by The Crazy Cat Lady
Bare feet pounding against the earth. A fair-haired nymph, who was clad in a knee-length tunic, giggled as she dodged passed trees. Her smooth, toned muscles traced under the sunlight, and her golden hair, which was originally tied into a bun, unfurled to the rhythm of the whipping wind. Right when she leaped over a moss-covered log, she was tackled from behind.
The nymph rolled onto the ground, and the Virgin Huntress pinned her to the ground with a grin.
"I caught you, Callisto," Artemis remarked as she stared deeply into the nymph's green eyes. Like Callisto, the Goddess also had a pair of green eyes, except they were sharper and focused. The young nymph had become one of her best huntresses—especially a very close companion.
Callisto smiled timidly at the Goddess. "Well, of course…" she drawled as her eyes fell into Artemis's gaze. It was usually like these moments that made Callisto feel special to have a place in the immortal's heart. Sometimes she could feel her companions' envious glares whenever she and Artemis hunted alone together, but Callisto didn't care. It was an honor to have the Goddess pick her out of her other companions. She loved Artemis, and nothing else mattered.
Artemis smiled and pressed her finger softly against Callisto's lips. "Silent, Callisto," she murmured. The nymph felt a blush escape her cheeks while she focused on the Goddess's warm touch. The overwhelming feeling of bliss matched that of the whole Elysian Fields.
Without hesitation, the two huntresses touched noses—their chaste kiss.
Time had always passed by so quickly for Callisto as she spent time with Artemis. The nymph wished that Artemis would spend more time with her, but she knew that Artemis was a busy Goddess. Artemis had to attend to her hunting band and devotees' prayers daily. However, Callisto was glad that Artemis always made time for her during the mornings and evenings. It showed that the Goddess really did love her although they've never exchanged such words.
Callisto sighed as she rested on a large rock that divided a calm stream. She had ditched the hunting band halfway because Artemis had to leave to attend a mortal. The nymph stretched her arms out and dazed off unconsciously under the sun. It was something that Artemis always scolded her about—her idleness. Callisto knew she had to be on guard at all times, but today, she just felt blah.
A crack of a twig snapped Callisto awake. She jumped up to her feet causing a splash from the shallow water and pulled out her bow.
Artemis revealed herself behind the tree with a welcoming smile. The nymph sighed with relief and headed out of the stream to greet her Goddess.
"I didn't expect you to return so—"
The Goddess interrupted her. "Callisto, I have something to confess," Artemis began urgently. "I love you."
Callisto's heart stopped beating for a second. When she realized what Artemis had just said, her eyes widened. "I—I love you too," the nymph stammered. She wondered why the Goddess would confess her ardor at such a time.
Artemis took a step forward until they were a few inches apart. Callisto had never been so close to the Goddess before, except for the times when they were rolling on the ground. But this was different. The nymph began to feel a bit dizzy, that her knees started to shake, but Artemis held her shoulders softly to steady her.
"Let me make love to you under the trees," Artemis whispered almost lustily.
"But didn't you vow to remain a virgin?" Callisto exclaimed with shock.
The Goddess drew the nymph deeper into her gaze. "I had, but now, I realized how much I love you. I must let you know how I feel." Callisto didn't know why, but she wanted to break away from her gaze. She couldn't though. Artemis petted the nymph's golden hair and brought a strand to her nose. "You smell like honey...So beautiful… I've always wanted to tell you how beautiful you are."
The nymph blushed and moved her eyes away. She had never thought of herself as someone beautiful physically. Before she could comprehend her other feelings, she was on the ground in a few seconds. Artemis explored every part of her body and started to kiss her passionately. It was their first kiss. Oh what joy Callisto felt that the Goddess sacrificed her vow just for her, a mere nymph.
Callisto's heavenly sensations broke abruptly when a stabbing pain pushed inside of her. Before the nymph could realize the horror, her virginity wasn't taken away by the Goddess but by Zeus in disguise.
Months had passed, and Callisto had tried to hide her pregnancy away from Artemis. She couldn't work up the courage to tell her Goddess that she had been raped by her father. It would be embarrassing and shameful to tell her, and she would be banished from Artemis's sight. It pained the nymph that she would no longer be able to see Artemis anymore if she discovered she was no longer a virgin. Artemis's respect for her would be lost for eternity.
However, Artemis knew something was wrong with Callisto. The nymph started to ignore her often which bothered her. The Goddess wondered what she had done to offend her companion. Perhaps it was a little misunderstanding they had which she hadn't noticed? Each time Artemis approached her with concerning questions, Callisto quickly nudged them away and told the Goddess she was fine. Until one day, the nymph couldn't hide her secret anymore when her stomach grew larger.
"Come into the pool with us, Callisto," Artemis said as she sunk her shoulders into the water. The group of nymphs surrounded Artemis in the pool. They stared at Callisto curiously whom was standing behind the bushes nervously.
