Part 5: Desperate measures

Hello once again! My name is Hades Mortem and I'm going to skip the introduction part and cut straight to the story this time, since I have something really shocking to tell you!

I walked around the school very determinately. Ghoulia hadn't been able to find a cure for my powers, so I had to try something else. Luckily, I already knew what that something else was going to be and now I just had to find it. Or she, to be specific. My ultimate solution, was to seek help from Gigi Grant, a female genie, who had the ability to grant wishes. I figured that if science couldn't help me, then maybe magic could.

After twenty minutes of wandering around and searching, I came to the school garden, where I found Gigi sitting on a bench right next to the water fountain. I approached her carefully, but right after she noticed me, she stood up, backed off and gave me an angry look. "Don't you dare to come closer!" Gigi shouted with a mix of anger and fear in her voice. She was obviously in a shock. Apparently, the tales of my dreadful powers had reached her ears as well. I followed Gigi's order and stopped walking. She stared at me for a long time, most likely calculating what to do next, before she took a deep breath and decided to speak once again.

"What do you want?" Gigi asked with an accusing tone. "Gigi...I...I need your help," I said, trying to sound as polite and friendly as I possibly could. "With what?" Gigi continued, still clearly irritated. "I'm trying to get rid of my powers. Me and Ghoulia already tried to do so with scientific methods, but failed, so now I'm asking your help," I said, hoping that Gigi would understand and show me some compassion. "What makes you think that I'd be the best person to help you, besides the fact that I have magical powers?" Gigi asked a bit sceptically. I noticed how her voice had changed from scared and judgmental to curious and genuinely interested. "Well, if I'm not mistaken, you've gone through fate similar to mine yourself," I began. "Care to elaborate?" Gigi asked politely but firmly. "We've both been tormented by our powers. When you were still bound by the lamp, you had to fulfill every dream and desire of your master, no matter the consequences. You were forced to act against your own will by your powers. That's the exact same thing that I'm going through right now. I cannot choose when and whether or not to use my powers. Instead, I'm restricted by them and they're dictating my life. Please Gigi, I need your help," I said desperately. Gigi stared at the ground and tried to wipe a tear off her eye, hoping that I wouldn't notice. I had hit her tender spot. "Fair enough," Gigi said quietly while nodding her head. "I'll help you. But I need some time to prepare. Meet me at the front gate in two hours," she then continued and lifted her gaze from the ground. "Thank you Gigi," I said gratefully and gave Gigi a warm expression. "Don't thank me yet," she said with a bit of hesitation and doubt in her voice, but still answered my gesture with a soft smile. Then we both left the garden. Gigi went to prepare herself and I went to the weekly meeting of the Disappearing Club.

"Hello, Hades! How are you doing?" Catty Noir asked as I walked inside the room where the Disappearing Club held its meetings. "I'm doing great! Gigi Grant promised to help me get rid of my 'unwanted talents' just a moment ago. I'm not sure how things will turn out, but I'm hopeful," I told eagerly. "Oh Hades, that's wonderful!" Catty replied happily. "No it isn't," Twyla joined the conversation. "What? But why?" Catty asked in amazement. "I think no one should be required to change themselves just to fit in," Twyla answered briefly and succinctly. "Maybe you've missed something, but my abilities disable me from ever having any sort of physical contact with anyone. I think that's a good enough reason to start making some changes," I said strictly and looked Twyla straight in the eyes. "I think you misunderstood me, Hades. What I was trying to say is that maybe you shouldn't try to delete your powers completely. Maybe you should just try to find a way to turn them off for a while. I just want you to understand that for many monsters their powers are what defines them. Or have you ever heard of a ghost who couldn't walk through walls or a dragon incapable of breathing fire? I bet the answer is 'no'. Now think about yourself. What kind of Death would you be, if you could not kill?" Twyla lectured passionately. "I can't just 'turn off my powers'! It just doesn't work! Trust me, I have tried it many times before," I said skeptically and mildly angry. "Yes, you have. With science, medicine and now magic. But have you ever thought that maybe you already have the cure, but you just don't know it yet?" Twyla said calmly, clearly trying to lead the conversation. "Please explain," I said swiftly. "I mean, your father was able to get you and that definitely requires physical contact with someone, so it must be possible to turn off your powers," Twyla answered. I was actually amazed. I had never even thought of that before. "But how?" I then asked. "I don't know. But the point is that you shouldn't rely on science and magic to solve your problem, when you possibly already have the means to do so yourself, without even having to change who you are completely. You just have to continue trying, do more experiments and discover those means yourself," Twyla said and gave me a meaningful look. "But I've tried everything! And I'm tired of trying! That's why I seek help from others!" I said with an exhausted tone. "Very well, Hades. Do whatever you need to do, but only if you truly think it's for the best," Twyla said, with a little bit of commiseration in her voice.

