I am the Charioteer
A rather grandiose name considering my present occupation.
But here in the ironic dying of civilization's light in the 21st Century's dawn,
there are precious few ways to to roam abroad on horse-drawn vehicles.
After my days as the Cid, I forswore riding for any king or country.
My days at Camelot should have taught me better than to think any king worth the blood of his followers.
Once I drove Apollo's chariot across the skies, not that he was worth the deaths he caused in his vain wisdom.
But I was young enough to sacrifice good sense for the thrill of flying across the heavens,
my fiery steeds singing their joy at the celestial race in tones that thrummed my bones like tuning forks.
Yes, I contested in the Roman Colosseum races as well. Not for the thrill of victory nor for the roar of the brutish crowds.
I did not know then for what I raced.
I do now.
I raced in a vain attempt to outrun my mistakes of the past.
But you cannot outrun regret or the pain of memory.
Pain always catches up.
Perhaps that is why my pace is so much slower now.
My valiant warhorse patiently pulls my light-festooned carriage, waiting for me to come to my senses and race the moon again.
My passengers chatter behind me, their words becoming more shallow and empty with every passing year.
Soon their words will become so slight and without meaning that they will fly away on the chill winds before they can reach my ears.
One can only hope.
I no longer turn when a passenger boards my carriage.
I hear the rustle of the worthless paper money go into the slot of the metal box behind Sir's back.
Once his name had frozen the blood of humans ... as had mine.
He thinks himself a Foo Dog.
I let him.
After all, do we not all deserve to write our own myths?
Few see his two other heads. They only see death if they should attack me.
Few do attack. And none twice.
Snow drifts like dreams' echoes around me and Sir. I feel my carriage shift from the slight weight of another passenger.
No paper money. The heavy thudding of gold coins.
Sir rumbles a greeting, something he has not done for centuries.
"Good to see you, too, Cerberus."
The Voice whispers icy tingles through my blood. Tender, cold fingers feather the back of my neck.
Turquoise eyes laugh into my very soul.
A face, its beauty terrible and haunting beyond any singing of it, study me with wry amusement.
"Oh, Helios, how often I beckoned to you, but always you raced faster than my words."
"I move slower now, Gaia."
Her whole face glows in a smile. Snow flurries swirl around us.
"Perhaps our nights will no longer be lonely."
Nor were they ... ever again.
Perhaps on Christmas Night, miracles still happen.
I wrote this flash fiction to this tune: