It’s not long before I find that I can’t fucking breathe.
God, all of these people. These crying, screaming people slowly going insane all at once. It’s all too much. I can’t take it. I feel like my head’s about to burst.
Another piercing scream sounds across the room and I can feel it tearing right into my gut. I howl in pain and collapse; Hermes dashes from the piano, a silver blur, and catches me before I hit the ground.
“Please, everyone, please, settle down!” Zeus begs.
No one listens.
“Alright, that’s it,” I hear Poseidon say. He marches across the crowd and stands beside Zeus, mouth hard. “SILENCE!” he bellows.
His fierce command is loud enough to shake the mansion for a few seconds. The lovely chandelier falls from the ceiling and shatters into a million pieces on the floor. Every being is taken aback, and momentarily the pain stops.
“Are you okay?”
I suddenly realize I am being cradled in Hermes’ arms, and from the expression on his face, he’s terrified out of his mind. I can feel it.
His closeness does nothing to soothe the overwhelming pain. I wince, trying to wriggle out of his grasp.
“Charlie, let me hold you,” he insists. “Don’t hurt yourself.”
“Remain calm,” Zeus orders. “Please, for everyone’s sake.”
Poseidon meets my eyes.
Can’t you do something? he asks urgently. Use your powers to relax them.
As an empath, I am also capable of influencing people’s emotions—but not when there are so many feeling the same misery all at once. I groan and attempt to spread a wave of tranquility across the room, but the pain is almost impossible to overcome.
I should’ve seen this coming.
I can’t. I can’t. I’m sorry.
Poseidon nods gravely. It’s alright, Charlie.