Aristi Chthonia

By Danielle Coombs

Hades only means to visit the white asphodels that grow on the limestone slopes of the mountains, not to disturb Persephone. The god of the dead knows better than to draw the striving, strangling attention of life.

Persephone is picking the asphodel, using a small knife to snick through each waxy stalk and laying them one atop the other in a reed basket. Hades feels the faint, shivering pull of the blade as though over his own skin. He pauses among the shadows, watching, because to retreat would call her attention as much as to advance.

“Hades,” says Persephone. She looks at him. The knife cuts another flower.

“Kore,” says Hades, using her safe name, the one that means ‘maiden’.

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