|Date||Tartarus High: Orientation Day||View||Read the...|
|10/08/17||Part 1||(Blog) (Forum)||Disclaimer|
|T||Beware of the three-headed dog, and upperclassmen that tell you not to look at them.|
"Oh, there you are! Come on! You're going to be late for freshman orientation!" My senior guide, Iris Wings, grabbed me by the elbow, and pulled me after her. "We've got to catch up to the group! Hurry!"
She broke into a run, and I kind of stumbled after her, because the wings on her back were helping to propel her, and I was too busy gawking at the place. "Iris, I'm coming! Give me a break!" I mean, I'd seen pictures, of course, but this...this was just...
"WELCOME TO TARTARUS HIGH, FRESHMEN!" a skinny boy in glasses blustered a little too loudly. "HOME OF THE TITANS! GOOOOO TITANS!" he cheered, pumping his fist in the air, and then I thought he was going to do a backflip, but it turned out he had just thrown himself a little off balance. He straightened himself, and continued, "Also the home of the Pantheon Paper, and since this is the home of the Titans, also home of Cerberus the mascot!" Nearby students barked raucously at the mention of Cerberus. "I'm Hermes Caduceus by the way. Any questions before we--"
"Oh… Em… Gee… And… Gee," said a freshman girl in disgust. She wore a dark gray hoodie that was pulled up over her blonde hair, some of which poked out from the front. It cast her face in dark shadow, but she sounded cute. Even when she said, "There's some dork running around campus in a three-headed dog costume?"
Hermes was slightly taken aback. "No. What gave you that idea?"
The girl rolled her eyes. "You just said Cerberus was our mascot." Nearby students barked again.
"Right," said Hermes, his tone cheerfully congratulating her for paying attention.
"Soooo," said the girl, waiting for Hermes to clue in. When he didn't, she prompted, "Cerberus is the mascooot?" Students barked again. "Mascots wear costuuumes?"
"OH! BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!" Hermes laughed hysterically. Then soberly, he held up a finger, then used it to push his glasses back up his nose, and said, "No. Cerberus is our mascot." Students barked again. "But there's no costume involved."
The girl stared blankly.
Hermes laughed diplomatically. "Uh, hellooo? Tartarus High? Home of the Titans? You took the ferry to get here?"
"That was...?" I interrupted. "He just looked at my student pass before bringing me across."
"Mine too," murmured a few others in the group.
"Special contract," confided Hermes, seemingly proud of the arrangement. Looking back to the girl, he said, "So. Tartarus. Titans. Ferry. Big, furry, three headed mutt guards Tartarus, because the Titans are prisoners here?"
"OH MY GODS AND GODDESSES!" shouted the girl. "THE ACTUAL CERBERUS IS OUR MASCOT? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!" She was so loud that students barked all across the quad.
"Huh," I said. "I thought he was an aardvark."
"Easy mistake," said Hermes, "but the name's different."
I shrugged at the correction. "Okay."
Looking back towards the ferry, the girl yelled, "WE ARE SO GOING TO TALK WHEN I GET HOME, DADDY!" Turning back to the group, she stomped once and fumed, "ARGH!"
Iris started, "Your dad is--"
Then, the freshman's eyes got big, and she said, "Wait. Are we prisoners here?"
"What?" gasped Iris, followed by a laugh.
Hermes laughed too. "BWAH-HA-HA-HA! Oh my gosh, no! That's just the lower levels! HA-HA! Phew." Then he pushed his glasses back up his nose again, and added, "Oh, by the way: never go to the lower levels."
"Is it that bad?" I asked.
Hermes rocked backwards a little as he laughed and clasped his hands in front of him. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. It's just the Titans- the original Titans- are still prisoners there, and Cerberus--" Students barked. "--He guards them whenever he's not at the games, and he will eat you. We don't like feeding him freshmen." The group giggled, and Hermes said seriously, "It gives him indigestion. You don't want that. Freshmen have cleanup duty." About half of the giggling changed to looks of horrified disgust. Hermes didn't laugh to tell us that it was a joke.
"MOVING ON!" said Hermes.
"Wait a second, Hermes," said Iris. Turning to the girl who freaked out over the mascot, she said, "Your dad is--?"
The girl rolled her eyes, but sighed and raised her hand in front of her, "Yes. Sharon Boatman," she said, pointing to herself. "My dad drives the ferry."
Some of the freshmen were obviously creeped out. I just looked at her, and said, "Cool. Does he still take the... y'know?" I asked, pointing at my eyes.
Sharon smiled, a little embarrassed. "Yeah. He still takes the coins from the dead." She flopped her arms against her sides a couple of times, and said, "I keep trying to get him to roll them and put them in the bank, but he just won't do it. We've got so many plastic jugs full of those things around the house, it's ridiculous."
Everyone was stock still, just staring at her.
"I'm kidding, you guys," she said, shaking her head, and starting out ahead of the group.
I couldn't help laughing.
Hermes shook it off, and ran to get ahead of her again, continuing right where he left off. "You'll notice that the campus is modeled after Olym--"
"HERMES!" yelled a girl from somewhere in a group of sirens approaching us. "TELL THOSE FRESHMEN NOT TO LOOK AT ME! DON'T LOOK AT ME! DON'T EVEN LOOK AT ME!" she ranted as the group brushed by us.
One of the other freshmen turned to watch them go, and Iris quickly cupped a hand over his eyes. "HEY! Weren't you listening? Don't look at her!"
The boy pulled Iris' hand away, and looked at her petulantly. "Perseus Valor looks where he will." The group of sirens stopped and parted as Perseus raised his chin defiantly and looked towards them.
"LOOK AWAY!" shouted Hermes, and we all complied.
All except Perseus. A bit forlornly, the girl in the center of the group said, "You asked for it," and Perseus whimpered before turning to stone. Then the sirens closed around the girl, and their clique moved on.
We were all in shock. We just stared at Perseus. "Oh, Styg'," Iris said a bit sadly. "Help me move him?" she asked me. We stood him next to a tree. Patting Valor's stone cheek, she said, "Maybe next time, you'll listen."
|Next Issue: Part 2.||-|
|Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb||Originally Presented In: CCC #64.|