THE MEETING

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Submitted Date 06/18/2020
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A tense spring in her step, Loviatar got out of the elevator and made her way to the CEO's office. As usual, walking down this corridor seemed to cause her ribcage to shrink and squeeze her lungs.

Oh, how she missed the Halls of Asgard: so vast, so dark, the only light the glow of the lovely bleached human bones sticking out of the pillars holding the roof. Infinitely better than these close walls in bright neon colors, if you asked her.

No one had. And anxious or not, this meeting was imperative, both for her own well-being, and that of the company. The fact that the new CEO was her daughter didn't change anything, although it did increase her malaise.

To regain countenance, Loviatar paused underneath one of the angled skylights to watch the shenanigans of a daredevil on a flying carpet.

Her daughter. How could she have given birth to such an aberration? What morbid curiosity had pushed her to breed with a mortal? What had he been doing on her cold and deserted moor? And why, why, had she not devoured the child as she did with every other human that crossed her path back then?

Enough! Thoughts such as these woke her appetite. Her daughter would be hard enough to convince without Loviatar making a meal of her secretary.

Back to the essential question: how to get her little prodigy to help? The problems of the Department of Population Control were bound to leave her brushing her belly button in indifference. She rarely missed an occasion to express her scorn toward Dealers of Death and their eating habits, and never spared family members.

It was Loviatar's own fault, and the knowledge hurt her maternal heart. Not that she had any illusions about her talents as a mother, but to have transmitted none of her values to her daughter struck her today as a miscalculation of inestimable proportions.

She threw a last glance at the madman on his carpet. That loop should have sent him plummeting to the earth. Were the gods of gravity offering such protection nowadays? It must have cost a fortune. Or maybe Gaïa didn't wish to see him, repelled him somehow. A spurned lover, perhaps?

Loviatar shrugged and went on her gloomy way.

No, convincing her daughter to divert human resources to fill vacancies in the Department would not be easy. But employees were disappearing faster than they could be replaced, and the rumor that some had served as a snack to hungry gods did not improve recruitment.

Loviatar's step faltered, her cheeks warmed. She had erased all traces of her misdeeds, she was certain. Yet, the persistence of the stories indicated her colleagues had probably also dipped their hands in the cookie jar, and with less discretion.

She sighed, let her hand trail along the wall. If only that were their only problem: hiring half-gods or people on death-row would be an easy fix. Her daughter could be persuaded on the latter – she so hated waste.

Much worse were the defections. In the last century, almost twenty Dealers of Death had gone through recycling. The remaining ones had been unable to pick up the slack, and the consequences were becoming obvious.

Just last week, her superior had quit to become, of all things, a yogurt god. It was why Loviatar, minor deity of an unknown pantheon, was in charge of this mission.

A sharp pain in her hand shook her out of her reverie. When had she stopped? And, more to the point: when had she punched a hole in the wall that separated the hallway and the CEO's office?

Her daughter tilted her head to look through the hole. Their eyes met, then she rolled hers toward the ceiling. The meeting was off to a bad start.

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