I'm blind. I'm never going to see the sun again. I'm surrounded by utter blackness. I'm... I'm... I'm overreacting. The smoke from Nico's little experiment was black as pitch and as thick as oil. I could feel its greasy texture as it slid down my arms raising each hair as it went. It closed in around me like a glove. My body temperature dropped and my hands began to shake. I needed to get out of this smoke before... like now.
I could sense the others around me in their silent struggle. Nico's warning from earlier had us all scared to open our mouths. He told us only a few days earlier to never under any circumstance inhale what he called hades breath... aka this ridiculous smoke that is currently clinging to my legs making walking a real pain in the ass. Its very powerful. It can give life, and it can take it away. It starts with dropping the body temperature, then it clouds the mind and numbs all of your nerves. Then it finishes the cycle by creeping its way into your lungs and slowly suffocating you. Hades breath is also rumored to solidify once it takes its victim. It covers their entire body and hardens, creating a tomb. Its hard to believe that all of that came from such a little boy. But it was necessary to help Leo. He's already dead so the Hades breath actually does the direct opposite. It warms him up, clears his mind, activates his nerves, opens his lungs, and then incases him in a little cocoon and shoots him up to the surface.
Now from all of that gloriously happy information, I gather that I only have a few minutes before it creeps its way into my brain. I have a certain preference to not having my brain invaded and shut down. I'm pretty sure Annabeth would argue that my brain (which according to her is made out of seaweed) has been shut down for some time now. But I would prefer only be a few years behind her academically rather than a few decades. Oh Annabeth I really miss her. If I make it home I promise to never leave my family again. I need them, I need their love. I have almost lost track of how long I've been gone. But I know the twins birthday is coming up in about a month. I need to be home for that. I need to get home.
There was a thinning in the grave like smoke. I could see a dim light coming through the smoke. I focused every thought I had on that spot. Of it existence. How it's going to save me, and bring me home. One foot in front of the other I made my way towards it. The smoke was thickening around my feet, attempting to glue them to the floor. I was freezing now yet sweat still pooled down my back and across my forehead. I strained against the invisible force of the hades breath. I continued on... for my camp, for my friends, for my family.
After a few excruciating minutes I finally broke the surface of the smoke and into some clean air. In retrospect it would have been smart if we just had left the room before Nico attempted to send Leo back. But then again he hadn't made much progress until today so we weren't exactly expecting to have to struggle for clean air.
I fell down as as soon as the smoke released me, coughing and rubbing warmth back into my arms. I looked around and counted only one person. It was so bright out here compared to the black hole that was Leo's yurt. I couldn't tell who it was. My eyes needed to adjust. I slowly sat up and squinted in the direction of whoever was sitting next to me. He was sitting up and pressing two fingers to my neck, trying to get a pulse I guess. His black hair was now drenched in sweat was plastered to his forehead. It was Nico. So where was Jason?
My heart picked up pace as I began to panic. I struggled to my feet, "Nico where Jason? Please tell me he got out okay!" Nico looked at me but said nothing. "Nico why aren't you saying anything? Nico please answer me!" He just shook his head. "I haven't seen him."
I could feel anger grip my heart, "What do you mean you haven't seen him? Where would he be?" Nico looked down at his shoes, "It means, that either he didn't make it out and was claimed by hades breath. Or..." He closed his eyes and turned his back to me. I placed my hand on his shoulder, trying my hardest t stay calm, "Or what Nico?" He turned back to me with a pale face and tear streaked face.
"Or it means that he made it out and we're the ones who didn't make it."
My heart froze. No This couldn't be happening. Theres no way that I'm... that I'm dead. I don't feel dead, I promised my family I would come home. My kids aren't even a year old yet! I need to get home. I need to get back to my family. One by one their faces flashed across my vision. Annabeth, Noah, Gracie, My Mom, even Paul.
I fell to my knees, wrapping my hands in my hair. I cried for the first time in a long time. I had always tried to be the strong one. Always the one to hold someone as they cried or fell apart. But here I am, falling apart. Tears slid down the bridge of my nose and splashed against the ground. This can't be happening, this can't be happening, this CANT BE HAPPENING! I let a loud scream. I'm sure I sound like a tortured animal. But I'm not far from that. This is it, the ultimate torture. Forever bared from my loved ones.
....This can't be happening.