The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Tag: Hades

Proof of Hades

After her trip to the Underworld, Sally Wilkerson has a hard time convincing her friend of her experience until an opportunity presents itself to her as Hades and Persephone invite her to game night.

Best to read #TwinCities as this story picks up after its events.


Sally gazed at her unlit, fictional consultations on her black bedroom ceiling. She built the night sky herself using a combination of LED fairy lights and glow-in-the-dark plastic star stickers, while her walls consisted of trees and lakes of the Michigan landscape painted by her father. Her dad couldn’t stand plain white walls (with exceptions for inside cabinets and closets). Still, he respectfully left Sally’s bedroom white until her seventh birthday, when she was allowed to pick the design. Initially, the landscape was during the day, but when Sally turned 13, she wanted to make her night sky, so her father revamped his artwork to match.

Sally’s eyes drifted from the lion to the woman holding scales before she decided to roll to her side, facing her glossy black nightstand. “Why doesn’t he believe me?”

When Sally returned from her visit to the Underworld yesterday, Mark had already closed up the ice cream shop. So she rushed home and told her parents about her experience. They believed her before showing them the selfie with Hades. However, when she saw Mark at work today, he thought she was pranking him. She spent the first few hours of her shift trying to convince him to no avail. Then he spent the last few hours teasing her.

“How did your tea party with the Tooth Fairy go?” Mark had mocked. “Did you ask Santa if you made the nice list?”

Sally forced herself to sit up on her bed. She tapped on her phone, waking up the device to reveal the time was only 7:40 pm. She looked over her collection of a dozen board and card games scattered about on her bookshelf. The unincorporated town of Hell didn’t offer much for teens to do, so her typical Friday night involved getting together with friends to play games. However, after her spat with Mark, not even her competitive nature was in the mood. With her spirits low, she decided to seek her mother’s counsel.

“Mom should be done for the day,” she said as she stood up.

Sally went downstairs to the tarot room. They lived in the upper half of the house while her parents’ business, Charon’s Landing, took the bottom. She received an invite before Sally could peek inside to see if her mom was with a customer. “Come in, honey.”

Sally viewed her mom’s tarot reading room as the coziest room she’d ever visited. There was no square inch of a hard wall to see as fabrics shaped the room into a hexagon. Chill, LoFi beats placed those who entered at ease. If only I were allowed to take naps here, Sally thought. Though, she would curl up on the couch in the room if she had painful cramps or wasn’t feeling well. She took a seat on the plush purple pillow on the floor.

Sally’s mother, Diana, was still in her purple work robe as she shuffled her deck of tarot cards. “What’s on your mind?”

Despite her mother always being able to sense when something was off with her daughter, Diana’s comforting tone still caught her off guard. She decided to ask. “Mom, you believe me about meeting Hades, right?”

Diana pushed aside her long, curly red hair behind. “Of course, honey. I’ve always taught you there was more to this world than what we see.”

“But Mark doesn’t.” Sally slumped her shoulders, slouching more into the floor cushion. “He thinks I faked that photo with Hades.”

Diana started placing cards on the oak table. “Well, your father was quite inspired by it and has been painting up a storm. He even sold one of his paintings of Hades.”

“Yeah, he told me when I got home.”

With the cards laid out, Diana set the deck aside. “Perhaps the cards will offer some advice.”

Sally nodded.

In the Great Library of the Underworld, Hades pursued the alphabetically-organized card and board games collection. As his finger touched a game, he envisioned what group that game would be ideal for in tonight’s game night session. He had fashioned himself in his purple suit with red pinstripes for the evening. 

“Mictlantecuhtli, Hel, and Osiris declined,” Persephone said as she wrapped her arms around her husband’s waist and rested her head on his shoulders.

Hades brought up her hand to his lips and kissed them. “Thank you for checking. Is anyone able to join us?”

Persephone collapsed deeper into her hug and sighed. “No one can play with us tonight.”

Hades stopped browsing the games. “Perhaps we should expand our horizons.”

Persephone released her hold, spinning around in her green dress. “Oh! Oh! How about that mortal girl from the other day? Sally Wilkerson! She seemed delightful.”

“I don’t know…A mortal?”

“You know that painting of you that I brought you today.”

“What about it?”

“I got that from the girl’s father.”

Hades raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Yes,” Persephone said with a big grin. “Plus, you know the dogs did like her.”

Hades flicked his wrist. “Very well.”

