Persephone loved flowers. On a day when the sun shined brightly and the sky stood clear, Persephone played in a meadow full of flowers. She carried a jug of paint and a brush. She dipped her brush and splashed the petals of her favorite flowers with paint.
Suddenly the ground began rumbling. The flowers swayed back and forth violently. Petals scattered on the grass. The paint spilled all over Persephone’s white dress. A hole large enough to swallow a small house yawned open.
Four night-black horses raced out of the hole. They whinnied and neighed loudly. Their hooves beat the ground raising clouds of dust. Thick cords ran from the horses to a golden chariot. Driving the chariot stood a man with hair as black as ink. His skin had only the barest traces of color like fresh cream. He had a tall, thin figure, almost like a skeleton.
Persephone did not recognize him, but her mother would have. He was her maternal uncle. Overlord of Orcus, Duke of Dis, Noble of the Netherworld, Ruler of the Damned, and Lord of the Dead – these epithets belonged to him alone. He was Hades.
Hades called out to Persephone, “Come here, dear. I shan’t hurt you.” She looked terrified. But her curiosity kept her from running away. Hades started reaching in a brown leather satchel.
With a bit of searching, he produced a jar of golden honey. “Would you like a taste?” he asked. “It’s ever so sweet.”
Normally Persephone would have eagerly accepted a gift of honey. But she did not know this man and she saw a strange fire in his eyes. She turned away from him, refusing to cast a second glance at the honey.
Next, Hades produced a jug of wine and took a big gulp. He said, “Would you like a taste? I won’t tell your mother.”
Persephone had seen grown-ups drinking wine at parties. No one ever offered it to her before, saying she wasn’t old enough. She had asked for just a little sip, but her family told her she couldn’t have one. She turned toward him, but something deep inside her wouldn’t allow her to move closer.
“Stubborn are we? Ah, but I still have a trick up my sleeve. Say hello to Calypso.” Hades reached down and presented Persephone with an adorable black kitten. The mewling creature fit easily in Hades left hand. The kitten fell from his hand and crawled toward Persephone. She tried to resist but her heart melted. She picked her up and cradled her in her gently tanned arms.
Seeing his chance, Hades struck his horses and drove toward Persephone. He picked her up with one arm while steering with the other. She shrieked but there was no one to hear her.
To Be Continued