Death's New BridebyTinyBeth©
Alyssa's feet trampled over the gravel path through the woods. She took a deep breath of exultation as she entered a clearing. She could feel the power of the place as it reverberated from the trees to the stones. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, Samhain- it was the night the veil between the worlds was thinnest and the beginning of a new year. Maybe even a new life.
She looked at the ring on her finger, shining falsely in the moonlight around the network of scars and tried not to break down. Instead she sneered. A new life...since the old one was dead. Or more to the point had never really existed. It had all been a child's fairytale of a rich prince come to whisk her away to a dream life. Bryce the big shot stockbroker who claimed he would love her forever.
Then on the way home from a party six months before it had happened. Alyssa had no idea he was that drunk until the oncoming headlights shattered in a spray of searing metal and glass. Bryce was spared the majority of the impact by a last minute swerve that sent her into the windshield in spite of her seatbelt. Her eyes had stared up into nothing and unable to breathe she had blacked out.
Four days later when she finally became conscious she found out her position was far worse than she had imagined. Bryce was not a stockbroker. He was a spoiled black sheep scion of a wealthy family and lived off of a trust fund that he knew just enough about to fake his knowledge of Wall Street. He had no way to pay for her extensive medical bills and (disgusted by the sight of her damaged face, terrorized blue eyes, ragged brown hair and malformed body) informed her that since they weren't married he didn't feel he had any obligation to do so. He had "magnanimously" told her to keep the ring and left her alone, weeks from recovery.
She spent months in surgery and rehab to be able to walk again, but knew that with her scarred face she was unlikely to get a decent job. She had hoped the ring would be worth enough to put a dent into her bills, only to find that Bryce had played her false all along. When she took it to an appraiser she discovered it was a cubic zirconia set in electroplate that had cost him all of $40 at the most. The knowledge that he had betrayed her sat like a stone in her stomach. Sometimes she wondered if it would have been better if she had died in the crash.
A chill went down her spine. On second thought...no. She knew it made her a bad pagan, but she was deeply afraid of death. The blank, dismal unknown made her shiver at how close she had come to it. She knew it was a part of the cycle of Life, but that didn't change her panic at the touch of the beyond. Another chill ran through her and she was surprised as it sent a tingle between her legs. She hadn't felt the least bit sexual since the accident and rarely before for that matter. The whole business made her nervous. Intimacy and the act of surrendering physically to another person were not entirely unlike a milder version of her fear of death and the unknown.
The wind raised and stirred the tree branches to life. Energy flowed around the improvised circle. She removed her clothes and cleared her mind for the ritual. The air sent goose bumps along her naked skin and again she felt a chill tingle in her sex. She envisioned the energy coming together in her hands and directed it into the ring. She didn't want to harm Bryce; she just wanted closure and an end to the remorseless emotional pain. She said goodbye for the last time to the man she had loved and the life she had lost and buried the ring in the soil.
Alyssa collapsed into a heap and attempted to ground the remaining energy. Instead she was shocked as it surged more powerful than before. The chill deepened and the tingle turned to an ache. The moon was hidden behind clouds and the darkness surrounded her like a blanket. The darker it grew the colder she became and the more her body's need screamed out. She tried to calm herself to no avail. She began to panic which only added to her out of control responses.
Was she out of her mind? What was happening? Fear seized her completely. Somehow her magickal operation had gone awry and she didn't know what to do. Had she offended some power by cutting ties with Bryce? The wind and the cold was like something out of mythology, not any reality she had ever heard stories of, even from the most experienced priests and priestesses. She begged pardon of whatever spirit sought to punish her error.
The earth quaked under her feet and split like a seam. If she hadn't already been off her feet it would have knocked her down. She grabbed on to the altar stone for support. A flash of grey fire reared up through the fissure. In the center of the heatless flames appeared a black chariot pulled by stallions out of nightmare. Holding the reins stood a tall, dark figure. In a moment he had swooped to her side and pulled her into the chariot beside him. As she looked up into his dead grey eyes her body contracted into thunderous orgasm and she fainted into his arms.
