Magical Flash Fiction – Seeds of the undying by Lyndsey Croal
I suppose you’ve heard that I was abducted. Plucked from pastures green and dragged to the ends of the Earth, across Styx, and past snarling Cerberus. There, it is said, my captor imprisoned me, torn from a life of purpose and beauty.
A crime of nature and a crime against the Gods.
In that version, I was powerless. But history is written by those who would see me as weak; vulnerable to the whims of man. Now it is forbidden to say my name, such power did those who twist my identity possess. My parents are to thank for that.
Have you ever known what it’s like to have an overbearing mother? My father might be the God of everything, but it was my mother that decided my fate, before I even took my first steps. She is hailed as divinity encapsulated: Goddess of the Earth, beacon of fertility, giver of the harvests, she of the grain. Bringer, bearer, pure. I, however, knew her beyond her illustrious titles as a selfish tyrant capable of puerile tantrums when she didn’t get her own way. When I left, she threatened to destroy everything. Millions of mortals would have died were I not to return. Chosen as I was, as the first cry broke from my blue lips, to serve my kingdom for eternity. Is it any wonder that I did not want that predetermined life? That—not my descendance to the underworld—was the true imprisonment.
I was intended to stay in the lands above to deliver a plentiful bounty all year round for those that have since forgotten to be grateful; for those that no longer believe in the sanctity of anything. If my parents had known that these same mortals would waste their God-given gifts, I wonder if my mother would have forced me back.
While those above continue to lay ruin to the soil—destroying that which used to exist in harmony—those below are judged. As I speak, the realms of Tartarus and Asphodel grow crowded beyond recognition. The Furies have become overworked and some are asking for transfers. Even Eurynomos has had its fill, and corpses have begun to pile up, making its rotting and dank place even more dank and rotten.
Had the Gods not been so generous in the early days, or had I been allowed to stay here for more than half the year, I wonder whether things would have been different. I often speak of this to my love, and while he is not much of a thinker, he listens to my musings, night and day. He nods when I tell him we should find a way to restore the balance and says, ‘Persy, my love, my Goddess, my queen. I know you will guide us when the time comes.’
Then we make love in Elysian fields, in the wildflower meadows, the scent of honey and dew-sprinkled grass under our bodies, under eternal daylight, until we cry to the skies in passionate embrace. It is a myth that Hades lives in darkness. A myth that he is stern and uncaring. To me he has only ever been loving and gentle. From the day we first met, I was enamoured and so, I believe, was he. There and then, I persuaded him to let me join him, to open a passage to his home so that I may flee the restraints of my mother’s whims.
It is also a myth that my love tricked me when my mother found me. He did not come up with the plan to allow me to remain partly in his world. It was I that suggested it. A simple idea really: a single pomegranate. Its seeds were so sweet, so delicate, bursting with the taste of freedom and deceit. That I had consumed food from the underworld meant I would have to spend half of my life there. It was my little act of rebellion when I heard my father’s messengers were coming to “rescue” me. My love needed little convincing and we consummated our marriage that night, against cold marble floors amidst the twinkling light of his gem-encrusted palace. His fiery eyes enthralled me, while the sweet red fruit juices still lush and sticky on my lips, transfixed him. It was perfect.
My parents were, naturally, furious. Yet even they could not deny the laws of such things.
Although the laws decree I am to spend half of my life in the land of mortals, I have decided I no longer wish to serve them. The heavens have been too generous, and it is time for the world to be set back to right. People will not only fear to say my name, they will call to me to show mercy; but I don’t plan on showing them any until they have atoned for their sins. Why should I keep rewarding a world that doesn’t appreciate my presence? A world where mortals commit crimes so heinous that the underworld has run out of space for them.
The Gods have failed to keep order. Poseidon’s oceans are polluted so that creatures are drowning in filth and waste. Zeus’ skies and land are toxic, so that soon there will be little left to save. His outbursts and storms do little to quell the mortals’ greed, and so he has given up his right to exact judgement. Only the underworld has served its purpose and so we must rise. We can bring this world back to balance.
This is the only way. I will ask my love to make another opening in the Earth, like he did when he stole me away from the flower fields during the long Summer. Except this time we will bring our world out of hiding, to burst through the confines of the void below, to break free of our subjugation, and strike. Soon, I will get to spend time with my love forever, instead of for only half of the year. For a time, we will go where we want, wander where we must, and roam the three kingdoms freely.
Together, we will rule and smite the unworthy. When it is time, we may return the world to how it should have been, before mortal hands brought dereliction to it all. Once we are finished, Hades and I shall retire and spend eternity celebrating the spoils of our victory. That is how we will cleanse the world of their crimes. That is how we bring order back from the chaos. That is my Elysium.