Dandelion in the Dark
Radiant. Beautiful. Not a single strand of her glorious blonde hair was out of place. Perfectly adorned with beautiful flowers—the perfect touch to her already intrinsic beauty.
Pure perfection rested before my eyes, and it brought gracious joy to my undying heart.
Her soft hands graze the flowers as she runs carefree through the valley. Her feet bare as she dances and giggles through the many flowers. Dandelions being blown by the wind to dance around her in soft circles before being taken away by the wind. I’m left enthralled by her bubbling joy and otherworldly beauty. One that surpasses every being I’ve ever come in contact with, both past and present, since bestowing my eyes on her years back.
She’s unlike any other. A bubble of bliss and elation anyone would wish to have in their life. Things she seems to be completely unaware of, and my heart craves the opportunity to be granted the chance to court her.
Yet the pumping mechanism within me that awards me life is left aching in the hurt, knowing that’s an occasion I’ll never be conferred. I’ll only ever be bestowed the chance to enjoy the sight of her from afar on rare occasions when reuniting with my brothers outside of my dominion, that aren’t as many as I’d like.
The very reason she could never be mine. Her heart could never be set on the villain everyone loves to gossip about. Always creating new rumors and reasons to hate me for the sole reason of ruling over the dead. They don’t cherish the value that comes with life and death. It’s a beauty that evades them and a truth I’ve come to long ago accept. Lies, I long ago quit caring to dismantle, but now wish I had.
Perhaps then, she wouldn’t be an impossible dream to obtain. A pure light that the darkness shall never touch. Obscurity I happen to be surrounded by.
A harsh truth that always breaks my heart.
I sigh and grip the reins of the sable-black beauty that is Alastor, ready to part with the beautiful sight before my eyes to conclude my journey back home. I revel in the beauty that is Persephone for one last moment, imprinting her sweet smile in my heart to last me for decades, if not centuries to come. Smiling as I can only do so in her presence, I pull on steed’s reins to return home once more.
Only to be alerted of danger the moment I turn to leave. My eyes scan the valley as the dreadful putrid odor of a decaying corpse reaches my nostrils, warning me of someone’s malice ignoble intentions reign the air as I continue to search for the source of deplorable purposes. Within my sights comes the image of two men huddled in the tall grasses of the valley in which she dances, oblivious to the danger she now faces.
Anger ignites within me at the sight of their weaponry as their eyes seem fixated on the owner of my heart. The blazing blue flames people both greatly covet and dread emerge as the monster I keep locked away within me emerges from hiding. My grip on the stallion’s reins becomes deathly as they take silent steps towards her, their weapons raising as well. My temper threatens to burn the valley to the ground with the great blue flames I’m known for, but that would bring harm upon her—something I do not wish to do at any moment in time.
Mortal instinct becomes present instead, and I pull Alastor’s reins back. Applying pressure with my thighs and calves. He snorts and squeals loudly as he stands on his hind legs, with his forelegs raising from the ground, bringing attention to us both. Her head swivels in our direction, as do the two leeches seeking to bring harm upon her. Alastor sets his hooves on the ground destroying the green pastures below with sheer force, and bolts in her direction in a complete frenzy. His head shakes from side to side like a true bronco at a fast-moving speed which eases my heart to the thought fear could instill in them and sway them from Persephone.
My eyes lock onto her as her lurking assailants rise from concealment to dash at full speed towards her on horses of their own. Her eyes remain fixed on me as a whirlwind of emotions crosses her enchanting eyes—a gaze bearing both shock and surprise to give way to one of pure hatred. A feeling so foreign and contrasting to her delicate features yet appears to be reserved purely for me.
Her lips part as she scoffs, and her nose scrunches in disgust while I glance over to her attackers, who are racing to reach her before I do. I apply further pressure onto Alastor, who is already galloping at great speed towards her, but I can’t take any chances in them succeeding on getting their slimy hands on her. The sound of the wind and the hoofs of his feet against the ground the only sounds reaching my ears as adrenaline rushes through my body. My heart thumps against my chest as I race to her side, wishing to arrive at her before her attackers.
The realization that her fate rests solely in my ability to get to her before the two men, agonizingly stabbing at my mind. She swivels away from me, taking a handful of her dress in her hands to take off sprinting at rapid speed. No doubt, being frightened by the notorious blue flames ignited out of fury in a fervent need to protect her.
I grip onto Alastor’s reins with one hand as he gallops at a growing speed towards her. I lean to the side and scoop her up with one arm. A scream, leaving her sweet peach lips as I pull her up onto the bronco’s back and place her between him and me. Her soft hands contract into fists that soon connect repeatedly onto my chest as I grip onto the stallion’s reins once more with both hands.
