State Vs. Hades



Probable Cause Hearing
Testimony and Notes of Evidence, taken in the above-entitled and -numbered cause, before the HON. THEMIS, Judge, presiding.





Witness Index

Sea Nymph


DEMOSTHENES: Your Honor, the State is ready to proceed with motions in the case against Hades.

AESCHINES: Your Honor, Aeschines on behalf of Hades.

THEMIS: This is the matter of the State versus Hades.

AESCHINES: Yes. Hades is present in the court and we’re ready for motions.

THEMIS: Very well. Call your first witness.

I would that the earth swallowed me all over again, Mother. You say this is not my fault, but I feel so completely responsible. The looks others give me; I might die of the shame.

DEMOSTHENES: For the record, you are Kore?


DEMOSTHENES: The maiden?

PERSEPHONE: Not anymore.

DEMOSTHENES: On the day in question, you were playing in a field?

PERSEPHONE: I was gathering flowers.

DEMOSTHENES: And you’d wandered away from the sea nymphs who were looking after you?

PERSEPHONE: I’m a big girl.

DEMOSTHENES: Can you explain what happened next? While you were gathering flowers?

I didn’t want to play by the edge of the ocean. I didn’t want to hear the lovely chatter of the nymphs any longer; they talk lightly because, for the most part, they live in the deep. They save their words for idleness, which I suppose is like holding your breath for so long that eventually it bursts from your lungs, and you can’t help but laugh. I didn’t want to laugh.

I didn’t want to talk. I wanted a moment to myself, to think, or not remotely to have a thought in my head at all. I was searching for me while I searched for the flowers. I stayed in this attitude for the entirety of the morning, breathing in the fragrance of the meadow, sharing the environment with the butterflies that danced around me.

And then an intolerable sound, as if the earth were keening, and I lost my footing, while startled birds took flight.

It wasn’t just that the ground shook. The very air was shaking, blurring out the clouds as if the shadows that sprung from the chasm in front of me had risen up to blot out the sun. And before me stood a great cart, very different from the one belonging to Phoebus, blocking my view of the dunes, and driven by horses that could only be born of night.

AESCHINES: What were you doing by yourself, alone in an empty field? You were told to stay with your friends.

PERSEPHONE: Within the confines of four walls, what hope do we have? Even in a field of nothing but sun and flowers, their gaze finds us.

AESCHINES: Was it all exciting? This attention, the spectacle of that first moment?


AESCHINES: I suppose you could say you felt the earth move?

…I’ll have that smirk wiped from your face…

DEMOSTHENES: The Defense is leading my witness, your Honor!

I often wonder: did I say anything, do anything to incite attention? I wrack my mind, and go over every tiny detail till I’ve unraveled those memories beyond recognition. I can think of nothing. And yet…I must have?

The nymphs talk of love and its fragile nature, how it recedes before it’s begun in proper. I did not know love. I knew agape, Mother, like you taught me. For all. All of them.

I never mentioned how he’d look at me, or sit me on his knee, or the way he’d place his hand at my hip. Reunions would never be right if I did, ever again. You and I both know that. You knew that before, I think.

And yet you brought me anyway. And you did not see. And yOu DiD nOt SeE.

AESCHINES: And on the day in question, did you see anything at all?

NYMPH: No, Sir.


NYMPH: We was at the sea, Sir. It’s hard to see beyond the beach, considering.

AESCHINES: Considering you have tails…

NYMPH: Yes, Sir.

AESCHINES: But you heard screaming.

NYMPH: I don’t know what I heard, Sir. I wasn’t sure.

I didn’t scream. I didn’t. I’m certain there was a good reason at the time, but I just can’t seem to remember why. I do recall thinking he did not choose the other girls, he chose me.

They press their fingers into our flesh, their breath into our mouths, their ideas into our minds so there is little room again for our own thoughts.

And I’m not sure why.

AESCHINES: I’m given to understand that there is no one that comes to Tartarus that does not meet you first, is this true?

THEMIS: The witness will answer, not just nod his head…

CHARON: Yes, that’s right. That’s correct.

AESCHINES: You saw the young lady there, Kore?

CHARON: Not at first.