Persephone burst into a happy squeal and teleported away in a tornado of flowers. Their three-headed dog, Cerberus, walked up to Hades and nuzzled his head against him. The dog had taken the appearance of a black, 12-foot tall three-headed Scottish Terrier.

Hades playfully pushed his face away from the dog’s fur. “When was the last time I had someone give you a bath?”

Sally was back in her bedroom, working on her own card game at her desk, when Persephone erupted into the room with a shower of flowers. Sally watched in awe as the bewitching redheaded Goddess of the Underworld emerged from flowers that faded away, leaving no trace.

“Hi, Sally!” Persephone greeted with an enthusiastic wave. “I’m Persephone. Hades and I would like to invite you to our game night session.”

Sally bolted up from her computer chair. “Heck, yeah!”

Persephone held out her hand for Sally to take. Sally shoved her game in her pink cropped hoodie before taking the goddess’ hand. 

Persephone returned to the Underworld with Sally in a similar flowery teleportation style and proclaimed, “She said ‘Heck, yeah!’”

Sally took a moment to take in the green gothic architect of the Great Library. The room was similar to the one on her previous visit, but when she spotted Cerberus, she lost interest in the library.

“That must be Cerberus,” Sally said, jaw-dropping. “Does he like to be petted?”

“He loves the petting,” Persephone answered, gently pushing Sally toward the three-headed dog.

Sally rushed over and began scratching the dog under his center chin. Cerberus let his tail wag and tongue roll out. “So, Mr. Hades. Persephone said you need an extra player for game night. What do you have in mind?”

Hades pulled out a seat from the stone table. Sally gave Cerberus one last pet and took the chair. From inside his pinstripe suit, Hades spread out a set of cards in a fan pattern on the table. 

“How about you pick out a game at random?” Hades suggested.

Sally looked over the cards and then at the expansive collection of games on the shelves. “You know, I have a game I’m working on myself. I’d be happy to teach you, and you can give me feedback.”

“A new game!” Persephone exclaimed. “Yes!”

Hades chuckled and snapped his fingers, making his cards disappear in a puff of flames. “How do we play?”

Sally pulled out a stack of index cards from her hoodie’s pocket. “The game is called The Inventors Inventions or Invention Heist. I’m still workshopping the name. Anyway, one person plays as the inventor, hiding these cards around a room while the other players, the thieves, wait outside. The thieves have 60 seconds to find as many cards or inventions as possible before time runs out. The inventor acts as the home base, and the thieves must be touching the inventor before time runs out, or they lose all of the cards they’re holding from that round. Some inventions do special attacks, like freeze a player for 10 seconds, but using them degrades the value. You play for three rounds, and the person who has gathered the most valuable inventions wins. That’s it.”

“Sounds fun!” Persephone said. “I want to be the first inventor.”

Sally handed her the deck. “Then Hades and I will be thieves.”

Persephone skimmed through the deck. “Sally, do you mind if I add a bit of upgrade to these cards?”

“Be my guest.”

Persephone shuffled the deck. As the cards shuffled, the homemade, handwritten cards transformed into a professionally crafted deck. “Done! Now, I will hide them.”

Persephone snapped her fingers, ensnaring Hades and Sally together in a dome of green vines. 

“So, Sally. How about we make this interesting?” Hades asked with a smirk.

Sally crossed her arms. “What do you have in mind?”

“If I win,” Hades lowered himself to stare directly at Sally, “you have to…give Cerberus a bath.”

“Okay,” Sally said with a sly smile, “and if I win, you have to reveal yourself to my friend, Mark.”

“Do I get to scare him?”

“Of course.”

Hades offered his hand. “Then it’s a deal.”

Sally stopped herself just before shaking his hand. “Wait. How do I know you won’t cheat?”

Hades scoffed. “I find winning fair and square to be more rewarding. Plus, we have anti-cheat systems in place for when we play with other deities.”

Sally gave Hades a firm handshake. “You got yourself a deal.”

The vines withered away. Persephone sat on a red throne chair with a golden border in the center of a different room in the library filled with statues, paintings, and other works of art.

“And go!” Persephone shouted.

Hades and Sally bolted in opposite directions in search of the cards.

Sally arrived to work for her Saturday evening shift, dressed in her witch costume. The store was empty, except for Mark, who was cleaning the glass windows of the ice cream from fingerprints.

“Hey, we missed you yesterday for game night,” Mark said. “Were you busy playing games with Hades instead?”

