Urie was the most beautiful person I had ever laid my eyes on. When she danced, it was like the world stopped and it was her and her alone. The way her long black curls bounced and swayed, the stage light illuminating her golden skin, her bright eyes looking into mine as she twirled onstage. It was a miracle she even noticed me, let alone decided to marry me. Every day I fell in love with her even more.
It was natural for her to be my muse, the inspiration that kept me going back to the studio. My music was all about her, and people loved it. Soon, we moved from our small apartment to a house, then a villa. All the riches we shared was her doing. If she didn’t exist, my music would never be written. If I didn’t exist, she would’ve lost the love for dance years ago. Her muse was my music. Two puzzle pieces, fated to fit perfectly.
We had our fair share of obsessed fans. That comes with the price of fame. Too many times we found ourselves afraid of who lingered outside…until finally, they got in.
My beloved was taken in the night. Her blood still stains the sheets. Every last thing she touched stayed as such, never to be touched by her again. I began to pour my soul into my music, my grief overwhelming. I played at her funeral, the whole room moved to sobs. I could only sit, painfully aware of the loss of my love.
Years passed. My heart was never so empty as it was in those awful years. Nothing mattered, not even the music I was compelled to create. The money never stopped, and I became richer than I could’ve imagined. None of that could bring my love back to me.
A night came when the moon was full, and I went to her grave to weep. As I cried, I sang to her as I always did, wondering if she would be dancing in the beyond to my melodies.
“Your voice…” a voice came from behind me. “It’s…so haunting.” I turned to see a man, tall in stature. His clothing was simple: a white shirt and tan pants, but he looked quite handsome from where I sat. He seemed harmless but there was a shine in his eye that I could only place as knowing. “Tell me, who are you mourning?”
I cleared my throat. “Urie, my beloved.”
The man hummed wistfully. “Ah, losing your soulmate is quite a loss indeed. You…sang to her in her life?”
“You must have made her very happy.”
“I would like to think so,” I said. “She made me the happiest man in the world.”
The man clasped his hands behind his back. “What’s your name, my friend?”
“Lyre. Lyre Orphic.”
“Lyre Orphic?” The man chuckled. “The gods knew what they were doing when they made you, didn’t they?”
Confusion settled on my face as I looked at this man. He stepped forward into the moonlight. “My name is Apollo. I am the God of Music and Dance.” He paused, as if to give me a moment to believe him. “I have been watching your journey all your life. You are the greatest musician of your time.”
I just sat, listening to this man speak. There was no reason to speak back. I had nothing else to do, nowhere else to go but by my love’s side. I could listen to a crazy man talk.
“Won’t you listen?” The man named Apollo asked. “I have a way for you to rescue your love from the Underworld. Her time here was too short, after all.”
“What do you mean?” I let out a choked laugh. “There’s no way to bring her back. She’s gone.”
“She lives below the earth, in the Underworld with Hades. That is true.” The man was standing above me now, and I could see a wreath tattooed on his head. It was intricate and beautiful, just like he was. “I can lead you to the Underworld’s entrance, lead you to Hades himself.”
I sighed, looking back towards Urie’s gravestone. “Go away, sir. I am not in the mood for jokes.”
There was silence for quite a while. I thought he had left, so I began to sing again. “That voice could melt the King of Hell’s heart, if you chose to come with me.”
I spun around to see Apollo still standing behind me. Anger swelled in my chest as I yelled, “Go away! I will not follow you anywhere! I’m just trying to grieve.” As I spoke, the anger turned to sorrow. My voice cracked as I said, “Please, go.”
Apollo frowned. “The gods have heard your music. We can’t let you live this depressing life any longer…not when there’s a chance to regain your happiness. You’re coming with me.”
As soon as he said this, he touched my shoulder and the world around me spun. Before I knew it, we were outside of a cavern, where a river bubbled and flowed within. It stretched out into the winding forest behind us, the sky above closer than it was prior. I stood now, stunned into silence.
Apollo spoke, his voice serious. “Go into the cavern and go into the river. You will be able to breathe as you walk beneath. Soon, you will reach the Underworld. The spirits will lead you to their thrones.”
“Hades and Persephone, of course.” Apollo smiled, gesturing for me to begin my journey. With a million questions in my mind, I began to walk towards the cavern.
“Oh! Lyre,” Apollo called to me. I turned to hear him. “Don’t stop singing.”
I walked into the cavern, away from the forest and the god behind me, into the freezing cold river, shivering as my body was submerged. I didn’t dare to breathe until I needed to, and to my surprise the gasp was full of oxygen. Confused but determined, I wandered into the darkness. Melodies began to trickle out without words. A sorrowful tune came to me as I continued forward.
The air was damp, the walls dank and dark and illuminated only by the glowing bodies before me. My voice echoed hauntingly against the walls. Spirits turned to look at me and I averted my gaze, looking ahead as I sang. “Lead me to the king of your realm, lead me down below. I am here for Eurydice and nothing more.” They parted, clearing a path past the stone walls and pools of magma down below. As I passed, the spirits followed.
I arrived to a large red door, the wood looking polished and regal. Knocking three times resulted in it opening slowly. The first thing I laid my eyes upon was a huge three headed hound looming above two high seats. In the ornate seats were two people who I could only assume were Hades and Persephone, rulers of the Underworld.
