“In today’s news, Gordal the Great has decided to choose one lucky human woman to impregnate. The contest will take place on VH1’s Gordal’s Seed, which is set to begin recording at the end of March. Applications for this exciting new series are being accepted via prayer to Gordal the Great.”
“You have to be fucking kidding me,” Elijah says. He hits the power button on the TV controller and groans. He sits on a beaten up leather sofa with his arms folded. The room is cluttered, boxes stacked against the wall from months ago that need to be unpacked yesterday. Delilah sits at her desk, seemingly not paying attention. Her hair sits atop her head in a messy bun, a pen shoved behind her ear. She flips a page in a brochure for some obscure vacation spot.
Elijah stands and starts to pace. “I mean, who would be stupid enough to think they should just give everything up to carry a demigod? Have you ever met one of those kids?”
Delilah shrugs. “Wasn’t your grandmother a demigod?” she asks in a bored tone. She flips another page. “We should check out Empella’s Pillars for our next vacation. The ruins there are fantastic.”
“Yeah, but she was different,” Elijah says, ignoring the vacation idea. “Her mother and father loved one another. I mean my great grandmother, Metatorma, made herself mortal just to grow old with a human man. Gordal is just looking for more followers.”
“And thanks to her, you’re able to breathe underwater.” Delilah looks up from her brochure finally. “Besides, people are going to follow who they want. It doesn’t matter what their reasons are. Gordal is a god, so he can do what he wants.”
Elijah huffs. “Okay then. Why don’t you apply for the show. I’d love to see your face when you find out you have to compete for a god with a bloated sense of celebrity.”
“You do realize he’s the god of ego?” She laughs. “They actually have to follow their nature. Otherwise we have centuries more of chaos and war, and millions of us regular people die. Gordal is just being who he is.” She closes the brochure and at last looks at Elijah. “Why does it bother you so much?”
He frowns. “How does it not bother you? In their eyes, we’re just pets. We are little things they like to collect and leave behind when they tire of us.”
Delilah stands and makes her way to the kitchen. “They are what they are, Eli. We can’t expect them to be anything else. If you don’t like Gordal, don’t pray to him. Find yourself a god you actually like.”
“The one I actually liked is dead.” He frowns. “All the good ones sacrifice themselves for us.”
Delilah opens a bottle of orange juice and starts drinking it right out of the bottle. She wipes her mouth with her sleeve. “That’s probably what they say about us.”
There’s something disturbing about waking up to a beam of light hovering over you with no source. Delilah sits up with a start and catches her breath. Elijah snores softly beside her, completely unaware they have a message from the gods.
“Delilah, it is a pleasure to see you again,” a voice says. She knows that voice. It’s Pelt, the god of communication. And just like when they were dating, he has no concern for the time of day.
“It’s four in the morning, Pelt. What do you want?”
“I have a message for you from Gordal the Great.”
Delilah frowns. “Why–”
“You have been summoned to audition for Gordal’s Seed.” Another pause. “And…it’s likely you’ll be chosen.”
“Hedra’s ass! You can tell Gordal the Great where to stick his mighty seed. Right up his–”
“Delilah, please. He has a lot of support. If you deny his invitation there’s no telling what the punishment will be. Remember Medusa?”
She has nothing else to say. This is probably what she gets for posing as a human. Though technically she is half human. “I don’t understand why he wants me. I don’t even meet his criteria.”
Pelt at last shows himself. Typical of gods, his body shimmers with a golden glow. Unreasonably lush hair falls over his perfectly symmetrical face. As beautiful as ever, she sees. Delilah swallows. “You’re sure there’s no way out of this?”
He shakes his head. “I’m sorry. I did argue against it. I even brought up your father.”
Delilah rolls her eyes. “Yeah, I’ll bet good old Dad really gives a damn. I haven’t heard from Devoro since I was nineteen, and that was because he thought I was someone else and decided to hit on me.” She shudders and makes a sour face.
Pelt curls his upper lip in disgust. “You never told me that.”
“Yeah well it’s not exactly something I like to discuss.” She stands from the bed, thankfully still wearing a t-shirt and shorts. “When do I leave?” She slides her feet into a pair of flip-flops beside her bed.
“Well, I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Contestant number four hundred, please approach,” the judges call. The judges for the auditions are a set of demigod triplets. Each of them wear their golden curls up with not even one hair out of place. They stare at Delilah with sharp golden-green eyes. Unlike human triplets, these three are dependant on one another. If one were to go more than a mile from the others, chaos would warp the reality of whatever area they inhabited. It happened once, with a tragic consequence. Over five hundred people were absorbed into the earth.
Delilah steps forward and nervously pinches the gown they’d made her wear. It’s a simple gown similar to those worn by the ancient Spartan women. Even if it’s perfectly comfortable, she finds herself wishing she were in a pair of shorts.
All three of the judges speak at once, though it sounds as if one voice rings out. “Please state your name, background, and why you would be a good contestant for the show.”
