the plunge

1.3K 68 5

Percy groaned hoarsely, trying to clear his mucus-filled throat.  Blinking away the blur and dancing dark spots he saw, he tried to ignore Ciarda's sobs. They were muffled, telling him that someone was holding her. His heart clenched but he kept walking away from the vaulted door. He wasn't going to make it, and she didn't deserve to die in his place. Turning, he held his sword out toward the approaching Chimaera. 

With a slithering tongue, the monster rattled and snarled when it crawled to him, its horns burly and slimy. It had a face that was pig-like and its snout elongated past its jaw. Blood stains echoed around her mouth and glass scratches feathered over its muscles. 

Echidna walked calmly next to her daughter, with a lethal smile. There was death behind her eyes. "This is the end, Sweetheart. Don't fight it," She shook her head softly, "You'll just make her angry." 

Percy kept edging forward, trying to ignore the hammering in his chest. He felt bile rise in his throat, but he swallowed and focused on the loud pulse in his ears. The growls of the Chimaera suggested that she was ready to attack, and Percy wasn't prepared to wait around to find out. He faced it, letting their faces get closer. Hot breath bristled his cheeks. 

When its mouth opened and the searing orange met Percy's vision, he lunged. His sword sliced deep into the Chimaera's foot, making the monster roar in agony. Blood spurted from the gash, soaking the Chimaera's fur. 

Percy grunted, not stopping when he readied to attack again. Before he could, the bleeding paw of the Chimaera struck him, sending Percy crashing into the wall. He yelled out, the metal behind him denting inward. His back felt on fire and bruises automatically formed over his tensed muscles. 

When he crawled, trying to get away from the predator stalking him, he heard a noise. There were still faint bangs on the door from Ciarda's ruined hands. She was continuously begging him to open the door - it was what the Oracle had asked of her. 

"GO NOW!" He shouted to them, sighing in relief when he heard Grover and Annabeth drag Ciarda away. Percy had made his choice. Now, he had to die with it. 

He scrambled up rapidly, forcing himself away as the Chimaera's face opened up. Striped wings on its cheeks flattened outwards whilst it roared lava, destroying the floor. Fire lit up the carpet, singing Percy's clothes to a sooty black. It transferred onto his hands and face, his body shaking from the extreme heat. 

Echidna's head cocked in curiosity. She watched Percy struggle out of the blaze before raising her hand and smiling when the floor near him gave out. The warm spring wind whooshed from the hole, three hundred feet of air between Percy and the ground. Green fields filled with St. Louis civilians waltzed below him. 

Trying not to think of the height, Percy used the bannister to help him stand and face the Chimaera. He limped, his face sweaty and faded. Perspiration fell from his hairline, falling into his eyebrows. 

Scrunching his face in anger, his blade contacted the Chimaera again, blood erupting out from its side. It matted against his fur, spraying over part of the Arch. He didn't have time to pray to Athena - he knew what her answer would be. He was impertinent. 

Instead of retreating to its mother, the monster hit Percy back. Razor-sharp claws delved into his back, propelling him back. His sword scattered behind the Chimaera, and his body plummeted through the hole in the floor. 

Echidna beamed her pearly teeth, walking to the edge. Her perfectly plucked eyebrow raised in surprise when she noticed Percy was holding onto a pipe sticking out of the hole. He groaned with the effort, trying to get back onto the platform. 

"So unfair. You never had a chance, did you? You should have let that Ares kid have a go, she would have stood more of a chance," Echidna tutted. Percy grunted when one of his hands slipped, weakened by the poison. This was his end. 

Echidna said nothing whilst watching him struggle. Her jacket, once pristine, was now stained with her daughter's blood. Percy decided she wasn't in the mood to give him a hand up. "Pity," He saw her sneering smirk. And when Percy's hand gave out, his body fell through the air with nothing stopping him. 

Wind rustled around him, his mouth too filled with air to let out a scream. Adrenaline pumped through him like nothing he'd ever experienced before. His heart jumped in his throat, and his arms couldn't move. He was frozen in fear of his death. 

His figure tumbled through the air; Sights of the sky, then the smoking Arch, and then the ground all mixed in his vision. 

Ciarda. Ciarda came into his mind. She was so adamant about helping him from the very beginning. Had fought her flesh and blood for him. It was what her life had been about since she was six. And he had taken the kleos from her. He'd been stupid, tried to be the hero. She would have to find his mutilated, maimed body in a puddle of his blood. Those soft brown eyes would have to watch them pull him away with legs bent at odd angles. 

Then, the sound of water rushing filled his ears. Something soft pulled at him, and Percy then was yelling whilst being dragged into the Hudson. 

His frame plunged into the murky water, green and yellow hues surrounding him. It was freezing, the water soaking into his clothes and leaving him feeling cold. He couldn't stop spinning with the force that yanked him under, his lungs expelling air. His eyes shut forcefully. 

Water burbled around him when his eyes finally opened, and Percy looked around in confusion. He had stopped spinning. Trying to swim toward the surface, he noticed his foot was caught under a metal pipe lodged in the ground. He yanked his leg, trying to remove his shoe, but the pipe wouldn't budge. 

Fear of drowning overtook him; an ironic way to go. His heartbeat hadn't slowed and he was sure he was about to go into cardiac arrest. His mind returned to Ciarda. Now she wouldn't know where to look for him until his sea-rotten face turned up on the news. 

Yelling for help seemed like a good idea until bubbles left his lungs, leaving him with less air. Nobody was going to help him. Then, suddenly he saw a creature. It had a thin tail, shimmering iridescent. 

A neried came forward, orange glowing from her necklace. "You are frightened. It's alright, Percy. Your father sent me to tell you, it's alright," Her tail moved smoothly with the currents. Her eyes seemed happy, full of love. He felt himself calm slightly. 

"Just breathe," Her voice was silky smooth, pulling him in. He wanted to listen to her. Percy nearly tried, but couldn't bring himself to. Chiron's tales of sirens came to mind. Once again, he tried to swim but it didn't work, his clothes heavy with the water. 

"Your father is here," The Neried's voice was soothing and beckoning. Percy paused. "He's always been here. It's so hard for him to stand back, to see you struggle. It is so hard for us all. But he's here, and he's so very proud. Trust him. Trust yourself. Just breathe." 

Percy stopped struggling with his foot and took a moment. He looked around, the Neried disappearing. It was still murky, the only thing visible being the seaweed which wafted with Hudson waves. Attempting to think rationally, he tried to slow his heartrate.

And with a prayer of dumb luck, he took a breath.

𝐖𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐈𝐃𝐄𝐒  | percy jacksonWhere stories live. Discover now