Lilies and Roses

The lavish dining room was heavily decorated with sparkling gems and diamonds. The massive table, which I thought to be stone, had ruby gems embedded into it. A feast of various meats, cheeses and sweet fruit lie in front of me. “My dear Proserpine, you must be ravenous after our journey!” I nervously look at Pluto, standing tall with his dark hair and dark eyes as he enters the dining room. He approaches the head of the table, and leans dangerously close to me. “Aren’t you hungry?” He asked. “Here, why don’t you have some prosciutto?” He places an elegant, silver plate piled high with the delicious meat. Oh, I’m so hungry I could eat the whole entire plate! Alas, I refuse to eat anything this monster gives me! “Thank you, but I-I’m not hungry.” I frown at how timid my voice sounds, and avoid my captor’s piercing gaze. Pluto ground his teeth and stood up straight. “Very well. You may explore the palace if you wish, this is your new home, after all.” His mouth smiles, but his eyes reveal his annoyance. I bow my head and say a barely audible thank you before scurrying off through the large arched doorway. I could feel his dark, brooding eyes on me but I didn’t dare to look back at him. After walking aimlessly around, lost in thought, I found myself at a crossroads. “Oh dear, Which way should I go?” Before me stood two grand arches. The first led to a seemingly endless hall, its wall glowing a soft gold. The second led to a very dark hall, I could hear the faint moans coming from it. With a shudder, I quickly walk down the first hallway. It felt like hours before I finally reached a gilded door, with intricate designs. Sighing wearily, I pushed the door open, revealing a large, grey canopy bed, big even for even Cerberus! The room was rather plain, its grey walls barren, save for two large windows with thick, black curtains. A large dresser stood beside the bed. I trudged towards the bed and climbed in it, remembering the horrid events that took place earlier today. I couldn’t believe I had been so foolish, disobeying my mother like that. She always did say I would get into trouble one day…A tear fell down my face as I laid down, falling into a dreamless sleep.

For a few days- or at least, I think it’s been a few days, it’s so hard to tell time here-I made sure to avoid Pluto. I noticed when he’s not trying to stalk me, he almost always spends his time down that dark, scary hall I saw. “Tch.” I walk over to the window, and spot a tall wall, directly across from my room. An equally tall door guards whatever the wall is keeping in. I suddenly get an idea, a brazen, crazy idea! I gently yank the curtain off the window frame, and yank the canopy sheet off the bed. I twist and tie the two together to make a lengthy rope. I open the window and lower the make-shift rope over the side of the building, tying the rest to the window frame. I slip out and clumsily climb down, wind blowing my black hair every which way. I finally make it to the bottom, and I stare up at the door. The air was much colder outside, and my delicate dress provided no warmth. I walked briskly towards the door and gently pushed it open (thank the Gods it was unlocked) to reveal a beautiful garden filled with gorgeous red roses, multi-colored wild flowers, periwinkles, you name the flower and it was there. A stone path lay in front of me, littered with white benches, stretched as far as the eye could see. “Oh, my Gods, this is amazing!” I grin happily and stroll down the pathway, marveling at the exquisite flowers. I made it to what I assumed to be the middle of the path, and sat on one of the benches, glad to be surrounded so many colors and sweet scents. I smile and close my eyes, thoroughly relaxing. “Hello there, stranger.” A soft disembodied voice acknowledged me. I look around and gasp as I see a transparent girl sitting on my left.

“W-who are you?” The girl smiles. “You may call me Sicilia. I’m sorry for making you so cold,” Sicilia smiles apologetically. “but it’s hard for a spirit to control it.” A spirit? “You’re really a spirit?” Sicilia’s smile widens. “Yes, I am. You’re the first person, living or dead, to talk to me. You’re my-“Her melodic voice stops abruptly, and she looks uncertain. “You’re…the first friend I’ve had in a very long time.” I beam widely at her as I grab her hand, it was so cold it burned, but I ignored the pain. “I’m so glad we’re friends!” My eyes widen. “Oh! I haven’t introduced myself, please forgive me. My name is Proserpina.” Sicilia smiles warmly. “Well Proserpina, how did you ever manage to end up in a place like this?”

