Pandora's Box: Retold

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 09, 2017

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Submitted: October 09, 2017

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“We will not give man fire! They do not deserve it!” Zeus yelled across the gathering of Gods, their billowing white, lilac, periwinkle robes almost blended in with the clouds of Olympus around them. His face was red as he furiously paced. No one knew what happened, but when Zeus isn’t happy, nobody is happy. The gods exchanged worried glances at each other, many thinking of the consequences humanity will face because of this.

“They need it!” A lone shout from the back of the crowd rang out.

“And who are you to think you can challenge my word? Prometheus, we’ve already talked about this. Shall we recall our previous conversation?” A steady downpour could be heard below the gods. Zeus, the god of the sky, was known to show his emotions through it.

“Zeus! You don’t understand! Humanity needs it for so many things. Survival, warmth, food. Zeus, tell me, have you ever seen a whole village freeze in front of your very eyes? Have you seen family after family dying? The people I created dying off one by one! I can’t let it happen.”

Zeus fired back, “Have you yourself seen the destruction it can cause? Have you first hand suffered the damage? Humans are naive, irresponsible, war driven! Can you imagine what they would do with this? It may help, but it can also be a weapon, a dangerous one.”

“Please! Let them deal with the consequences themselves! It’ll do more good than harm!”

“Prometheus!” As he shouted, a lightning bolt rained from the sky, “I said no, and that’s final. You are in no place to argue with me.”

“I should be.” Prometheus muttered under his breath. “Fine, I hope you have fun watching them die. Know that this is on you.” He walked out, seething.

Prometheus looked down, “No, but-”

“You may go,” Interrupting Prometheus, Zeus released them with a wave of his hand as he stormed off.

Slowly, the gods filed out. Along with others, the brothers stayed behind. “Please, we can’t let this happen, they need fire, it’s necessary for survival; for food and for warmth!” Prometheus tried to explain to his brother, “Please, I don’t care what happens to me, they have to know.

“Prometheus, please. We can’t do this, you can’t do this. You know how he is! Give it a week, it’ll all be cleared up by then.” Epimetheus tried to compromise with him.

“I can’t risk it. So many things can happen in a single week. I’m going to tell them, please don’t try to stop me.” Prometheus bolted out, getting lost in the crowd, all the while ignoring his brother’s pleads.

~

Days go by without Epimetheus seeing his brother. Worried, he goes straight to Zeus. “I can’t find Prometheus, do you have any idea on where he is?”

Zeus grunted and cleared his throat, “Oh, I know where he is. Would you like me to take you to him?”

“Yes! Please.”

“Very well then, follow.” Zeus stood from his chair and led Epimetheus to a small door behind him. Through that room, they walked down a hallway and stopped at the third door on the right. Zeus opened the door. In the center of the room, chained to the biggest rock Epimetheus had ever seen, was his brother. “He’s in perfectly good condition. We take care of him good enough,” then, with an eye roll, “though he may not deserve it. See, your brother here went behind my back and deliberately disobeyed my orders. Did you have any knowledge of this?”

Epimetheus quickly shook his head, “No.” It was with this that his brother looked up at him. They made eye contact, Epimetheus was the first to look away.

“Is that all? Do you have anything you’d like to say to him?”

With one last glance, slowly turned glare, “No.” The god turned and walked out of the room.

~

Zeus sat on his throne, thinking. His punishment for Prometheus was done, but he was certain Epimetheus knew what his brother was doing. This time, however; didn’t involve a direct punishment. Zeus knew what he was going to do.

~

Shaking the sturdy creator’s hand, Zeus greeted him, “Thank you for meeting with me on such short notice. It is greatly appreciated. I’d like to discuss a deal with you.”

Hephaestus gave a brisk nod, “Continue.”

“I need you to make me a daughter. Beautiful, but deathly curious. Visit the other gods, have each of them lend a certain ‘gift’, so to say, to her.”

“Is that all? If you don’t mind me, what do you need her for and when?”

“That is none of your concern and does not relate to the task at hand. I’d like for her to be here by tomorrow afternoon.”

Hephaestus gave another nod and walked out.

~

Alone, Epimetheus is left to do all the daily tasks he formerly would do with his brother. It’s tough for him, but he knows it’s his brothers fault. He told him not to, and he did it anyway. It’s his fault. He repeats it like some long lost mantra, over and over and over in his head. Sooner or later, he convinced himself.

As Epimetheus is walking home, he hears footsteps in front of him. Looking up, he sees that it’s Zeus. Right behind Zeus was a beautiful women he had never seen before. Epimetheus couldn’t take his eyes off of her. He fell in love on sight. Zeus walks up to him and puts a hand on his shoulder.

“I just want to apologize for leaving you alone. It was never my intention to hurt you in the process. You understand I did what I had to do though, right?” Epimetheus gave a weak nod. “Good. As an apology, and to help you cope, I’d like to offer you my daughter, Pandora’s, hand in marriage. It’s the least I can do for you. Will you accept?”
Epimetheus had an odd look on his face, he knew this didn’t feel right. Nonetheless, he accepted.

~

Later that same week, Zeus decided to pay the newlyweds a visit. Walking up to the door, he knocked. Epimetheus let him in.

“I have a gift for my new son-in-law and daughter,” In his hands was a beautifully intricate box. It was made of dark mahogany and gold details shone in the light. A gold lock kept it shut tight. “I hope this is worthy.”

In awe, Epimetheus spoke, “Of course it is! It-it’s beautiful. I can’t thank you enough.”

Zeus shrugged, “I’m glad you like it. I have other things I need to attend to, if you don't mind.”

“Not at all. Thank you.”

Zeus walked out.

Epimetheus sat down and looked at the box. Under closer inspection he noticed something engraved into the box, right under the lock. “Do not open.” Underneath that, was a little drawer, barely noticeable. He opened it and to his surprise a little key lay within. As peculiar as he thought it was, he sat it on a high shelf.

~

Pandora picked the delicate box up in her hands. It had always interested her for some reason, as if it were calling her name. She loved to stare at the details that shone in the light. With a familiarity, she opened the small drawer and grabbed the key. It was worn from her holding it so often. Pandora always wondered what was in the box, why it said “do not open” yet included the key. The beautiful box had to hold something even more beautiful. Carefully, slowly, she put the key in the lock. She turned it smoothly. The lock fell to the ground with a clatter. She opened the box. Things flew past her head, she saw them fly out into the world. Famine, illness, war. All the bad things had been released. Slamming the lid shut, tears starting falling from her eyes. She knew what just happened was irreversible. She slid to the floor, tears forming into sobs, each one shaking her body.

Epimetheus heard his wife crying and came running to her. He found her on the floor cradling the little box against her chest. Dread sank to the bottom of his stomach, weighing him down like a rock. “What did you do?” Gently, he sunk down beside her. He took the box from her hands.

“I-I didn’t know what would happen!” Weakly, she opened the box, showing him it was empty- well, almost. Before she could shut it, a small ladybug flew out. It landed on her hand and fluttered its wings. Pandora knew immediately, this small thing would change the world. It would help them push through illness, famine, war. It would give people the will to see the light of the next day. To keep fighting for their life. This tiny bug was Hope, and it would make all the difference.


© Copyright 2019 Aubrey Sanchez. All rights reserved.

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