“Let me go!” She shouts with a mighty voice as her eyes burn with unfiltered anger. “Set me free, you brute! Unhand me!”
My head swivels back to see her assailants now riding in a pale brown horse trotting at an increasing speed. Looks of disdain and anger painted in their malevolent eyes as an arrow is pulled from one of their quivers. His eyes connect with mine as he draws the arrow back on his bow and releases it into the air.
“Release me! Let me go! Help!” Persephone continues to scream in my arms as she continues to pound onto my chest with increasing force. Her blows, bringing more irritation than hurt, as with them, it proves difficult to hold her steady and keep her from harm.
“Stop!” I release in a stoic voice as she attempts to leap off the stallion’s back in a desperate attempt to be free of me. An action that hurts when I’m not the monster trying to hurt her but the beast trying to save her.
“Then let me go! You clearly don’t have a sense of who my mother is! Let me go you, half-wit!” She shouts once more as she attempts to take hold of Alastor’s reins. I battle with her for the straps as an arrow pierces my skin, and I grunt to the pain that ripples through my body.
The mighty bronco releases a squeal and stands once more on his hind legs with his forelegs off the ground upon being hit by an arrow. I grip tight onto the feisty dandelion as I lean forward, placing the reins towards the steed’s ears to get him once more on his four legs. Persephone screams at me with all her might as she pushes against me before the threat of danger becomes present to her by another arrow flying towards her.
Alastor sets his forelegs on the ground, and I quickly shield her with my body from the oncoming arrow. It lodges deeply into my back, and a groan escapes me as the already present agony grows. I apply pressure onto my bronco to get him to gallop forward at full speed as her assailants gain in on us. Persephone goes still as she diverts her gaze from me to the two men shooting arrows behind us, assessing the dangers of the situation.
Trying to recover her attackers’ lost advantage, I apply further pressure on an injured horse with my calves and heels. Her sudden stillness serving of great help as a feeling of decrepitude takes hold of me. My sable-black steed neighs in response as I push him to the breaking point to save her from whatever cruel fate, they have in store for her.
Frantically searching for somewhere to keep her safe from their vile hands, my eyes come face to face with the gates to my dominion. I scan to see another escape from the leeches behind us but am met with none. Looking down onto the bright light in my arms who is searching for a way out, without knowing I would never bring her harm or darkness. “Take us home, Alastor,” I command, running a hand through his dark mane.
My bright dandelion’s eyes show pure terror as she once more begins to fight in my arms upon the mention of my home. “NO! I’m not going there! Release me you treacherous villain! I wish to be set free! I don’t belong there! Liberate me!”
The screams bubble out as her fists pound fiercely against me at the sight of the gates of darkness. Even if we’re not nearing them as rapidly as I had hoped. Alastor’s injury begins to slow him down as exhaustion comes into play. The proximity of the trotting and whine of the other horse sets my heart in desperation as another arrow breaks through my skin.
Pain takes a hold of me and my temper sparks. The need to set free the growing blue flames within me nearly killing me as I’m met with the sight of the fighting dandelion. I could bring them down with a snap of my fingers along with the entire vale, but that would hurt her. Something I could never do, so, I’m left desperately wishing in my fight to keep her safe that she weren’t so fragile.
But she is. Leaving me trapped in mortal distress and action. Receiving blows from both her and her perpetrators. All to keep her safe, yet failing miserably when I hold within the mighty power of blue flames and death.
Alastor’s reins slip from my grasp as debility completely takes hold of me with sweat completely drenching me. Persephone’s fists come to a halt and are replaced by a desperate scream as I begin to fall. She quickly steadies me on the horse and places the bronco’s straps in my hand. Her gaze fixates on me as she asses me as the lesser evil, no doubt with her hands remaining still
Her gemstone green eyes flood with tears that trickle down her glowing skin. A sight that breaks my heart and fuels me to lead her to the one place in sight they’ll be unable to meet harm to her. My kingdom.
“We’re close, boy,” I urge Alastor, who is on the brink of collapsing. The doors to my home, where the darkness lives, but a few feet away. The gates to the Underworld are our only escape. Within our grasp yet far away from reaching.
Boulders fly and are thrown against Persephone’s attackers as flames sprout from the ground, granting us the leverage needed to reach the gates. I turn my head to catch a glimpse of Hecate, who bears a glare of fury. “GO! I’ll hold them off!” She shouts as the flames grow fiercer upon their horse, attempting to leap through them.
Granting a slight nod in gratitude as I lean close into Alastor’s dark raven mane. “Almost there,” I whisper, and I’m received by a powerful neigh from him. A small smile forms on my lips as upon our propinquity, the gates to my kingdom part open. The sound of his hooves scraping the ground reaches my ears as his mighty gallops have us crossing the gates into safety. But yet it’s the sound of the metal clanking shut behind us that has me sighing in relief.
