How was I supposed to know? That with all the royalty and golden light would come such pain? That the shining silver stilettos and marble pillars that stretch their stony fingers to the sky are only there to distract me from the real cost. My ignorance.
Ignorance is not always a bad thing. No one is proud to have it, but when they lose it they want it back, crave that sweet bliss of not knowing. Not knowing pain. Suffering. Heartbreak. Sometimes I wish I could return to my ignorant, memory-wiped human form. Mira Casse, a starry-eyed high-school girl that loved the night sky and knew nothing of raw, pure pain.
Sure, I’d had a break up, had my heart cracked a little, never quite broken and always, somehow, held together even when others fell apart. Running my fingers along the silver arms of my throne, I etched the delicate engravings with my palm, tracing patterns against the cold metal.
Standing up, I strode gracefully over to the mirror that hung in midair, suspended by some invisible force and surrounded by a swirling vortex of in gold and deep purple hues that made the onyx frame gleam in contrast. I stared at my reflection, wondering what was wrong with me. How could some small, dark part of me yearn for humanity? Crave the blissful ignorance when I had riches unknown to a small, farm girl? Immortality? Royalty? Everlasting beauty?
Staring into the mirror, my reflection seemed flawless, though I hadn’t slept at all during my time on Olympus after the first night and my hair hadn’t been combed since who knows how long. The intricate, twisting double braids that Artemis had done at least a week ago still hung loose around my shoulders, somehow still seeming stylishly messy instead of looking like a rat’s nest.
My skin was ivory pale, yet my cheeks now seemed to perpetually have a rosy glow that radiated vibrance and life, the natural pinkish tone imitating the high-quality blushes girls would have spent a fortune on at my high school.
Everlasting beauty… never aging… The thoughts were a maelstrom in my head, and a deep, unsettling apprehension clenched my gut as I realized the reflection that stared at me in the mirror would be the same in a century. Two. Three. Forever and ever, the youth and vibrance never leaving, my dark midnight blue eyes would twinkle the exact same way.
“Hey, Selene. You look like you’re having a mid-life crisis,” I jumped at Artemis’s voice, spinning around to see her giggling at the absurdity of her comment. Life went on forever, for her. She’d never fathomed the idea of death, of letting go of immortality. Seeing the sorrow and thought on my face, she frowned, her musical, tinkling laughter ceasing abruptly.
“How old are you?” I interjected, voice breaking in the middle of the sentence. Even my new, graceful goddess qualities couldn’t save me from the weight of immortality. Knitting her brows, her thin pink lips sagged into a contemplative frown.
“I- hm. Um, probably like, a million years old, give or take a millenia. Why?” I laughed, assuming she was joking by her casual tone. Glancing behind me, I looked her straight in the eyes, expecting to see laughter in their clear hazel depths. But she was serious. Dead serious.
Pain ricocheted through my body, every nerve convulsing with agony. Artemis looked like a teenager, youthful and vivacious, just like I was sure I would look in a thousand year’s time. My sheen of wavy black hair would never gray, the smooth pale skin of my face and cheeks would never wrinkle with the passing years. Immortal. Everlasting. Sure, it would sound great to most people. But it would never end, I would never pass on and find peace and rest in death.
My face contorted in pain, a heavy unease settling in the perfume-thick air. Suddenly the sweet jasmine scent that clung to the air no longer seemed calming or luscious. It smelled like a prison, cloying and grotesquely honeyed.
Artemis moved to set a concerned hand on my shoulder, and I let the warmth of her dainty fingers leach through my skin. When I looked at her, I had always seen a friend. A beautiful, confident huntress, but still a friend. Now? She seemed like a shell of a person, the glow of humanity missing from her clear hazel eyes.
Slapping her hand away, I flung off my strappy heels, letting them slam into the cool marble floor with a thud. They would only slow me down. My feet slapped the cold, hard stone of the floor as I leapt down the steps. Relishing in the soft cottony clouds against my toes, I sprinted off into the night. Intense deja-vu struck me as I sprang from cloud to cloud, feeling so much like the dream when I had first crossed over into the heavens for the first time in my life.
Wind whipped in my hair, and I found some twisted satisfaction in the fact that my perpetually perfect hair was now mussed and tangled. A smile spread across my lips, the pain that had plagued my thoughts dissipating into a soft euphoria. Wonders and worries whirled in my mind, but I shoved them all down, focusing all my attention on the warm summer breeze in my hair. Now was not the time for what-ifs, for thoughts of the future.
Maybe I would return. Maybe I wouldn’t. As I jetted across the sky, I felt like a shooting star burning through the night, free and wild and passionate. As my smile grew wider and wider, I noticed the moon’s glow growing brighter along with it, beaming down on the clouds with their silvery light.
I had always felt out-of-place, ostracized no matter where I was. And maybe I didn’t belong in Olympus or down on Earth. But I certainly felt at peace right here. Perhaps I wasn’t Mira Casse or even Selene. What I do know is that the stars grow brighter every time I’m near, and the moon waxes and wanes with my moods. Perhaps I’m not a human or a goddess. Never part of the Earth or the heavens, simply a shooting star burning through the night. Passionate. Shining. Beautiful.