Two wet bodies fell, one after the other, from a puddle on the ceiling, which seemed to not only defy gravity, but to be effected by it in a negative and reversed way.
"Oof! ... ugh..."
The first first body was a naked, Hispanic-Canadian young man. He fell, chest first, upon a pile of soft, moist, loamy dirt and assorted loose feathers.
Upon him, fell a second body. It was that of a satyr. It landed on its hooved feet, barely managing not to step upon the bare testicles of the human beneath him. With a strong, one-handed grip, he lifted the man up off the floor by the neck.
Upon the hairy and priapic erection jutting out from the satyr's groin, where there had once been a spinning top, rested an empty terracotta jar with precarious and impossible balance.
The man groaned, shaking his head back and forth as he came to. Then he spat dirt from his mouth, narrowly missing the satyr's thickly furred goatlike feet.
"Ssshhh," shushed the satyr, as he passed a finger vertically over the mortal's lips. And then he slowly whispered to the man, placing him down on his feet, "We are not alone in this realm, young Fernando."
Then, Fernando heard the voices too. They were coming closer.
"I don't think that's enough, Puteo!" the voice of a girl's voice was echoing past the stalagmites and stalactites that dripped throughout the cave. "Just in just one human agent? Does Aphrodyte not know how much of a threat your loss of a feather is?"
"It's no big deal, Lana," came the voice of a little boy.
The satyr and the human stood in a circular chamber of the cave, where the floor was flat, beneath the upsidedown pool of water that connected them with reality. The water shone, and was the only source of light in the cave.
On the wall behind them, was a crude map of the Mediterranean. It was like a cave painting. There was a red circle drawn upon the map, somewhere around Rome. Fernando had been too dazed the first time he'd been in the cave to notice it before. And for a moment, it puzzled him. Then, he reminded himself that the satyr had told him the old bathtub was imported from Rome. Thus, it was probably a map of the water-portal's former destination.
All the while, the voices in the distant reaches of the cave continued to reach their ears.
"Don't shrug this off! You should have reported directly to Eros, and you know it."
"Pffft!" snorted the boy. "Don't worry about it. That little pup will have things under control. He knows the girl!"
For a moment, the satyr fidgeted. Then he snarled fiercely, though quietly, at the human beside him as he pointed urgently with a sharply nailed finger to the large stalagmite near the side of the wall, "Hide! Now!"
Fernando huddled in the shadows behind the calcite pillar, crouching low. There, in the darkness, his hands found the satyr's flute, and his own loincloth from his last visit. The two items were not where they had left them!
His heart was beating fast. His feet were trembling, so he sat. If the approaching people were anything like the gorgon woman he had encountered in the past, he didn't want to turn around and see them. However, curiousity got the best of him.
He watched the young girl, a winged nymph, come around the corner in long strides. She seemed to bounce with each step, as her tiny gold wings fluttered. Were she a human, he would have guess her age to be thirteen. She was scantily clad, and that did not faze Fernando in the least bit. And she was carrying a lit torch of burning gryphon fat, which filled the room with a warm glow and added to the contrast that kept him hidden.
She was followed by a naked, winged little boy. He had pink, faintly glowing wings, a smirk of amusement on his face, and a tidy mess of curly red hair.
"You're an imp, Puteo, you know that?" she told him. "Having shot at near point-blank range, like that, she's gonna be nothing more than an obsessive stalker!"
"Good!" the boy crowed. Then he paused, as he spotted the satyr below the pool of water. Then he asked her, as he had once before, "Just how much did you see, anyways?"
"I was watching through the window," she told him, though he did not know whether she was referring to a subway window or to something she had scried upon. Then, she did a double-take, giving the satyr a second glance. Recognition burned in her brown eyes, "You!"
The satyr backed away, against the badly painted map of the Mediterranean. In a panic, he scanned the floor for any sight of his flute, as if it could defend him. He did not see it!
She flew toward him with anger on her face.
"Woah!" hollered the winged boy she had addressed as Puteo.
In a moment, she was balanced on one foot, leaning back, and swinging her other foot toward the tall satyr in a high kick that sought to knock the modest terracotta jar off its resting place, so as to effectively disable the creature's magic. The wings on her sandals tilted suddenly and slightly, with great force, directing her kick with incredible aim.
Without the rest of his body moving, his penis jerked away evasively.
However, she had quickly unsheathed her rapier from her side and drew the long, golden orichalcum blade to his neck.
"What are you doing, Lana!?" asked Puteo, not wanting to be mixed up in any violence.
"L-listen t-to yer li-little f-friend," stammered the satyr, "ple-please!" as the blade pressed against his hairy neck.
"By Olympus, this one consorts with gorgons!" accused Epistulana, her body still against his.
The satyr's hooves trembled. And he muttered to himself, "Where is my pipe..."
"Is this true, satyr?" asked Puteo. "Or must I shoot a far-off gold one at her with your name on it?"
He shook his head.
She scowled at the prospect, and then glanced down at the faun's oversized, bestial genitalia with a laugh.
Fernando knew the counter-culture there. The ancient Greeks, unlike post-modern, Western culture, had no affinity for large, exaggerated penises. They thought them to be bestial, and laughable. That is why many sculptures seemed as if the sculptor's studio had been quite cold, with only the ancient pottery depicting satyrs as silly creatures of song and jest with exaggeratedly phallic loins. The myth of Priapus also came to mind, a deity cursed with a giant, wooden penis that was useless and non-functioning. The bigger-is-better mentality of modern culture didn't apply. The ancient Greeks associated such things with animals and jokes. Priapus was, after all, a god of livestock.
"You've l-lost a fe-feather?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said calmly.
He laughed, but it came out wrong. "L-liar!"
"What's it to you?" Lana demanded.
The putto pursed his lips.
"I c-can help," the satyr acknowledged. "If you let m-me go."
"It is not within my nature to kill," she admitted. "But that might change, if you speak of this to anyone else." Then, she withdrew her blade, having left a bloody mark along the front of his neck. She tilted her head over her shoulder, without taking her eyes off the satyr, asking her companion, "Can we trust him?"
The cherubic boy came to a landing in the middle of the patch of soft dirt and stray feathers. He sniffed the air, paying no attention to the semiconspicuous footprints.
The satyr's wild eyes watched him nervously.
"I think so," said the putto. "For now."
Fernando remained in the shadows.