She’s truly safe. Persephone, my dandelion, is safe. I succeeded in protecting her even when I failed to keep her in the light.
Alastor’s wings spread as he glides us down through the skies of my dominion and before the seat of my throne. My palace. His feet collapse on the ground before we’re even able to descend off his back. My feet immediately land on the harsh ground, and I help the radiance of light off his back to tend to my companion’s injury.
“We’re here,” I convey to her the moment her bare feet touch the undoubtedly cold ground. Her bright light illuminated my own wonderland, yet her radiance seemed diminished. Not a surprise, as most flowers do when removed from the sun and taken to the dark. Hiding the pain to the emotions sprawling across her features as she looks at her surroundings, I go around the stallion to tend to him and his injuries.
“Where did you bring me?” The question sprouts from her lips the second I pull the wretched arrow from my faithful friend’s point of hip and quarter. He neighs fiercely, no doubt from the pain, and I extend the blue flames from my head onto my hand. Using the power of the blue fires I am well known for; I cauterize his wound to disappear underneath his dark coat.
My flames extinguish like a spark within the ray of sunshine that owns my heart. Her gemstone green eyes scan the surrounding area in no doubt, surveying for an escape, including surveying if even Alastor could provide her with a way out. Hurt sprawls, a cruel reminder that I could never be more than a monster to the beautiful light before me. The villain I’m painted to be and perhaps that I even am. I could never be her savior but only a beast that dragged her into darkness even when it was to keep her safe.
“The only place I could keep you safe,” I reply instead, behind the mask of coldness that hides me all too well. “My kingdom, dear light. The Underworld.”
“The Underworld?” The sweet dandelion questions flabbergasted as I confirm what she already knew. I had plucked her out of light and into the dark. Terror and disgust soon flooded within those emerald, green eyes that earlier today held so much luminescence and joy. A sight that broke the heart of the beast she was recoiling from now and brought more agony than the arrows lodged in his back.
Her silence was like whips to my soul as she thought out her next words. Unable to hold her absent gaze, I settle my eyes on her dazzling blonde hair. Settling in its beauty to distract my mind from the coming physical pain I was to bring upon myself. I reach behind and remove one of the arrows embedded in my back. A groan gets stuck in my throat as I press my lips into a fine line instead.
“I don’t wish to be here! I demand you take me back!” She screams as I pull out a second arrow. Discarding the arrow to the floor, I gaze perplexed into her eyes where fury and determination burn bright. Her stance, defensive and ready to lurch at me as if I would harm even a single strand of her sun-glistened hair.
She wished to abandon my side and the place enveloping her in safety. I was the threat upon her eyes and my protection, a filthy cage she wanted to be rid of. I could already see the stories more than likely already forming in her head through those gemstone green eyes—stories where I was the only villain and the worst of them all. Yet, the truth was much simpler and one she would never believe—a beast wishing to protect the radiant flower by bringing her into his wonderland.
But like everyone else, she didn’t see the beauty it held.
“Get back on that forsaken horse and take me home! You can’t keep me here!” Persephone continues to demand of me in the strongest of voices. Without a doubt disturbing the peace amongst the dead and tormented. The beauty before me wanted nothing more than to return to where her assailants roamed free after scarcely escaping.
Something that had to be a practical joke on her part. A terrible jest made at the wrong time or rather too soon. It had to be; there could be no way she was being serious…
Her hatred for the monster before her can’t be as big as to return to the face of danger. My eyebrows raise questioningly as my dark eyes gaze into her jewel green ones to determine the seriousness her words held. I’m met with hurt as there is not a single hint of lightheartedness within them. It wasn’t a practical joke.
Pain shot through me to see her display of emotion for both me and my dominion in said moments despite having known all along this would be her reaction. Yet seeing it and imagining it were two very different things. One wasn’t visible in my mind, while the other was displayed before me. It held more pain than the remaining arrow ingrained in my back.
She doesn’t only seem to dislike me but fear me. Being in the embrace of my home has brought coldness to her to the point she wishes to return to the sun even at the cost of her life. It was written in her eyes as her arms were wrapped around one another to keep her in warmth. Already, I could see my darkness was tarnishing her light even if she lit up my entire being and home. She was breathing life, yet it came at a deathly cost to her as her heart was more than closed off.
The further magic she brought into my dominion was breathtaking, even if she remained oblivious to it. An aura of pure light illuminating the ground around her to the point both flowers sprouted, and the present ones grew in beauty. The air is enchanted with eternal life. The flames I bore, intensifying in power and strength to where even Mount Olympus with the gods and goddesses residing there could be destroyed with them. Yet the beauty of it was dulled to see the effect it held on her.
