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Persephone

Chapter 5: The Makeover

Ben Lacy

Copyright © 2009 Ben Lacy

All rights reserved

Uncredited Sketch of the Underworld


Recap: The Olympian Underworld has fallen to the forces of the Norse Goddess Hel.
Persephone has successfully escaped to the modern world. After picking up her first human
worshipper and ridding the world of a couple of murdering thugs, she now has to figure out what
to do next.

*************

“What the hell are you?” the young girl gasps. My new worshipper floats uncertainly a
few inches above where her body lies in the back of the automobile of her murderers.

She has an angry and confrontational tone and I fix her with a withering glare. While
I’ve always considered myself a kindly Goddess, I expect a certain amount of respect from my
vassals. I don’t care how many centuries have passed, certain forms must be respected.

She trembles under my glare and phantom tears begin to roll down her shimmering face.
I immediately regret my imperiousness. I have seen millions of the newly dead and normally
expect little of them but to accept their fate and prepare for their new life in the underworld. Her
death was more brutal than most and I’m pushing her to move on far too quickly.

I soften my face, and gently place my arm around her. Under my touch, her form regains
more solidity. “It’s as I told you, I am Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Goddess of
the Harvest, Protector of Maidens, Guardian of Spring, and Queen, well perhaps ex-Queen of the
Dead.”

“But, I, I don’t know who that is. Why are you here? Why am I here? Oh, God. What’s
going to happen to me?”

“I’m afraid I can only answer some of those questions. I am one of the old Gods. We
left your world centuries ago, though I’m quite certain we are well remembered in myth and
legend even now. I am here because my kingdom was invaded by another deity. I am here to
protect myself and my child first and then to stop them from destroying the Covenant and the
universe with it.”

“You are here because you were cruelly murdered. I’ve avenged your death but for some
reason your spirit remains. Perhaps because of what’s happened in my realm; perhaps because I
need your help. I know it’s harsh, but we are exposed here and more mortals … I mean people,
will be along soon. So first, I need to make myself look more like you.”

I look at her closely. She’s maybe fifteen but a mature looking fifteen. She’s wearing a
neater version of the blue cotton pants – jeans – I realize is the correct word and a tight pink
sleeveless cotton shirt, cut low in the front. I try to decide if this is appropriate attire. While
arriving in such a changed world took me by surprise, I’m not totally ignorant of what has
happened in the centuries that have passed. Even now, spirits still arrive in the underworld
though the pace has greatly slackened. Social mores have changed and I don’t think adults dress
for a Bacchanalia anymore.

I concentrate and shrink myself by a foot. I will be tall for a woman but not unacceptably
so. I copy her jeans and her … sneakers. They seem informal but not inappropriate. I copy the
color of the shirt, but make it looser, add sleeves, and cover the plunging front. I shorten my hair
and bind it behind my head with a band of flowers. I notice her eyeing the flowers and
immediately change them into a silk ribbon. “Your eyes kind of glow also,” she says.

“Ahh, thank you,” I grow a lens within each eye to hide the light escaping from within,
leaving my eyes a more human shade of green. I wish this weren’t necessary. Even at a smaller
size, I can maintain my physical abilities, but covering my eyes like this will reduce their
perception. I may not spot something I normally should have.

I tend to look like a young woman in most of my incarnations, so I merely maintain my


current face and figure. If someone who knows me spots me, I would be in trouble, but then,
anyone who actually knows me probably wouldn’t be fooled by my disguise. Besides, I don’t
want to upset Zagreus more then I have to.

“Wow, you look great, you’d be a hit as a model.”

“I have a skill with languages, so I know what that is, but I can’t quite tell why a model is
something one would aspire to be.”

“Well, maybe not hundreds of years ago, but it was my dream. They have this show
where you get to compete on TV to try and be a model. I watched it all the time. Those girls
were pretty but they weren’t all that. I figured once I was seventeen and if I could lose a little
weight off my as…” I hold up my hand, my ability with languages is actually being tested.

