Who Am I?
The screams and cries echoed through the room. Being in Hades, they really meant nothing. She heard them all the time. Souls of the damned crying out for vengeance. For retribution. For justice. Cries that they were wrongfully here. If only she had a coin for every soul who tried to bargain out of her father's realm. But nobody could leave without his permission, which her rarely gave. Well, unless Persephone bargained on their behalf. Hades could never deny her his wife what she wanted.
These screams were different. Not the cries of despair she normally heard, the bargaining for freedom that so often came out. Nor were they coming from the cells that littered the surrounding area. No, these cries were within in her own head. Anger. Betrayal. Loneliness. She was used to feeling these. Today was different. There was no reason for her to feel this way. Things had been going great, as far as she could tell.
"Koré, is everything alright?" Her head lifted up at the question asked of her. Giving a small smile and nod, she cast her gaze over at the female demon with her. Xia gave her own smile, long black hair tied up into small pigtails on the sides and dressed in her normal goth chic that she adored. Even here she liked to keep up the appearance of her so-called 'human self', despite not needing to. "What's the matter?"
"It's nothing Xia. I'm fine." Koré insisted, though she was far from it. Her head was splitting from the cries of anguish. Arms wrapped around her, a body leaning into her. She didn't even think about; just leaned back into the embrace. "Really, I'm good."
"You're a horrible liar."
A small chuckle slipped from her lips at those words. "Xia-" The world swam before her, pounding in her head growing louder. Flashes of light filled her gaze, blinding her before everything she saw faded to black. "What the-"
Koré looked around in the empty void. There was nothing but darkness around her, but the cries and screams were louder now. Closer. Her feet moved of their own accord, dragging her forward and moving her through the emptiness. She didn't want to go, but couldn't stop. What was happening. "Where am I?" The question echoed in the darkness, reverberating back to her.
"You're here." An incredulous voice spoke out next to her, causing Koré to jump. A female stood next to her where she was absolutely certain no one had been before. Dark eyes bore into her, dark hair flowing down her lower back. The voice was familiar, like she had heard it before. Hell, she felt like she knew this woman as well. But that couldn't be. Nothing about her seemed familiar. Still, there was no denying that feeling. "How are you in my prison?"
"You're prison?" This was a prison? What kind of prison was this? She had never seen this place before. More to that, she didn't even know how she got there.
"My prison." The affirmation was resigned, as if she was used to it. How long would someone have to be in a place like this to give off that notion of resignation. Even more importantly, how could someone be in a place of emptiness like this and not go insane. "And you are my jailor."
Those last words struck a chord. "What are you-"
"Don't even try to deny it! I know my jailor. I know my prison. Without you, I'd be free!" The snarl took her by surprise, the anger in that voice. Koré took a step back, bringing her hand up to her arm. Laughter filled her ears, the sound as dark as the void around them. "Xylyla cannot help you here. She's out there, where I belong."
Okay, she was crazy. Maybe if Koré played along. "I'm sure you do belong out there-"
"Don't f***ing patronize me. You and the rest of our family decided a long time ago that I don't belong out in our world. That I'm a 'threat' to them all. News flash: I'm not a monster. They are!" The anger was tangible, a vicious wind whipping up around them as she spewed out her anger. "But now you're here." Even though she had trouble seeing her, Koré could sense a malicious grin spreading across those lips. "That means the doorway is open. I can be free again."
Something told her she couldn't let that happen. While she may not know who exactly this female was, if she truly was one of her family or not, she couldn't let her out of this prison.
"You can't stop me." Those words, venom within them, froze her. Could she read her thoughts? That was a terrifying prospect. "More than that darlin'. Far more than that." That reply only confirmed those fears.
"I can't let you out.." Her voice was meek, despite the will to stick to it. But what could she do? Something told her in a straight-up fight she wouldn't stand a chance against her.
"You're right, you don't stand a chance. Why don't you be a good little girl and step aside?"
Swallowing a lump in her throat, Koré shook her head. Before she could respond she was slammed against what she could only assume was a wall, though she couldn't see one. Forearm pressed to her throat, the female pressing forward against her. The walls of her throat tightened, struggling to catch her breath. "I. Said. Move." Each word was hissed out. Still, Koré wouldn't relent.
A frustrated scream rang out as a solid thud connected to her abdomen. The force shot her breath out of her in a loud gasp, though the forearm against her throat moved. She slumped down, huddled over in pain. Fingers cupped under her chin, tilting her head up to force her to look at the prisoner. "I can do this all day. You? Not so much. I wonder how long you can keep up this bravado." That malicious grin was spreading across those lips, but never seemed to reach those eyes. They stayed cold, almost lifeless. A hand lifted up, swinging backwards towards her face in a backhanded slap.
Right as that hand would connect, Koré's eyes snapped open. The warmth returned to her, colors swimming around. Blinking, she looked around. "Wh-what?" She was back in her room. What was that? Xia was back before her, concern in her eyes.
"Koré?" There was nothing the goddess could say. She rose to her feet, tearing out of the room. Her breathes came out in shallow gasps as she ran down the halls. But she couldn't run away from the memories of what she experienced. Who was that? What did she mean? "Koré!" Xia's voice rang out again, stern as she could hear her chasing.
Turning down a corridor, Koré pressed against a wall, trying to hide. She had to figure this out. Clearing her head, she turned back down that corridor, coming to a stop as she realized where she was. The statues stood before her, lined up in order of birth. Her family. Hades. Persephone. Koré. All the others, nice and neat. But it was the one statue that caught her eye. The familiar sculpting of the face. The angle of the eyes. That was who she saw. Looking up, she read the name engraved above it. Makaria.
"Koré, there you are. What are you doing here?"
"Who's Makaria?" Sensing the hesitation from her Charonte, Koré wheeled around on her. "Xia! Who is Makaria? Where is my sister?"
"What are you-"
"Don't play coy with me Xia. I know you've been told everything about me. About my family. Acheron and Appolymi made sure of it when you bonded to me. 'For my protection', if I recall correctly. So tell me."
The shame upon her face was evident. "I can't tell you.."
"What do you mean you can't tell me?"
"I'm not allowed to." Screaming in frustration, Koré rushed down the hall to the main chambers. "Koré, wait!"
There was no stopping her. Throwing open the doors, she burst into the chamber. "Mother! Father! Who is Makaria?" There was no hiding the shock upon their faces, though Persephone did a good job of attempting it. Her lips parted to speak, but Koré silenced her. "Don't lie to me. I know of her. Who is she? Who am I?" The anger began to subside, Makaria's words bouncing around in her head. What did it mean? Who was she?
"What am I?" The last question was a soft whisper, barely audible as she broke down.