No doubt the monster I was depicted as held more power than the reality but also held a significant truth. The darkness around me only brought harm onto her, and I found myself wishing upon a dandelion for said truth to be different. Even if solely to her eyes, for it to be different.
“Are you listening to me? I said I want to go home!” Her feet stomp over the cold ground as she defies me with a glare. Yet I can’t bring my lips to part and give her an answer. Instead, I do the only thing I can and remain silent as I pull the remaining arrow from my back. “This is kidnapping! You can’t keep me here!”
My lips press into an even finer line as fire burns in her eyes, wishing to scorch me. The arrow in my hand snaps in two, and seeing it in my grip; I throw it alongside the two others. Her eyes hold inklings of concern for me, lasting but brief seconds upon seeing the three arrows on the ground. But just as quickly dissipate, leaving me doubting if the moment ever occurred. Holding the bridge of my nose with my index finger and thumb as my eyes close, I try to regain clarity.
Searching for the right words that could diminish the image of the beast she sees in me so she’ll sojourn. I need her to see reason and stay, at the very least, till it’s known the threat that brought her here is no more. Finding none and wishing to keep my temper in check, I trace soft circles between my eyebrows with my index and middle finger.
I sigh and open my eyes once more to look into her beautiful ones. Death and the beauty of life face to face, even if greatly mismatched. “You wish to leave?” I question slowly instead to keep from frightening her further. An all too gleeful smile sprouts upon her lips as relief seems to spread throughout her.
“Oh! So, you can hear! What a relief! I was beginning to believe you were deaf! Good! Take me back! I wish to go home!”
Cheer and glee rest upon her features. A beautiful sight that I am soon to disturb. The beauty that my heart has set on does not belong here, but there is no other way right now to keep her safe than in the dark, the one place I know. I yearn to grant her the wish she holds, but that isn’t a present option while her perpetrators roam free.
“No,” I breathe out, swiveling on the heels of my feet and walking away towards the palace.
“No?” She questions behind me with the emotions I turned away from carrying through her tone. I crave nothing more than for her to once more be in the light she seems to crave and need, but I simply can’t let her go.
Her alluring light appears before me, coveting for answers. Her fiery temper once more, burning brightly, wanting nothing more than to scorch me. I grant her but a single short glance, walking around her up the steps.
“What do you mean, no? What part did you not understand? Take me home!”
“I understood, but my answer remains,” I convey to her desiring. My eyes forward and on the task at hand to salvage the pieces of my heart. “I apologize, my wonderland is dampening your light, dandelion, but you’ll be safe within it until those men are no more,” I offer further explanation.
“You cannot hold me against my will! It’s known as kidnapping! I wish to leave! I don’t want to be here! Do you not know who my mother is?”
“Persephone, daughter of Demeter,” I reply with a sigh. “I brought you here with the intent of keeping you safe, and I intend to follow through. Once I’m able to eliminate the weeds from your garden, you will be free to leave the dark and step once more into the sun, dandelion.”
“How dare you claim to be protecting me when you seek to keep me captive? I didn’t ask to be kidnapped! My mother is more than capable of keeping me safe, and I demand you to take me to her now, you swine! Take me home or so help you, Mount Olympus; I’ll make your life miserable!”
“Then do so. I’m not allowing you to be harmed because you wish to throw a tantrum and return to the face of danger,” I wave off her silly threat as I finish climbing the steps to the palace doors. Turning, I find myself mere inches away from her beautiful features and am left entranced for short seconds. “You are far from kidnapped, dandelion. You may roam wonderland as you’d like so long as you don’t abandon it.”
“Depriving me of my chance to leave is the clear definition of kidnapping, you fiend! And I wish for nothing more than to leave this deathly place! Now. Take. Me. Home!” Persephone growls through clenched teeth in a low and serious tone that mirror icicles piercing my heart than the warmth I’ve only ever seen in her
“No, I’m keeping you safe, and I’m not indulging your tantrums to return home where danger looms. I repeat, once I’ve found and punished those who attempted against you, then you’ll be in the sun once more. You may not have a regard for your life at the current time. But I do!”
“It’s my life, and I wish to be with my mother! I didn’t ask or need you to keep me safe when my mother and I can do so ourselves! Now release me before I make you regret it!”
“No. Now make yourself at home. I suspect you’ll be here longer than either of us would like, so it’s best to start getting comfortable,” I repeat, turning away from her and into my palace with certain steps. I will keep her safe and surrounded by darkness for as long as needed for her to be free of danger. Even if it means she’ll destroy me.