17. Fallen

17. Fallen

It was a sunny day. Hades and I were sitting in the place that he had first shown me his powers. A light breeze blowing across our face made it much more tolerable for a hot summer day. I hesitated for a long time before saying, “Do you know something that I don’t?”

He didn’t look surprised. “You know, we gods aren’t supposed to tell people about our…knowledge.”

I didn’t mean that, but I said, “Knowledge? You mean like the existence of primordial gods?”

“Not just that, but yeah, it’s kept a secret and only gods can talk about it among themselves.”

I was about to ask what would happen if I told the non-gods about these knowledge, but I knew the answer—it was embedded in my mind when I became a goddess: I would go to Tartarus if I disobeyed the rules here.

“Um, Persephone.” Hades paused. “I’m sorry for trying to interfere with your Exam. You saw an image, right? After you became a goddess.”

“Yeah,” I said absentmindedly. “I saw the primordial gods. Jeez, there’re five of them!”

“No. I mean the image.” He looked eagerly at me. I could tell from the look of his expression that he, too, had seen an image, when he passed his Exam a few months ago. I did not know what he had seen, but I was sure it had something to do with the both of us. When I asked him what he had seen, he said, “I saw something quite different. You were lying on the ground and not breathing…”

I held my breath. “Does it mean anything? Does the image tell the future?” Of course, I didn’t want the image to tell the future, because I didn’t want to be dead or half-dead or anything, and I didn’t want my own image to come true, either.

“I don’t know,” he replied, a worried look on his face.

Not wanting to know more, I said, pointing up at the sky, “Remember that day? Can you take me up there?”

What? No!” he protested, shaking his head frantically. Somewhere deep in my heart, I knew I shouldn’t. But I wanted to see what would happen. There must be a world outside this one—a world beyond this canyon—that someone was keeping away from us the gods and goddesses and everyone else.


A long pause. “Okay. But promise me you wouldn’t do anything stupid other than this.”

“Like what?”

“Like touching the sky.”

“I promise.”

So he grabbed me by the arms and we shot up together. I glanced down for a second and almost vomited my breakfast: we were so high up now that we could see the whole canyon, where it came from and where it stretched to. But that was it; the canyon seemed to go on forever.

And then we stopped. Not exactly “stopped” but it was a dynamic shift up and down. “Why are we stopping?” I asked.

“If we go further, I’ll lose my balance just like last time…What are you doing?”

I was breaking my promise to him when I reached out my arm to the vast blue above me.

The next thing I knew, I was falling.

Persephone. Persephone. Persephone.

It was such a sad voice. Full of tears and woe.

I caught you in time. Your soul is not in my realm. You can’t die.

Who was this person? What was he talking about?

Wake up.

But I couldn’t. A thousand little spikes pierced through the skin on my back, but I could not feel the pain. My body had gone numb long ago.

(featured image by Ryan McGinley, “Falling (Light Leak)” (2013) from this site )

via Sunny


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