"You know, I could possibly even be able to help you, if that's what you really want," Twyla then continued after a brief moment of silence. "Really? How?" I asked curiously. "My father has these potions which allow the user to change into any monster they want. I was thinking that maybe you'd like to try them. I always keep few bottles with me in school, just in case," Twyla said and opened her bag. "That's awesome! I appreciate your help, Twyla! Maybe I won't need Gigi after all," I said enthusiastically. "So, what kinda monster do you wanna be then? I have vampire potion, skeleton potion, werecat potion..." Twyla listed as she emptied her bag to the table. I was so tempted to choose the werecat potion, for reasons that are most likely very obvious to you, but ultimately decided to go with the skeleton potion instead.

"I think I'll take the skeleton potion. It just feels like the most fitting option for Death," I said and grabbed the vial from the table. "Good luck, Hades," Catty said and smiled encouragingly. I opened the vial and poured some of the potion on me, waiting for something to happen.

After ten minutes of waiting, I still hadn't got any results. I sighed, closed the bottle and put it back on the table. "I don't understand this. These potions should work for all monsters," Twyla said with a confused tone. "So why didn't it work for Hades?" Catty asked.

"Because Death is not a monster," Invisi-Billy, who had remained silent through the entire conversation, said. To be honest, none of us even knew he was in the room, because he had turned himself invisible, like he quite often did. "Based on what logic?" I asked in disbelief. "For many people Death is a good thing, even though you might not think that way yourself. I still remember the day when my grandmother died. It may sound awful, but my whole family was very relieved when she did, because she was gravely ill and in great pain," Invisi-Billy explained. I pressed my head down. Invisi-Billy noticed my gesture and decided to continue speaking. "You don't have to be ashamed of your powers, Hades. In many cultures, for example, Death is often celebrated by people. Those people see Death as a saviour. For them, death is a new beginning and a chance to be redeemed and forgiven," Invisi-Billy said, trying to infuse some faith in me. "Thanks...I guess..." I said quietly. "But I think Twyla does have a point. You should definitely pursue your happiness, but be sure not to lose yourself along the way," Invisi-Billy said and looked me straight in the eyes. I didn't know what to do or say, so I just stood there silently. Then I happened to glance at the clock. "I'm sorry, but I have to go now," I said shortly and left the room. It was time to meet Gigi. Obviously I didn't know it back then, but I was about to make a huge mistake.

I met Gigi at the front yard of the school. She greeted me with a soft smile as she saw me approaching. "So, are you ready for this?" Gigi asked. "Yes," I answered briefly and confidently. That was my first step towards the disaster. "Very well then," Gigi said and took a deep breath. We were both nervous, but also really determined at the same time. This moment would change my entire existence forever. "I think the simplest way to do this, would be to turn you into a completely different monster," Gigi said expertly. "Why is that the simplest way?" I asked skeptically and curiously. "It is easier for me to just create a new body for your consciousness, rather than alter the already existing one," Gigi explained with a knowing voice. "But of course, it's your decision. If you want to try something else, just tell me," she then continued with a polite and sympathetic tone. I thought about what Twyla and Invisi-Billy had told me about "trying not to lose my true self". I decided to heed their advice. That was the second step towards the disaster. "Gigi, I appreciate your help and I know I'm asking much, but could you just delete my powers? I don't want to be any other monster. I want to be me," I said with a naive and hopeful voice. "Very well. But that is going to require a very large amount of my powers. I might not be able to help you immediately in case something goes wrong," Gigi said, a bit worried. "Don't worry. I trust you," I said confidently. That was the final step needed for the disaster. "Okay," Gigi sighed swiftly and a little timidly. Then she stretched her arms out, took a sturdy position and closed her eyes. After muttering a short mantra, Gigi slammed her palms together, resulting in a bright, blinding flash.

