The Sweet Divide

“They won’t notice, trust me. Besides, even if they did, my mother loves me too much to toss me out into the wild.”

Persephone smirked at her nervous attendants, the worrisome lookouts they were. She was perched on several wooden crates behind the settlement, where the rest of the settlers slept fitfully. Turning her attention back to her work, she slipped bars of power out of the holster that kept the generators running, and pocketed them. The lights flickered on the other side of the camp, and the humming of the generator lowered to a dull, fuzzy roar. Triumphant, she leaped nimbly down from her spot, beckoning her attendants to follow as they crept into the darkness.

It had been two years since Apollo had quit the pantheon. He was, he said, sick of the twisted games they played in Olympus, and wanted nothing to do with the gods or humanity. As his last act of defiance, he decided to cast a plague upon the Earth before going into hiding. His reckless act caused the Earth to be plunged into darkness, as well as killing millions and effectively creating a subspecies of mankind that lived in a half diseased state. They barely functioned as people, and were shunned by healthier humans. The gods had a dry joke after that: even when the worst is upon them, mankind still insisted on separating themselves from each other.

Persephone envied Apollo sometimes. She wished she had the ability to walk away from mankind, go into hiding with Apollo and perhaps start a new life. She was caught up in her thoughts when suddenly her leg went through a rabbit’s hole. She gave a stifled yell, sinking up to her waist as her leg squelched through the ground. Her attendants gave a yelp and went to help her up, yanking on her arms and she tried to squirm free from the ground. The goddess’ face suddenly filled with utter horror, and she renewed her struggle in earnest.

“Someone has my leg! There’s a hand on my leg!” 

Her panic grew stronger as the attendants started losing their grip on her, and slowly Persephone sank into the the ground with a final screech that they knew echoed in the settlement. The last they saw of her was her fingers wriggling wildly before the surface smoothed out and resumed its normal appearance, as if nothing had happened.

“I had hoped she would learn.”

The attendants jumped, and turned to see Demeter standing behind them, arms crossed and a grim look on her face.

“M-Ma’am? What happened to Lady Persephone?” 

Demeter gave the attendant a hard smile. 

“Why, her new home, of course. If she insists on trying to sabotage these people against my wishes, then she will learn to obey authority in another manner.” She took a deep breath, closing her eyes. “She is to wed my brother.”

A chorus of tiny gasps made her eyes flicker open, and they cowered slightly. “Do not think I take this lightly. She will be with him for most of the year, returning once for a handful of months to apply her new knowledge to the people she has wronged here. Let us hope she takes it seriously.”

Ye Have Used Love For An Excuse

Indra’s eyes gazed out the window, searching for something that wasn’t really there. He could still remember every freckle in her eyes, and the smile that made his tiny heart nearly beat out of his chest. He had been ‘alive’ only a few years, but Earth was a wondrous place, filled with hidden treasures and dazzling landscapes. Man-made creations towered above him or stretched out as far as his eyes could see, and he was thankful his Master had brought him into the world in this day and age. But there was one thing he had discovered that his Master had never really spoken of, and when he had gone into his library to research this new sensation, he could find nothing on it in any alchemic or scholarly reads. 

Feeling ever more curious, he turned to the poets and authors, and it was there he found the elegant words and soft hearts on tidal shores that resonated with him deeply. It was here he discovered that what he was feeling was love, and he found no higher purpose or emotion than this one. He felt doubly blessed that his love was also immersed in the pursuit of alchemy, for she was one of his Master’s apprentices. He found her strikingly beautiful, though he had heard his Master call her ‘stuffy’, and he enjoyed their conversations that often stretched much further than anyone else in the lab took pleasure in. 

When he had been given permission to explore the world, the apprentice and Indra promised to write each other whenever possible. He took heart in this while he traveled the world, reading over her letters in sub zero weather, scratching out his discoveries and small inventions in warm breezes. When he finally took root in the forests of Europe, he enlisted a raven to be his messenger and take their letters between each other, for a small fee of course. 

However, the apprentices letters gradually began to slow, almost to a stop, and Indra wondered if she was alright or if something had gone wrong in the Master’s laboratory – until that morning.

