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Love in a Hopeless Place

Updated: May 28, 2021

Persephone walked slowly, her soft gaze sweeping over the fiery ruins of a world that was once filled with beauty, a world that humans called Earth. The ground below her golden heels was charred and cracked, the sky above was dark with angry streaks of red zipping across the horizon, and the air felt like it could ignite at any moment. All life had ceased to exist, leaving hollow bones and dead foliage scattered across the barren land.

Persephone remembered the time when lush trees, as tall as skyscrapers, and wildflowers, as radiant as the morning sun, had filled this area. Creatures of all shapes and forms had danced about, celebrating the miracle of life, and even though the inevitability of death had naturally hung over every life form, the earth had still looked like a place where beauty was celebrated and cherished. Now, as she strolled across the same land, she found difficulty in distinguishing it from the realm called hell that she ruled over. The world that was once so magical had now died away, leaving only an empty, lifeless husk as a reminder of its faded grandeur.

As the Queen of the underworld strolled on, her crimson gaze fell on a motionless figure who stood on a pile of bones ahead of her. Persephone stopped in her tracks, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion. All the gods were supposed to be working on the creation of the new world. She herself had slipped out to walk on this planet for the last time and remember the beauty it'd held. Had another god slipped out too? If so, why? She didn’t think any other god cared enough to admire the hellscape that the planet had transformed into.

Yet, before her, a goddess stood, quietly watching the dead remains of a species that were called humans. She had dark skin and wore sparse armour with a garland of small skulls hanging from her neck. The golden crown on her head glittered like the winter sun, and her hair, as dark as the feathers of a raven, fell down her back in loose curls. All four of her arms were slumped down her sides, and though she looked intimidating, her aura was calm and peaceful.

Persephone slowly stepped forward, scaling the pile of bones, but before she could approach the figure, the other goddess spun around; terror was painted on her face, and golden weapons that had appeared in all four arms pointed at the queen of hell, demanding blood.

“It’s good to see you, Kali,” Persephone smiled, unflinching before a sight that would’ve filled the heart of a mortal with unbridled fear.

Kali slowly lowered her weapons as the anger melted away from her face. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to walk this planet one last time.” Persephone stepped forward, her gaze lingering on the starlit beauty in Kali’s dark eyes. “What about you?”

The weapons in Kali’s hands vanished, and her posture relaxed. “I had to say my own goodbyes,” she said, her voice soft and mournful, and leagues apart from anything Persephone was accustomed to. Being a goddess, Persephone had traversed the universe since the beginning of time and had crossed paths with Kali on numerous occasions. However, every single time they’d met, the goddess of destruction had been on a rampage. Persephone had seen Kali snarl and roar as she tore through the flesh of demons; she’d seen Kali bathe in the blood of her victims in celebration; she had even seen the apocalyptic rage of the Kali that made even the gods shudder with fear. However, this was the first time that Persephone saw the goddess of destruction stand calm and composed, the absence of her burning rage giving way to her simple yet omnipresent beauty, that could outshine all the stars.

“Do you mourn the humans?” Persephone asked.

Kali turned to look at the horizon, the burning sky lighting up her dark face with shades of crimson and orange. “I mourn every form of life. Not all of them deserved the end they received.”

Persephone stepped up next to Kali, a curious smile dancing on her red lips. “I wasn’t expecting the goddess of destruction to be this heartbroken by the apocalypse.”

“I wasn’t expecting the queen of the underworld to care enough about the living to walk the empty earth in their memory,” Kali replied in playful mock.

Persephone chuckled. “It seems that we don’t know each other that well.”

Kali inhaled the scent of wild blossoms that came with Persephone’s presence as she turned to look at the queen of the underworld, whose Grecian garbs and flower crown looked out of place in the hellscape that surrounded them. “We’ve existed for eons, yet in many ways, you are a stranger to me as I am to you.”

“Alteast, we have one thing in common,” Persephone said, “We’re both goddesses of death who care.”

Kali’s gaze fell to the bones below her feet. “We were supposed to save them,” she said, her voice soft and melancholic.

“We did,” Persephone reached out and placed a comforting hand on Kali’s shoulder, surprised by how easy and natural the gesture was. “We saved them from everything, but we can’t save them from themselves. That is something that only they can do.”

Kali released a heavy breath, soaking in Persephone’s words, “I know, yet I can’t help but feel like we failed them,” Kali’s voice cracked slightly, “They had flaws, but they were our children. We were responsible for them.” A tear slipped out Kali’s dark eyes and ran down her cheek.

For a moment, Persephone was stunned, her notions about the goddess of destruction shattering. She’d always believed that Kali was a monster, but in reality, she was warm like sunshine on a winter morning, and gentle like waves lapping a delicate shore. Beneath all the layers of violence and rage, Kali was truly a goddess of beauty and radiance.

Kali wiped the tear from her cheek and looked up at the burning horizon. “When the new world is created, I must find a way to teach them about compassion and peace. I don’t know if I can't do it alone, but for the sake of my children, I must try.”

“You don’t have to do it alone,” Persephone said softly.

Kali let out a breathy laugh. “I’m the goddess of destruction; gods and mortals alike fear my very presence. Any task I undertake is for me to pursue alone.”

“Would you accept the aid of the queen of hell?” Persephone asked.

Kali’s eyes narrowed as she turned to look at the queen of the underworld. “What do you need from me?”

“Nothing. I just want the same thing you do. Peace amongst our children,” Persephone said.

A smile danced on Kali’s lips. “We’re two very different goddesses from very different pantheons. What lesson could we teach together?”

Persephone gazed deep into Kali’s eyes for a moment “Love. If our children can learn to love, they will be able to find peace.”

“Love,” Kali let out a breathy chuckle, “Even the very gods of love know so little about it.”

Persephone placed her palm over Kali’s hand. “We might not be scholars on the concept, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn.”

Kali’s gaze flickered to their joint hands before shifting to the hazel eyes of Persephone. She felt a fire ignite in her heart at the touch of the Queen of the underworld as a foreign emotion stirred in her chest. “How will we learn?”

Instead of responding, Persephone stepped closer to the Kali, her heart pounding. She noticed a dusting of silver in Kali’s dark eyes as she leaned forward. Then, summoning more courage than she thought she had, she kissed the goddess of destruction.

Instantly, fireworks exploded in Kali’s mind as Persephone’s kiss filled her with warmth, adding fuel to the fire in her chest. She’d experienced intimacy before, but this kiss was something else; it was magical. Was it love? Was it the very feeling that could save her children? When Persephone leaned back, breaking the kiss after a couple of moments, Kali felt her cheeks flush with warmth. Her heart was beating rapidly and her breath was shallow. “What is this feeling?”

“I feel it too.” Persephone took Kali’s hand and placed it on her chest.

“Is it love?” Kali asked, feeling the quickened rhythm of Persephone’s heartbeat. “Is this what the fates have planned for us?”

“I would like to believe it to be so,” Persephone smiled.

Kali took a deep breath feeling their heartbeats sync. “There is so much more to this feeling.”

“Let’s explore it together.” Persephone draped her arm around Kali, who leaned into the touch and nodded wordlessly.

As they stood side by side, Kali gazed at the horizon once more, noticing something new in the sky. The red streaks didn’t look angry; they looked bright, rich, and pure. Even the world around her looked more like it was cleansed rather than destroyed. Love had literally changed her world view, and if she could just teach it to her children, they would finally be able to find true peace.

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