Darkness. I have never experienced darkness like this before. For the first few days bits of light would seep in through the cracks in the chest offering some connection to the world above, but now there is only darkness. We have fallen to the depths of the sea, I assume, so far below the surface that not even the sun can reach our little prison. Perseus is tucked against my chest, asleep as he has been for days. I am grateful for that. What mother would want her son to experience such horror? Yet, still, there is a pang of loneliness. A part of me that wishes he would wake up and cry out in hunger if only to give his mother some kind of a purpose.
The water rushes in and out of my lungs, providing oxygen as it would for a fish. Zeus has given my son and me immortality: a final protection against my inevitable fate. It was cruelty masked as kindness, this offering of a never-ending life at the bottom of the sea. It seems that one who is so powerful as to grant immortal life could surely have stopped my father, a mortal, from locking us in a chest and throwing us into the ocean. Zeus, however, has chosen the option that will alleviate his guilt while also ensuring that he will never see his son or me again. He too has his reasons for wanting us to disappear.
I have tried every way possible to escape our little prison but nothing has worked. I have finally given up. I pray to the gods but expect little in return. After all, he is the God. I have thrown my body left and right, hoping to push the box in one direction or the other, though I have no real way of knowing which direction will carry me to land and which will just take me further out to sea. We continue to tumble through the ocean, tossed mercilessly about by the unforgiving waves. I am beginning to give up all hope. Perseus wiggles in his sleep and presses his face further into my breast. The warmth of his skin sends a sense of calm radiating through me. I curl tightly around his little body and allow my eyes to fall closed. He makes a small noise which brings a momentary smile to my face. This is what death would have felt like, I think, if only I had been so lucky.
Harper Bullard is a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky where she was a double major in English and Music Performance. She is 22 years old and currently located in Lexington, Kentucky. This is her debut publication.