Welcome, dear cozy readers, to Open Mic Friday! Every week we have a featured “reading” in the body of this post. Applause and other feedback go in the comments, where you’re also welcome to share your own work. The comments are threaded, so you can reply directly to each reader by hitting the “reply” button within that comment box.
Read, share, and converse!
Today’s guest post is our first to feature work for younger (adolescent) readers! I’m overjoyed to introduce to you my dear friend from college, H.Q. Chung. We met as freshmen and have been fortunate enough to stay close ever since. The following is an introduction to a modern fantasy that takes its inspiration from the ancient Greek Muses. The rest of the story will be about contemporary young women and men, some of whom will embody the qualities of the ancient Muses, all of whom will reflect the diversity of the world in which we now live. H.Q. welcomes your feedback on this intro, and your thoughts on the story that will unfold from it.
Musings: Mnemosyne’s Curse by H.Q. Chung
Thus was born the Earth. Her awakening brought forth wondrous beasts and vibrant plants. Nothing was too fanciful or wild to her. All this changed when she bore the Titans and the Titans bore the gods and goddesses. The world changed because of them. She changed too. Once, teeming with life that flowed from her core, she can only recall, remember that the world was once her domain. Now, stripped of her powers, save immortality, she remains helpless, as a witness but actor no more. Tears flow from her eyes as she recounts a tale about her beloved grandson, Zeus, and his daughters the Muses and their eventual deaths at the hands of their mother, Mnemosyne.
“Zeus, tell me what will you remember most about me after you have left me? Do not act so flustered, we all know the stars have already predicted your departure; fueled by your wandering eye and lust!”
“Mnemosyne, you know me too well, or should I say the Fates do. You know what made me want you as one of my consorts…but if I must state them to appease you, it’s because of your mesmerizing visage, quick wit, and talents.”
“You flatter me… but I despise you. You sweeten me up one minute, and yet your heart beats for another the next. I know you too well. I’m tired of your infidelity; I curse you with forgetfulness. Henceforth, you will lose all memories that are precious and dear to you!”
“I know you are powerful, but even mother Earth, the bearer of life has no such control.”
“You forget, my powers are over memory, my daughters inspire mortals and even the gods, and everyone is dependent on us and our gifts. I bestow on all minds the capacity to think and learn; I can also take it away.”
As Mnemosyne spoke those words, Zeus grips his head and falls to the ground. At the sight of his stricken body, Mnemosyne shows no emotions. Calling out to her daughters, she shows some compassion and directs them to attend to their father. She glanced at him one last time and leaves.
As Zeus regains consciousness he stares up into the faces of his beloved daughters. Each with beauty that surpasses Aphrodite and intelligence that rivals that of Metis.
“Daughters, how did I end up on the ground?”
“Father, don’t you remember?” asked Melpomene. She looked at her other sisters with a concerned look and told Zeus about what had transpired between their mother and him.
At the finish of her accounts, Zeus sat stone faced. If his daughters were telling him the truth, what memories had he lost? What if these memories were important? He slowly got up and paced around in the shadow of Mount Olympus. As he walked he recalls bits and pieces of a prophecy once told to him by the Fates. But his memory of it is incomplete. Zeus was never the same after that episode. Slowly through the years as mortals stopped worshipping him, he became more anxious and pensive over the forgotten prophecy. His daughters tended to his needs as best they could, but eventually Time won over and it was Zeus’ fate to pass.
As he lay dying, with his daughters around him, he charges them with the task of discovering the forgotten prophecy and to do whatever they can to heed its advice. With his last breath, he whispers “remember.”
To be continued…
Thank you, my dear friend! H.Q. Chung is an education grad student in Southern California, and a strong proponent of the arts, humanities, and green education.
And now… the comments are open. Go to it!