“Delilah Devrodi. I’m a demigod, daughter of Devro. My nature is privacy, which I might add, is exactly why I’m not a good choice for this show.” She scans the faces of the judges which are all wearing the same bored expression. “I have no interest in being Gordal’s lucky human woman.”
“But you are here auditioning. Why is that? Do you wish to go against your nature?”
She almost laughs. “I am here because Gordal summoned me. I’m half god. I thought he was looking for a human woman. So you tell me. What am I doing here?”
The triplets look at one another, obviously telepathically discussing the situation. They turn their eyes back to Delilah. “Gordal has personally chosen you to appear on his new series. Please take an information packet and proceed through the door to your right. You will be summoned again when it is time for filming.
“Fuck,” Delilah says under her breath. She takes a packet and heads for the door to her right.
Avery and Penelope are the only two women left besides Delilah. So far she’s tried everything to be kicked off the show, and the unfortunate events that lead to the death of one of the contestants were partly her fault. Partly. If she hadn’t been forced to go against her nature it would have never happened. Greta had been arguing with Delilah over her anti-social attitude, which of course every camera turned to witness. She tried to stop it, tried to warn Greta and the camera operators. Ten minutes later paramedics were taking her body off the set. Avery and Penelope stay as far away from Delilah as possible now. Just how she prefers it.
She sits, stiff-backed in a dress too formal for her taste and stares at Gordal. There is no denying who is father is. Narcissus was worse, to be fair.
Gordal smiles at her despite her obvious lack of desire for him. “You look very much like your great-grandmother,” he says. “Although, you have your father’s nose. That isn’t unfortunate, though.”
“Are you trying to flatter me?” Because it’s working, she thinks then admonishes herself for it. One of Gordal’s gifts is charm, and it’s difficult to not fall under his spell. “I thought you were more interested in discussing yourself.”
He is gorgeous though. Look at that smile, those perfect teeth. His arms… She snaps herself out of the lapse.
Gordal chuckles. “Quite right. I am a rather fine specimen. Yet you continue to deny your attraction to me. As irritating as that is, I must say,” he leans in so he’s inches from her face, “I find it quite alluring,” he whispers.
Delilah’s pulse quickens in her ears and heat rises in her face. “I’m sure you do,” she says flatly. She downs her glass of wine.
“This has been such a difficult choice for me. Both of you would compliment me quite well,” Gordal says smoothly. Avery smiles so big Delilah is convinced her face will split open.
“Unfortunately, I can only choose one of you. Rules are rules right?” He winks like he’s just said something witty. Avery sighs audibly. Delilah huffs and shakes her head. “Avery,” he approaches her and allows for a long, dramatic pause.
Avery looks up into his eyes, trembling in his presence.
Delilah can feel the bile rising in her throat.
“I have chosen…”
“And cut,” the director shouts.
Gordal drops Avery’s hands and looks over at his stylist team. “How am I looking? Perfect right?”
“Yes, Gordal, you are the most perfect being in the universe.” His hair dresser, an unnecessary employee, blushes as she pulls out a mirror for him. He nods in satisfaction.
Delilah finds her mind wanders back to Elijah. The last time they spoke he threatened to leave. She didn’t blame him. Now she knows exactly what he had meant before. Thanks to Gordal, that’s another relationship that won’t work out.
“Everyone take their places please,” the director shouts.
By the time the cameras are rolling again, Delilah is fighting the urge to run.
“I have chosen…”
She sighs at another long pause.
“Delilah,” Gordal finally says. He drops Avery’s hands. “I am sorry, Avery. I hope you have a wonderful life.
It takes a few moments for it to register that Gordal has chosen her. At last it happens. The outrage breaks through like a Hydra ready to devour its next hero. “Absolutely not!” She turns on Gordal. “I am not yours to impregnate. None of us are.” Delilahs face is hot, her hands shaking.
“I am!” Avery announces.
Gordal ignores the crying woman and glares at Delilah. “Excuse me?” His eyes have gone from sapphire to the color of burning embers.
“You heard me. I’m done.” All around her, the crew is chattering under their breaths. None of them know what to do now. Gordal gawks at her. He’s never been so humiliated. “Go back to your wife, Gordal.” With that, Delilah storms off the set and calls for a transport with Pelt.
“I can’t believe you actually did that on live television. I swear you have a death wish.” Elijah stands in their living room. The boxes are gone, but she isn’t sure if that means he’s unpacked or he has moved them somewhere else. He cracks a smile. “Fucking told Gordal to go back to his wife. I’ll bet she loves you.”
Delilah shrugs. It’s not so funny. “What about you? Are you…” She can’t bring herself to ask the question.
“I’m sorry, De.” He drops his gaze. She can feel her stomach bottom out. “I’ve decided to stay and torture you.” He grins wide.
“Gods, I hate you,” she says. Her heart pounds. “I…but what about–”
“The fact that you’re a demigod?” He shrugs. “I guess you’re one of the good ones.”