There should have been fire. She was definitely expecting there to be blazing red fire, tortured souls, and Cerberus foaming at the mouth. Instead as she descended, trepidation eating away at her, she was surrounded by iridescent milky light filling a void of darkness. She clung to the stony wall as she continued slowly down the circling steps taking in the scene before her. Looking forward she was surprised by the layout before her. She paused for a moment taking in the landscape. Directly ahead of her was a forest of luminously vibrant trees. Leading from the steps and through those lustrous trees was a road of an almost opulent onyx color. She turned her head to the side searching for others or for any signs of movement and found none. And yet she had the distinct feeling she was being watched. Swallowing audibly she continued forward down the winding steps and onto the onyx road. Only then did she realize how she was dressed.
"What the hell?", she whispered aloud as she stared down at the satiny slippers encasing her feet only to continue her gaze up her body taking in the breezy material of the Grecian wrap dress she wore hugging her like no other garment had before. She didn't remember dressing like this. She didn't remember much at all at this point. She thought hard trying to come up with something, anything, to bring clarity to the void that was her memory. And in that moment she thought she heard laughter near her side of the road. She gasped looking around quickly seeing nothing but darkness and the glow given off by the trees ahead of her. Shaking her head clear she continued upon the path once more wanting to get to whatever destination it would lead to.
She studied the trees as she passed them surprised to see beautiful-jeweled flowers intermingled within the deeply rooted grounds of the eerie forest. Whispers floated upon the ivory beams set off by the trees like musical notes hanging within the still breeze. As she continued onward she caught several glimpses of small ethereal fairies but ignored them and kept her head held high as she quickly made her way through the forest, her slippers making her steps soundless. Upon finally reaching the end of the path she lifted her hand to shield her eyes from the strong background glow of the trees only to see before her what could only be the River Styx. She glanced around her gasping at the sudden appearance of pale apparitions around her solemnly awaiting at the edge of the river. Children and adults their sizes ranged and their figures flickered then became solid yet transparent. She heard the moans, groans and pleas then as she waited with these wandering souls. There was no forewarning of the approaching boat. It seemed to float at an unnaturally fast speed and then it was at the shores its bearer, Charon, staring down at them from his shadowy hood.
"Don't be afraid, Mistress", the words whispered across her mind easing her and raising her awareness all at once. She glanced sharply up at Charon finding his gaze directly upon her. He reached out a skeletal hand towards, her taking it she felt the strength of those bony fingers gripping her hand soundly as he pulled her into the large cavern of the boat with the souls around her piling in after her.
She sat at the bow of the boat and looked over into the murky misty water only to be shocked to find eyes staring back at her.
"Those are the souls that didn't make it, Mistress", a tiny voice from behind her whispered. She turned to look down into the face of a young round faced ghost child. She smiled down at the girl, "Hello. My name is…" "I know who you are, Mistress Persephone. We all know who you are."
Persephone looked up noticing all of the ghostly eyes were on her. She even somehow knew she still had the attention of the hooded ferryman, a prickling feeling of awareness spreading through her.
Leaning down to whisper discretely to the child who was now smiling innocently up at her, she said. "How is it that I'm so well known?"
The child looked up at her somehow drifting back saying cryptically, "He's waiting for you, Mistress."
Tilting her head to ponder the mixture of the ominous words spoken by the young ghost and taking in the many imploring stares that she was attracting caused her to realize that they had come upon land once more.
She stared in awe at the rising hills covered in ornate flowers, dotted with simplistically built homes that seemed to be made of the very trees blanketing the outskirts of the meadow. Several more of the ghostly visages floated among the homes and throughout the tiny town. It seemed to be a replica of the world when it was without technology basic yet beautiful with a vibrancy that seemed to glow just within the very meadows themselves. As she walked among the many figures wandering around her, loud male laughter and the overwhelming barks of multiple dogs caught her attention making her body alert with awareness and thrum with sudden longing. Searching for the source of the noise her gaze landed on a veritable god of a man. She blinked as he turned seemingly in slow motion and suddenly pierced her with eyes like blue fire. She stilled completely as the grin he wore upon his full lips turned even deadlier when he began to make his way towards her with the three-headed monstrosity following after him prancing as if it were no more menacing than a poodle. He strode towards her, virility radiating off of him in droves, ghostly figures around him either cowered away or inclined themselves to him in respect. He stopped directly in front of her towering over her smiling knowingly as he reached a hand out to tenderly cup her slightly flushed cinnamon cheek.
"Welcome home, my Queen." His voice boomed within her head though he had but whispered the words. She shuddered with the feeling of recognition and suddenly felt peace permeate her being as he captured her within his brawny arms and kissed her lips passionately. It was with this kiss that memories of her life here in the Underworld came rushing back to her. She saw the mornings spent in his arms, the moments of laughter, the care and control he took when dealing with the people of his dark kingdom. She remembered having to go back to her duties as the Goddess of Spring and was beyond glad to finally be back where she truly belonged. Leaning back she stared up into his swirling azure eyes whispering, "I'm home, Hades. Finally, I have returned to you."