Daughter of the Earth and Sky

By: Kaitlin Bevis

Chapter I


I’d been here before. My bare feet glided over the leaf-strewn path, unharmed by the rocks and twigs crunching beneath me. Massive live oaks draped with Spanish moss created a canopy above me, transforming the forest path into a tunnel of speckled sunlight. The air was heavy with humidity. The moist heat pressed against my skin and stole the breath from my lungs. By the time I reached the path’s end, my Eeyore nightshirt clung to my skin.

“Dungeoness.” I came to a halt when I recognized the sprawling ruins of the ancient ivy-covered brick and stone manor.

Athens Academy took my class on a week-long trip to Georgia’s coastal islands freshman year. Cumberland Island was a major highlight because of the sea turtles, wild horses, and these ruins.

“Good job, Persephone,” I muttered, kicking at a branch. “You’ve figured out where you are, but how did you get here?” I knelt to pick up a smooth, white stone, tucking damp tendrils of hair behind my ears so I could see better. The rock looked and felt real. I ran my hand over the smooth stone, turning it over and tracing the shape. The weight of it in my hand reassured me.

I turned, hoping the path held some answers, but it was no longer there. I stood on the grass-covered shoreline looking out to sea. In the distance, a girl stood thigh-high in the ocean, clad in a gown of strategically placed sea foam. Although her back was to me, I could tell she was perfect. The curly ringlets of hair cascading down her flawless cream skin matched the intense orange of the sky as the sun sank in the sea.

I glanced down at my sun-kissed skin, self-conscious. She was really pretty. A movement caught my attention and I glanced up as she looked over her shoulder, aquamarine eyes meeting mine. Then she spoke. I was shocked to hear Boreas’ cold voice roll off her tongue. “Zeus lives.”

I stumbled backward. Boreas, the god of winter. My mind flashed back to that horrible day in the clearing last winter. Boreas’ cold laughter. His fingers digging in my hair as he pulled me across the frozen ground. Melissa’s eyes widening as she choked on her last breath. The rush of power that gave me the strength to put Death himself, and Boreas, under my control.

A soul for a soul. I’d bargained with Thanatos, the god of death, and killed Boreas without a second thought, saving my best friend.

I wish for you to die, I’d told him.

He’d had no choice but to comply.

Now images shoved their way through my thoughts: Cumberland Island, two sunsets, lightning cracking in the sky. My mind screamed against the onslaught.

Dreaming, you’re dreaming. The old me, the one who didn’t know that all the myths were real, would have found that realization reassuring. But I knew better now. Gods could dream walk to send messages or attack each other in their sleep. And like it or not, I was one of the few living gods left. My “marriage” to Hades and my high-profile mother had made me a target before. There were measures to protect myself from dream walking gods, I’d just forgotten to use them.

How could I have been so stupid? I gritted my teeth against the pain and forced myself to think the word that would make it all stop.

Dosvidaniya.

I bolted up in bed with a gasp. A weight in my hand made me look down. I unclenched my fist, revealing the white stone from Dungeoness.

My blood rushed in my ears as I looked around the room. It worked. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down.

I frowned. I’d chosen Dosvidaniya because the word had played a pivotal role in some half-remembered cartoon I’d seen years ago. Hypnos, the god of sleep, told me to choose a word or phrase someone else could never guess and to think it every night before bed, and never ever let anyone hear what it was. Like a network password, or a pin, only this password would protect my mind.

And you forgot. Really, Persephone? I groaned and flopped back on the bed. But it had been months since Zeus had sent Boreas to abduct me, and nothing had happened since. I’d grown complacent.

That’s no excuse. I glanced at my phone and saw it was almost three in the morning. I had two choices. I could either wake up my mom and tell her about my dream, or risk another attack and do some dream walking of my own to Hades and tell him.

My mom, or my hot husband? Well that was a no-brainer.

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