“As a matter of fact, yes, I was,” Sally said, putting her hands on her waist. “I even invited him here for ice cream.”

Mark laughed, but then the lights went out, and a swirl of flames burst from the ground, filling the ice cream shop with a black mist as Hades morphed his body to fill the entire space before shrinking to a regular 6-foot size. As Hades shrunk, Cerberus emerged as a three-foot-tall dog with three heads from the smoke.

“Hello, Mark,” Hades greeted. “I would like to get three cones with your vanilla ice cream for my dog here.”


As I was putting together the new Serials section, I remembered there was a storyline gap between the two stories with Sally Wilkerson. This story fills that gap between #TwinCities and Dog-Sitting Cerberus. Although, after finishing this story and going over the dog-sitting, there could be another chapter or two.

Hope you enjoy this Sally Wilkerson adventure!

Dog-Sitting Cerberus - art by Chia Yee Liow at Design Pickle

Dog-Sitting Cerberus

With business to attend on another planet, Hades hires Sally to dog-sit his giant three-headed dog, Cerberus. As Sally takes the dog for a walk in the Underworld, they discover a locked away secret.


Sally Wilkerson wiped her brow with her arm and sighed from having just finished her mopping duties at The Creamatory of Screams. She put the mop in the grungy, yellow plastic bucket and pressed on the level, ringing out the last of the dirt.

Behind the cash register next to the ice cream station, her co-worker, Mark, counted the money. Mark took his time, making sure none of the bills were stuck together, every coin was there, credit card totals matched up, and everything was ready for the next day. Sally had learned not to interrupt because she didn’t want him to start over. She would have to wait to use one of her favorite closing puns like, “How in Hell did we do?” or “Everything good in Hell?” The puns about being in Hell, Michigan made Mark groan or roll his eyes every time, which was part of Sally’s fun. She often forgot that he was sixteen like her. 

As far as tiny towns went, Sally enjoyed living in Hell. She knew all of the locals and the tourists were fun. As she pushed the mop bucket back to its station, a tornado of flames erupted in the store. Mark screamed, knocking over the cash drawer as he ducked behind the counter while Sally stood unfazed.

From the flames, a tall, slender man stepped out. He pinched out a lingering ember of fire on his dark, almost black, purple suit with red pinstripes. He inspected his reflection from the ice cream cabinet, about to adjust his hair, but realized he had taken a form where his hair consisted of a blue flame. He stroked a finger along his grizzled movie star beard with crimson red skin.

“Hiya, Mr. H!” Sally greeted.

Mark stood up, picking up the fallen cash and ignoring their guest. Hades turned to Mark, snapped his fingers, and like magic, all of the money flew back to the register in perfect order.

“Your balance is correct, by the way,” Hades said to Mark as he walked up to Sally. “Sally, I have some business on another planet to deal with, and I need you to dog-sit Cerberus for me while I’m away.”

“Oh, wow,” Sally said. “Well, as you may know, Mr. H, I’m a good dog-sitting, but you’re talking about Cerberus. That’s way out of my qualifications.”

“Isn’t Cerberus like a giant-three dog?” Mark said, recalling what he knew about Greek mythology. “Can’t he handle himself?”

“Just because you’re a badass doesn’t mean you can’t use someone watching over you,” Hades said. “Cerberus just needs someone to play with for a bit while I’m gone. It will be easy for you. Just take him for a walk.”

“Well, if you think I can handle it.”

“Excellent. You start now.”

“Hey, wait!” Mark shouted. “We still need to close up.”

Hades snapped his fingers, and from a flame portal, a brand new XBOX gaming console landed in Mark’s arms.

Mark sat the compensation down. “Have fun dog-sitting!”

Hades twilled his wrist in the air, swirling Sally and himself in a ring of fire that warped them to the Grand Library in Earth’s Underworld. The ornate green walls always made Sally think of the Statue of Liberty. The library held several floors of well-organized books, curious artifacts, and eclectic works of art. Many dogs of every breed popped out from around the brightly lit library upon Hades’ return. With tails wagging, they welcomed them. Sally got down on her knees to pet the smaller dogs while Hades gave casual head scratches to some larger dogs.

With the dogs greeted, Hades whistled. “Cerberus! You have company.”

From around a corner, a black dog the size and strength of a tank popped his three heads out. The dog walked over gently as not to cause any books to shake off the shelves. Cerberus’ middle head licked Hades’ head, temporarily putting out the blue flame hair. Hades laughed and rubbed underneath the dog’s chin.