AESCHINES: But you did meet her.

CHARON: A lovely young lady, without question.

AESCHINES: Has she ever…has she ever seemed, I don’t know…unhappy to you?

CHARON: Far from it! Miss Kore always seemed most happy. Why, any young woman should be so lucky to live in a place like our underworld. The palace is beautiful, all covered in shining gems like rubies and diamonds, shaped into poppies and narcissi. It’s a right dream.

Do you remember, Mother, sharing all the names of the flowers with me? And showing me how to plant the seeds so that eventually they’d become bulbs, and then burst into stalks, then blossoms? Do you remember telling me to close my eyes, and name the smell of each flower you waved in front of me? I remember. You would take me by the hand, and show me all the places where life would grow, and you’d tell me it’s all creation, and beauty, and that one day I would know creation too. I was simply happy to follow you around, hearing the people call to you in joy as we passed by. But then I was so little.

DEMOSTHENES: Was she a good child? Well behaved?

DEMETER: Oh, yes! She was the loveliest, kindest…

DEMOSTHENES: Never talked back?

DEMETER: No, not at all.

You train us to do as we’re told, and that somehow this is the mark of a woman of decorum and honor. You teach us to say yes, and then spend the rest of our lives telling us we should learn to say no. No is a word of power, Mother. You did not protect me. You left me vulnerable. You made me prey.

DEMOSTHENES: How does Persephone’s behavior seem now that she’s returned to you?

DEMETER: …she’s not herself.

DEMOSTHENES: I’ll need you to give me more details about that

DEMETER: She’s short tempered. That’s not like her at all. That’s never been her.


DEMETER: She stays in her room now, and keeps the curtains closed at her window. I came in once to open them, to let fresh air in, and she screamed at me. She hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet.

DEMOSTHENES: Well, to be honest, this seems like normal youth behavior “of an age.”

DEMETER: …she called me a “bitch.”

DEMOSTHENES: Forgive me, but that seems like normal teenage fare as well?

DEMETER: She then screamed something about “the Lie of the promise of regeneration…”

I’m sorry I said all that. I regretted it the second it was out of my mouth.

Do you remember when you cut an apple in half on its side, and you showed me that the core and the seeds are in the shape of a star? The first time you showed me that, I knew there was magic in the world that was both simple, and greater than the overwhelm of us.

I’ve spent long hours sitting hidden in the tall grasses, thinking about the seeds in the stars, staring at the sky as if it’s all apples cut sideways.

I could eat the whole universe.

Truth be told, I always shock myself with these thoughts. I’ve no idea where this comes from, this wanting to expand beyond my smallness. I want to be bigger than the moon, greater than the sun, swallowing all the stars, and thinking of none of the things that bog the rest of you down.

I want to fly apart. I’ve tried, mother. Did you know?

DEMOSTHENES: Were you scared?

DEMETER: Terrified. I had no idea where she was, or what she was going through.

I wandered for days, beneath the weight of the high vaulted ceilings, down long corridors made of amethyst, shining as though they were mirrors, my hands running along the smooth surfaces. Sometimes I saw faces buried within those walls, but they followed me, like a ghostly retinue, and I was never alone. Again. Above and below, I had no peace. I found bracelets by my bedside table each morning, cut geodes resembling the rinds of watermelon, the gems ragged. I’d press the sharpness of them to my skin to watch blood well up. I’d sit there, in a daze, and then I’d smash the bracelets. But always the next morning, there were more bracelets on the table.

Do you know what I did, Mother? I went to seek playmates. But here they all slithered, or cried, or…fell apart, their limbs falling in pieces to the floor. These are not the normal playmates of youth, the serpents, and the dead. They think differently, they speak differently. They told me of “before,” and it seems the ones that had truly and desperately lived before they died…did things, sought out those paths that led to adventure! I understood them. And I now knew why gathering flowers would not suffice. Some people love the view of smooth stones, some ragged. I suppose you can tell which one I am. Eventually, I came to understand that world too. The Underworld is a haunted place, and the haunted are not frightened; they’re lost, wandering, unsure, with no clear purpose. Purpose is mankind’s driving force, and to have none is an unimaginable suffering.