Alyssa awoke in bed. A heavy brocade comforter decorated with intricate gold embroidery covered her otherwise still naked body. The entire room shone coldly of jet and was draped in black velvet. It was more luxurious and more foreboding than a sultan's palace. Had she dreamed what had happened? Was she still dreaming? She flashed back to the horror and began again to panic. At the same time a pressure in her mind pushed her to calm. The existence of a presence exerting influence frightened her more and again it reacted to soothe. The more fearful she became the more the sensation of being in a dream grew. She was sure she was trapped in a nightmare and pinched herself over and over in an attempt to awake.
The pain from the pinches didn't wake her up, but did make her squirm as it sent another twinge to her privates. She realized she was noticeably wet between her thighs. She thought again of the rush that had gone through her before she had blacked out and couldn't stop a thrill at the memory. What had caused it in the midst of her terror?
She kept telling herself that any minute she would wake up at home or someone would come in and explain that she had been found in the woods and brought wherever she was to recover. She shook herself hard and set her chin. There was no way her memory was real. She was a pagan and believed in the old gods, but they didn't ACTUALLY show up and kidnap random women on the sabbats.
At the same time there was something decidedly off about her surroundings. Nowhere on Earth was so beautiful and terrifying at the same time. She argued with the proof of her own senses. The light, what little there was of it, was diffuse and had no apparent source. The air smelled of an orchard in late autumn-a mix of earth and decay that was surprisingly pleasant. Her chamber appeared to be carved from a wall of precious stone veined with metals. The same cold that she had felt before the ground opened still gripped her and continued to feed the aching need that she could not shake or ignore.
She was confused, she was frightened and for some reason she was more turned on than she had ever been in her life. And there was something...she didn't know what or who or how, but something was there with her. She could sense it, but could not establish what or where it emanated from.
"What...what are you?" she asked the air in desperation.
She was shocked to get a response. "Calm...there is nothing to fear." She felt another wave of relaxation wash over her body. It soothed her fears but amplified the now uncomfortable spasms in her vulva. "I am nothing...and the source of everything. I am that which is beyond light and life and created this realm to which all return. I am darkness-void."
"Am I dead?" Alyssa asked, strangely calmer than the question should have made her.
Behind her a different voice replied, "No, not yet." The voice was deep and low and sounded almost like thunder in the cave-like chamber even though he barely spoke above a whisper.
Alyssa sat up in shock. No it couldn't be...she had dreamed it. The dark figure, the chariot-it had been just like the myth she had learned in school; except the myth had never mentioned Persephone's physical reaction to the act. Or just how devilishly good looking he was. Long dark hair could be seen peaking from under his hood. Steel grey eyes met hers with a passion that belied his cold exterior. Again she remembered the overwhelming orgasm that had ripped through her at his touch and she felt dizzy. The room went out of focus as if she looked through thick glass.
"Yes...you remember now. That felt good, didn't it?" he whispered.
The dizziness made her giddy. The memory made her giddier. The darkness' influence increased the effect and the presence and voice of the man sent her over the top. Alyssa came again as she contemplated her answer. Shaken she was forced to respond through chattering teeth, "Yes." Another wave of orgasm tore through her body and left her drenched in sweat and her own leaked juices.
He smiled at her and she was surprised that it was far from menacing. In fact it just made him more frighteningly attractive. His whole demeanor was reminiscent of a romantic poet. Her body cried out in lustful anguish and she imagined a thousand scenarios in a moment before she pushed herself back under control. Or at least she tried to as she was unable to completely eliminate the images from her mind. She turned to address the powerful gentleman.
"My Lord Hades," she mumbled, still unable to believe what she saw. She dropped to her knees and lowered her head. He viewed her naked body splayed at his feet with appreciation.
"You are quite lovely," Hades said with a lecherous grin, "and as perfectly suited to kneeling at my feet as I had hoped you would be when I first saw you my dear," he replied with another slightly sinister smile.
A thrill of fear ran through her again at his words. Of course she would kneel to honor a God, but something about it felt more... satisfying than typical worship. More correct. The void appeared to agree and she was rewarded with another wave of relaxed yet erotically charged bliss.
