Amber Keller is the author of Hades and the Hydra in Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity. We asked Amber to shed some light on her inspiration behind her tale and this is what she shared with us -
My Inspiration for Hades and the Hydra
When I was little, my dad would watch movies like JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, and THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD on television. I would walk in the room and stop, fixated on the fascinating stop motion action and amazed at Ray Harryhausen’s spectacular creations like the famous army of skeletons. Honestly I don’t know who drooled the most – dad or me. I admittedly got bored in between the scenes of the cool creatures, yet I would usually park myself in the floor, right in front of the television, patiently waiting to see what would come next. His choice of movies inspired me to learn more about the myths behind the monsters as an adult.
In college I took a course dedicated solely to mythology. It was AWESOME!!! The teacher was this cool, laid back, spiritual type that wore scarves and beads to class, and she exuded an air of smooth knowledge and cool confidence as she taught us these amazing tales. She exposed us to so many different cultures and their surrounding mythologies that my head was spinning with it all. I realized then that I leaned toward the Greek myths a little, but the storyteller in me wanted to spin a yarn that would mix and match a few elements from the many. I still have yet to complete this project, but I have a great rough outline sitting in a cool journal that I tote with me in my laptop bag. Just in case.
When I read the call for submissions from Sirens Call, I sat and thought about whom I wanted to write about. Pretty quickly I knew it would be Hades. I kicked the idea of Thanatos around, but I needed someone who would interact and be more human than I wanted to pull out of him. I do see myself doing a Thanatos story soon. Very soon. And I decided to center the story around the Mayan prophecy for 2012. It was my own little nod and wink to all of the doomsday talk.
Some people may think that Hades is a real bad guy, but in myth, he’s really not. But I wanted to toe the line and make him a little of the bad guy but at the same time show a more human side to him. My addition of Cerberus as Hades’ faithful dog by his side was a little bit of fun for me. Just because Hades resides in Hell does not mean that he can’t have a good, loyal dog, right? In order to make Hades both more formidable and to supply him with another pet of sorts and a partner in crime, in came the Hydra. The Hydra has been a source of fascination with me for a long time. I had read a book about a year ago where the Hydra played a small part. But the visual has never left. It was one nasty foe. I wanted to give the Hydra a bigger part, and also some of the characteristics of a beloved family pet. Planting Hades and the Hydra in New York City was a no brainer for me. NYC is big, has a ton of people they could potentially chew up and spit out, and allowed for a more familiar setting for the reader to identify with.
But one thing was missing. Hades would need someone to reel him in, in the end. This is where I chose to use his older brother, Zeus. This also gave me a chance to have a grand entrance from the god of sky and thunder himself. Here again, I didn’t want to go all the way with the thought that Zeus would downright kick Hades butt. I needed it to be as much a physical show down as a mental match of the wits, so to speak. Hades would eventually back down, but he would do it on his own terms.
I will always love mythology. And I’m sure there will be more stories on the gods from me in the future. It’s a subject with endless possibilities and opportunities for amazing plots.
Explore the twelve tales of horror and intrigue in Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity and ask yourself, what would you consider a fair price to pay for life immortal… or the chance of life at all?
Would a young woman pass up a shiny bauble if she believed it to be nothing more than a harmless trinket? What transpires once a year in a peaceful and remote village that no one will ever speak of? What better way for a broken man to honor a crippled existence than with a memorial of blood and vengeance? How could a disfigured woman ever dream of chancing across an object that would restore her beauty – and at what cost?
Follow the twists and turns of each writer as they delve into the legends of days gone by, as well as the consequences that are wrought when myths and monstrosities collide with our world.
Contributing Authors include:
Thomas James Brown, Nina D’Arcangela, K. Trap Jones, Amber Keller, Lisamarie Lamb, Edward Lorn, Alexa Muir, Kate Monroe, Joseph A. Pinto, J. Marie Ravenshaw, Julianne Snow, and Jonathan Templar
Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity is available in print and digital forms from these fine retailers:
Hades and the Hydra is a story of apocalyptic themes set against Hades desire to collect additional souls. Here is a longer look at Amber’s contribution to Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity -
The world changed on December 21, 2012, but it wasn’t due to the Mayans’ grim prophecies like everyone had expected.
It was business as usual. The day had started like any other. New York City was bustling with the normal activity of the big city at dawn. People already crowded the streets, business owners were busy with opening the many stores, and the street was filled with a never-ending stream of taxis and other vehicles. The cornucopia of smells that completed the city wafted in on a cool breeze. There was nothing different, as far as anyone knew. But in truth there was a sinister plan nearing fruition underneath the unsuspecting city.
In the depths of the Underworld, Hades sat in the vast expanse of a large, dark, cavernous room, on a throne built of obsidian bones. Cerberus, the three-headed dog, lay at his feet. snoring.
“Persephone, come to me.” Hades cracked his knuckles as he issued the command.
Persephone glided into the room, her head down. She crossed the expanse and knelt beside him.
“Today is the day that I shall finally have some fun,” he said as he stroked her silken hair.
Flames filled the large mantle and licked up in various spots around the room, hovering in the air, causing shadows to move and slither in dark excitement.
“What will you do?” she asked.
A smile crept over his face as he put a finger under her chin to make her look up at him. “I will return to the mortals and I will bring back more subjects to serve me.”Persephone’s eyes widened.“But you can’t return to the surface! You have been given the order not to do such a thing.”
Hades’ smile turned to a snarl and he stood quickly, waking up Cerberus who gave a sharp bark from each of his heads.
“Order? Who says I have to obey a trite order from my brother?” He walked down to peer out of a window, cracking his knuckles again on the way. The Underworld lay stretched out beyond his palace. Fires danced, shades shuffled in confusion, and his minions carried out their tasks with a morbid fluidity. His mood returned to one of satisfaction.
“It’s time that I stirred up a little bit of… chaos,” he said to himself.
A large slab of granite that stood on more bones acted as a desk. There were many books and papers scattered over the surface. Hades went to it and leaned over, shuffling through his work.
“These mortals think they can predict when their world will end. This has been a part of their delusions for centuries. Now the time has come for one of their biggest predictions. Today, an old calendar ends. It’s a time of transition. The humans have worked themselves into a frenzy over this matter. As if an ancient civilization of mortals held the power to end it all!” He smirked. “It’s quite fun to watch them get so upset over their fallacies.” The widening smile spread over his face and he gestured, waving his hands in the air as he spoke. “Now you bring me into the mix and this is where it truly gets fun. They will think their prophecies have come true; they will think their world is ending!” A laugh escaped his lips. He cracked his knuckles once more, resting his fingertips together and his elbows on the table admiring his work.
Interesting in learning more about where you can find Amber’s work, catch up with her on her blog.