I looked into the pool at the reflected moon and caught my face looking back at me. Darkened over and cold, I realized what must change…me. I closed my eyes and exhaled, a cold breath of air rushed out in a cloud. I have a home, a family. They are here with me.
“Oh, but I am. I am you. The real you. What would your precious family say if they saw the real you? Do you think they would still love you? Would they love the Athena we both know you really are? Take a good look! This is who you really are. Who WE are.”
I stepped away from the group and gathered a few large leaves along with a coconut shell filled with moon water. When I returned, Morpheus moved to allow me access to Persephone. I washed the dried blood from her arms and legs, sending her positive energy and stroking her skin with the damp leaves.
I grew until I loomed over the villagers like the mountain behind us, my eyes glowing and seething like its volcanic heart. The shadows roiled around me, their matte darkness contrasting the bright sheen of my obsidian skin. A necklace of pale claws fanned around my neck like violent petals, still tipped with blood.
I strained, seeking the barest shift in the fabric of the Dream that would indicate that she heard me. But nothing moved. So, I said her name again, louder this time, and was rewarded with more stillness. Panic climbed my spine. As it did, the Darkness stirred again, rolling over, muttering words to twist me.
“I fear the mortals have met with untimely ends.” I cupped Selene’s elbow in my hand, gently guiding her down to the wet shoreline where the footing was firm. “I do not look forward to the red tide that will wash these shores later.”
The teeth snapped again, and I raised my foot, giving him a swift kick just below his jaw, connecting with a dull thud against his thick hide. He reeled back on his haunches, grabbing my foot between his front paws.
The Oneiroi were beautiful in all the ways I was not. My brother’s charcoal skin glimmered in the darkness, starlight shifting beneath its surface. His long silver hair hung down his back, plaited intricately away from the delicate planes of his face.
I turned the memory of her over in my mind, the same way I turned the bouquet in my hand – carefully. We had paused outside her door, and she turned to look at me, lowering her eyes as though I might see more than she wanted to reveal.