“I…was wandering in the forest after my Mother told me not to…and Pluto kidnapped me.” Sicilia frowns at me. “Proserpina! You must always, always, listen to your Mother no matter what!” Sicilia scolds me, much like how Mother would, and I guiltily avoid her gaze. “I know…I should have never disobeyed her.”

Sicilia sighs and hugs me. “I died from a broken heart.” I try to look at her, but she keeps locked in her freezing embrace. “My Mother was sick, horribly so, and though the doctor in our village did the best he could, she died.” Sicilia lets go of me, and looks at a flower behind me. “I loved my Mother more than anything else in this miserable world, and when I lost her, I lost a part of me I could never get back.” I could feel tears prickling my eyes. No one deserves to lose their mother. “There was no way I could ever be happy without her, so…” Sicilia closes her eyes and frowns. “So, I decided to join her. But, life in the Underworld is just as miserable as life in my old village. I suppose I’ll never find my Mother again.” Sicilia sighs and looks at me. Her eyes reveal the sadness and pain she continues to endure. “I have you now, though. My new friend.” I hugged Sicilia tight, her cold body chilling me to the very core, but I refused to let go. “I’m so, so sorry Sicilia. No one deserves to be without a Mother.” Sicilia reaches for something behind me. “Of all the flowers in this garden, you are the most beautiful.” She places a white lily flower in my hair, and smiles at me. I smile back at her. We sit for while in the garden, talking about our mischievous “Thank you, Sicilia, for everything. I’m so glad we’re friends!” Sicilia’s smile disappears as she looks behind me. “Sicilia? What’s wrong?”

 

“I see you’ve made a…new acquaintance, Proserpina.” I freeze as I hear Pluto’s deep voice purrs behind me. “I hate to interrupt, but Proserpina and I must discuss something important, Sicilia.” Sicilia jumps up from her seat and bows her head respectfully. “Of course. I shall take my leave at once.” She scurries out the garden door, glancing back at me. She winks at me and smiles. “I see you like your garden, Proserpina.” Pluto smiles and sits close to me. “Yes. It’s very nice, Pluto.” He chuckles and plucks a red rose from a bush. “Sweet Proserpina, I hope you feel more comfortable around me. I want us to be friends, not enemies.” He hands the rose to me. And stands up. “You’ll have dinner with me, won’t you Proserpina? It gets awfully lonely when you’re not near me.”

 

“I’m afraid I’m not very h-hungry right now, but thank you for the offer.” I stand up and take a few steps backwards towards the garden door as Pluto’s smile fades away. I can tell he’s getting very annoyed with my response. Although he didn’t harm me the first time I rejected him, I feared the worst as his mouth curled into a nasty scowl. A pitiful whimper escaped my lips as I turned on my heels and sprinted towards the door. I almost tripped several times in my hasty escape, and it took a moment for my shaking hands to open the door, but I could finally put a barrier between Pluto and I. Pulling the door, I felt a sense of relief-SLAM-I let out a high-pitched shriek as a pale hand slams the door shut. “Do you know how long you’ve been talking to that infernal spirit?!” Pluto roughly grabs my shoulder and spins me around to face him. “Fourteen hours. Fourteen. I have been nothing but kind to you. I offer you nothing but the best foods, I let you sleep in my own room, I’ve even given you a whole entire garden, and this is how you repay me?” Pluto’s grip on my shoulder tightens, and a tear falls down my eye. “By wasting the day away with a spirit, avoiding me?” All I did was make a new friend in this place, why did this make him so angry? Pluto’s harsh grip loosens, and he tilts my face up to look at him. “Proserpine, this palace is so lonely with no one around to be your friend. When I brought you here, I thought you would have made a great friend!” Pluto no longer looks angry, instead he looks…melancholy. He says nothing as he gently pushes me aside and exits the garden. I wait a few moments before taking my leave, shutting the garden door behind me, thinking of Pluto’s sad face. Perhaps all he really wanted was a friend of his own. A sudden wave of guilt passes through me. I should’ve been a little more, friendly to him. I sigh as I walk towards the rope leading back up to my room. A gust of wind blew, and I started my ascent to my, or rather Pluto’s room. After few moments pass, I reach the windowsill and pull myself into the dark room.

