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Queen of the Dead
Many Greek myths have been twisted over the years. Things have been taken out, added, and edited. The characters of these famous myths have remained silent, until now. There are many myths that have been edited, but the first one that has been thrown into the spotlight is the story of the abduction of Persephone. Both Hades and Persephone have agreed to show their side of the story.
The reason why I kidnapped Persephone is was because I was lonely. I was pretty much exiled to the Underworld with Charon the ferryman and the Furies (whose nicknames are Chase, Blu, and Star) for company. Trust me, it wasn’t fun. Charon wasn’t the talking type, and it was a bit hard to start a conversation with the Furies because they were usually up in the mortal world, punishing mortals. Being the king to over one hundred thousand dead people got dull after a while. Anyways, my story with Persephone began on the winter solstice, December 21. It was the only time Zeus and the other Olympians allowed me to be in Olympus. For some weird reason, some of the minor deities always made fun of me.
“Hey, Hades! Get a tan!”
“Dude, you have to switch jobs! It’s so much better living on Olympus!”
“You’re going to be a feared god until the world ends! Who worships you? You’re more feared than worshiped.”
That was my breaking point. “Shut up, you idiots! You’re gods that only a handful of mortals know about! I have a lot more power you’ll ever have! I should put you maggots in Tartarus! I?”
A goddess broke up our fight. “Stop it!” I hadn’t noticed her since now. She had honey-blond hair and lilac colored eyes. She told the minor deities to go away, and then she turned to me.
“Uhh . . . Thanks,” I said. I was suddenly nervous. Why was that?
The goddess smiled, showing off perfect white teeth. “You’re welcome, Hades.” She started to walk off, but she stopped suddenly and looked back at me. “By the way, my name is Persephone,” she added. By then, my youngest brother, Zeus, had noticed I was here.
“Hey!” Zeus cried, enveloping me in a big bear hug. “Big bro! I haven’t seen you in a long time!” I got out of hug and brushed off my black robes.
“Yeah, good to see you too, Zeus,” I said, trying hard to keep the annoyance out of my voice.
“How has it been in the Underworld?” the king of the gods asked.
I shrugged. “The same.”
Zeus smiled. “That’s great.” He started to talk about how things were up here in Olympus, but the giant sundial cut off his sentence and started to make a buzzing noise, and then the Winter Solstice Olympian Meeting began. The Olympians started to talk, debate, and even argue about things. I just sat in the corner, and let my mind wander.
“I have a question for you, Hades. Are you happy where you are right now?” a voice said next to me. I looked down and saw my oldest sister, Hestia, looking up at me from her normal place next to the fire.
I shrugged. “Not really.”
“What don’t you like?” Hestia smiled, and her eyes gleamed with understanding. “I won’t tell Zeus or anything. You can trust me, brother.”
I sighed and kneaded my forehead with my hand. “Well . . . being the King of the Dead gets kinda boring sometimes.”
Hestia nodded. “I understand. It can be lonely sitting by the hearth with no one to keep you company.”
We chatted about random things until the meeting was over. I decided to leave a bit early, because there was a lot of feasting and I wasn’t in the mood for Dionysus’ drunkenness.
Just as I was about to leave, a voice behind me said, “Hey, where are you going, Hades?”
I glanced behind me and saw Persephone in a beautiful emerald-colored dress and a fur-trimmed cloak.
“Why are you leaving so soon?” she asked.
I shrugged. “I’m not really in the mood to listen to Dionysus’ drunken yells.” As if to second my comment, a loud “YEEEEHHHAAAWWW!” echoed around the courtyard.
Persephone smiled. “I understand what you’re getting at. Well, I hope to see you sometime soon, Hades.”
I smiled at the younger goddess. “Yeah, see you around.” I walked back to my chariot and took off of Olympus. I glanced back behind me, and saw Persephone waving. I did a small wave back and then focused on the sky in front of me.
“So, how was the council?”
I sighed and put my head on the smooth granite table in my kitchen in the Underworld. “Same as always. Boring, boring, and above all: boring.”
Blu cocked her head. I knew it was Blu because she had electric blue eyes. “You sure, Hades? You don’t seem too happy.”
I lifted my head up from the table and looked Blu straight in the eye. “Just shut up, Blu. It doesn’t matter.”
Chase came around the corner and picked up on our conversation. “Seriously, Hades, my sisters and I have known you for a few thousand years, and we all know when something’s bothering you.”
