Monday, January 14, 2013

Chapter Seven: Histories

Persephone Dove

  I chose my name when I was seven. It was my birthday, actually, and Melinda, the cook, baked me a secret cake and surprised me in the middle of the night when my father was asleep. The candles glowed and flickered like little lighthouses in a storm, or warmth in the cold. When I close my eyes- to this day- I can still see them dancing as if they were ballerinas on ice, or in this case, icing.

  That night I wished for a name, my name, the name I was born for. I shut my green eyes and wished with all my heart. When I finally opened them, I breathed in once or twice, then gulped the deepest breath I could, and blew. The flames flickered, then puffed out with a trail of smoke and a burnt scent in the air. I got them all with one breath and refused to tell Melinda what I had wished for. This was my last chance of pleasing my father, who had been demanding I come up with a reasonable name since I was old enough to do so, and I am "far too old to lack one," he kept telling me. So I laughed and ate cake, hoping I had succeeded, at last.

  My name became mine in my dreams, and I awoke whispering it to the still air.

  That year, I still remember my father eating breakfast with me, one of the few occasions he suffered my prescence, and when he asked, witheringly, if I had finally found my name, it was the first and only time I could reply, "Yes. Yes, Father, I've done it!"

  I believe I took him by surprise.

"Persephone Dove?" He murmured skeptically. Then he was silent for a few moments. "Persephone, bringer of descruction. Dove, bringer of peace. You are quite contrary, aren't you Venu- I mean, Persephone. I suppose I'll have to get used to calling you that now..." He frowned disapprovingly.

  Venus. That was my given name, and to be honest, I don't remember a surname. I don't think I had one. The servants only ever called me "Miss Venus," when Father was around, and "Veenie" when he was not, which was often.

  I remember one time when my father and I were dining, and Sally, who brought the food to the table and cleared it after we were finished, seemed to have her head in the clouds for some reason. She accidentally called me Veenie that night. Blood rushed to my cheeks in horror and fear for her, but Father only looked at her until she grabbed my finished plate and rushed to the kitchen. The next morning Melinda told me her memory had been wiped, and she was left on the street. Our new maid was named Angel. After this incident, my Father didn't see me again for three months, even though he was there for many weeks, and when he did see me, he called me "Venus" with emphasis throughout the entire meal, which he only did when he was enraged and barely containing it. I always wondered if there was someone he used to know named Venus, and I was being compared to her....

  Three months, and he was still angry at me for letting the servants call me a nick name. My father doesn't let go of things. He holds onto them forever, frowning that frown of his that says, "Why are you so imperfect? You could do better than that if you wanted to! I'm disappointed with you." The best you can hope for is that he's more disappointed with someone else than with you when in his company.

  However, what he does do, is make you strong. I knew this. Everytime he chided me or scolded me or refused to see me, I knew it was because I wasn't perfect, and I wanted to be, for my father, I wanted to be. So I obeyed and listened, but not only to my father. I also listened to the servants, who were the rest of my family. They had very different personalities than Father, and very different ideals. It seemed Father had somehow picked the sweetest, most generous people in the world, who were, in their core, opposite of their master.

  Still, I loved my father, and one night, when I wondered why I did, I realized it was because I was his daughter and because somewhere in that Scrooge heart of his, I just knew he loved me too.

  Because, you see, the day after I told my father the name I had taken, he gave to me a rapier and Theodore Moussant -a French man- as my instructor. Theodore became a wonderful friend, but the rapier became my companion, because it was the first real gift my father had ever given to me.

  I named her Flicker in remembrance of the candles that had granted my wish.

***
 
Mr. Raines
 
  Aphrodite Storm. I never would have thought such a perfect woman walked this earth, but then, she wasn't a woman. She was a goddess, my goddess. She was serene and beautiful, but truly, she should have chosen the name Athena, for her mind excelled her beauty many times.
 
  Aphrodite was the only woman I ever loved, and, indeed, loved with all my heart...
 
