By DAWN DANIELLE D. SOLANO
Editor’s Note: This piece is one of the works in a six-part series in line with the Dapitan 2021 theme Captured. All works are written by the Flame‘s Letters staffers.
Sealed beneath the trenches of memories, the day of my reckoning lies.
It is a tale passed on through tongues of poets, ancient and contemporary. The story of woe graced amphoras of ancient Athens, walls of Macedonian tombs, and parchments of the Greek and Roman balladeers.
They tell of the maiden of spring, plucked from her realm of innocence, and taken to the depths of Hades’ seat of eternal despair. I am quite astonished at how they seized every detail of that day, except one.
There was a lily in my garden, with fair and white petals. Amongst the violets and the irises, the white lily stood out to meet the sky. Neither of the nymphs I was with bothered to glance at it for they believed it as a bad omen.
“Bad omen?” I asked.
“Yes, my lady. Very bad,” they answered in unison.
Indeed, it was. Yet, I did not believe. I could have made it wilt, but I could never bring death upon such a thing. It grew there, and there it must thrive.
I held on so dearly to my principle that I forgot that one should not ignore omens. Gods and humans are subjects of entertainment to the Fates. No one was safe from their weaving of destinies; the immortal and the mortal must simply bend to their will. Not even the meekest bug on the ground could escape the red thread.
Every day, I wondered when it would be my turn to be their source of amusement. Little did I know, I was only moments away from it.
One day, I returned to my flower-gathering. The afternoon sun was at its peak, and my daisies tilted their heads in its direction. Sun rays cascaded down to earth, blessing every creature with its energy. The warm air kissed my skin like a butterfly greeting the air. At that very moment, I felt my world coming to its rightful place.
The disheveled grass tickled my arms as if inviting me to play. I was a child then, and every feature of nature was a playmate of mine. As soon as my fingertips made contact with them, a gust of wind scurried past me. It was fast yet, I felt its coldness sting my bones.
Looking around, I searched for any sign of unearthly disturbance. There was a mysterious entity concealed under the guise of the greenery, the timbers whispered to me. I perceived none but the vigor of my meadows.
I kept searching. My eyes scanned every tree and shrub for the predator to no avail. The nymphs have run off to their burrows in fear, leaving me unguarded in my spot. Even the grass around me displayed fear through feigned stillness. The defiance of the daffodils waned and gradually turned into obedience.
To comfort them, I placed a palm on the ground to send a calming message. Even in my fear, I wanted them to know that I, their steward, will not let harm approach them.
I might have foolishly let it near me instead.
A low-lying fog crept from the edge of my woodlands. My trees were soon veiled with a blanket of white mist, flowing down to my flowerbeds. It was only daylight where I stood, and twilight encircled me.
Without notice, a silhouette of a man solidified before me. It took me no time to know the identity of my perpetrator. Mother warned me of the helmed man from the netherworld, yet I stood unmoved at his presence.
His pale exterior came into view. My heart throbbed painfully at the sight of his sunken black eyes, which were unlike any other pair I have seen in my immortal life. These were the eyes of a man deprived of light; the eyes of a man who has watched souls drown in his pit of fire.
From a distance, I heard the high-pitched howl of the Fates. My performance was at hand, and I had no way of escape.
What followed was the act that brought an end to my maidenhood. Above us were the ancient oaks of my meadows, where the nightingale sang a tune of sorrow. Beneath was the soil that caught the fall of my every tear.
The mist lifted, revealing the now-barren land of spring. Yet, one thing stood the test of desiccation. Its beauty remained intact, capturing the once youthful glow of the field.
Therein my garden, the white lily thrived. F