“We’re exposed here beside this road. We have to finish up. Next, I need to bring
Zagreus back.” I pull him from my shirt sleeve where he’s been scratching at me, the tightening
of my clothes having annoyed him.

“Oh, he’s so cute. What is he, a rat?”

“No,” I reply, “he’s a little boy.” With that, I transform him back and hug him to me.

I set him down, “Zagreus, we’re in the mortal realm. This is …” I realize I don’t know
the girl’s name.

“Dina, I’m Dina. Wow. Are you a god too? Or, what’s the word, demi-god?”

Zagreus ignores her, “Mommy, is Daddy dead?”

“Of course not,” I immediately tell him. In reality, I’m much less sure. While I’d always
been told we were immortal, Gods had died before. Cronus, my grandfather, was able to kill
Uranus, my great-grandfather. It’s quite possible Hel could have found some way to kill Hades.
Zagreus doesn’t need to know this though, “Once we’re safe, we’ll start to work on finding help
to rescue him.”

I’ve been slowing the movement of time to keep our actions from being noticed, but I
can’t do it much longer. There’s one last thing I have to do before we can leave here. I walk to
the back of the car again and look down at Dina’s body. Almost against her will, Dina’s spirit
drifts over to my side.

“Dina, I have to do something about your body. Do you have family that you want it
returned to?”

She starts to sob again. Shaking her head, she says, “No, I’d run away from home. They
were ...they were cruel. So I ran off and I was going to stay with my boyfriend. But then he
wanted to do things I didn’t and I just wanted to get home, even though it would be back to them.
But then I let these monst … monsters pick me up … And just look what they did to me.” She
breaks down completely. Zagreus has retreated to the other side of the automobile. I eye him
with concern for a moment but then he begins to occupy himself with figuring out a way inside.
“I’ve got no one. I should never have tried going back. Better for everyone if I just disappear.
Just, just get rid of it.

I nod. “Ok, it’s ok.” I wave my hands over the body and it floats into the air. I stare hard
at it and it dissolves into a cloud of dust. A gentle breeze sweeps up around us and lifts the cloud
into the air. Once it’s high enough, it shoots apart in all directions the reflected light leaving a
trail of sparkling flashes. Another moment passes and the sky is again clear. I turn to her and
say, “You’ll stay with us now. When this is over, I’ll find you a good afterlife.” Her eyes stay
skyward but she nods.

I walk over to Zagreus. He’s figured out how to work the door latch and he’s climbing
inside. The musky smell of some artificial perfume hits me as I look inside, as does the smell of
cheap ale, and the odor of burned plant. Sitting in here is not going to be pleasant, but Zagreus
has already scrambled onto the back bench. Another automobile zooms by. I can’t slow time
anymore, we have to get moving and find a better place to hide. “Dina, it’s time.” I sit in the
front passenger seat and Dina materializes in the driver’s seat. She looks startled. “You’re tied
to us now. As long as you focus, I can help you maintain a solid enough form. Now, can you
drive this?” She becomes less transparent and nods. She turns a nob and there’s a roar from the
front of the machine. She pulls a lever on the floor between our seats and we lurch forward.
Then she turns the wheel in front of her and we pull onto the road. Soon we’re moving at an
impressive speed.

She smiles, turns another nob on the front console and suddenly loud music is emanating
all around us. She bobs her head and her bright yellow hair floats ethereally around her. “This
isn’t so bad. Where to Persephone?”

I sigh. Her manners are going to try me. “Olympus?” I say, half joking.

“Huh, what?” she replies. I didn’t expect anything more. I’m quite certain we’re on the
other side of the Great Ocean in the lands the Norse once told me about many years ago, back
when we were friends, back before they started to try and kill me.
I sigh again, “Never mind. Find us a town, not too big, not too small. We need a place to
hide and to plan.”

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