“You be a good boy for Sally,” Hades said in a warm but stern tone. “She’s going to keep you company for a few hours while I repair things.” 

Cerberus barked in acknowledgment.

Hades turned to Sally. “I’ll send someone to relieve you in a few hours. Make sure he doesn’t eat anyone he isn’t supposed to eat.”

In his flames, Hades vanished, leaving Sally hanging with questions.

Sally looked up at Cerberus into his large, red eyes. “So, do you want to go for a walkies?”

Cerberus barked and lowed his heads.

“I am I supposed to ride you?”

Cerberus wagged his tail.

Sally shrugged. “Okay, I guess I’m going to ride Cerberus.”

With the helping nudges of the other heads, Sally got up on Cerberus. The moment she got into position, Cerberus ran, causing some books to fall off the shelves. She gripped the red collar like she was holding on to the bar of a wild rollercoaster as they raced out of the library, bursting through a large double swigging wooden door and out into a cave.

It took a moment, but Sally acclimated herself to the ride. Several ghostly white transparent butterflies the size of her head crossed their path. Cerberus changed course and chased after the butterflies until they faded away. Sally laughed and petted the center head. Cerberus continued walking along a glowing green river. Sally took in the sights of the luminous green crystals and plants adoring the dusty red cave. The place smelled like an underground forest to Sally, which she wasn’t expecting, but appreciated.

As they continued down the river, Sally could no longer see the library. She was a bit concerned but also figured Cerberus knew the way back. A gentle harp melody snuck into her ears, bringing a feeling of sadness as she listened to the song.

“Where is that music coming from?” Sally said. Cerberus barked. “Can you find that sound?”

Cerberus run in the direction of the sound. As the music got louder, the cave got darker and smaller until they came to a pair of bronze doors. While the doors were huge compared to Sally, they were only the size of one of Cerberus’ heads. Cerberus pawed at the door and whimpered.

“I’ll go check it out,” Sally offered. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.”

Cerberus lowered his heads, and Sally slid off. With a big push, she opened the door to a dome-like room. The glowing blue flames from the torches revealed piles and piles of musical instruments. Some she recognized, but many she didn’t. Sally stepped deeper into the room, and the music stopped.

“A visitor?” a voice called out, echoing in the room.

“I’m sorry,” Sally apologized as she searched for the person. “I was just following a beautiful song.”

“You have nothing to apologize for, Sally,” the voice replied.

“You know my name?”

“Of course. I know everything about you, including your future.”

“You do? Where are you?”

“In the center. I’m the giant four-string harp.”

Sally found the golden harp. It was three times her size. As the harp played, each one of its strings lit up as a different color. Sally’s jaw dropped in awe of its splendor. 

“I would love if you played with me,” the harp invited. “It would set me free with joy.”

Meanwhile, at the Underworld of the Green Planet, an animated skeleton of a lion that stood upright on his two feet gave Hades an update on rebuilding efforts.

“The rollercoaster is almost complete,” the skeleton lion explained over a 3D holographic map of the Underworld. “We’re still missing one of the carts for it.”

“I have someone retrieving that as well as the other items left on the surface,” Hades answered.

“Good. Once we get everything, it will be like this place never crashed on the surface.”

Twirling around in her green dress, Persephone skipped up to Hades. She rested her head on his shoulder like she was his second head.

“Is the rollercoaster fixed yet?” Persephone asked.

“We’re still putting it back together,” the lion skeleton answered.

“Sad,” Persephone said as she slumped away.

“Persephone,” Hades spoke with a gentle tone. “Would you kindly head to Earth and watch over the Underworld there? I have Sally dog-sitting Cerberus while we’re here.”

Persephone jumped into the air and started clapping. “That’s wonderful! I’m so excited to hear Apollo’s music again finally. It’s been so, so long.”

Hades laughed. “What are you talking about, Persephone? We have him locked away when he went mad after the Atlanteans left Earth.”

Persephone slouched to stop. “Oh. I thought you were finally letting him free.”

“No…Why would you think that?”

“Don’t you remember his prophecy?”

“Apollo was constantly spatting doomsday prophecies. That’s why we tricked him into transforming into a harp and locked him up.”

“I remember the one he said to you and bothers after you chained him up. It was so beautiful the way he sang it.” To the tune of a children’s melody, Persephone danced and sang, “The ice cream girl from Hell touched by the end-timers will set me free.”

