Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In

After tragedy strikes, Lemos lives a simple life with his dog

Long ago, there was a man named Lemos. Lemos was a simple man who lived in Ancient Greece during the time of the gods and monsters.

Lemos had a simple life in Greece. He lived in the city of Sparta, in a small hut a few miles off of the main villages. Lemos lived alone. Lemos was known for nothing, and nobody knew who he was. He did not have any friends, or family. He had one dog, who was named Alexander.

Lemos had found Alexander on the streets of Sparta while trying to buy some food from the local market. Lemos cared very much for Alexander, but as the years went on, he started giving less and less attention to Alexander. Alexander loved him and obeyed, but was at times saddened by how lonely his owner felt. Alexander could see him looking out the window of their small hut for hours on end, just staring. Since Lemos had no friends, he didn’t have to tell anybody his secret because he didn’t have anyone to tell. When Lemos had found Alexander, he was shriveled and starved. Lemos knew he had to help Alexander. Since the dog could not move very well, he stayed in the same spot on the street behind the food shop every day. Every day, Lemos went behind the food shop to give him food and, occasionally, scratches. As time went on, Lemos began to love Alexander. Lemos had named the dog Alexander because of his son. His son’s middle name was Alexander, and Lemos wanted to prouden the dog’s name.

Fire Eater

Lemos’s son had died, and it had been Lemos’s fault. One day, Lemos’s son went to the swimming hole a few hundred feet from the house, and Lemos decided to let his son go on his own. He had never let his son go before, but his son snuck out of the house at night and down to the swimming hole. Lemos wanted to teach him a lesson.

His son cried out after an hour went by, “Father! Help! I got stuck in a mud hole!”

Lemos responded, “Son! Where are you? Surely you cannot be in the swimming hole without my permission!” Lemos thought that his son could get out on his own, and he decided to go to sleep and give his son a lecture in the morning.

Lemos woke. He walked out of his bedroom and checked in on his son’s room. Lemos started to panic, as his son was not there. He burst out of the house and ran over to the swimming hole as fast as possible, only to find that his son had suffocated trying to get out of the mud hole. Lemos burst into tears and cried for days on end mourning his son, on the verge of wanting to end his own life. But then a month later, he had found Alexander. After two months of caring for him on the streets, he took Alexander into his own home.

Now, three years later, a man appeared in his house the minute he walked in after buying food at the market. The man was wearing a green toga and nothing else, except for two sandals on his feet. His face was shaped roundly, and he had gray hair and green eyes. He spoke: “My name is Janus. Take a seat.” The strange man offered him a chair that Lemos was sure he had never owned, for he owned no furniture but his bed.

Lemos said nothing, but he sat in the chair. Suddenly, the man reached over and pressed his fingers against the temple of Lemos’s forehead. Lemos’s mind went black, and then it was flooded with a vision and memories of him with his son, times when he and his son played games around the house, went swimming together in the swimming hole, buying fun things and foods in the market— nothing but happy memories. All of a sudden, during another memory, he heard Janus’s voice again speaking in his mind: “You miss that, don’t you?”

“Such a quick decision! Are you sure you are decided? It could haunt you forever.”

The scene changed to the day his son had died. Lemos awoke from his memory slumber in tears. “Who are you?” he asked Janus in a choked voice.

Janus said, “I am a minor god, and I have come with an offer that can change your fate forever. If you give up your dog, Alexander, to me, you can have your son back, and this offer lasts forever.”

Lemos considered the offer. It made him very sad because he loved Alexander very much, but his son meant more to him.

Lemos said “Okay. I accept your offer, Janus.”

Janus responded, “Such a quick decision! Are you sure you are decided? It could haunt you forever.”

Lemos said, “I am sure.”

Swiftly, the god disappeared into thin air, leaving the chair wobbling. Lemos knew he shouldn’t bother looking for Alexander.

“Dad! Dad?” Lemos heard his son cry. Oddly, the voice sounded faint.

Lemos ran for the door to find his son, but the minute he exited the door, he sank into the ground. Lemos fell into an extremely dark opening, no entrances visible. He heard a voice, but this time he could feel the power of the entity speaking to him. The voice was the almighty Hades.

“Lemos, you have disobeyed the laws of death by bringing your son back to life. It was once your decision to let your own son struggle against the claws of darkness. Once something has happened, it cannot be changed. You should know that by now. If you had listened to Janus, you could have been rewarded, but now you will be punished. You shall sit in this hole eternally, and once you die you shall serve eternal punishment in the underworld.”

Hades disappeared with a massive rumble and shaking left behind, and Lemos’s loud crying, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” carried out with the rumbling and quaked as far as 200 miles.

The earthquake also carried the whole story with it, and the story was told across Sparta through the rumbling. Now people say when there are earthquakes, you can still hear Lemos’s cry through the quaking. They say that earthquakes happen because Lemos is still trying to get his message across, begging for mercy from the underworld.

T. Max Crowe
T. Max Crowe, 12
Wayland, MA

Aaron D’Souza
Aaron D’Souza, 9
San Diego, CA