hatred from Hades and thus, there was no ‘fair judgement’ for them and they were directly thrown to the deepest end of Tartarus.

Most of the Greek Gods were terrified of Hades, except Zeus, Hera, and Poseidon. In several instances, the three of them would advise Hades to quit his belligerent rule and stop having a vituperative approach towards an Earth that has changed exponentially since Titanomachy. They were worried that a rebellion would ensue because of Hades’s ruthless behaviour, but he paid no heed to their advice. The Gods were sure that the rebellion would cause disruption in the sky and sea as well, and when Hades threw a poor soul in Tartarus without judgement again, Hera decided that it was time to give Hades an earth-shattering retribution that would shake the fabric of his reality. After discussing her plan with the other two Gods, she put her plan in motion. 

Hades woke up with a start. He looked around and saw that he was in a brightly lit room, too bright for the Lord of the Underworld. Confusion took over; because Gods never have dreams. “Where am I?” he said in wild bewilderment. Nobody replied. “How dare you not answer the LORD of the UNDERWORLD?” he bellowed in anger. No response again. His skin crawled as he got ready to combat this new environment.

One of the walls was painted violet and consisted of several pictures of a family. Hades figured that he was stuck in the body of a girl, but it was like his volume was muted. He was powerless; any attempt of roaring, fighting, or summoning his three-headed dog Cerberus were in vain. He was STUCK. This had to be the weirdest form of possession he had ever encountered. He watched as the girl turned towards her desk and started printing something on a piece of paper. Tears streamed down her face with every word that was written.

“Dear mother,
I am terribly sorry, I never wanted to disappoint you. I’m sorry I acted out, I’m sorry I was a rebel, I’m sorry I dealt drugs and I’m sorry I went to jail. But if you could measure my fear and anxiety you would be shocked by the fact that even a million tears could not heal the pain that caused them. Dad left one day; just up and left, without so much as a goodbye. As I was recuperating from that loss, you came home drunk one day with a new person into this house. I knew from the start that a person who stared at my breasts while talking to me was dangerous. And then the stalking began. The unintentional ‘touching’ and ‘groping’ ensued. Every-time I tried to tell you, you shoved your own shortcomings and pain in my face. It was disgusting, and there were days when I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t look at myself after the day he raped me. How sick and disgusting is the fact that I.. I got used to it? Now he has won. His talons and monster-like behavior have won. Goodbye forever.” 

Hades was in shock and pain as he watched her go to her bed and stare at a sharp knife for a long time. He watched with guilt as she picked it up. He watched as she cut her wrist. He watched as the pool of blood around her grew bigger every second. He watched as this was the same girl he threw into Tartarus without any hesitation because of the criminal record. He watched. All he could do was watch.

Suddenly a black vortex enveloped him. The line between reality and dream blurred and Hades shuddered and screamed as his body went through several convulsions at the same time. He almost felt like one of the drug addicts that end up in the Fields of Asphodel, the kind that doesn’t know what is true and false and always seemed like the soul lived in another dimension.

This time he woke up inside the body of a small boy. With a weary feeling enveloping his heart, Hades watched the scene unfurl before him. The boy he was inhabiting was eating a plate full of delectable food when his mother put an affectionate hand on her son’s head and went outside to get water. Hades sighed in relief and thought, “This will be a good one.” but he spoke too soon. The boy suddenly heard a loud sound that made his hut quake. Hades’ face fell as fear licked the spine of the boy and he quickly ran out to see what happened.

There was smoke, dust, and fire everywhere. There were bloodied injured bodies and the heat that radiated from the fire caused the boy to scream for his mother. With a pounding heart, he called his mother’s name and ran near the well. There, amongst the debris, she lied on the ground. The boy’s heart was in his throat as he saw her body bruised and injured and a pool of blood surrounding her. The boy’s eyes were filled with tears as he let out a blood-curdling scream that could freeze ice. He looked around for help as he put his mother’s head on his lap but no one listened. The boy looked up and noticed a man with a gruesome face trying to escape. He turned and fled when the boy screamed at him, and Hades was filled with trepidation as he sensed the scene before him disappearing in a blur, a new scene where a man was tied to a chair appeared before him. It was the same man with the gruesome face but his face was contorted in fear. He realized that the boy was a man now and saw his right hand holding a gun. He put the gun at the man’s face as he begged for mercy. Hades started screaming and tried his best to stop the boy but he was just a spectator. The boy shot the man in the brain with a stoic face that had no emotions and the Hades felt everything disappear just like the smoke from the barrel of the gun. 

And so it was a cycle; obsidian vortices enveloped Hades and he was shaken by the gut-wrenching lives that some of these so-called ‘criminals’ had lived.

By the end of it, Hades was tired of seeing what he saw and feeling what he felt; a boulder of guilt seemed to weigh down on every organ in his body. He felt crushed; defeated at the altar of his toxic pattern of throwing souls into Tartarus without even attempting to know what they went through. He regretted not giving them a second chance. As he was enveloped by darkness again, he waited for a new heart breaking scene but opened his eyes to something unexpected. 

Zeus, Hera, and Poseidon were standing right above him. Hades got up and found himself on  his bed in the throne room. He sat up with a start and looked around in bewilderment. 

“We transported your bed to the borders of Tartarus. We know that even the entrance of Tartarus holds enough power to put you inside the souls of the dead placed out there and make you a part of their cycles of punishment. There was no other way you would listen to us unless we showed your life through the eyes of these souls.” Zeus explained cautiously, expecting a huge scene. 

Hades wanted to say something, but no words came out. The ever-lasting feeling of fear that he would never get out of the vortex made his feet curl. He looked at Poseidon, Zeus, and Hera as they waited for his outburst. Hades could only explain his feelings through action now.

“Thanatos,” Hades called out to his loyal servant with a resolute face.

Thanatos appeared like a gust of wind. 

“Create a list of every soul in Tartarus. We will weigh their deeds and judge them fairly. Spare no soul.” Hades said, with a hard look on his face. 

“Yes, my Lord.” with that, Thanatos vanished into thin air.

Zeus and Poseidon couldn’t believe what they had heard. 

Hera smiled, her idea of an earth-shattering retribution that would shake every fibre in Hades had been successful. 

Hades looked in the direction of Tartarus. 

“It took my reality to become a distorted lie to understand the truth of their distorted reality.” 

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