A rapid tapping on the front door made Indra shoot out of bed, racing down the stairs and flinging the door open. The raven sat there, massive looking as always (though everything was massive to him) and perched just outside the door, the branch swaying ever so slightly with its weight. But what made his heart leap was the letter that was in its beak. He went to reach for it, but the raven gave a muffled caw, and he remembered himself.

“Right you are, apologies. You know how it is when she sends me letters.” 

He ducked inside, not noticing the raven’s eye roll, and returned with a small bag of crackers and dried fish.

“I hope this will suffice, the cheese isn’t quite ready yet.”

He set it down carefully just outside the door, so as not to drop it to the ground below. The raven leaned over and allowed the homunculus to take the folded letter from his beak, before grabbing the bag. It shuffled it around carefully, getting a proper grip, before taking off once more. Its leap into the air shook the house, but Indra had long since flight-proofed his home. He scurried back inside, shutting the door and leaning against it, hugging the parchment to his chest. It had been weeks since her last letter, and he could just barely catch the scent of her perfume and the Master’s lab buried in the parchment. 

He plunked himself down on his couch, pushing things out of the way eagerly to unfold the human-sized letter. His eyes scanned the page, and his face grew hot. He read it several more times, before pushing it away from him with force, and slumping against the cushions, eyes on the ceiling as tears fell from them.

Dear Indra,

By now you must have noticed my letters have become infrequent, unlike when we used to write during your travels.  I must confess that I have fallen out of love with you, and I apologize for the blunt words I use here. I am not used to writing so directly in terms of emotions, as you know. But I must say what is on my mind.

It has occurred to me that a homunculus and a human should never partake in such relationships outside of friendships, perhaps even acquaintances. How would we ever live together? I am so much taller than you, it would be hardly fair to you and I with our respective powers and abilities. No, it must be this way.

I hope you will call me friend in the future, for though I do not love you, I do care for you. And I hope you will forgive me for any hurt or pain I have caused you.

Yours, 
Allie

PS
I am to be wed in the winter. I would love to see you there, if at all possible.

Judas

A writing collaboration between Yuukon and myself. Italics are me.

You were the one who created teeth in my mind so I could chew my thoughts and swallow them without feeling the pain of the sharp edges of my memories that I still can’t seem to forget. You drank my blood from one of your precious wine-glasses to expunge all of my feelings. All of them were gone the moment you swallowed the last drop of crimson-coloured blood. You ate my heart and took my sun and moon, my clouds and my rain. The flame burning so passionately within me extinguished the moment you took it all and even though I could see the stars fall down I couldn’t wish for life anymore because I had died long before you took my heart.

In the silence of this eternity, banished away unwillingly, I sought presence and found only me. Decrypted the words, never thought of immortality. Perhaps the way it oozed down my throat reminded me that the most petty of poisons were cured with a stone; I pulled it from my gut, terrified, tranquilized, and I never stopped to wonder what you would think of me now. What would you think of me now?

The flowers in your cherished crystal vase died as soon as I entered the room. You blamed me, but I knew it was you. Your soul was so rotten no living being could remain alive near you. I never knew if there was, but if there was a God even he’d run away from you as fast as he could because I knew. I knew you were worse than the Devil himself, and the only thing you ever successfully did was create and rule your own version of hell.

Cherished, cherished and forgotten, tossed aside into the hearth like scraps of kindling. I whispered that you would use gasoline one day, but dull words fall on deaf ears, and you were made to be razed, not phased. I never was a believer, never couldn’t see past the stained glass windows and the man-made books, but if you wrote the scripture, I knew there would be followers. Did that make me Judas?

You owned me, you said that so many times. I was yours, but you never told me you can’t own someone else’s soul and body, though you did own my thoughts and they never got a second of redemption. You’ve lingered in my mind for a lifetime, controlling me, but you rejected my thoughts every time I approached you. You’d call everything you owned precious, but that never included me.

Until I understood what precious really meant. Time was, breathing was. I hearkened to my memories, before I knew your face and your words. I lay as a broken doll, dreaming of the dance I used to play out, but who said I could not rise once more? Gold has many uses, if only you reforge it.