The flame of Hades hair mellowed. “Oh, heavens.”

Sally approached the harp without any hesitation. She plucked a sting, filling the entire room with its note. The harp shimmered brighter and brighter, forcing Sally to shield her eyes with her arm until the light subdued. With the light gone, she saw in place of the harp a man with radiant golden skin. He shook his head, causing his long, curly brown hair to dip down to his knees.

Hades kicked down the door. Sally flinched to the sound of the door crashing into the instruments.

“Apollo!” Hades said with his fists clenched. 

“Uncle Hades,” Apollo greeted with warmth. “It’s so good to see you!”

“Wait, what’s going on?” Sally interrupted.

“Sally, go to Cerberus,” Hades said.

“Why?” Sally said. “This is Apollo. What’s he doing here?”

“I became overwhelmed with visions of the future,” Apollo explained as he walked toward Hades. “Then, Dionysus got me drunk, while Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades here locked me away here.”

“You were ranting non-stop about the destruction of a universe, someone collecting demigods, and I can’t remember what other nonsense,” Hades said, getting in front of Apollo. “You also became insistent on making sure those doomsdays would happen.”

“Not that they needed my guidance,” Apollo scoffed. “According to my original calculations, shouldn’t the universe have cracked?”

“It did, but it was resolved and turned out to be no big deal,” Hades said.

“Okay, time-out! Time-out,” Sally shouted like she was babysitting some fighting siblings.

Both Hades and Apollo looked at Sally.

Sally pointed at the ground. “Sit. Both of you.”

Hades crossed his arms. “I’m not going to sit.”

Apollo smirked. “I didn’t need to look into the future to see that coming.”

“Look,” Sally started, “I don’t know what happened back then, but Apollo hasn’t been ranting about the future since I’ve been here.”

“That is true,” Hades mumbled.

“Without as many followers believing in me, I suppose my powers have weakened over the years,” Apollo said. 

Sally put her hands on her hips. “Well, it sounds like you all just need to talk it out now. Just don’t resort to locking people up or having their liver pecked out or whatever you all did in the past.”

Apollo sighed. “I guess I didn’t leave you many options back then.”

“Oh, Zeus had many options for dealing with you back then, but this one seemed the least sadistic.”

Apollo laughed. “How is my father nowadays?”

“He’s still an ass, but he’s matured.”

“I guess I should pay him a visit.”

“You should. I do know Persephone wants to see you again.”

“Oh really? Maybe I can join you for game night?”

“Haha, no. I still remember what you cheat you are.”

“Surely you got some games I can’t cheat,”

As the two walked out of the room, Sally picked up a neon purple electric guitar. She pretended to play it as she walked back to Cerberus.


Dog-Sitting Cerberus - art by Chia Yee Liow at Design Pickle

This short story was inspired by the following writing prompt: “As you may know, Mr. H, I have had a good experience as a professional dog sitter but clearly this is a task too monumental to take on. I mean this is Cerberus we’re talking about!”

When I saw this prompt, I pictured Sally from #TwinCities. This story takes place after their original meeting, so if you enjoy this adventure, be such to check out the first one.

Thank you to Chia Yee Liow at Design Pickle for bringing this scene to life. The butterflies Chia drew I incorporated into the story.

Thank you for reading this story!

TwinCities - art by Mikael Marchan and Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle - colored

#TwinCities

One night while closing up the ice cream shop in Hell, Michigan, Sally stumbles upon a social media hashtag of people sharing photos of portals connecting to other cities with the same name. Curious, she leaves work to see if there is a portal in her town.


Mark diligently pushed the mop around the floor. At the same time, Sally Wilkerson was locked in focus to her phone as she scrolled through Instagram while simultaneously turning off the open sign for The Creamatory of Screams. As far as summer jobs went, the two teenagers enjoyed dishing out ice cream in Hell, Michigan. Sally especially enjoyed dressing up in a witch’s costume for work, which her boss didn’t require, but loved the enthusiasm. Mark preferred to stick with brown khakis with a black t-shirt and apron.

“Mark, you need to check out the Twin Cities hashtag,” Sally insisted.

“Why?” Mark questioned as he ringed the mop in the bucket.

“Because there are these portals that have started appearing around the world, connecting cities with the same name.”

“What? You’re joking.”

