Prologue

There once was this girl.

She had the salty blue eyes and pale fine hair of a child, though she was one no longer. She was the daughter of a goddess, a goddess who loved her more than the sun, sea, or the earth itself. This girl was special, and many people loved her. Not only for her beauty, but they loved her because she was so innocent and that she smelled like ocean water and vanilla beans. They loved the way so spoke so certain of herself, and how she played in the grass barefoot.

"Be home before dark," her mother had warned her, "and don't talk to strangers." She had laughed it off. She was only going to play in the valley. She liked to look at the wildflowers in the evening, she liked the way the orange sun set behind them— making everything look like it was on fire. She would never talk to strangers, she had promised.

But she didn't need to talk to him, because he just snatched her up. She never had the chance to talk to the man with the sea storm eyes and blue-black hair. She didn't have to, he stole her. Pinning her down in his arms like a butterfly. How thin he was, yet impossibly strong. Even when she tried to scream and claw at him with her chewed fingernails, he hadn't flinched. He had opened up the ground beneath them, taking her down to a place the living don't enter— the underland, the shadow place where there was no sunshine.

Her name was Persephone, and all if it is true.