After my eyes recovered from the flash and my vision was restored, I looked at Gigi, who seemed very exhausted. "Did it work?" I asked carefully. "I don't know," Gigi answered with a weary voice. "Then I guess I should perform a little test," I said determinately. Gigi looked frightened. "Don't worry. I won't put any students in danger," I explained. "I think there might be some frogs in the biteology class. I'll go there and see if I still possess my powers. Will you be alright?" I then continued. "Yes, I'll be fine. Just go," Gigi said while wiping sweat off her forehead. I ran inside the school and headed for the biteology class. Then the disaster struck.

When I had just entered the corridor leading to the classroom, I suddenly felt myself dizzy and weak. I soon collapsed to the floor, since I could no longer support my own weight. I tried to relax and breathe a little bit, hoping it would help, but I couldn't actually inhale any oxygen. I was suffocating and it felt horrible. Then I felt an ice-cold wave travel through my body. Everything began to turn dark.

As I lay there on the floor semi-conscious, my head facing down, I suddenly heard an unearthly, but very familiar voice. It was my father. "I do not recognize you mortal, yet I sense your time has come to an end," he said coldly and then paused for a moment. "Who are you and how did you manage to hide yourself?" he continued and began reaching for me. I whimpered weakly and turned around, allowing my father to see my face. "Hades?!" he gasped in amazement and took a step back. "What...Is happening...To me..?" I asked with my last bit of strength. "You are fading away from reality. You are dying. But I will NOT let that happen. I will NOT kill my own son!" My father said with his haunting voice. He probably said something else as well, but I couldn't hear it, since that is when I passed out.

After some time I woke up again. I was lying on a bed surrounded by my friends and my father. They all seemed exhausted and tired, but also very relieved after I opened my eyes. Some of them even showed signs of grief and sorrow, like Frankie, whose eyes were wet.

"What's going on..?" I asked in confusion. "You were in a coma for three days," Catty answered quietly and with a serious tone. "Re-Really?" I managed to stutter. "You shouldn't have challenged your fate, Hades. After Gigi removed your abilities, you began to vanish from existence," My father explained sternly. "And why is that?" I asked with a worried and a bit frightened voice. "Because there cannot be Death without death!" My father replied with an imperative and furious tone. "The only way to prevent you from disappearing was to restore all your abilities but since Gigi couldn't do it all at once, I had to put you into a coma. This allowed Gigi to restore your abilities little by little and also made sure you wouldn't die by draining your powers too much," My father then continued, now with less anger and strictness in his voice. He was still trying to act tough, but I saw through him. It is not normal for Death to be afraid of itself, so I understand why my father was so nervous and shocked.

"So...I have my powers back now?" I asked after a brief moment of tense silence. "Yes. You either possess your abilities and live or you don't and die," My father confirmed briefly and exhaustively. I nodded swiftly. My gaze wandered around the room and was greeted by both pitying and encouraging expressions. "Could I...Can I have a moment alone please?" I asked and looked everyone in the room with pleading eyes. "Yes, of course," My father replied and left the room with my friends following close behind.

And there I was. Sitting alone on my bed, trying to make sense of all this. I didn't know whether to shout, cry or laugh. The only thing I knew for certain, was that all I had done was in vain. I still had my powers and would always have them, despite my efforts to be relieved of them. But surprisingly enough, I didn't feel sad. I felt empty. Pointless. I was confused. I had almost died and it felt so weird and unreal. Especially because I'm one of those few beings incapable of dying. My head was filled with all sorts of thoughts. I leaned back, took a deep breath and sighed heavily. Then someone knocked on my door and opened it.