I was fed up with the Furies swarming around me like angry bees, so I stomped down to my throne room and locked the door behind me. A few moments later, there were three very angry Furies trying to get into the room, but to no avail. They pounded on the door for a good fifteen minutes.
“LET US IN, HADES, OR WE WILL BREAK THIS DOOR RIGHT OFF ITS HINGES!”
“STOP HIDING LIKE A COWARD, HADES!”
I was not in the mood for them. “I COMMAND YOU TO GO AWAY!”
They went away. I finally was alone and had time to think.
First of all, why was I so enchanted by Persephone? I had never felt like that before. It turned my heart into a warm, gooey thing like magma. I was so utterly confused about it.
“You’re in love with her, Hades,” a voice said above me.
I looked up and saw Thantos gliding down on midnight-black wings. Out of all the people in the Underworld, Thantos had to be my favorite. He actually looked human (if you don’t count the wings) and I could keep a pretty good conversation going with him without it fading after an awkward moment of silence.
I snorted. “Yeah, right.”
Thantos glanced over me with critical eyes. “You’re lying, Hades.”
I turned around and walked towards the large window that looked over the whole Underworld: the gates, Erbeus, Tartarus, the Fields of Asphodel, Elysium, the Fields of Punishment, the River Styx, and the River Lethes.
Suddenly, a plan formed in my head. Since none of the Olympians or other gods had given me a wife, I decided that I needed one.
The next thought came at me like a huge asteroid.
After the strange encounter with Hades after the council, I headed back to the main courtyard. I drifted over to the wine and grabbed a cup. I didn’t care if it wasn’t diluted (which it probably wasn’t) and I didn’t care if Mother scolded me in the morning.
That’s my one problem: my mother.
My mother is Demeter, goddess of the harvest. She grants the gift of the harvest in the fall and blah blah blah. Sure, she loved me, but she was so insanely protective of me. After a while, it gets very annoying.
“Hey, Persephone,” Urania said, breaking my thought bubble.
“Ah, hi, Urania,” I replied.
“How’s it going?” she asked. Urania is the Muse of astronomy, and her eyes were the color of the night sky. It was an awe-inspiring, yet strange sight.
I shrugged. “It’s all fine.” I took a sip of wine to hide the uncertainty in my voice. I could tell it had some water in it, because it wasn’t as strong as it should be. But it was only a tiny amount. I would definitely be hung over in the morning.
Urania nodded. “Sure . . .” She was on to me. For some odd reason, we bonded when we were quite young and we’d been good friends ever since. I could tell when something was wrong with Urania, and she could do the same.
The gods around us paid no attention. They were focused on something near the fountain that spewed nectar into the air. I stood on my tiptoes and caught a glance of Dionysus drunkenly dancing in the fountain, the nectar staining his purple robe. It was quite hilarious.
“Oh, that Dionysus is so funny, isn’t he?”
“Yeah. He splits my sides.” Her voice held so much venom for such a little goddess. I knew that Dionysus had cornered Urania in a drunken stupor a few years ago, and she hadn’t forgiven him yet.
I looked around and saw that my mother was headed straight for me. “Uh oh. Demeter alert.”
When my mother finally came up to me, the first thing she noticed was the wine cup in my hand. “What is this?” she asked and grabbed the cup out of my hand.
“Wine,” I replied. I was going to get a lecture; I was sure of it.
“And why do you have that wine?”
I sighed tiredly. “I was thirsty.”
My mother started to lecture me, but I tuned it out. I was pretty good at that now. Instead of listening to Demeter, I focused on my own thoughts.
The first thing that came to my mind was Hades. I had talked to him quite a bit today, and I thought he could be the one that I could tell pretty much everything to. He was a bit handsome, too. With raven-black hair that fell to his shoulders and dark brown eyes that looked almost black, he was quite the looker. Although most of the goddess I knew disagreed, I personally thought he was handsome. There was only one tiny thing that bothered me. He was Hades, the god of the dead, and I was the goddess of spring. Besides, he lived in the Underworld, and I didn’t like it there because it was dark and gloomy and full of death.
Suddenly, Mother grabbed my wrist and started to yank me out of the party. The other gods and goddess stopped whatever they were doing and turned and looked at me. I was usually carried out of most parties at Olympus, so it wasn’t a huge spectacle as it used to be.
“Mother, stop it! I’m not a little girl!” I protested.
