Adrian, the modern-day Hades, has just introduced himself to Sophie (Persephone) by pulling her straight from her college campus into a spirit-world wilderness, and now tries to prove to her that he’s not going to hurt her, and has important things to tell her:
“I asked about you, in the—the place where the souls go. Here’s what I found. Watch this, then I’ll take you home, I promise.” He selected the video and held the phone out to her, his heart pounding.
Sophie took the phone, frowning, and tapped the screen to begin the video. Immediately she inhaled a quick breath.
“Hi, Sophie Sodapop,” said her grandfather, who’d been dead over a year. Adrian kept his distance rather than watching at her shoulder, but having filmed it himself and previewed it, he knew how it looked. Sophie’s grandpa smiled benevolently, but, like all the souls, glowed greenish and appeared translucent. Behind him milled other souls in the fields. The black of the cave’s interior surrounded them all.
Adrian felt uneasy bringing photos or videos of the Underworld out of its borders, even into the rest of the spirit realm, but he had to convince her.
“This fellow here tells me it’s September of 2012,” her grandfather continued on the video, “and you’re about to start college. Sounds like you chose OSU. Honey, I’m so proud.”
Sophie choked back a sob, and splayed her fingers over her mouth. She kept her gaze riveted to the video. Adrian bowed his head, closing his eyes for a moment. Why was he doing this to her? Why couldn’t he leave her alone? Well, he knew why. But couldn’t he have found a gentler way?
“I miss you and Liam and your dad and mom,” her grandfather went on, “but it’s not so bad here. There’s all kinds of interesting folks to talk to. I even found some old friends. Now, this boy says he can bring you here to see me, if you’re willing. Sophie, I’d sure love that. I wouldn’t be able to touch you, but it’d be a real treat to talk to you again. I hope you’ll come. In the meantime, I love you so much, honey, and you take care of yourself.”
The video ended.
Tears ran down her face. She handed the phone back to Adrian, holding her arm out to the side and not looking at him.
He took the phone, and handed her a clean cotton handkerchief from his front pocket.
She accepted it, and blew her nose.
“I’m sorry,” Adrian said, then found himself talking rapidly, saying things he hadn’t entirely planned to say: “When I was a kid, my mum died. Suddenly. In a routine surgery, one of those complications that isn’t supposed to happen but sometimes does. And when I first went to the…that place, and found her soul, I…was really shaken.” Was crying too hard to talk would sound maudlin, he decided, although it was true. “Everyone feels that way. I mean, the few living people who’ve been there, and talked to their loved ones. It’s normal. But you do get used to it after a while.”
Sophie wiped her eyes. “I don’t know how you did the video. Or why.” Her voice sounded shakier than ever now. “But I want to go home.”
Title: Persephone’s Orchard
Author: Molly Ringle
Genre: Paranormal Romance / NA Fantasy
The Greek gods never actually existed. Did they? Sophie Darrow finds she was wrong about that assumption when she’s pulled into the spirit realm, complete with an Underworld, on her first day at college. Adrian, the mysterious young man who brought her there, simply wants her to taste a pomegranate. Soon, though she returns to her regular life, her mind begins exploding with dreams and memories of ancient times; of a love between two Greeks named Persephone and Hades. But lethal danger has always surrounded the immortals, and now that she’s tainted with the Underworld’s magic, that danger is drawing closer to Sophie