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Fantasy Fiction Speculative

Her hair cascades down her waist, a small flower still planted behind her ear. Her olive eyes twinkling in the light. Her sweater falls down her shoulder, a rush of chilliness going down her spine. 

She knows why it’s cold and she doesn’t care. 

She tells herself it’s for the sake of rebellion, for the sake of love, for the sake of living her own life. She tells herself she’s doing something for the people of the Underworld, for her husband, for the darkness, for reality, where the light can’t seem to shine. She tells herself she’s doing the right thing for the world. She tells herself these things and a million others, all of the thoughts roll in her head like smooth marbles, but they never roll out of her mouth. She tells herself it’s alright to feel like this, that she’s doing what she can, and that, at the end of the day, this is her doing. She must have chosen it for a reason. 

She just can’t tell if she’s lying to herself. 

“Lady Persephone!” She turns. Behind her, the fast-sounding galloping of horses coming to an abrupt halt as a carriage parks in front of her. Her sweater hangs further down her bare shoulder, as she bends down to the ground. “Just a moment,” she murmurs out, knowing the carriage driver still can’t hear her. “I’ll be right there.”

Silently, she takes the flower from her hair down, making a little well in the ground with her pearly fingertips, during a dark barque from the dirt. The horse stomps, and she perks her head up, startled by the loud noise. 

“I said, I’m coming,” she murmured  again, quickly placing the flower into the hole in the dirt. “It doesn’t matter, anyway. You’re not him. And he doesn’t care if I’m late.”

The carriage man frowns, furrowing his brow as he runs his fingers through his white hair. Still, despite this, he seems youngish. The trick of death, she thinks. Makes you look young when you’re thousands of years older. 

“Lady Persephone, your husband awaits you. I strongly urge you to come now.”

Sighing, she rubs her hands over the flower, a faint light igniting from her fingertips. “Grow,” she whispers, closing her eyes. “Please, grow.”

The carriage man frowns, stepping out of his seat to invite her onto her own. “How-How did you do that, miss?” He asks, his face bewildered. “That flower was dead. I-I don’t understand…”

She laughs, ignoring his hand as she plops herself down in the back seat. “I am a goddess,” she says, smirking. “You must be new around here.”

He shakes his head, biting his lip as he swings the reins. Persephone knows the ride must be more than a little nerve wracking. She waits for him to continue. When he does, he says, “I’ve heard the stories, the great tales of the love of King Hades and Lady Persephone. And-”

She laughs, stopping him before he completes a narrative she’s heard so many times before.  “And how their love has disintegrated over the years, bringing itself to a mere shadow, a shell of a love that could have been? And of the seasons that the lady controls being as fickle as her love, changing like the wind? I have heard the stories, as well. I can tell you they are not entirely true.”

“Entirely?”

She frowns, her green eyes sparkling. “Yes. Not entirely. I am the bringer of death - the bringer of blights and cold and chilly winters.  But I still love my husband. And I love his kingdom. Those things are the ones they don’t include in their gossip vines.”

The man tilts his head to the side, turning towards the sun in the distance. “You are a goddess of life, and yet you love death,” he says, instructing his horses to trot faster. “It’s peculiar.”

She nods, holding her breath as the carriage jostles over the bumpy roads. “There are no seasons in the underworld,” she says, holding onto her seat. “There are just people, living their lives. Or deaths, I suppose. They don’t care about the time they have. They only care about the time they had before.”

He closes his eyes, slowly nodding along with her words. She looks at him intently, wondering who he was before. He must have died long ago, yet he seemed new to the ways of the Greek afterlife. 

“Who are you?” She asks, not quite realizing that she spoke the words out loud. “Why did he send you of all people?”

He shrugs, bringing the carriage to the entry of a dark tunnel, where he promptly scowels. “Are you ready, Lady Persephone?” He asks, stopping his horse from going further. “Are you sure humanity doesn’t need a longer spring?”

She snickers, reaching forward towards the horses. “Tell them to go,” she says. “This is my escape from reality.”

Silently, he swings the reins again, mumbling something about how bad an escape it was. She smiled, the warmth of the darkness embracing her. “There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, you know,” she says, turning towards the clean walls. “But I suppose we came from the light side.”

He nods, the two staring down into the depth of the underworld, the whole world coming into light as their eyes adjusted. Large, factory buildings, fancy palaces, rivers and lakes being avoided like the plague. The people moved around, never once looking up.

She smiled. 

He frowned. 

“Lady Persephone,” he began, looking into her eyes. “Why did you plant that flower in the ground?”

Suddenly, she let out a deep, bellowing laugh. “Because it is a violet,” she said, smiling. “It will grow beneath the blankets of snow left by my absence. It will thrive.”

He nods. “And another question. Do you love King Hades?”

She frowns, scrunching her eyes. “Why wouldn't I?”

“Why would you plan for snow in your absence if you knew it would happen when you’re unhappy?”

