The gods are among us.

Zeus drinks himself half to death at the bar. He makes bedroom eyes at every pretty girl to walk in the room. They will clutch their cans of mace a little tighter as they walk home tonight.

Aphrodite helps a beaten girl to her feet, holding her tight as her young body is racked with sobs. Artemis stands nearby, preparing to hunt the thief of this young girl’s innocence. These are the only hunts she participates in anymore.

Athena glares at Ares as bloody knuckles and booted feet connect with battered bodies between them. The fight clubs are their temples now.

Dionysus stands behind a bar, serving drinks to rowdy men and pretty girls. Later, he will be found holding back the hair of girls, too young for the drinks they swallowed, as they vomit the concoctions they drank to forget the pain in the world. Dionysus understands and so he drinks more than anyone, if only to forget the suffering that has filled his immortal life.

Hestia mourns the numerous broken homes. She puts extra effort in protecting the scant few happy families left. So Hestia has created a home for those lost and abandoned, for she too knows how it feels to be cast out by the family who should have loved you unconditionally. She understands what it feels like to be adrift and homeless.

Apollo sits on a busy, crowded street, strumming his guitar and singing a song of loss and pain. He uses poetry and music to mourn the pain in the world. He berates himself constantly, because for every life he saves, ten more are extinguished. He has stopped visiting hospitals because he can’t help but feel his efforts are futile. He hasn’t seen his sister in years, and he misses her most at night, when he can see her beloved stars and moon.

Hermes slumps in a chair, exhausted from the horror gracing the human news. He decides he is no longer deserving of the title “messenger of the gods,” since he hasn’t delivered a message in centuries. Not when the gods no longer keep in touch. So he reverts to his favorite pastime: stealing. But what use is mortal money to a god?

Hera sits in the shadows of a bar and struggles to summon the dredges of the vindictive, jealous anger that used to come so easily to her when she saw her husband with another woman. Hera thinks that perhaps in this modern world, she would do better as the goddess of divorce. Because, really, how can she profess that marriage is the best gift the world has to offer when she can’t even keep her husband in her bed? When he doesn’t even bother pretending that he loves her? Yes, goddess of failed marriages has such a lovely, miserable ring to it.

Poseidon wanders the beach, picking up the scattered trash that poisons his domain. His tears mix with the salt water on his cheeks and he weeps for the suffering of his oceans. He feels the pollution like a phantom pain, and he scoffs at himself, full of loathing for the god of the sea who could not protect his oceans from mortals.

Hades lounges in his extravagant mansion, smiling at his lovely wife curled at his side. Blessed is he, for there will always be death, and mortals will always worship his riches. Of all his siblings, Hades, the scorned brother, cursed to rule the underworld, is the only one to still enjoy immortality.

Persephone is as beautiful as ever and she is happy with her loving husband who always joins her in her protests, right alongside her as she weeps for for the dying of this earth, as she cries herself to sleep at night when she thinks of all the loss of nature’s beauty and life. This world is suffering and she is the only one to hear its cries. They haunt her dreams.

Hecate flips the sign on the window to say closed. She longs for days gone by when people knew the truth. Magic is very real. Instead, she has to smile politely while customers come to her store to purchase items they know not how to use and religious men preach about how witchcraft is a sin, and she will burn in hell. Hecate does not care. She is as immortal as magic.

Cupid narrows his eyes with scorn every time he hears the word love fly from the lips of people who do not understand the meaning of the word. Though who is he to judge them when all his matchmaking attempts end in failure. Perhaps the mortals simple do not want him to decide who they love. Perhaps it is their turn to choose.

Athena prowls through college campuses, holding signs high in protect with the students around her. These fearless children are her people. She scoffs at the professors who are simply going through the motions, who fail to appreciate the brilliant minds all around them. She never fails to notice.

Ares picks his way across a battlefield and finds himself at the ruins of what used to be an elementary school. He no longer understands war, hasn’t for centuries. This was not brave, this was not heroic. This was senseless bloodshed. He sees nothing holy in this ruined world.

Aphrodite swallows the bile in her throat as she hears another rapist has been left free. She glares daggers at boys yelling obscene things at women. She’s long stopped romanticizing love. However, sometimes she sees a young girl handing over her baby to an older couple who tried for years, and she remembers what she once represented. Sometimes she sees Ares across the room of soldiers returning from the horrors of war, and as they embrace the loved ones they left behind, she smiles at him.

Artemis takes her role as protector of young women seriously. There’s a gun tucked into her waistband and a switchblade in her pocket. She can’t save them all, so she has also become an avenging goddess. She can be found in the streets or at battered women’s shelters, preparing for the next hunt.

The gods are dying. The gods wish they were dead. Is immortality a blessing or a curse?

—  The gods were always too human for their divinity (inspired by the writings of @crossroadsbela )

“Nico, what does this guy want from you?”

I get the feeling that the Cupid scene will be one that I keep redrawing through the years until I can finally capture exactly how I pictured while reading the scene in the book.

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Art is mine
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Roberto Ferri is known for his poetic imagery imbued with references to Baroque painters such as Caravaggio and other old masters of Romanticism. His work focuses on the coexistence of good and evil, sacred and profane in both our daily life and our subconscious. In this light, the emotional intensity of his depictions reveals an attempt to connect the parallel dimension, where his almost-theatrical representations take place in a socio-psychological present. The psychological aspects of his figures are projections of different phases that the human soul goes through during its ongoing transformation. 

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