Hades was a large man made of muscle and beard. He looked like what I imagine Zeus to look like, only darker, more brooding. I supposed it made sense, since they were brothers. He was dressed in black robes, his jewelry ornate and the color of lava.
Persephone was beautiful in her own right, sitting next to her king while being waited upon by women I could only assume were her servants. Adorned in her own jewels, they took the shape of pomegranate seeds along her purple and gold robes.
“What mortal dares enter my realm?” Hades’ voice boomed across the throne room.
Apollo’s warning crossed my mind before I opened my mouth. “My name is Lyre Orphic and I have one request. Won’t you listen to the story of the spirit that your realm has acquest?”
“That…that’s not the right word,” I hear Persephone say to her king shortly before he answered.
“You are not supposed to be here, young mortal. I do not care if you sing at me, I want you out!”
“Please, sir Hades, if you will,” I begged now. “I know my chances at this are nil…but I beg you, listen! Lend me your ear. I must retrieve my lover from your realm, if that is unclear.”
There was a pause in which Hades and Persephone whispered to each other. I stood in the doorway, waiting to be cast out into the cavern in which I entered. Eventually, Hades turned his head towards me and lifted a finger. He beckoned me forward, and forward I went. I stood before the king and queen of the Underworld, shaking. “You have one chance to present your case, Lyre.” Hades’ voice was deep and full of malice. “If you do not sway me, you will be sent back to where you came from and you will not reenter until your time has come.”
I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding in, feeling the weight of this moment on my entire body. Urie was only a song away.
“Hear me, O Gods, hear my plea. I wish to see my love again beside me. Taken from this Earth far too soon, underneath a full moon. Her death was tragic, long, full of pain. My heart, I fear, has never been the same. For she has it with her, deep in the depths of this realm in which I speak now my request.
“O Urie, O Urie, my lover do I seek. My heart cries for her, my body weak. My love is strong, my love is true, my love I must retrieve from you.
“Please, O Hades, grant me this one request and we will come back to you when it is time to forever rest.” I finished and looked around to see the spirits crying ghostly tears. The room was silent. Not even a breath was noticed, not even a movement made. The three headed dog was sleeping peacefully behind the thrones. The servants were crying silently in the corner of the room. I could see Persephone’s eyes full of her own tears, holding her hands to her heart.
Hades didn’t look as stoic as before. I saw his beard twitch as if he were trying to speak, but nothing came out. “Your voice,” he said, his own completely changed from the angry boom he had before. A tinge of recognition affected his words. “It’s full of sorrow. You are the voice the gods spoke of. I have heard of your plight, of Eurydice’s demise. The gods speak of you fondly. Although your lyrics are…questionable…your voice is…well, you mean what you sing. I have never heard a man so full of sadness.” He paused, looking to his queen. A look of despair crossed his face for only a moment before he looked towards the doors behind me. “Bring me Eurydice Dubois.”
My heart lept into my throat, racing as if I was running a marathon. My Urie, coming back to me? It was only a dream, but now it was becoming a reality.
Hades stood. “You are to leave this place,” he commanded, voice back to the stern tone he had before. “You are to let this spirit follow you, quietly, until you are both underneath the mortal moon once more. If you look towards her, if you speak to her, if you acknowledge her at all…she will return here to my realm. Do you understand me?” I nodded eagerly. This sounded too good to be true. He narrowed his eyes at me and spoke the only rule once more.
“Do not look back.”
The way out was cleared by the spirits, whose eyes focused behind me. I didn’t dare to look, didn’t dare to listen too hard for fear of acknowledging Urie. As we left the spirits behind us, I began to feel my heart again. Their eyes had assured me she was safely behind me, following me out. Now that it was just us, was she truly behind me? Or did Hades trick me? Did he just want me to leave? I was a mortal in the Land of the Dead, after all.
I didn’t dare look. I tried to hear her footsteps behind me, tried to listen for any sign she was there, and all I heard were my own steps, heard my own breath, felt my own heartbeat as I let the river bring me upwards to the cavern I had entered the Underworld from.
I stood there at the edge of the cavern entrance, shaking with anxiety. Was she truly here? If I stepped out into the light of the moon, would she be there behind me?
With a deep breath, I took my steps and let the moonlight wash over me. I quickly turned to lay my eyes upon Urie again, to bring her to my chest and kiss her face.
Horror set in quickly as I saw her still in the entryway of the cavern. Her beautiful eyes met mine, surprise and fear on her face, and before I could cry out, before I could reach her, she was gone.
She was gone.
I stood motionless. Hades had taken his spirit back, took my love back to her resting place.
“Don’t look back.”
Hello everyone! Thank you for reading! The story of Orpheus and Eurydice has always been one of mg favorites in the Greek Mythos, and I’ve always wanted to write a “modern” version of the tale. The video game Hades has a great interpretation of the story, and it made me fall in love with it even more. Although it’s not perfect, it’s close to what I imagined while trying to make it modern. I think if I ever write a book of short stories based on Greek Mythology, I’ll refine and add more depth to what I have here.
If you liked what you read, feel free to subscribe to me here on Medium and follow me on Twitter to keep up with when I post! I try to write something once a week and post on Mondays. I’m hoping in 2023 I can be more consistent! I’m also hoping to get back to writing more short stories, since I like writing them and most people like reading them (as far as I know).
Thanks again for reading! I’ll see you back here next week with something new!