Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pomegranates, pt. 3, 349 words

Persephone, half-alive but determined, strove for the surface and broke out into the dead of winter. She searched far and wide for her mother, until she found her weeping still in the home Demeter had set aside to keep Persephone safe from the other Olympians.

"Mother," she said, "I live again. For a time."

"How," Demeter asked, shocked and unwilling to believe her daughter was not a spectre come to taunt her.

"Hades fed me the seeds of the pomegranate while I languished in his realm, and so I have only a part of a life. Mother, do not despair, do not kill the world with your grief. Hades loves me, in his cold way, and if I cannot live then I shall at least be at his side."

"No," Demeter protested, "I cannot let you go. I cannot lose my daughter again."

"You must let me go, Mother," she said. "I am already more than half dead."

"No," Demeter said again, and went searching. Before long, she returned to Persephone and pressed another pomegranate into her hands, the last pomegranate yet alive in the world. "I can abide losing you for a little time each year," she said, "but not for so much of it. Take this into the underworld with you. It will not die. Plant its seeds, and grow more pomegranates. They will be pomegranates of the underworld, and they will not die, but nor will they give you a true life. Eat of them each winter, and you will be strong enough to come out again each spring and stay the summer with me. In the autumn you will weaken, and then must return to your Hades. I will hold back my grief as much as I can, but I will miss you, daughter. I do not wish to see you dead, even if only for a time."

"Thank you, Mother," Persephone said, and kissed Demeter on each cheek. "I must go now, Hades is expecting me. And I must plant this pomegranate in the underworld. I will see you again, in a few months."

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