“Well, you’re acting like one right now.”
“Come on, Mom! If you wouldn’t treat me like a little girl, I could prove to you I was responsible enough to go through one party without you dragging me out!”
By now, she had dragged me to her wheat-colored chariot. “You have to learn your lesson, Persephone.”
I groaned as we got into the chariot. “Where are you taking me now?”
Demeter flicked the reins and her steely gaze settled on the sky in front of us. “Somewhere no one can gaze upon you with wanting eyes.”
An hour later, I was sitting down in a field of flowers, annoyed and in a really bad mood.
“Stupid council,” I muttered to myself. A flower nymph glanced at me with curious eyes and then dropped her gaze. I swear, wherever I was, it was loaded to the brim with flower nymphs.
“Grrrrrr,” I muttered. I laid back and caused pollen and a few flower petals to float up into the air. I know, I know, I’m the goddess of spring, but being surrounded by millions of miles of flowers is torture. If my father had any say in this, he’d tell Demeter to lay off, but he’s too busy dealing with a very jealous Hera and sneaking down to the mortal world to meet with mortal women. Yup, my dad is Zeus.
All of a sudden, the ground started to shake. The nymphs around me panicked, and started screaming, “RUN! HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED IS COMING!”
Either Voldemort from Harry Potter had somehow become real and was going to kill me with an avada kedavra spell or someone that was feared by mortals and gods alike was coming.
There was only one god that was feared in the whole world, both mortal and divine.
“Hades,” I whispered.
A crack opened up in the ground and Hades appeared in his black chariot pulled by two skeleton horses.
He smiled at me, revealing shiny white teeth. “Well, I don’t think is the place for a beautiful goddess like you should be.”
My eyes narrowed and I snorted. “And you think you have a better place?”
Hades’ welcoming smile became malicious. “I have the perfect place for you. With me!” He grabbed me by my girdle (an old Greek word for belt), but one of the nymphs pulled on the other side of it. After a few seconds, it snapped and Hades grabbed me by my wrist and pulled me into his chariot. He flicked the reins and the skeletal horses galloped straight into the crack in the ground. We were swallowed by the darkness and I looked up and saw the nymph that had tried to pull me away from Hades staring into the crack, my girdle still in her hands. Her mouth was open, and she mouthed something on the lines of, “Demeter is going to kill me.” And my mother probably would.
The chariot raced down deep into the earth; it slowly got colder and colder as we got deeper and closer to the Underworld. Gooseflesh prickled on my skin and I regretted leaving my fur cloak in Mother’s chariot.
Hades noticed my discomfort and draped one of his arms around my shoulders. “Do not worry, Persephone. We are almost there, my love.”
When Hades called me ‘my love,’ I felt warm inside and I was certain I was blushing. The way he said it made me feel like a woman instead of a little girl. It felt good.
The tunnel widened up and soon enough, we were on the shore of the River Styx. The water was pitch black and its current was sluggish, like a slow-moving snail.
“Charon, make sure my horses and my chariot are returned to the stable,” Hades said to a shadowy figure in a boat.
Charon nodded. “Yes, Lord Hades.” Hades then got out of the chariot and held a hand out for me. I didn’t want to be rude, so I grabbed his hand and he helped me out of the chariot.
“Thank you,” I said.
The god of death nodded. “You’re welcome.”
A skeletal warrior in Trojan armor took the chariot and then we were off. It seemed to be barely touching the water, but somehow it was stable enough. For most of the trip, we were silent, but then Hades broke that silence that was as thick as the air.
“So, ah, how’ve you been?”
It wasn’t a spectacular way to start a conversation, but it worked. “Pretty good,” I replied.
Hades glanced at me with dark eyes. “Let me guess: Demeter pulled you out of the council after party and hid you in that field.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “You’re one hundred percent correct.” I glanced up at his face that was concealed partly in the shadows. “How did you know?”
Hades smiled. “I know my sister.”
I tried to change the subject that didn’t include my mother. “So, where are we going?”
Hades pointed up ahead. “To my home.” The River Styx bent, and then a beautiful black palace appeared.
I gasped. “It’s beautiful!”
It was probably made out of granite, but it could’ve been made out of obsidian for all I knew. It glittered harshly in the odd spectral light of the Underworld. It was bigger that any palace I’ve seen, even bigger than the palaces in Athens and Crete.
The boat landed on the shore, and Hades helped me out again.