"I don't feel like bathing today," Callisto lied. She clutched her stomach—almost grabbing it and tried to suck it in to make it less visible. Unfortunately, the attempt failed, and her stomach rolled outward again.
"That's not a request," Artemis replied coolly.
Callisto gulped. The Goddess was demanding her to go in, and so, she couldn't reject such an order. Callisto took a deep brief and stepped out of the bushes.
The group of nymphs gasped, and Artemis erupted out of the pool like a volcano.
"You are a disgrace, Callis—I can't even say your name!" the Goddess shouted as she stood before the shuddering nymph. "Why out of all my followers? Get out of my sight! You've defiled my sacred space and everyone!"
Callisto burst into tears and kneeled down desperately before Artemis. "Oh have mercy on me, Goddess! I've been raped by your father, Zeus, but I couldn't tell you!" she sobbed.
Artemis flinched by the name of her father. She still couldn't believe a word Callisto was saying to her for she was too blinded by her own fury. "Just get out!" the Goddess scowled as she turned her head away from Callisto. "Leave now and never come back, or else I'll hunt you down!"
"I..I love you, Artemis," Callisto managed to whisper. With that, the weeping nymph dashed out of Artemis's sight.
Little did Callisto know that she had been watched throughout her lonely time in the forest. The nymph had nowhere to go and found shelter in an abandoned cave. She wept herself to sleep every night and desired desperately to be killed. She thought about suicide but couldn't bring herself to do it.
"Oh why?" Callisto howled one day to the sky. "Why, God of heavens? How dare you fool and humiliate me! I hate you! I despise you and wish you equal pain!"
Hera, the wife of Zeus, didn't miss any insulting words directed toward her husband. She soon discovered that he had slept with the wretched nymph and grew envious. Before she could come down to Earth and send the mortal to her death, the sky started to crackle with thunder startling Callisto.
"Leave the nymph alone," Zeus boomed to Hera. "It's my entire that I've ruined such a lovely innocent nymph."
Hera glared at her husband. "You always do this!" she cried. "I want my revenge! Once I kill her, she'll no longer be a distraction to you!"
Callisto didn't know what was going up in the sky, but she didn't care. If Zeus was awake, it was even better. She wanted to God to hear what a monster he was. She continued to shout obscene things at the thundering sky.
Before Hera could smite Callisto, Zeus transformed the nymph into a bear.
The jealous Goddess pursued Callisto in the forest. Unfortunately, it was hard to find Callisto, who was now a bear, because her brown fur camouflaged among the trees. Hera started to cackle when a brilliant idea passed through her mind. She quickly left the current forest's area and went to search for Artemis.
Meanwhile, Callisto remained running through the forests. She had nowhere to go, and no one to protect her. She was now the prey of Hera's wrath. The nymph—bear didn't understand how her form changed so suddenly. However, now was not the time to wonder. She had to find a place to hide. Callisto decided to return to Artemis for help. Although she knew she would most likely be killed, she rather die in her love's hands than Hera's.
When Callisto approached Artemis's territory, she froze when she spotted Hera in the distance pointing at her next to Artemis. She tried to cry out, "Artemis, it's me Callisto! Help me!" But only growls came out of her mouth.
Artemis didn't understand why Hera wanted her to shoot down the growling bear among the shrubs. They had never liked each other, and Artemis found it suspicious that Hera was asking her a strange favor.
"Are you skeptic of your own talent?" Hera remarked rather bluntly. "Is it because you're afraid to miss your target in front of me?"
Artemis flashed the older Goddess a penetrating glare. "I can bring down that bear with one shot, thank you," she scowled.
Hera flashed her eyelashes playfully and smiled too sweetly which sickened the Huntress. "I've heard that whore, one of your followers, had broken her vows. Horrible thing isn't it?" she asked rather distastefully.
"Shut up!" Artemis cried bringing an arrow to her bow at the bear. She was too furious to notice that the bear didn't jolt from the sight of her bow. The bear remained still which puzzled Hera even more. Perhaps the nymph prepared for this death, Hera thought was a smirk. Even better.
Hera observed boringly back and forth at the younger Goddess and bear. She didn't care to notice the intense energy between the two. Before she could ask Artemis if she was going to shoot already, she realized that tears were trickling out of Artemis's green eyes which had taken Hera by surprise. Artemis was not the kind of Goddess to cry so easily, especially for some banished devotee.
She snapped out of her thoughts when Artemis released her bow.
Callisto sprawled across the forest floor and smiled tiredly. She had been killed by her love's own hands, and it made her happy to see her Goddess one last time before she died.
Zeus mourned for Callisto's death, as for all of his other victims, and placed her spirit among the stars. His daughter, Artemis, never knew that the bear she had shot was Callisto in disguise. However, Artemis found herself staring fondly at the star in the night sky which reminded her of Callisto, her once closest companion whom she had loved.