“No, there are pictures of people in Paris, Texas, visiting people in Paris, France,” she scrolled through her feed for another example. Most of the photos featured a neon green portal in the background. Of course, there were food pics too. “Here’s another in Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon. Oh! Memphis, Egypt, and Memphis, Tennessee.”

Curious but skeptical, Mark carefully leaned the mop against the wall and opened the app on his phone. “All under the hashtag, Twin Cities, right?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t see anything.”

“Let me see,” Sally grumbled as she yanked Mark’s phone out of his hand. “Weird. There are tons of photos on my phone.”

Mark gently pulled his phone out of her hands and returned it to his pants. “Let’s just hurry and close.”

Sally looked at her phone. All of the photos of the portals were gone. “Huh. They’re not showing up on my phone anymore.”

“Maybe it’s a government cover-up,” her co-worker teased. “Or maybe you got hacked.”

Sally ignored him. “I wonder if there is a portal here. Maybe it leads to Hell in Norway or the one in the Cayman Islands. Hey, Mark. You won’t mind if I skip out early to check?”

“Well–”

“Thank you! You’re the best!”

Sally grabbed her purse from the back counter and bolted out the door while Mark sighed and continued mopping. The tiny unincorporated town had a few shops, all with a tongue-in-cheek names like Hell In A Handbasket and Hell Saloon. Sally’s parents owned Charon’s Landing where her mother did tarot card readings and her father sold paintings. If there were a town portal, she wouldn’t have to cover much ground to find it. As she jogged over to her car in the gravel parking lot, a red glow off to the side caught her attention.

In the center of the mini-golf course stood a neon red portal the size of a large door. Except for the color, it looked like the other ones she saw.

“No, way,” she muttered. She pulled out her phone and took a video clip. “I wonder where it goes.”

Sally jumped over the fence to the closed mini-golf course and ran up to the portal. A warm, tropical scent drifted out from the portal. She looked over at the shop and debated if she should get Mark. She turned back to the portal, having decided that the portal would disappear if she went to get him. Her heart raced as she stuck her arm through the glowing red gateway. Her arm felt warm like she was on a beach, and it didn’t hurt either. She took a deep breath and walked through.

Red lights shimmed all around her as she took a few steps through the gateway. The lights washed behind her as she stepped out onto a colossal library with gothic architectural themes. Several dogs with happy wagging tails scampered up to Sally, demanding love and affection.

Out of curiosity last month, Sally researched all of the other towns named Hell. None of them had a library as grand as the one she found. The more she looked around the mountains of books, the more she felt like the library itself was larger than any of the towns.

With no one else showing up to greet her besides the dogs, she finally decided to call out. “Hello.”

In response, a drill of flames erupted from the floor several feet in front of her. The fire dissipated to reveal a tall, slender man in a dark purple suit with red pinstripes. His skin was crimson red with the face of a grizzled movie-star while his hair consisted of a blue flame. Sally couldn’t explain the feeling, but a woman’s voice whispered the name, “Hades,” into her mind.

“How did you get here?” chided Hades as he studied her. Sally opened her mouth to explain, but Hades held up a finger to stop her. “Don’t answer that. You probably don’t know. I’ll look you up.”

Hades snapped his fingers. A brown leather book with Sally’s name written on all sides in gold lettering flew off a bookshelf and into Hades’ hand. He flipped toward the end and began to read. “Of course. This is all one of those experiment pranks by Loki and Raven.”

Hades snapped the book shut and tossed it over his shoulder. The book bounced and returned itself on the shelf.

“Wait. Am I in Hell Hell?” Sally stumbled to ask with excitement.

“Yes, that’s one name.”

“And you’re Hades?”

“Yes, that’s one name.”

“Woah. This is so awesome. Can I get a selfie with you?”

Hades sighed. “Fine. But if only you promise to leave. You shouldn’t be here.”

“Okay!”

Hades kneed down so both their faces could be in the shot. Sally snapped a photo of her smiling while Hades made a silly, scary face. Hades shifted his face back to serious as he stood up.

“Thank you!” Sally beamed.

Sally ran through the portal, with it collapsing on itself as she exited.

Hades reached down and petted a golden retriever. “At least she wasn’t constantly crying like the kid from Norway this morning.”


TwinCities - art by Mikael Marchan and Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle - black and white

This week’s short story was brought to you by the following writing prompt: “One day, every city that shares a name has a portal open up, connecting them all with each other. Paris, Texas has a great time with it, and many cities celebrate their new neighbors. You, however, live in Hell, Michigan, and things are starting to get strange.”

