Workshop: “The Old Gods Are Gone,” by Talya Wrehn

The Old Gods Are Gone

The old gods are gone. No one believes in them anymore.

No one believes in Zeus – the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company who sits at the counter of a rundown bar, a chipped glass clutched in his hands. He fears the empty stillness that waits for him in his penthouse apartment, so he shoots back the amber liquid, waving to the bartender for another.

No one believes in Aphrodite – the woman in silver heels who sells her love to the highest bidder. When dawn breaks she will return to her seedy loft above the 24-hour Chinese place and lock herself in the bathroom, mascara fingers trailing down her cheeks as she curses her place in this world.

No one believes in Hephaestus – the man with dust-encrusted knuckles and cracked, calloused hands who works three shifts to care for his dying wife. He shuffles past, eyes glassy, towards the bank to withdraw the last of his life-savings – hoping beyond hope that this time it will save her life.

No one believes in Artemis – the girl with the doe-eyes and the hipster blog who once believed herself: in happily-ever-after’s and love-at-first-sight. Now, wrapped in the haze of disillusionment, she locks herself in her dorm and writes until those once-innocent eyes are bloodshot, dull, trying – somehow – to write the world back into the one she once thought it was.

No one believes in Ares – the man with the prosthetic foot and dead ear who never really came home from the war. He presses the lip of the bottle to his mouth, because he can’t go home to the pity in their faces, because behind his eyelids lie the still, cold faces of his comrades, because the ghost of gunfire still rings in his dead ear, because despite whatever he may say, he misses it.

No one believes in Persephone – the girl everyone thought would go further than they ever could, who has the face of an angel and the heart of a dove. She creeps past the door of her old home with the face of a child’s finger painting and the heart of dead rose because, she won the love of a broken man, the love of a man her mother hates, the love of a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

No one believes in Hades – the man with the cracked ribs and ragged fingernails who flinches at the sound of leather and has the rage of his bloodline. He stumbles home from the ring, adrenaline pumping fast in his veins, to the girl who stirs something in his chest, something too familiar, so he lashes out, meeting skin, the flush of blood once again sprayed against his knuckles.

No one believes in Athena – the girl with the honors-brain who aspires to be the greatest theoretical physicist of all time, despite her youth, despite her doubts. She huddles in a dark alley, her mind floating and peaceful, as the needle slips from her languid fingers and the pressure slips from her shoulders.

And no one believes in Dionysus – the man that watches them all, whose careful hands serve out their poisons, whose eyes see the shadows in their souls. He knows their troubles, reflecting his own and he sits, raises his own glass, and begins to forget.

The old gods are gone. No one believes in them anymore. The new gods are us – and we still don’t believe.

2 thoughts on “Workshop: “The Old Gods Are Gone,” by Talya Wrehn

  1. Hi Talya,

    Your flash fiction has tight, visual character description for each of the estranged gods. It’s a good structure for a flash fiction; what if you put them in a story with dialogue?
    Thanks for sharing!
    Amy Higgins

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