“You know, I can get out of a boat without you helping me,” I said as Hades opened the large golden doors to the palace. “I can walk by myself perfectly fine.”
Hades chuckled. “I was just trying to be helpful.” He looked at me and sighed. “So I’m assuming that all goddesses on Olympus are like Aphrodite: stuck up, petty and totally selfish?”
“Well, not all of us are, but there are some that are Aphrodites-in-training.”
We both laughed. Hades then led me into the main part of the palace, and this wasn’t present-day. It was modeled in an early 2010’s style. Okay, so now you’re probably really confused by now. Thanks to Apollo and the Oracle of Delphi, we know what’s going to happen throughout history. And thanks to Hephaestus, pretty much anything from any time period is at our disposal. A lot of the gods tend to decorate their places in their favorite era. I guess Hades’ favorite was the early 2010’s.
“So . . .” Hades paused. “Make yourself at home.”
Hades nodded. “No problem.”
I sat down on the leather sofa and started flipping channels on the big flat-screen TV. A few minutes later, I found something interesting and my eyes barely left the TV. I even watched the commercials, which were mainly ads for different products or other shows coming up in the future.
“Interesting choice,” Hades murmured behind me, making me jump.
I glanced back at him. He looked really amused. “What? I was just watching Ghost Adventures.”
Hades chuckled as he sat down to me. I noticed that he was fairly close to me. “I thought you’d be watching some girly show like Days of Our Lives or something like that.”
I laughed loudly. “Yeah, I happen to be a big tomboy, and those girly-girl shows give me a headache.”
It was Hades’ turn to laugh. “There are always those who defy the stereotype. And you, my girl, happen to be one of those.”
I chuckled and then turned my attention back to the show. The guys, Zak, Nick, and Aaron, were at gigantic insane asylum in New Jersey. As it went on, I consciously noticed that we were close enough for me to feel the heat coming off Hades.
During the next commercial break, I did something I did not expect.
He turned to look at me. “Yes?”
“I was wondering if . . .” My sentence faded away. Hades and I were slowly but surely coming towards each other. I could see every detail about him—the deep brown eyes, handsome face, and dark, sable hair that ran past his shoulders.
Our lips suddenly met, and it was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life.
I had always dreamed of my first kiss, like most girls do. I never expected it to be like a thousand wildfires under my skin. Hades cupped my face with his hands, and I wound my hands in his inky black hair. We couldn’t stop, and we fell back against the couch together.
“You’re beautiful,” Hades murmured to my neck.
“You are too,” I replied.
Just as Hades started to pull the dress of my shoulders, I snapped back into reality. I sat up and looked at Hades. He blinked, as if he were shaking off sleep.
“I’m sorry, Hades,” I said.
The sides of his mouth curved up into a small smile. “No, no, it’s fine.” He glanced away for a second, and laughed quietly. “I got carried away for a while there.”
I started to focus on the TV. While we were kissing, something must’ve happened because Aaron looked totally scared and Zak was laughing.
We lapsed into a testy silence. Neither one of dared to move. After the episode was finished with, I was fighting off sleep.
“You look tired,” Hades commented.
“I feel tired,” I replied, with a yawn ending my sentence.
“Here, let me show you to your room,” Hades said, helping me off the couch. My legs had slowly fallen asleep and were just waking up. We turned down a hallway from the living room, and soon stopped at a door at the end of the hallway.
“Well . . .” Hades started. “This is your room. Your stuff is already in there.”
“Um . . . thank you, Hades.”
He nodded. “Of course.” Hades then kissed me on the cheek, said goodnight, and walked back down the hallway.
As I went to bed that night, I felt both happy . . . and confused.
Three months passed. I got into the rhythm of the Underworld pretty quickly, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. There was no sunlight, but the crystals on ceiling provided enough light. The food there wasn’t too bad, but the Furies burned a lot of the food on occasion. Almost all of it was imported from the world above, mainly because if you ate food grown in the Underworld, you were stuck there forever. So, yeah, I stayed away from that food, even though it looked so amazingly good.
The incident with Hades faded away after a few days, and soon enough, we were back to our old ways. We talked a lot, and I found out that Hades and I had a lot in common. For example, we both liked to read and our favorite genre was science fiction.
“Have you read The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness?” Hades asked one day during our many book discussions.
I shook my head. “No, I haven’t. Is it good?”
