KS Trenton will be taking over my blog today with a very special post. Initially, we thought that she would write something for Fairest, but ongoing troubles with Torquere Press and their unfair treatment of authors, inspired KS to go in a different direction with her post. I'm really glad she did, as this short story is magical!
Welcome! Troubles with Torquere has made it impossible to do the post on ‘Fairest’ I originally planned to do, alas. Instead I offer you this tale of Death and rebirth, popular themes during the winter. It’s a re-telling of the myth of Perspehone and Hades. Many of the goddesses were female, before they were turned into Olympians. It seemed only fair to return the favor. 🙂 Not to mention I love taking a story about an Olympian ravaging a goddess and turning into a surreal myth of f/f. 🙂
This story was inspired by Lynn Stirling’s video, ‘Take Flight’. It was used as a writing prompt in a writing group I’m involved with. I got carried away. 🙂 I shared part of it with the group and posted Parts 2 and 3 at my Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration and my Facebook Author Page earlier this year. I’m now sharing the entire thing with you.
THE FLOWER by KS TRENTON
A flower enters the window, bringing the sweet scent of the earth and skin with it. All the things that dwell on the surface.
Perhaps Zeu is in a pleasant mood. She can be lovely, bringing sunshine, or even healing rain, making everything cheerful, when she does.
However, her mood can change in an instant. Sweetness can turn to wrath, bringing the rain and thunder. The Trojans learned to fear her mood swings, when she hurled a stone from Mount Olympus down on their city, killing one of their princes. The Trojans like to pretend the prince lived. That he was carried up by a handsome sky god to be his cup bearer. No one wants to admit how fickle the sky can truly be. No cup bearer would last long around my sister.
Wait, there’s something strange about this flower. I take it to my desk, so I can examine it.
When I do, a light shines under the doorway in the fragile reality I’ve created around me. As Hade, an incarnation of death, things tend to break down in my presence. Usually they wither and crumble into ash. They don’t glow.
That’s what’s strange. The flower is still fresh and fragrant. It hasn’t withered in my hands, as all things do.
I leave the desk, going to door. I open it to face what awaits on the other side. Light, yes, the same light so many of my subjects see, before they come to me.
I grab my cloak and go out into that light. It fades, flickering, as I enter its domain. Retreating, as I advance. The endless series of staircases, which make up each mortal’s life await me. There’s no point in being distracted by all of these little journeys. I leap off the edge, passing through the various spans of human existence. They cannot touch me, yet I’m a part of every one of them. I acknowledge this, trying not to get distracted by the tiny, unique details of each staircase. They could absorb my attention for centuries, if I’m not careful.
I’m already being diverted. I musn’t let the stairs catch my eye. It’s the light I want to follow. I rise from the floor, forcing myself to focus, to stand. Once more, I head towards the light.
It’s coming from a candle. Just a single candle, burning a little brighter than the rest. A mortal moment, rendered glorious by a single deed which inspired countless other mortals. I glance at it, before I open another door. A light creeps under its frame. Perhaps it’s the light I seek.
I emerge into a city. The flower is before me. My breath is beginning to wither it, but not before it takes flight. I decide to chase it. Maybe it will lead me to the light I truly desire.
I run up the side of the building, as a sun sends slanting rays towards me. Helia is feeling sleepy, right now. She won’t be able to keep her fiery eyes open. It’s best not too look into them for long. Besides, her deadly, life-giving rays are not the ones I’m searching for.
I leap upward, letting the wind take me. This is putting myself into Zeu’s hands, a perilous gambit. I alternately fly and freefall, before landing on the side of a building, again.
The flower is flying, dancing on the wind. I leap upward, trying to catch it in my hand. I’m truly flying now, through the air. Zeu must have noticed me. My fingers close over the flower’s stem, as I pass out of the city into the air.
No, I will not be controlled by you, sister. I will my city of dark and ghostly stone to emerge, to materialize beneath my feet. I can see the River Styx, pale with the souls of the forgetful, merging with Zeu’s mist. My ferryboat is tethered to the sideways skyscraper, waiting for me. I step into it.
The river is disappearing into sky and cloud. My sister is trying to change the landscape into one she controls. I decide to play her game. I start rowing my ferry out into the Styx, which is transforming into clouds.
Helia’s eye burns bright for one moment, before it closes. Darkness follows. I catch a glimpse of something shining….there! On the edge of the horizon, flickering. Could it be the light I seek?
It’s getting dark. I can barely see, until forks of lightning illuminate my way.
Is Zeu trying to help me, or strike me down? You can never tell with her. Rain follows, weeping fat drops, which come near, without touching me. Did I make my sister cry, without realizing it?
The flower takes flight, rising into the air, as if it can’t wait to get away from me. I search for it, but all I can see is the rain, the clouds, and the lightning illuminating all of it.
Something dark looms overhead. Its force pulls me out of my ferryboat, although I cling to its sides. What has that kind of power? The darkness is usually obedient to my wishes.
I flip through the air, parted from my boat. My hands and feet connect with a ladder, dangling from the darkness.
Is this another whim of Zeu’s? Is she trying to help me? Or is all of this her doing? Lightning and thunder are her weapons. Perhaps the darkness is merely giant storm clouds, running around, doing her bidding, like a pack of well trained dogs.
I climb down the ladder to the cold earth. Light rushes up around me, the gleam of a cold, pitiless day. Helia has opened her eyes, again, but she’s not in a good mood. The earth is green, though. New life is emerging from it. Wet and damp, I regard my surroundings, as I start walking.
My darkness is coming to meet me, accompanied by the light of a thousand, special mortal moments. This is the only illumination everyone can see. I reach for one instant, delighted by its brightness.
Can it be? Was this the light I was seeking all along? Not the universal brightness, but just one unique flame?
A flower is growing out of the earth. I can feel Tartarus, creeping up around me, all hissing, heated stone. It doesn’t make this single blossom any less precious, or beautiful.
I kneel beside it, cupping it with my hand.
“Persephone,” I whisper, giving it, no, her, a name.
The endless candles are flickering in my darkness. A door stands before me. It’s a familiar door. I stare at it, feeling weary, tired, as my existence calls me back to myself.
I walk forward. Every step is heavy, which takes me away from my flower. Eventually, I reach the door. I open it.
My room exists, the room I created for myself from mortal imagination and loneliness. A thousand lights are dancing, swirling in the air around me. A thousand mad dreams, a thousand mad hopes.
I watch them for a moment. I let myself be entranced by them. All of them are streaking towards a door, another door. The final door, which awaits everyone. Perhaps even me.
I turn away from it. In the end, the God of Death is no different than anyone else. Afraid of that final door. Willing to emerge myself in a thousand trivial distractions rather than face the final mystery head on.
A thousand open books lay around my apartment. Pictures of the sky and the stairs have already been captured within them. Snap shot moments of experience, trapped in paper. You’d think I’d know better than to try to capture them. I, of all creatures, should know how transient they are. However, like many others, I want those moments to last. I’ll cheat, do anything I can to try to keep them.
A bunch of flowers await me in a vase. Including her. Persephone. She stands in the center, putting to shame all the other delicate blossoms with her beauty.
I walk towards her, wanting to admire her, to keep her for myself. However, she can only last in this realm for so long.
In the meantime, that realm requires its queen.
If you enjoyed this story and would like to connect with KS, please do so via the following links!
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/KS-Trenten-1508958289406654/?ref=page_internal
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/KSTrenten
@Goodreads as K.S. Trenten
@Twitter as https://twitter.com/rhodrymavelyne
@tumblr as http://rhodrymavelyne.tumblr.com/