Chapter 1:

The Slayer of Keres

Slayer of Keres

August 15th. The sun had long since set, but the air was still muggy and hot.

Up on the roof, outside the railing, was where I found her standing with vacant eyes. We stood together now. It wasn’t the first time I’d found her up here. But it was the first time I’d told here I felt the same way, that we could jump together.

“Then, shall we?” she said, looking at me with a gentle smile.

She gently took hold of my hand. A cold wind blew through the air, I hadn’t noticed it until now.

“Yeah, let’s go.” I said. I wanted her face to be the last thing I saw. But the gentle smile had disappeared.

She was looking past me now; an expression of hatred filled her face.

“Jump. Now!” She yelled, a sound of desperation in her voice.

“No, wait a second” I pleaded, my world unravelling. everything just felt wrong. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

As I stepped back, trying to lead her away from the ledge, but her grip on my hand tightened. She pushed me forward, dragging me closer to the edge, the two of us in a tug of war I didn’t have the strength to win.

“Let’s just talk this through!” I cried, my voice breaking. As if in response, she let out a harsh shriek. Her grip loosened. A silver bolt protruded from her shoulder, her flesh burning at the wound. I fell back in shock as she let out an ear-piercing scream.

She convulsed, her body wracked with pain as a pair of wings erupted from her back, tearing through her flesh. Her once-delicate fingernails elongated into sharp talons. The transformation was gruesome, and I couldn't bear to watch, but I couldn't look away either.

With tears streaming down my face, I whispered, "No, please, this can't be real."

I braced myself as she lunged towards me, her talons poised to strike. From behind me, a second bolt flew past, finding its mark in my girlfriend's head. Her scream was cut short as her body went limp. She collapsed to the ground; her lifeless eyes locked with mine.

I couldn't move, couldn't breathe, as the man emerged from the shadows, drawing a gleaming sword. With one swift stroke, he decapitated the thing that was my girlfriend. Her body caught fire, withering away to a distorted husk before collapsing into ash.

I sat in silence as the man cleaned off his sword. His fierce eyes inspected the ash pile. He didn't look like an old man. Not old enough for the pale white hair That framed his head, yet the tapestry of scars covering his face made it difficult to tell.

"You're lucky I got here in time kid. You were about to make a very big mistake." The man said, as he began searching for something inside his leather bag.

I finally found my words, forcing them out as my voice trembled "You. You killed her”.

"It wouldn't have harmed her if you fell together from this height. I'm sorry kid, but you fell for a monster. All that thing wanted was to lure you too your death."

The man had found what he was looking for, a glass bottle and a plastic spoon.

"You’re going to have to come with me."

The man said, not looking up and beginning to scoop what was left of my girlfriend into the bottle.

"What! No, you just killed my girlfriend!"

"That thing wasn’t human kid. That was a Keres."

"A Keres?"

"A servant of Thanatos, the god of death"

"But what did she want with me?"

"The fact that you could even see her is bad news. It means you’ve received an invitation from Thanatos."

"An invitation?"

"Thanatos craves souls. You’re not safe here now and never will be."

"And you just expect me to follow you around, as if you didn't just kill my girlfriend?"

"You’re lucky it was just a Keres he sent for you, they’re ethereal. They can’t harm a human directly; they can only get you through persuasion."

The man pulled me too my feet, his eyes locking onto mine. "If you want to live, you’ll need training, sword, crossbow, maybe magic if you have the aptitude."

"But I can barely manage gym class. How are you so sure I can manage it?"

He smiled Wryly "I’ve never had a student I couldn’t make something out of. But I’m afraid I can’t help much with your taste in women."

As we descended the stairs of the building, I couldn't help but question my decision. "I have friends. A family. I'm not going to let you drag me off who knows where."

The man stopped, his tone grave. "Thanatos is as prideful as he is greedy. Now you're a target; he won't stop sending servants until he has your soul. There's no running, and there's no hiding from the god of death”.

"What do you want from me?" I asked, my mind reeling.

"Thanatos had made more than a few enemies over the years. By taking more than he's due, the natural order has come out of balance. That always leads to bloodshed. This time it will be his. Eros gave me and my allies weapons strong enough to harm a god. Now all we need is a portal to the underworld. Unfortunately, we had no way of tracking down a servant of Thanatos. Until now"

"So, you'll use me as bait?"

"More than bait kid, we need an invitation holder just as much as you need to learn to defend yourself."

"Are you for real?"


"Can you really do it I mean? Kill a god?"

"Gods die all the time kid."

Mario Nakano 64
Black Fire
Debora Daebak

Slayer of Keres