Calliope was sitting on her bed, applying gray nail polish. “Why so early?” she asked.
“Zeus’s making a mess in the cafeteria,” I replied.
“Uh. You ready for your Exam?” she said, concerned. I nodded.
My heart jolted. Not because of the nervousness of taking the Exam, but because of Eros. He had said something about meeting me again on my next Exam, which was on this afternoon, and I had a feeling he had been correct.
I spent the next three hours in our dorm room. It was Saturday and the sun had already moved beyond our window. I was hungry as hell but at the same time, I didn’t have an appetite. When it was finally time for me to go, I gladly left.
Just on the turn to the Exam room, I nearly bumped into someone.
“What the— Oh, hi, Hades.”
He looked horrified, and he was towering over me, so that I could not pass him to get to the Exam room.
“Um, can you move?” I said as politely as I could.
“Persephone—” He didn’t look very well. “Don’t take the Exam today!”
I was quite furious for him saying that. If I missed this chance, I would have to wait for another two months—at least! “Why?”
Hades opened his mouth to say something, but at this moment, I heard the door behind him opened and a dreamy voice said, “How delightful. Both of you are here.”
Hades moved away a little, so that I could see the owner of the familiar voice. Eros, my examiner, was here again, just like he had predicted. He took a few steps toward me and Hades, but his eyes remained on Hades all the time.
“You have successfully finished your Exam and have acquired your title,” he said to Hades. “It is not in your place to interrupt her Exam. What would you get out of it?”
Hades only shook his head, as if he wanted to say something but couldn’t.
“Look, child,” Eros continued, “it is best for her. She is going to embrace her destiny someday; you cannot stop her for ever.”
I looked between the two of them. “What’s going on here?”
Hades’s eyes burned into mine and there was something in them. Hope and fear mixed together. He silently pleaded me. Eros sighed and said, “It is your choice to complete your Exam or not. Whatever outcome there is, you cannot walk away from your responsibility.”
“Does this have something to do with him?” I gestured to Hades.
Suddenly, Eros burst into a sunlit smile, as if he thought Hades’s interference was fun. “Come or not, it is your choice.” He extended a hand and made a pulling gesture. I was involuntarily dragged toward him—more specifically, I felt like I should go to him.
Eros pushed the door opened for me and I walked past him. I glanced over my shoulder for one second and saw that Hades was taking a step toward us, but Eros held out an arm so that it barricaded me from the hallway and prevented Hades from coming.
(featured picture by Jvdas Berra)