Again she waited until her mind cleared somewhat and asked, "Why am I here?"
"I thought the manner in which I brought you here would make it obvious. I have chosen you to be my bride."
A burst of pride and panic ran through her simultaneously. "But what about Persephone?" she asked.
He glowered slightly. "She is my Queen and yours and will be addressed as such. She is above all other women here and you will serve her as you serve me."
"But...but...I...I'm honored that you would want me, but please...please...I want to go back. I don't want to die."
The glower dropped but the sternness remained. "Everyone dies eventually. It is the cycle of all things."
"I know, but I'm not ready."
"That wasn't what you were thinking when I came to you," a ghost of a smile appeared on his face again.
Alyssa had to stop and remember that yes, she had thought that maybe she would be better off dead. But, she had immediately withdrawn that wish!
"I didn't want this," she sobbed.
He approached and lifted her to her feet. Close up he was even more handsome and not at all the grim reaper figure she had always imagined when she read Bulfinch's. Her senses reeled and her body nearly swooned at his proximity. "I think you may not know what you truly want. Give me until the end of Samhain to show you what I have to offer and if you are still determined to return to the world I will take you before the veil closes again." His smile charmed and cajoled.
Part of her knew she needed to get away as soon as possible, but another part of her soared at his attentions. Could she resist his offer if she stayed? Did she want to resist?
"Why resist?" the void whispered to her again. She tried to ignore it.
She shook herself hard. "I will stay...for now. But please, I need some time to myself." She knew if she didn't get away from him soon any potential resistance would be over before it started.
Hades could tell that she had forced her evasiveness and smiled again to himself. If she already needed to fight the desire to be around him things had progressed well. "By all means my dear, take an hour to yourself and relax. Yes... just rest and clear your head. I would like you to join me for a walk after that."
Alyssa felt that was a reasonable offer given the circumstances. In an hour she should have things under control. "Yes that will be fine. Thank you."
He lifted her hand to his lips and she nearly fainted again. This was dangerous. She was practically tempted to agree on the spot to whatever he desired and the speed with which she hurtled to the precipice left her little chance to change direction. He noted her internal struggle and was further pleased. An hour to let the "greys of Hades" do their work should have her eating out of his hand. "I will be back in an hour then. But remember, in the end, everyone submits to Death." His eyes ran over her naked form one last time before he left through a gap in the wall hangings.
Alyssa let out a deep breath. What was she going to do? She had to get out of this, even though she already knew a part of her mind and most of her body played the traitor and wanted more than anything to stay. She ran over the myths of her childhood and to the deeper lessons she had learned later in her magickal studies. She couldn't eat or drink if she wanted to be able to return. Her stomach growled in response and she rolled her eyes. Of course she had to have been taken while fasting. She would just have to go hungry. It wouldn't be permanent. She only had to make it the rest of the day- if that long if she didn't want to. Damn now she was back where she started. She kicked herself out of the circular thought loop.
Ok, what else did she know? She shuddered again. She knew that escape unless Hades allowed it would be impossible. She would never be able to get past Cerberus even if she could somehow bribe Charon to ferry her to the other side of the River Styx. She was trapped for the time being and fought back another tide of fear which was followed by another wave of calm.
"There is nothing to fear," the darkness said to her. Her mind followed the gentle flow. "There is nothing to worry about. No need for struggle. No need to fight. Just relax and accept."
Relax and accept...the thought was tempting. Her mind lilted with the words. To just do as he wanted...to be what he wanted...Her rational brain screamed out a warning. She remembered another element to the myths. The realm of the dead was notorious for its power to bring apathy and to quiet rebellion-the infamous "greys of Hades."
She had to keep her wits about her; in spite of no food, no water and a constant need for sexual stimulation. Agh! The task seemed impossible. The hour she had thought would help get her together instead had proven her undoing. She wondered if he had known this would happen and smacked herself in the head for her obtuseness. Of course he knew...he had agreed all too readily to her idea to take some time alone.