Immediately, I feel as though something is wrong. Frowning, I scan the room, but nothing seems out of place. I cautiously made my way to the door, slowly opening it, and heard something that shook me to my core. A blood-curdling scream reached my ears. My heart dropped to my stomach. I ran as fast as I could down the golden hallway, and again heard that terrifying scream of pain. The familiarity of the voice made a sorrowful sob escape my lips. Finally, finally, I reached the end of the accursed hall, and stopped in front of that horrid, dark hall. I knew without a doubt that’s where the screams were, but something kept me frozen in place. The almost pitch-black hall frightened me, but I heard the whimpers of pain coming from the black abyss. I took a deep breath, and slowly made my way through. It was so humid, and I swore the walls were pulsing. The floor squelched and squished under my feet. I had contemplated turning back to s

 

 

 

eek refuge in my room, but I knew I had to help whoever was in trouble. I reached the end of that miserable hall, and upon seeing the vast room, I gasped and ran forward. “Pluto! No, please don’t do this!” Pluto stood tall in front of a kneeling Sicilia, who looked weak, and drained. Pluto had a terrifying expression upon his face, and he ignored me as he tormented my poor friend. “Sicilia. You have disobeyed me for too long, and for this, you must be punished.” Pluto put a hand over Sicilia’s head, then faltered. His frown deepened as he turned to look straight at me. I gasp, and back myself up against the wall. Pluto walked agonizingly slow towards me, and touched my cheek. “Domire, Proserpine.” I tried to fight against his command, but my eyelids felt heavier and heavier, and I fell asleep in his arms.

I woke up to Pluto staring at me emotionless. I realized he must have carried me back to my room. I frowned at him and sat up. “What did you do to Sicilia?” Pluto sits on the bed with his arms crossed. “She’s in Purgatory, Proserpine.” He speaks nonchalantly. My only friend is gone, forever wandering around in an endless abyss of pain and confusion. “H-how could you do this to me?” I close my eyes as tears pour down my face. Pluto wipes my tears and hugs me gently. “I didn’t have a choice, she was such a troublemaker.” Pluto kissed my forehead and smiled down at me. “You must be hungry.” He takes a dish of succulent strawberries off the dresser, and places it in my lap. “It’s not good for you to fast for too long, Proserpine. Please eat.” Pluto seems genuinely concerned for me, so I sigh and take a bite out of a strawberry. Pluto smiles warmly. “See darling? That wasn’t so hard. Now, I must discuss something with you.” He sets the plate beside me holds my hand. “Before you came here, I was very, very lonely. I had no one. When you came, I had hope that we would be friends, that we would be together forever.” Pluto looks happy, his eyes no longer brooding and his mouth curled in a smile. He actually…looked quite handsome. “Proserpine, I care very much for you. Won’t you stay here, and be my wife?” I fell for his sweet voice and charming words, and accepted his proposal. He beamed at me, and kissed my cheek. “Thank you, Proserpine! You’ve made me the happiest God in existence!” Pluto smiles. “You must get some rest. We’ll start planning the wedding tomorrow.” Pluto exits the room, and I fall asleep, dreaming of being his wife.

 

 

Over the next few weeks, I’ve eaten more with him, and I’ve taken the time to get to know him. I started to like him, and eventually I started to love him. I smile as I eat a feast of boar’s head and pomegranates. Pluto sits next to me, eating a plate of various meats and cheeses. I gently grab his hand, and he looks at me inquiringly. “I love you, Pluto.” I smile gently at him, and he smiles back. “I love you too, Proserpine.” He squeezes my hand and we both resume eating. I think I could get used to being his wife.

 

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