I laughed out loud when I read this prompt last night. It made me think of my time in Hell in the Cayman Islands. I gave the story some thought and wrote it today. Since this takes place in my universe, I explained the portals around the world that Sally saw on Instagram as something that didn’t really happen. It was all a trick by Loki and Raven. With the corkiness of Sally and Mark working at an ice cream shop in Hell (which does exist as I researched it this morning), I think the setting would lend itself for an indie coming of age movie.

Thank you to Mikael Marchan and Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle for bringing Sally’s portal discovery moment to life.

I hope you enjoyed this short story! If want to read more stories with Sally Wilkerson, check out the Serials section.

Lost Angel - art by Mikey Marchan at Design Pickle

Lost Angel

While several deities prepare for game night in Hades’ library, an angel crash lands in the underworld, bringing a mystery. 


“Hades, can we keep him?”

“Persephone, it’s not a small pigeon to nurse back to health, it’s an angel.”

A chihuahua bolted between Hades’ feet to sniff the slightly crumpled angel lying on the white-marble floor in front of them. Several more of Hades’ dogs popped their heads out from around the library to investigate the commotion.

Hades looked at the pieces of the stained glass window scattered around the library. At least the angel didn’t crash through my favorite window, Hades thought on the positive side although the angel did leave a streak of blood on his clean floors. Hades suspected some of the blood that covered the angel came from whatever he fought before the fall.

“He’s so precious,” Persephone whispered as she glided her fingers over the angel’s smooth, youthful face. “I wonder where he came from?”

“I’m sure someone will be here shortly to collect him,” Hades assured as he picked up his chihuahua. “Leave him be. Our guests are about to arrive for game night, and I, for one, would like a break.”

“Ho, ho, ho,” a joyous voice announced.

The chihuahua barked and jumped out of Hades’ hands. The tiny dog ran to a white-bearded man dressed in red shorts and a topical button-up t-shirt while carrying a large red sack. Dogs of various sizes and breeds rushed to the newcomer with their tags wagging. The man opened up his bag and tossed out dog cookies.

“Santa, you jolly bastard,” Hades greeted with excitement. “What games did you bring for us today?”

“Depends on who ends up joining us,” Santa replied while petting all the dogs. “I got Ticket to Ride, Cards Against Humanity, Catan, Midnight Zombie Sabotage, and a bunch more. I left Pandemic at the workshop. Seemed a bit too real given current events.”

All the lights and flames in the library flickered off then returned with a gradual spread away from a midnight-skinned goddess with a glittery dress.

“You’re here, [Goddess of Shadows*]!” Persephone shouted with glee as she ran over and hugged her friend. (*Persephone called the goddess by her true name, but her name becomes her title for those not allowed to know it.) 

As the two embraced, the Shadow Goddess caught sight of the fallen angel. “Are we doing a murder mystery game tonight?”

“Ooh! Yes! Let’s solve the mystery of who killed the angel,” Persephone encouraged. She put on a gray deerstalker cap that she conjured from her purple dress pockets. “The game is afoot.”

“I told you,” Hades spoke in a calm tone, “someone will be here for him any—”

Flying down from the hole the angel made, a green dragon landed next to the injured angel. The dragon morphed into a humanoid form.

“Neon!” Persephone cheered. “I thought you were working?”

“I’m technically here for him,” Neon said as he lifted the angel. “This human wished to be an angelic warrior. Obviously, that had consequences. Thank you for not tossing him aside.”

“I knew someone would be here to collect him,” Hades said with a modest tone. “Wasn’t expecting it to be you. The kid made a wish, huh?”

“Yeah, around Volo Grant.”

“I’m sure Volo feels awful,” Santa commented. “That kid tries so hard, but he can’t control the wishes.”

Neon stretched out his wings. “Thank you again for watching him. I’d better get back to Earth.”

Dionysus joyfully strolled in the library with a case of wine as he watched Neon fly away through the ceiling with an angel in his arms. “Did I miss anything?”


Lost Angel - art by Mikey Marchan at Design Pickle

This week’s short story was inspired by the following writing prompt: “Hades can we keep him?” “Persephone, it’s not a small pigeon to nurse back to health, it’s an angel,” the discussion goes as they look at the slightly crumpled figure laying in front of them.

Thank you to Mikey Marchan at Design Pickle for bringing this scene to life!

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