She pauses, staring at the carriage man for a minute until she eventually shrugs. “I suppose I don’t know,” she admits, hoping out of the carriage and into the city. “Is love really that simple?”

Before he can answer, a man dressed fancily walks forward, holding out his hand to his wife. 

“Persephone,” he says, as she takes the final step onto the underworld surface. 

She does not know that he has the same doubts as her, yet the same confidence, as well. She does not know that he wonders if she loves him, that he plants souls in the mortal world while she plants flowers. They know each other, and yet, they do not know so much.

“Hades.”

March 12, 2021 22:41

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27 comments

Zilla Babbitt
22:50 Mar 12, 2021

With some editing it really could fit the prompt. Another myth retelling, another fun satisfying read :). There are a couple of instances where you explain too much and cutting parts can help everything be more succinct. (The part where she says you must be new around here, you could cut her saying "I am a goddess." Things like that). Okay but other than those I think this is great. Keep it up!

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Maya W.
22:53 Mar 12, 2021

Thanks Zilla, you're totally right. I'll see if I can go back in now or this weekend and clean it up a bit. :)

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Maya W.
22:43 Mar 12, 2021

So, this doesn't quite fit the prompt, I got a bit carried away writing it, but I still posted it. I actually really like it! This is the second mythology retelling I've written since I published the collection, and still, I think it's better off just on Reedsy (well, the other one isn't even on Reedsy but whatever). Oh, and Rhonda edited this for me, so if you see her voice in it that's probably why. Also, I need a better title, so please comment your ideas. Thanks for reading!

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22:45 Mar 12, 2021

Wow, I love it! This story is amazing! Oh, and here's this: ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜YOU ARE AN AWESOME AUTHOR ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜❤️🧡💛💚💙💜...

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Maya W.
22:45 Mar 12, 2021

Thank you!

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22:46 Mar 12, 2021

No problem!

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B. W.
04:19 Mar 28, 2021

Can we talk?

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Maya W.
17:27 Mar 28, 2021

Of course! What is it?

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B. W.
17:31 Mar 28, 2021

I just feel a little bit lonely, I don't think a lot of people have been on here recently.

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Maya W.
18:12 Mar 28, 2021

Hmm, yeah. I think a lot of people have been pulling back from reedsy lately.

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B. W.
20:55 Mar 28, 2021

Do you think their all maybe just really busy or something?

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Eddie Thawne
00:53 Mar 19, 2021

Wow. I totally love this story, especially the title. Lovely! Well done

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Maya W.
00:56 Mar 19, 2021

Thank you!

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Kristin Neubauer
16:43 Mar 16, 2021

Great work, Maya. I love your myth retellings....you bring the ancients to life. I thought the dialogue was really strong in this one. Everything seemed to flow so easily and naturally. Have you ever read Circe? If you like myth retellings, you may like that one.

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Maya W.
17:05 Mar 16, 2021

Thanks! I have read Circe, I really liked it, though I preferred The Song of Achilles.

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Kristin Neubauer
19:40 Mar 19, 2021

I haven't read Song of Achilles - I will check it out!

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Maya W.
19:45 Mar 19, 2021

Oh, it's really good!

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Yolanda Wu
05:39 Mar 13, 2021

I loved this story! Almost as much as The Seed and the Sickle. I think you write Persephone and Hades' relationship as well as their separate characters so well. I was completely drawn in by your descriptions in the beginning. You manage to capture so much of the character's internal thoughts, tying them in with the world around them in such a short amount of time. There was not a single moment where I was bored, I just wanted to keep reading. I love the ending with Hades and Persephone meeting, you make it seem like this is a moment that ha...

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Maya W.
15:33 Mar 13, 2021

Thanks! I wanted to give it a sort of Victorian vibe, I don't know if that actually came through. I mostly just wanted to write more myth stuff for an instagram contest.

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Yolanda Wu
23:26 Mar 13, 2021

I could picture it, with the carriages and all of that. I love Victorian vibe stories!

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Maya W.
00:34 Mar 14, 2021

Me too!

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00:25 Mar 13, 2021

Yay hades! I love how you really turned this myth into a heartwarming story!

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Maya W.
00:30 Mar 13, 2021

Thank you!

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Everett Silvers
17:01 Jun 30, 2021

This is seriously beautiful. As a fan of Greek mythology, I love this portrayal of Persephone's and Hades' relationship. It also gives insight (in my opinion) to arranged marriages at the time, with girls feeling like they had to love their spouses. Though that could just be my interpretation of it.

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Alice White
21:32 Mar 17, 2021

I love your view on Persephone and Hades’ relationship! The imagery is well done, as well. Great story! In the beginning, I was slightly confused by the plot, but it came together in the end.

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B. W.
14:17 Mar 14, 2021

So how are ya doin?

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Oh my gosh, your a chef?! What do you make??

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