Estimated reading time: 17 minute(s)
Here’s a story I wrote for an iWriter client awhile back. It’s published on Spark Fiction under someone else’s name because I ghost wrote it, but…eh. Here it is anyway. Lol
How wonderful it must be to control your own fate. I’m lost in a daydream when they face me toward the mirror, imagining a future where I’m allowed to choose. The wedding dress looks beautiful, or at least that’s what my assigned bridesmaids are telling me, but it feels like a costume. The girl inside it doesn’t belong, not yet.
My name is Elena Hamilton, I’m sixteen years old, and I’m marrying the God of Death in ten minutes.
You might want some backstory to understand how I found myself here. Rewind to six months ago. I’m on my way to school, walking because the weather is beautiful on this July day, when I see a stray cat in the middle of the road. I can’t be faulted for trying to help it.
I run out into the street to save the cat, but before I can reach it, a car squeals around the corner. It’s going way too fast, blowing right through the twenty-mile per hour speed limit. I leap out of the way and, when I look back, the car’s tires are crushing the cat’s head.
It happens in the span of seconds, but it feels like forever to me. The car doesn’t even stop, just careens down the street and makes another turn. They wouldn’t lose any sleep over this at all.
But I will.
Knowing it’s already hopeless, I creep out into the street. My eyes are stinging more with every step and, by the time I reach the poor dead animal, I’m sobbing. I’m kneeling in the middle of the road, inconsolable, when something catches my attention. There’s a strange dark mist emanating from the cat’s corpse.
I wipe at my eyes, blinking rapidly. This has to be some sort of optical illusion. But it’s not. This is really happening. As I watch, the mist grows into a plume of dark violet smoke.
I pass my hand through it, curious, and it flashes white. Wherever my skin touches, the smoke vanishes. Fascinated by this development, I use both hands to disperse the smoke, eliminating most of it in a matter of seconds.
An idea crosses my mind and, before I can think of the unsanitary implications, I place my hand directly on the cat. The amount of smoke decreases, but is still escaping the cat’s body. I add my other hand and the smoke vanishes completely.
This is by far the weirdest thing I have ever experienced in my life.
Well, until the cat’s head began to move.
I remove my hands, startled, but then I realize it’s probably just the cat’s nerves. Something inside its crushed head is moving, though. Before I can get a closer look, the entire head reconstructs itself as if it was never smashed in at all. I rub my eyes again, opening and closing them, even shaking my head.
The cat’s head remains fully intact. Did I imagine it? No way. I was looking at it for a good few minutes. It definitely –
The cat opens its eyes and jumps to its feet, shaking itself as if just waking from a good nap, and darts off into some bushes on the other side of the street.
That was how it all started. Fun Fact: Demi-gods’ birthdays are their “conception” date. I’ve celebrated my birthday every year on April 2nd, meaning I was conceived around roughly the same date in – you guessed it -July.
Demi-gods’ powers awaken on their sixteenth Conception Day, which is why I was able to resurrect that cat six months ago.
“Elena?” my dad says, bringing me back to the stark reality of my impending wedding. I hate to make him worry, although the gray streak in his hair seems to have grown over recent months, anyway.
“I’m okay,” I lie.
It’s not like I can run. There’s nothing either of us can do about this situation. If only my dad hadn’t spent a night with that lady he met at the bar.
How was he supposed to know “Seph” was short for “Persephone?”
They left a lot out of the Greek myths when they wrote them. That, or a good chunk of it was lost down the line, because apparently Persephone likes to be reborn on Earth every century or so. When she slept with my mortal father, she disappeared – leaving me in her place.
My father had no idea what to do. When he woke up the next morning, Seph was gone and a baby was in his bed. Persephone left a note explaining what had happened, but would you believe it? He tried to find Seph again. spoke with child services, but in the end Seph could not be found.
My father’s wife could never have children, so they adopted me. She died when I was twelve. When I came home on that day in July, a man sat at our kitchen table claiming to be Hades and demanding my hand in marriage.
It took a demonstration of his power to convince us – and to scare us into accepting his proposal. Despite resurrecting Benjamin, our dog, I still considered Hades a wicked person. I absolutely cannot imagine my life with him. No wonder Persephone incarnates as a human every so often. I’d want to get away from him, too!
“Do you think he’ll let me visit?” I ask my dad, suddenly feeling nervous. What might the underworld be like? Would it smell like rotting death? Will it be dark all the time?
Will we have WiFi?
I smile at myself. I can always count on my sense of humor.
My dad doesn’t answer, only smiling in response to my own grin. My father leads me to a pair of double doors – he’s Hades, not Satan – and they open for us as the wedding procession begins to play on the organ
There’s nobody here that we know. We aren’t publicizing this. A sixteen year old getting married would lead to gossip, so all of the pews on the left side of the church are empty. Hundreds of gods and goddesses watch us from the right.
My fiance lifts my veil and touches my cheek, I blink, rocked by a flood of memories.
The seeds I ate so many millennia ago, the ones the myths say trapped me at Hades’ side forever. They weren’t a trap. They were poison. I could have died and, only by Hades’ intervention, I was saved. He was so lonely before I came there. It took me so long to make him smile. When he finally started to laugh, I was ready to go home, but then I realized: I loved him.
And I married him.
Knowing my free spirit, Hades allows me to return to Earth without him. He goes mad without me by his side, but lets me go. I grin at my father, then to my husband. His eyes light up and I kiss him passionately.
It’s time to go home.