  I remember the first time I saw her. There was a ball of some sort- I don't recall what the occasion was- but when my eyes scanned the crowd and found hers, they never left. Crimson wavelets, like the red sun over the ocean, framed her face, and dark  green eyes like a hurricane in a forest were her eyes, calculating, clever. Her gown was silver like the moonlight, and cascaded down as a waterfall with laced emerald boots and a choker of a similar hue wrapped around her neck.
 
  She saw me then, and smiled, merely smiled. My heart stopped. Divine heaven had sent me its loveliest angel, for how could she be anything but an angel walking on this earth?
 
  I approached her, and we introduced one another. Her voice was like a crystal glass shattering, and when she laughed, the sky cried with joy. Just one conversation with her, only discovering the barest layers of her mind, and still, I was in love with her. We were a match made before the earth was spoken into existance.  Dramatic? No, true.

  Courtship was filled with piercing eyes and simple things, but it opened a world of beauty I'd never noticed before. Colors and aromas would burst with life like nothing you have ever seen or felt, like the dusky sky laced with indigo just after sunset, only magnified in brilliance, and the smell of something like metal in the air before a storm. Everything was beautiful, but it seemed all the flowers in the world couldn't match up to Aphrodite.

  Her favorite, however, was the purple passionflower, the ones which grew wild. I would roam the hillside searching for them, and only choose the perfect, unblemished amethyst jewels from the rest of the  unworthy ones. When I saw her, and grinned, I handed her the flowers I had carefully tied with a red ribbon- the color of her hair. Her eyes sparkled, and all the effort was worth every second.

  We were wed a month after we met.
 
  Our time together was always perfect, and I lived to see her smile, celebrating every breath she breathed. If I had to leave, I would return as soon as was possible, flying home to my love at all hours of the night and day, if it meant I could see her a bit sooner. Some times at night we would dance in the empty ballroom, with only the moon's light shining down on us through the glass above to light one another's eyes. She was perfect, and she was stolen from me after only a year.

  We had been married three months when she told me she was pregnant. Aphrodite was the kind of woman who rejoiced in life, and she was delighted. Her happiness was my happiness, and together, we anticipated our child's arrival. Aphrodite just knew the child would be a girl, and already she was thinking about names. One night, I was sitting near her as she murmured different ideas, "Ophelia! That's a lovely name. Or, darling, perhaps we should name her after the stars? Maybe... Cassiopeia?"

I stroked her cheek, "We should name her after you, Aphrodite, my love."

She smiled enchantingly, "But you couldn't have two Aphrodites."

"There will never be two of you, my dear." She laughed, and we discussed it no more.

  Four months later, the child was born, and my wife had died delivering her.

  I took the baby in my arms, wrapped tightly in a towel, but still grimy. The little hair that she had was more of a halo of crimson fuzz. I kissed her forehead and wept as the she wept, for... I don't know how long..., knowing neither of us would ever see our Aphrodite again...

  It was some time later, after the midwife had fed the baby and cleaned her, I was sitting dazed, staring at the ashen face of my wife. I was murmuring to her, almost in a delirium, and the midwife gently passed me the baby, watching carefully that I wouldn't drop her. I stared down at her silent little cherub face and named her. I whispered, "You will never know your mother. I am so sorry..., so, so sorry." I started weeping again, but silently this time, and I stroked the child's face. "The least I can do is give you her name. Venus..., you shall be my Venus... Because I can't have two Aphrodites anymore... even if I wanted to."


2 comments:

  1. Amazingly written! :D So wonderful!

    So sad about Aphrodite. So thats why he treats Persephone the way he does? Still no excuse.

    Can't wait for the next chapter :D SO GET WRITING!! :D :D :D please

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  2. WOW! You never fail to delight me with your writing. The story is always so captivating and this one was no less so.
    It is alwasy a strange thing for me to get a glimps of the heart of a villian. It makes me some times LIKE them. ANd that is a weird thing, hating, fearing and likeing a villian.
    Well doen once again my beloved sister for this fantastic chapter! Can't wait for more!
    *sneaks a noogie onto Raven*

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