31 Short Stories in 31 Days: Day 2

The Challenge

It was in a forest in Greece that Travis found the god. Travis was on a school trip and had broken away from the group to explore the nearby woods while the rest of them went shopping. Travis could not tell you which god it was, merely that it was a god – the perfection of their form gave it away. The god was bathing below a waterfall. Always a bit sure of himself, Travis did not cower, engaged the deity.

“Hey, you,” Travis began, unceremoniously, “I bet I can beat you with a challenge.”

The god turned his attention on Travis and narrowed his vision and scoffed. “Mortal man,” he said, “always so cocksure, rushing headlong. Know that any that have challenged me have failed. But I grow bored, and so will accept your challenge. What are the terms?”

And they discussed and negotiated, and came to terms that they could agree on. If Travis won, he would be given the power of a demigod. If the god won, Travis would abandon his body and be taken to Hades, the god wearing Travis for a chariot for the rest of his natural time on the world.

“Now,” the god asked, “what is the challenge?”

Travis smirked and said coolly, “I challenge you to fail.”

The god blinked, and came to understand slowly that it had made a terrible mistake. It tried many tasks, but found itself infallible. Everything that it attempted to do, it succeeded at. Eventually, it conceded that it could not fail and granted Travis his new power.

Travis left the forest a new man, full of strength. Petty things raced through his mind, fame and wealth (though how much he fancied these himself, and how much it was the draw of demigodhood, he was not sure). Travis found his appetites grown and unquenchable, and he found a partner to share the night with him and found his paroxysms unsatisfying, no matter how much he came. His swollen member would have made even Priapus uncomfortable.

Thus did Travis begin to understand the blessing and the curse of his newfound power. Being a demigod, Travis would further find, was a balancing act of power and weakness. One day, he would return to the waterfall, decades after the “gift” was bestowed, but Travis would never see the god he had tricked, and who had tricked him, ever again.

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