Many are lost, like I am, and I see that these are my people.

The lost never have tomorrow. It’s all a vast sea of now, and it’s endless. They rail against the knowledge of this neverending, and this is where the mind cracks, like the fissures in the heated rock beneath the earth. I’ve touched my hand to those fissures, feeling the split as it widens and then narrows. I cannot touch my mind, though. I don’t know if anyone can.

I think my mind is broken, Mother.

AESCHINES: You work long hours?


AESCHINES: Seasonal work, am I right? It requires you to be away from your home for long stretches.

DEMETER: I am the goddess of the harvest, so yes.

AESCHINES: You’re also a mother.

DEMOSTHENES: Is that a question?

AESCHINES: So who stays home with the children when you’re away?

DEMETER: I’m home for dinner each night.

AESCHINES: And the rest of the 23 hours. Who is with them?

DEMETER: I have people I trust.

AESCHINES: Sea nymphs.

DEMETER: …yes.

AESCHINES: Reliable, are they?

DEMETER: They’re wonderful girls.

AESCHINES: Who was looking after your daughter the day she “went missing?”

(You thought you’d watch over the entire world, and you forgot to watch over me. And I did hate you for that. I did. Can we forgive each other now)?

AESCHINES: You could not make your marriage work?

DEMETER: We were never married.

AESCHINES: And why is that?

DEMOSTHENES: How is this relevant?

THEMIS: The witness will answer the question.

DEMETER: …He was married already.

AESCHINES: Ah. I see. You were sleeping with a married man.

DEMETER: It’s not like that. I had no interest in a relationship.

AESCHINES: Just a quick fling, amiright? I get it.


THEMIS: That last comment from the Defense will be stricken from the record.

You’re angry, Mother. I see it. It’s everywhere, the ground rough and unyielding beneath my feet, the land cold and brittle so that little birds fall, lifeless, from their perches. The wildness in the world has become formal, inflexible. Hard. Please don’t become hard, Mother. Or was it that I was your softness all along?

I heard the children crying from hunger, clutching their bellies to ease the pain. And their mothers and fathers, those same people who waved to us in the fields as we passed, blowing kisses and showering us with rose petals -those same fathers and mothers holding their children to them as they suffer, knowing that their prayers were unheard, and their children lost.

You starved the children, mother!

I do not know this side of you. Perhaps this is what it is to be a god? To feel so little for those we reign over, to be a creature devoid of reason. This gnashing of teeth is far too late, but does it make it well, Mother? Do you feel justified? Vindicated? Does this alleviate your guilt?

I see your guilt, too. In part, I am glad of it. Until I recognize your guilt serves you, and no one else. I waited, and I wAiTeD, and you never came. And I was starving too.

You could have warned me, you know. Prepared me for every monster around every turn and every corner. And the world is all corners. You might at least have told me about one or two of those monsters, and what the face of this story truly looks like.

You chose instead to let me walk the world unfettered by fear.

I cannot tell which is the better way. I cannot tell which I would do for my own children. I suppose when my mistakes come, I’ll know I should have done differently then.

DEMOSTHENES: Tell me about the family dynamic.

THERAPIST L.C.P.C: These circumstances were not completely unexpected.

DEMOSTHENES: Care to explain?

THERAPIST L.C.P.C: An absentee father. A father in name only. Present when it suits his purpose. The Weekend Fun Dad, if you will.

DEMETER: Not even that!

THEMIS: Order!

DEMOSTHENES: A mother, overworked, rarely home.

THERAPIST L.C.P.C: The burden often falls to the mother.

DEMOSTHENES: Haven’t we all moved away from that thinking?…Could you please clarify, for the Court, because we can’t hear the look you’re giving me.

THERAPIST L.C.P.C.: This situation is also…unique…in that the family dynamic is entangled.

DEMOSTHENES: Entangled. Please explain what you mean.

THERAPIST L.C.P.C.: Well…they’re all related. It’s a whole other level of complicated…

DEMOSTHENES: Isn’t the Egyptian pantheon also –

THERAPIST L.C.P.C: Don’t even get me started…

DEMOSTHENES: Alright. This family’s entanglement…

THERAPIST L.C.P.C.: There’s co-dependence, and a clear form of the Drama Triangle happening here.