“It’s amazing. It’s got a lot of action and it’s well-written.” Hades smiled his usual cocky smile, the one that I had grown to love.
“It sounds really good. I’ll have to check it out.”
“So . . .” Hades’ sentence faded away.
All of a sudden, Thantos rushed in, his midnight-black feathers puffed up like a scared cat.
“What is it?” Hades asked.
“It’s Sisyphus. He’s trying to escape again.”
Hades got up, grumbling. “Not again.” He started to walk out the door but stopped when he was halfway out the door. “Oh, I hope we can continue this conversation later, Persephone,” he added.
He walked out the door and left me alone. After a few moments, I got hungry and decided to raid the kitchen.
After a few minutes of searching, I found a few pomegranate seeds that shined like a polished stone. I took a few, maybe three or four, and popped them into my mouth. The sweet juices burst in my mouth. I was reaching for more when a voice made me freeze.
Oh no. It’s Demeter. “Yeah?” I asked timidly.
Demeter blasted through the door with Hades, Zeus, Hermes and Athena on her heels. “WHERE WERE YOU?!?!?!” she screeched.
I took a deep breath. “Hades took me out of that field that you put me in.”
Demeter flung her arms out. “But here? In the Underworld?! I nearly starved the whole entire earth looking for you!”
I blinked and looked at Hades. “Why didn’t you tell me this?” I asked.
Hades looked down, ashamed. “I didn’t want to lose you.”
Demeter suddenly noticed the bowl of pomegranate seeds next to me. “Where are these from?” she asked.
I shrugged. “I dunno.”
She glared at Hades, and Hades paled. “They—they were grown here.”
Both Demeter and I gasped. “Do you know what this means now? My beautiful daughter is now stuck with you disgusting . . . dog!”
Hades took a step forwards. “What is that supposed to mean?” There was a threat embedded deep into his question.
Hermes broke the fight up by stepping between them. “Okay, okay. Calm down. Can we talk about this in a civilized way?”
Demeter sighed. “Fine, fine. But what are we going to do about it?”
Athena, who had been thinking for the past few minutes, looked up. “I have an idea.”
Zeus glanced at her. “Yes?”
“How about Persephone stays here, in the Underworld, for only part of the time. How many seeds did you eat?”
I shrugged. “I’m not sure. Four, I think.”
“So you’ll stay down here for four months and for the rest of the year, you’ll stay up in the mortal world. Does that sound good to you?” She directed it all of us.
“That sound’s okay to me,” Zeus said. “Does everyone agree?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Yes,” Hades replied.
“Yes,” Athena and Hermes said in unison.
Zeus glanced at my mother. “And what about you, Demeter?”
Demeter sighed. “I may not like it, but I’ll go with it.”
“So it’s settled then. You’ll stay in the Underworld for four months of the year. During those times, the humans will experience winter.” He glanced around one last time and added, “I’ll be going.” He then walked out. The others followed at a distance. Demeter seemed to hesitate, but soon walked briskly out.
I released the breath I was holding. “Well . . .” I faltered. “That was . . . interesting.”
Hades suddenly smiled and walked towards me. “I know.” We were suddenly so close I could feel Hades’ breath on my forehead. I felt somehow . . . comforted by Hades’ presence so close to me.
“Now that we have a good three months until I have to go back to the mortal world, what do you want to do?” I asked.
Hades chuckled quietly. “I was planning to give this to you in a few days, but I now know that this is the time.” He pulled out a small black velvet box.
“What is it?” I asked.
Hades smiled. “You’ll see. Open it.”
I did. Inside it was a beautiful ring, with a large diamond in the middle. The diamond was interesting, because it had no color, but small little bands of black ran inside it. The band was made out of shiny gold, and it curved out when it met the diamond. It reminded me of a rose.
“It’s beautiful,” I murmured.
“It’s much more than a pretty ring.”
I looked up at Hades. Two and two were starting to piece together. “Is this . . . ?”
“Yeah, it is.” I looked at Hades, and the brutal honesty in his eyes was overpowering. “I love you, Persephone, and I want to be your protector.”
I smiled down at the ring, and then up at Hades. “Whatever happens, I’ll always be yours.”
Hades blinked in surprise. “Then . . . you’re saying yes?”
I smiled widely. “Yes. I’ll be your queen, Hades.”
So there you have it, the story of the abduction of Persephone. Went a bit differently than you thought it would, didn’t it?