I could feel my mother’s eyes staring right through my soul, I knew Hades was looking at me the same way. I should have stopped laughing, but the giggles just kept coming out, uncontrollably. I wanted to cry, but laugher just kept coming through.
“You . . . You’re . . . that’s a good one, I mean . . .. Obliviously I am just crazy here, right?”
“Steffi,” Hades said. “Steffi, it’s-”
My mother closed her eyes. “True . . . it’s true, Steffi.”
Uncle Charlie gasped. “You’re going to tell her?”
The way my mother looked right at me, I knew she wasn’t joking. I suppose if this was last year before everything had happened, I guess that I would have just laughed at them some more, and thought nothing of it an hour later.
However, it was the now. I had met Hades, king of the underworld, and he had fallen in love with me. If this was true . . . Why wouldn’t this be true?
I saw water starting to come to the surface of her eyes. “Honey, I am so sorry. This was not how you were supposed to find out . . . I am the Goddess of agriculture, harvest, fertility, and sacred law. . . ”
“Mom,” I said in a near whisper. “Mom, Hades, I don’t, I don’t understand.”
It was the craziest thing I ever heard. Though, when I thought about it, I looked to Hades and remembered that he of all people was in love with me. How far off could my mother be a Goddess be?
“Persephone, remember when you were little, and you spoke to flowers?”
The pain in my stomach was growing. “Mom, I was just a kid, I was stupid-”
She shook her head. “No, Steffi. They really were talking to you. They spoke to you because the world around you knew who you were... .before you did.”
“What am I?”
“Persephone, you’re a Goddess too.”
The pain grew. I wanted to throw up, but I couldn’t.
“Remember how I had you homeschooled? How I had you up here, staying on our land as much as possible?”
The pain was moving from my stomach to my shoulders, then to my hands. It was burning, but I tried my best to just wave it off, not pay any attention to it. “But you own a store, you have . . . You. . . You’re not . . . and not me!”
I felt shaky, my own body was quivering. Hades come closer. “Steffi, it’s okay.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Stay back from me!” I said. The pain was unbearable then. I held my hands up in front of me to stop him from getting closer. Out of the ground below Hade’s feet, vines came out, wrapping around Hade’s body.
I feel back, looking at him, struggling to escape. Flames destroyed the vines, letting him free. I looked at my hands, wondering where that had come from.
“Steffi, I need you to calm down,” Uncle Charlie said, coming around the table, and kneeling next to me.
Panic was choking me, making me feel like I was drowning at the bottom of the ocean, struggling to get to the top. The pain grew bigger and bigger. Vines were popping out of the ground like daisies.
I heard screaming. After a moment, I realized it was me, finally getting to make some sound. I got to my feet, stumbling like crazy.
“Steffi,” my mother said, trying to get closer to me. The same thing had happened to her when Hades tried to get close before.
“It hurts!” I screamed. “It all hurts!”
“Persephone, it’s okay, it’ll be okay,” Hades said to me. Somehow, even when I am at my lowest in my greatest pain, I could hear his voice calling out to me.
“I’m . . . I’m sorry,” I whispered, turned to the front door, and dashed out. I was running so fast, faster than I ever had. I felt this energy run through my body, telling me to go faster, that I was okay, I was strong.
I never felt this way.
“Steffi!” I heard my mother shout behind me. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. “Steffi! Stop!”
There was another sharp pain, making me stop in my tracks. My feet twisted and turned around, tripping over each other. I fell to the ground, feeling the vines and flowers swallowing me whole.
The vines were pulling tighter on my body, not letting me move any muscle. I was stuck, the earth taking me. It was getting harder and harder to breathe.
The last thing I saw was Hade’s face, trying to pull me out of the dirt, trying to save me.