A Re-telling of Hades and Persephone
What was the damned point of blackout curtains if they weren’t even going to work? I groaned and ripped the covers over my head in attempt to will myself another fifteen minutes of sleep. I had finally bit the bullet and gotten them my senior year of college and not once in the two years of having them had they worked once. Even with my head under my covers I was too awake now to go back to sleep. I flipped the covered off my head and reached for my phone. SHIT! It was 7:32 and I was supposed to be leaving my apartment in the next few minutes to make it to work on time, with of course time looped in to stop for my formidable coffee addiction.
I jumped out of bed and raced to my closet. Okay quick scan and boom a pastel pink dress with peasant sleeves and nude pumps. Perfect. This would appease mother as I’m stepping into the role of Goddess of Spring, not that I fully cared but it was better than dealing with Demeters temper.
“Bye Cirs” I yelled across the apartment.
“Persephone you are going to be soooo late… you better not stop for coffee”
“Yea right, I’ll be late either way- I’m getting coffee, love ya see you tonight”
“Love you too”
Circe Alexandria Andino- my roommate since junior year and after we graduated we decided to make life easier on ourselves by just continuing to live together and appease our moms. Circe was named after the Goddess of Witchcrafts daughter Circe. She too loved magic and deemed herself an enchantress. Always using crystals to heal, focusing on how herbs were the best medicine, and if I do say so myself, could make the most relaxing cup of tea with her medleys. Circe’s mother wasn’t divine by any means but I had made my presence known to her and her family early on in our friendship to avoid having to lie. I hate lying with a passion. Mrs. Andino loved having the closeness of a goddess to her daughter- even if I was a minor goddess- it gave her a sense of inner pride and security that Cirs would be taken care of.
I got across the street to enter the parking garage attached to our apartment. I have no idea who thought this design was good but having to park in the parking garage then cross the street then go up to whatever apartment floor you were on was absolutely ridiculous and inconvenient - especially when someone’s running late for work.
Demeter was determined I’d drive around in a nice car, I would’ve personally preferred something more along the ideals of low-key but not mother, so when I graduated I was “gifted” a new white Cadillac XT4 with all of the bells and whistles - including tan leather seats with heat and cooling. Of course right now, with it being later July, I was beyond thankful for the cooling seats. Still, I chuckled to myself thinking about how this oh so generous gift came with a long list of rules I’d follow.
Be sure to call home
You will come visit
Do not dare go “out”
Do not fraternize with the other Gods
Be sure the keep your life tidy
What that really meant was- stay away from anything that might be considered scandalous, as that would effect her reputation. Of course, the only thing -well things rather- “scandalous” in mothers eyes were the big three: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.
Zeus- the God of the Sky, the God of Thunder, the brazen six foot five man with grey eyes to match the clouds he brought when especially pissed. Also the man who kept his dick wet with every woman he laid eyes on- half the time “willing” wasn’t the word I’d use but the other half of the time women claimed to be as wet as the rain he brought. If you asked me, they liked the power he held. The King of the Gods. He loved to hear it and women loved to fuck it.
Poseidon- the God of the Sea, and strangely enough the God of Horses, naturally he had a swimmers physique and every woman fawned over his height, slender build, and broad chest. His brown hair was both wavy like the ocean and just past his shoulders, giving the full effect of “ocean waves” every woman wants and a mane to match his horses. I didn’t particularly find him attractive, but he was still one of the big three, and everyone loved him, and he was pretty funny from time to time.
Hades- I hadn’t ever met him, the King of the Underworld, God of the Dead, and the God of Wealth. No one really knew what he looked like, and if they did know him they didn’t talk about him. What was known about him was that he was tall, had dark hair, and always wore black. I guess fitting for the God of the Dead. It was also well- known- to have him on your good side was something no one wanted to mess with and he particularly loved his privacy.
I slid into my car determined to get to work on time. I didn’t care too much how restrictive mother’s rules could be, I had a tendency to be straight and narrow anyways. Sure they were limiting when I wanted to go out with Circe but besides the occasional girls night ending up in me panicking over how Demeter would react it wasn’t awful.
I placed my work bag in the passenger seat next to me and grabbed my phone queuing up my before work playlist. It was probably weird to have a before playlist but it was a set of songs that just helped me get it the mood to take on the world.
I pulled out of the parking garage onto the busy street and headed to Three Sisters Brew. I always loved the name- it referenced the three Fates who determined the fate of mortals life and death, and coffee was quintessential to my life.