She stood up and began to do jumping jacks and other calisthenics. She had to keep her body moving and her mind occupied. She couldn't let the wonderful, soft grey bliss carry her down and let her rest...NO! She shook herself again and started doing squats. She couldn't give in. After ten minutes her stomach's growls turned to a roar and she was forced to stop and conserve her energy. Damn, she was caught in a Catch-22. How was she to endure until she could go home? If she was going home...
Drat, was there any way out of this line of thought? Every time she went around the bend and came back to the thought of staying her heart skipped a beat and her pussy throbbed with anticipation. The endless chain succeeded only in making her more frustrated mentally and physically. She could feel the gentle pressure of the darkness as it advised her to rest and not to worry. She wanted to take its advice, she was utterly exhausted.
Her mind ran around and around until the hour was up. When Hades returned for their walk, far from having improved her state of mind, she was more confused than ever. Nervously she greeted him as she battled down a temptation to fall at his feet. He took her arm and led her into the gardens. They were beautiful in their strange way; different from any earthly garden she had ever seen. The plants and trees shone with the same grey light that illuminated everything. Dew like molten metal dripped from petals and leaves. Sprigs of mistletoe cloaked in silver reminded her of the decorations children sold back home during the holidays.
Hades was a perfect companion. Witty, erudite and intelligent he entertained her with anecdotes of the many famous people who had "visited" him over the millennia. Alyssa couldn't help but be charmed even as she tried to fight it. His hand on her arm was cold but electric and she wondered what it would feel like if he touched more intimate areas. Enough, she yelled to herself. It was far too easy to slip into pleasant complacency as they chatted.
Another woman walked in the garden. Hades smiled as she approached. "Alyssa, this is my bride Thais. Excuse me as I attend to a few things. I am sure Thais would be happy to answer any questions you have." He strolled away to leave them alone. He knew that if anyone could Thais would help persuade Alyssa to stay.
Thais gave a friendly greeting to Alyssa. "Welcome sister!"
"Thank you...Thais is it?"
"Yes. It is always exciting when a new bride joins us."
"I'm not sure yet if I am staying," Alyssa began.
Thais laughed. "I remember thinking that at one time."
"How long have you been here?" Alyssa asked.
"I am not entirely certain any more. It still feels like it was yesterday. But I was born in Thebes and was brought here after the Persians came."
Alyssa was dumbstruck. "You mean you have been here since the Peloponnesian War?" If true Thais had been there for over two thousand years!
Thais nodded. "I suppose that is what it is called now."
Alyssa shook her head in disbelief. "He's kept you prisoner here for that long?"
"Oh no, not at all! I chose to stay. I could have returned if I had wished, I never ate or drank until after I made my decision. But why would I have left?"
"To return to your family, your friends, to the living world to finish out your natural life?" Alyssa asked in wonder.
Thais' face was a mask of contentment. "There was nothing for me there. Nothing to match the joy of remaining here. Once you embrace Him peace and fulfillment is yours forever."
Thais moved closer and whispered in her ear, "Plus to be perfectly frank, I would NEVER have had a lover anywhere near as good. Is there anything waiting for you on Earth to match any of that?"
Alyssa felt another surge in her loins and set her jaw. She wondered just how much of this she could take before she broke and gave up all thought of going home. But Thais had a point; what did she have waiting for her? A lifetime of people turning away in revulsion at her scarred visage, a mountain of debts she had no way to ever pay, a lonely studio behind her Aunt's house that was begrudged to her and absolutely no romantic prospects and little chance of any. That was hardly a life worth returning to when she thought about it.
"I'm scared, "Alyssa admitted simply.
"Of course you are and there is no need to be, let the calm in and relax." Thais smilingly advised.
Alyssa shook her head again. "No, that's worse. I can't lose my free will and motivation to the void."
"Oh no Alyssa. It's not like that at all. The void, or the "greys," whatever you wish to call it, is not sinister. At least not for everyone. It reminds the wicked of their crimes and heroes of their valor. And then to some of us, those of us Lord Hades has chosen, it speaks directly. It brings us knowledge and succor. I suspect it has spoken to you." Alyssa nodded and Thais continued, "Listen to it, let it in and let it help you. That is what it is here to do. Relax and become one with it, with all of us, with him, with eternity."