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  • Writer's pictureHina Siddiqui

The Myth of Persephone 

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

As retold by Arsalan al Jamali

Before long, they reached a long stretch of deserted beach. The car drove right up to where the sea kissed the shore. He could make out from the waterline that the tide would start pulling in soon. They got out of the car. Standing. Looking out at the sea. At how far it stretched. And how small they were. Ginoza wondered what Arsalan saw. He turned to look at her. To find her looking at him. They both smiled. Arsalan reached in to grab her satchel. He followed suit and grabbed the duffel bag.

“Do you know the story of Persephone?” she asked him, as she took a can of hairspray from her bag.

“Even if I did, I’d still want to hear it from you.”

Arsalan smirked at him, shaking the can.

“Persephone was the daughter of Zeus, God of Thunder, King of Olympus, and Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest. She was the child of Gods. So obviously, she was hot as fuck.” She stopped her narrative to duck in to the car. The windows rolled up. The one by the driver’s seat didn’t close completely. He watched her blast hairspray all over the interior. On his neatly folded clothes and her carelessly discarded ones. The can was tossed inside once it was empty. She got out and closed the door. “But she was also good-natured and kind-hearted. So obviously, every man, mortal, immortal, wanted to dick her. But none more than Hades, God of the Underworld and Zeus’ brother. This is Greek mythology, so don’t read too much into why an uncle wanted to boink his teenage niece. Point being, Demeter was having none of it. She told Hades to go shove it where the sun don’t shine. Get it, cause the Underworld doesn’t have sunshine?”

“Yes, Arsalan, I get it.”

Arsalan continued to smirk, as she pulled out a lighter from her satchel. “So Hades being the King of Hell, he wasn’t giving up that easy.” She flicked the lighter on and tossed it in to the car from the gap in the front window.

The hairspray inside instantly caught fire. “One day,” she continued, walking away, “when little Persephone was out playing with friends, she saw the supercool flower, a Narcissus.”

Ginoza walked along with her, away from the sea and the car. “She reached for it and boom! The earth opened up beneath her. And Hades came riding his chariot of skeleton horses, grabbed her and was gone before anyone could say ‘boo’.” The windows and windshield exploded. Flames began to pour out of the car.

“But Hades was a tricky bastard. He tricked his niece, and now bride, who, by the way, hadn’t stopped crying and whining since she came down to the Underworld, in to eating… a few seeds of a pomegranate. And then he let her go. Persephone ran to her mother. Demeter was happy. The harvest was back on track. Sunshine and roses for everyone!”

“With Persephone gone, Demeter went crazy! She spent all her time laying in her room and crying. The crops wouldn’t grow. The rivers dried up. People began to starve. She laid waste to the world without lifting a finger. So people, as people are wont to do, went beseeching the Gods to end the famine. Zeus got frustrated and told Hades to release his daughter or else… thunder, fire, doom, blah, blah, blah…” They were almost off the beach now. Behind them, the car was a black frame being consumed by a raging fire.

“Except, that little detail about the pomegranate. Thing is, if you eat the food of the dead, your body could never completely-” The car exploded. They both stopped to watch burning debris land everywhere on the beach. It took a minute for their ears to stop ringing.

“Damn, I thought I had timed that perfectly… But anywho,” Arsalan turned and continued walking. So did Ginoza. “To end the story… If you eat the food of the dead, a part of you dies and always continues to seek the land of the dead. You can never stay away from it too long. So every six months, Persephone is forced to return, to be the Queen of the Underworld and warm the bed of her captor. And Demeter goes back to despair and yearning. That’s why we have winter, you know. Cause Demeter is depressed. Cause her kid has Stockholm Syndrome.”

“I can see why Sybil banned Greek mythology.”

The model for Proserpine painting was Jane Morris. Jane modelled for several famed artists, including her husband William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Evelyn De Morgan. Morris had a passionate affair with Rosetti, which she broke off when she realized he was an addict and refused to get any help. She was also in an intimate relationship with political activist Wilfred Blunt.  Jane taught herself embroidery and produced several pieces of art in collaboration with her sister, Bessie. These pieces can be found in museums now.

Arsalan al Jamali is an original character created for my Psycho-Pass fanfic, Zainen to Hime Sama. This story is an extract from one of the later chapters, that have yet to be published.If you want to know more about Arsalan and what she is doing in Tokyo in the year 2115, then follow the story of Zainen to Hime Same: The true tale of the Princess and the Criminal on Archive of Our Own.

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