The shop was a small hole in the wall shop, inside had a bookshelf that spanned the entirely of the wall and had the books lining it starting with the beginning of time to most recent. It was a time line bookshelf that had the stories of some of the most famous hero’s and well as punny as it was- their fates. Above the door to the coffee shop was a dove to show the peace that comes with your destiny, above the coffee counter we’re three symbols- one for each sister.
The first was the spindle for Clotho, the spinner of thread. The sister who had the duty to spin the thread of a persons life, she gave life. The second was the scroll for Lachesis, the allotted. The sister who decided your time allowed, she measured a persons destiny. The third and final symbol was an image of shears for Atropos. The eldest sister of the three who was in charge of cutting the thread of life. Atropos was also called the inevitable and was close to both Hades and Thanatos. All three sisters were close to Hades as they lived in the Underworld, however, Atropos, being she who decided death, was the closest.
I always found the idea of destiny and fate intriguing. I wondered more often than not if the fates decisions were interwoven with the Gods or just mortals. It was something mother never told me.
Do I have a fate destined by the three sisters?
Maybe that was why I loved the coffee shop so much. The dove brought me peace, the spindle fascinated me, the scroll was always so beautifully decorated with olive beaches, and the ever lurking question about the shears being in my life made me cringe.
Traffic wasn’t terrible today. What a relief. I knew I was going to be late but a lessened amount of traffic would absolutely help my time. I got about halfway through song number four of the playlist as I pulled into the shopping center that housed the coffee shop. Normally I got to song six, a win for me!
I pulled up to the shop to find it empty. Weird, given it was such a popular stop for morning commuters. “Dang it, they must be closed.” I groaned out loud. I hopped out of the car walking to the front door I watched the open sign flip to open. Perfect timing! I walked in ready to see my everyday baristas Michelle and Bree, but instead I saw three women I didn’t recognize behind the counter.
All three women were pretty, not in the modern day pretty though, instead they perfectly depicted the ancient ideals of beauty. They were younger, hair pinned in low buns, all three were about a medium to large size, and all three wearing crowns of olive leaves. I also notice all three wearing traditional togas. A breeze came across the shop and I instantly got a chill. Something here was strange, I wasn’t sure I liked the feel of everything around me. I stopped just inside the doorway.
Go to them, speak with them, learn from them.
This soothing voice in the back of my mind was not my ow yet still it coaxed me to continue walking while giving me a sense of calmness. Even with the voice calming my nerves I hesitated with each step until I couldn’t bring myself to take another step. As I stopped walking all three women turned to me in unison.
“Persephone dear, welcome, we won’t say we’ve been waiting for you.” The first woman said, her presence was gentle.
“Well that would be a lie, we knew when you would arrive.” The second said, her presence was exceptionally lasse-faire.
“Do not be frightened young goddess, I see your hesitation, we mean no harm but we do mean to speak with you.” The third sister, most eloquent and telling, her presence rang a sense of weariness and strength.
These women were Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. The fates themselves in my favorite coffee shop named after them, coincidence I think not. I continued walking towards them still hesitating at each step. I finally stopped walking as I reached the most present section of the bookcase timeline, at the end of the wall.
“Moirai, h-how could I possibly assist you? What brings you to find m-me?” I couldn’t stop stuttering, my body was shaking, my legs weren’t moving, my mind was racing.
Just when I thought this whole ordeal couldn’t get more unnerving all three women smiled at me as their eyes all turned from a soft green shade to glowing white. The breeze in the shop suddenly stopped and everything around me became still, the clock I had never quite noticed before stopped ticking, the buzz of the coffee machines no longer were going, the room was still and the only moving in the whole store came from the women.
“Persephone, we are needing to speak with you. You need not respond but only listen. Hear our words and do what you will. Listen close to see what you’ll fulfill.”
They spoke in unison just as they had turned to me moments before. They stood side by side and continued on.
“You are to be visited by one you call close, one you trust, listen to the pleas they share, ask not why but feel your intuition, your thread is split, one is right one is wrong, a simple string split by a spindle, allow yourself to know this split was not from your choices, though the time to chose your thread is upon you, know the path you seek will determine the life you are to live. Above and below both come with struggles- your strength to grow or your demise is looming. The time to chose your thread is upon you.”