I want to feel how it feels to be loved.

Thoughts & Prayer

“Honey, I get the feeling you need something more than this,” she purred, running a finger down her patron’s cheek.

The Red Tail was teeming with bodies this time of night, the fact that is was a Tuesday making no difference to the crowd. Red neon lights lit the dancers up like holographic succubi, whilst the wide-eyed men and women threw bills at them, hoping one of them would take pity and show them to Dante’s Hall: a private room that was essentially a free-for-all for whatever the dancer and her chosen one decided to work out. Sometimes it was just a lap dance, other times it was copious amounts of sex, still others it was drug dealing. It was all part and parcel to the rules of the Red Tail: do what you want, don’t get caught. And of course, don’t fuck with the dancers.

This patron had been tucking bills into her stockings all night, hanging on to her every move with hungry eyes. She enjoyed the attention, the almost-groveling they did at her heeled feet, it was not a secret. She had her pick of men and women who would more than willingly give her what she needed, if only in return she gave them a light kiss, a hint of something more to come, perhaps even a small Prayer …

She stepped carefully off her stage, taking his hand and leading him away, her girls barely batting an eyelash. She wore a white leather corset with matching panties and heels, fishnet stockings climbing her thighs and sitting snug beneath her ass. She was in her prime when she wore her dancing outfit, though she could feel powerful in sweatpants if she chose. They passed through the crowd, several patrons looking murderous with envy at her chosen. He stumbled behind her while her stride was precise and fueled with purpose: she was here to dazzle, seduce, a game of take and give, and she was the referee.

The door to Dante’s Hall was black with gold trim and highly polished, with a small gold plaque on the face of it with the name. It was the talk in the underground scene that passing through this door could fulfill your greatest wishes or nightmares. She passed through them with her charge, shutting the door with a snap behind her.
It was a small room, with two velvet chintz chairs and a small stage in the corner that a silver pole ran through. Beneath the stage was a hidden compartment, where toys of varying degrees were stored, along with lube, gags, and a small silver box that she retained the key to. In this box was her customer supply of Prayer.

She would take the recipe to Prayer to the grave with her. Prayer, as she had decided to call it, was one of the highest forms of hallucinogenics you get obtain. She had been working to perfect it since she was eighteen, when she had first become a believer. She had been a user, once upon a time – she had no problem admitting that. It was a weakness, as all humans are wont to have. She had battled through it, coming out the other side scarred, torn, but victorious. And she had found herself in the middle of an underground world, where danger, sex, and the wrong word could end your life all shared a space. But what she saw was an opportunity.

She knew, first hand, that drugs were a leash – not just to your mind, but your body, your actions, even your very words. It was both an escape and a prison, and upon returning to the world from her own jail cell in her mind – and she knew who she had to thank for that – she knew she wanted to hold that leash. To have that kind of power over a person, to be their idol, to be their god … well, God would forgive her sins, as she worked in His name. Why else would she name her creation after that heady letter everyone sent to Him?

She encouraged her young patron to take a seat, whilst she pulled out a key from her corset, sliding the drawer under the stage open. An ebony box lay inside, and she pulled out a small vial of clear liquid. She returned to the young man and sat across from him. He was sweating from nerves, though the room felt fairly warm as well. As she settled into her chair, he slid to his knees before her, hands clasped in her lap.

“Please miss, I’ve come so far to experience the love you share with us all …”

She uncorked the vial, curving a finger under his chin and elevating his face upwards. “You will be blessed, rest assured …”

She tipped the vial down his throat, noises of relief gurgling from his chest. He sat a moment, resting on his heels with his hands still in her lap, before he turned his face towards her properly. His eyes had gone a misty grey, and the most languorous smile passed over his face. She rose, sliding him off her lap long enough for her to slip her panties off, hanging it over his shoulder. He seemed delighted at this, and moved towards her eagerly as she sat back, fishnet pressing into her skin. She tapped her knee, a wicked smile on her face.

“There, my child. Praise be to Him on this day, and thus you will give thanks as you have given your word to do.”

The young man leaned forward, his tongue exploring her curves. The night had only begun.