"May I come in?" Frankie asked, peeking through the open door. "Go ahead," I said and smiled in a friendly and inviting way. Frankie came to me and sat beside me. "What's on your mind?" she asked with a sincere voice. "Nothing much. I'm just disappointed. I was so hopeful we could find a cure," I said at first. "Actually, hold on. That's not how I feel. Honestly, I don't know how I feel. I'm mostly confused. And I think...I think I might be coming to terms with my powers after all," I then continued lightly, belittling my ordeals and filled with confidence. "You sound quite the opposite to the Hades I spoke with just a couple of days ago," Frankie said with a delightful tone. "Yeah, I know. But I realized I would much rather be me than anything or anyone else," I replied with naive voice, still bursting with confidence. It was false confidence however, for in reality, I was just deceiving myself and denying my true feelings. "That is good to hear. And I'm sure you had your own reasons. But do not worry. I don't care who or what you are. You will always be my friend," Frankie said encouragingly, compassionately and warmly. The glimmering of her eyes rivaled that of the sun itself. "And no matter what anyone says, your powers do not make you any worse of a person and there is definitely nothing you have done wrong, Hades. I actually believe that the biggest victim of your powers is you yourself. I'm sure there is no way someone could possibly have gone through more terrible and dreadful events than you," Frankie continued enthusiastically, trying to cheer me up, with a wide, unsuspecting smile on her face.

And that's when I broke down. It all came back to me. All my terrible deeds, all the gruesome kills, all the promising lives that had ended prematurely due to me. All my repressed feelings and memories were attempting to get out at last. I bursted into tears and cried inconsolably.

"Hades! What's wrong?" Frankie asked, with her voice now changed from cheerful to worried. "I didn't want any of this, Frankie! I hate everything I am and all the things I have done! I bring darkness and suffering wherever I go! I just can't take this anymore! I should have vanished right there on the school floor!" I sobbed uncontrollably. "Hades! Just...Calm down! Talk to me! I can help!" Frankie insisted with a desperate voice. After I noticed how sorrowful and helpless Frankie seemed, I took few long breaths and somehow managed to cool off a bit, even though I was really hysterical. Then I told Frankie everything. About Spectra, about Ghoulia, everything.

After I stopped, Frankie looked at me with terrified and startled, yet compassionate and pitying eyes. "That is awful! I'm so sorry Hades! I did not know! No one should be forced to undergo such abominable things!" she exclaimed in despair. "Well, if it wasn't me, it would be someone else. Someone would always suffer," I replied evenly and thoughtfully. Frankie gave me an admiring and respectful look. "You're a very brave man, you know that Hades? And nothing will ever change my opinion about you. You're such a sweet, loving and overall awesome guy," she said with an encouraging voice.

"But I must know one thing," Frankie then continued with a much more serious and grim tone. "What can you tell me about my own death?" she asked. "It's better that you don't know. It's better that only one of us has to carry that burden," I answered hesitantly and reluctantly. "Tell anyway," Frankie urged with a decisive, but a bit faltering voice and looked me straight in the eyes. "Okay, listen," I sighed. "Do you know why your grandfather, Victor Frankenstein, is often referred to as the 'mad' scientist? Do you know why you have the body of a teenage girl? And do you know why that said body consists of pieces sewn together?" I asked with a serious tone. Frankie had a shocked and glazed expression on her face, as she connected all the pieces together in her head.

"Do you now understand what I mean?" I continued. "I go through these same haunting thoughts every single day and I know how much pain, suffering and grief they can bring. I do not want you to experience the same horrors I do. I want to spare you from it because I love you Frankie. You are my best friend and you do not deserve to suffer like I do," I said with a meaningful voice and shed a tear.

Now it was Frankie's turn to break down. Tears flowing from her eyes, she gave me a warm smile which was followed by a short, compassionate interjection mixed with happiness and sorrow. "Oh, Hades!" Frankie managed to shout and then, without a second thought or any hesitation, she leaped towards me and hugged me tight.

It was only after she let go that I realized what had happened. Frankie had just touched me, but she wasn't dead.