Once they finished speaking all three sets of eyes blinked and were green again. Their smiles softened as if to pity me. Their words had shaken me. I was sweaty and cold, standing dead still but I felt like I was an earthquake about to explode. I had no doubt the tan across my body was now whitened, I felt like I had seen a ghost, I could only imagine that’s how I looked.
“Moirai, I -“ before I could finish my thought all three women were gone. I was alone in the main part of the coffee shop. Standing about six feet from the cash register unable to move, nausea swept over me.
What the hell did that mean? My thread was split? Demise or strength? Above and below? I have to chose my own fate? Because my thread… my thread… my very own thread, had been split. Why was it split? How did it split? I didn’t even know I had a thread until moments ago? Now I find out I technically have two threads?
My head was spinning as Michelle came through the curtain from the back of the shop. “Good morning girly! How are we this beautiful summer morning?” She was so perky, where the hell had she been when all of that occurred? I stepped closer to the register and took out my card.
“Good morning Michelle, I’ll take my usual… hey, anything strange going on this morning?” A small part of me hoped she would know what I was talking about. It wasn’t uncommon for mortals to know about the divine. We didn’t overly try to hide ourselves unless we were actively living in the mortal world, for the most part we stuck to Olympus. Michelle didn’t know about me, I think she had a feeling and was always goading me to talk more about my history and past but never pushed too far.
“No ma’am. The owners came by for a check up on the shop but other than that nothing out of the ordinary. Why?” Her perkiness turned to curiosity as she began making my vanilla iced coffee with coffee ice cubes.
“The owners?” She paused for a second and looked at me “ Yea… THE three sisters.”
“You mean the fates themselves own the shop?”
“I mean I have no way to prove it but I’m pretty sure”
I must’ve looked overly mystified and too intrigued because she began to look uncomfortable as she quickly shifted the topic. “Anything fun going on at work today?”
I shook my head snapping myself back to reality “Nope, same old same old”.
“That’s no fun, your total is $6.66.” I swiped my card and grabbed my large iced coffee from the counter. “Thank you Michelle, have a good day, see you tomorrow.”
After the last five minutes in the coffee shop I was ready to get on with my day and put what the fates had said in the back of my mind. I had work to get to and couldn’t focus on it until I absolutely needed to.
I got to work about 15 minutes late and went straight to my desk. My job wasn’t overly exciting unless we found something to log.
In college I had studied the classics, it was rather easy given I had grown up with the topics. What everyone else deemed as myths or legends, I knew as history. Zeus’ extramarital affairs, the Titans, the “tragedies” of those who were punished for crossing one of the Gods, it was my truth. The college deemed my degree classical studies- I called it a degree in history.
After college I decided to take my vast knowledge of the “classics” and apply to the Museum of the Gods as a curator for the gallery of divine artifacts. I breezed through the interview process and was offered the job within a week.
My desk was in the back of the museum, I liked not being where everyone could see me. I looked too much like the drawings from the books, and was always worried someone might make the connection. Being hidden away at work gave me piece of mind and the ability to have privacy whenever mother decided to pop in to check on me.
There was nothing new to log today, no divine artifact to collect, log, clean, display, write about. Having nothing besides e-mails from eager historians claiming to have found the next big artifact gave me time to work on the research study I had been dragged into by my boss.
I opened my laptop to start going over the research that had already been compiled by various co-workers of mine. Nothing out of the ordinary, at this point in the study it was mostly compiling what archeologist had found and how it related to the study. If I was being honest I wasn’t entirely sure what the study was even on. It was titled “Pieced together by the Gods” and from there I had little to no further context.
As I was scrolling through the data sent to me I heard the voice in my head again repeating:
Above and below both come with struggles- your strength to grow or your demise is looming. The time to chose your thread is upon you
No matter how hard I tried the words were replaying continuously in my head. I couldn’t bring myself to focus. I needed to know what these words meant.
I took a walk through the exhibit to clear my head when I stumbled across a hydria I probably had seen a hundred times already but for whatever reason it caught my eye today.
On it was Hecate, Thanatos, and Hades all standing on the bank of the River Styx with Charon, more commonly known as the ferryman, in the background. The river was circling the hydria and I felt entranced.
How would a mortal who made this even know what the Styx, or any of the Gods depicted look like? The mortal closest to knowing would’ve been Orpheus when he attempted to rescue Eurydice, but he had to look back, he made a contract with the King of the Underworld and broke it.
There is one thing about a contract with Hades- you’re bound until the contract is completed, any contract crafted in the Underworld for that matter, and if you don’t complete it your soul is in limbo.