DEMOSTHENES: Yes, the Drama Triangle. Please explain that here for us as well. I’ve heard a bit about it…

You were all so busy, running around, being very official and important. What have you all been trying to prove all this time? You’ve left no room for healing, no room for family. And when you don’t get your own way?…there is zero room for trust.

DEMOSTHENES: Are you close with your daughter?

ZEUS: I am a proud papa.

What’s my favourite flower, Father?

AESCHINES: Are you supportive of this alliance? Between Hades and Kore?

ZEUS: She would be well taken care of. He is profoundly well off. He’s probably wealthier than I am!

AESCHINES: So you’re saying she was after the money.

ZEUS: Well. You know how they are. Shower of gold, and all that…

AESCHINES: I take your meaning.

I’ve never understood your role as my father. Isn’t that strange? I did not understand how she could touch you. Oh, I understood the physical of it…I’d seen the act between field beasts. Mother explained to me one day the necessity in order for continuation. She explained lineages, bloodlines, what decent sires and mares were, how they produced, and then what young beasts needed to eat in order to thrive.

I looked at all the young in the wild. They needed their sires as little as I needed you. You rarely spoke to me, or acknowledged me. And when you did see me…it was clear I was measured.

I always hoped she wouldn’t fall for your act -you know the act I mean. The one you’re doing right now, winking at the stenographer -she always fell for it, though. I’d run to the meadows so that I didn’t have to hear you both, because the walls are thinner than you can imagine.

It’s all just spreading seeds, it seems. Life casting seeds of every kind

Also, presence over presents, you Fuck.

DEMOSTHENES: Did you ever encounter Kore outside of family functions?

HADES: Not often.

DEMOSTHENES: So you have?

HADES: I would see her as I took my dog for a walk. I’d bump into her, gathering flowers.

DEMOSTHENES: “Bumped into her.” Completely by chance, I assume?

HADES: I was not stalking her.

DEMOSTHENES: You did not choose her because she was affable? Compliant?

HADES: …She seemed…


HADES: Lonely.

DEMOSTHENES: You did not speak to her mother of your concerns? You took it upon yourself to make judgements?

HADES: I saw that she was-

DEMOSTHENES: …a child?

HADES: An ally. I saw an ally. I could tell that she viewed things the way I did, before she’d even set foot in my realm. She understood concepts that people do not normally grasp.

DEMOSTHENES: Indeed? That hardly seems likely.

HADES: She understood the nature of the Curtain. She understood the nature of death.

DEMOSTHENES: Doesn’t everyone? It’s the “end.”

HADES: No. It takes a unique mind to comprehend the alien quality of the metaphysics of death.

DEMOSTHENES: The metaphysics of death? My, that sounds…“deep.”

HADES: You cannot know. Your mind would break. To you, it would be terrifying.

DEMOSTHENES: How convenient. Tell me…was she mature for her age? Wise beyond her years? Not like “other girls?”

HADES: Go fuck yourself.

DEMOSTHENES: …Sounds like that’s what you should have done.

THEMIS: Order!

I was lonely. I didn’t think I was, but it’s true. I was lonely for my own identity, and my own thoughts. I’m not always an extension of you.

Oh, Mother. You think that I am returned to you. That I am present.

He did make me feel unique, at first. I felt in control. It’s quite something to have power over the powerful. I came to align with his Destruction, because you are Creation. How else does a girl rebel? But…

His mind is broken into a million little pieces, and he thought I could help him put it back together again. I cannot do that. In my heart I know, in my mind I’ll always be looking at the sky, larger than the moon, greater than the sun. Eating all the stars so that I’m the shining one. Other. Cosmically whole.

In this world that values spring, where I resemble spring on the outside, on the inside I am winter.

You both tear at me between your realms. I cannot stand in your world, Mother, and I cannot stand in his. I didn’t want to eat the seeds, but they looked like rubies, and I was starving, and there were no stars…

But it’s not six months of the year. It’s the entire year. It occupies my mind the entire year. And so it will forever.