I grew restless. The stone throne underneath my body was becoming uncomfortable as I sat, legs crossed, eyeing the slumped figure across the cavernous room. I could only imagine the discomfort she must be feeling, lying on the floor like that. Caves were rarely sought out for their comfort, but when I brought her here, she snubbed my concern for her well being by favouring the ground over my bed. I might be the god of the Underworld, but I hardly wanted spring’s goddess, a blossom of light, to wither away in this gloom. Zeus had given me permission to take Persephone as my wife and so I had done exactly that. However, I was trying to be polite, thoughtful, gentlemanly, but for what in return? A quivering puddle of tears was hardly the right way to thank someone who was nothing but hospitable. I suppose it mattered not if she cried herself senseless; she’ll eventually come-to, seeking nourishment. Should she eat or drink anything while in the underworld, I could keep her forever. I was counting on it.
My eyes drifted to the cold metal bowl balanced on my lap. Sliced pomegranates were arranged carefully inside the bowl to best display the vibrant insides. They were beautiful, the seeds; each a droplet of blood surrounded in delicate pale flesh. I began slowly rubbing the polished copper surface with my thumb. Thoughts raced through my head, each striking me at a different magnitude. First Zeus, Persephone’s father: a lazy man who cared only for himself, it seemed. What a stupid brother, tossing around his daughters and wives like they were mere toys. Then it was Demeter, Persephone’s mother: the grief that etched her face shone bright in my mind. The world above has turned black and cold due to what I have done. Yet I feel no remorse. And Persephone, dearest Persephone: her grief and horror struck me the hardest. Day after day she begs to be released back into the warm arms of her mother. She looks at me like I am a monster, flinching at my every breath. I wouldn’t dare hurt her. I will show her no mortal or undying man is better than me. I will show them all. I will…
They soon became so clustered I couldn’t make out one from the other. A throb swelled at my temple and I put the bowl gently aside. The cool marble felt pleasant as I leaned against the side of my throne, the world around me peacefully slipping away.
And there she was, the golden-haired Persephone in the valley of Enne, giggling amongst the blossoms. Her sisters Athena and Artemis were at her side, weaving violets and narcissus in their younger sister’s hair. Demeter, their mother, was nearby, admiring the fragrant flowers surrounding the women.
“Make me one, fairest sister!” Athena smiled, watching Persephone place a crown of lilies upon the dark head of Artemis.
“It is so very lovely, cherished Persephone. The prettiest crown I have ever worn, thank you.”
“Which glorious flower would you like, then, bravest Athena?” Persephone looked around eagerly for the perfect flowers. Her sisters followed suit, running off in different directions, laughing.
Persephone went in the opposite direction her sisters after having spotted a particular plant off in the distance. Persephone knew not the name of the large bush, but amongst its leaves hundreds of fragrant flowers were scattered like stars, mesmerizing her. It was the plant I was hiding behind.
Their scent drew her closer and closer until she had spotted my dark lurking figure. Heat pulsed from her buxom form, unearthing from me an insatiable hunger I never knew existed. My body burned hotter than the sun as my hand cupped her rose-coloured cheek. Confusion clouded her face, making her smouldering green eyes burn twice as strongly with thought. Before a word could be exchanged, the earth parted beneath our feet and my ears filled with her screams.
“HADES! I want my daughter back!” A voice bellowed throughout the cavernous throne room, startling me awake. I was quick to my feet, ready to respond to the summoning, when I heard a clang, then a gasp. Looking right at me with her frightfully large eyes was Persephone, a now empty copper bowl spinning at her feet. I paused thoughtfully before replying.
“Right away, dearest Demeter.” I couldn’t help but grin.