CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and TWENTY-THREE
Hedone found Nelson standing just inside the carriage house where he lived. He seemed to be in some kind of dissociative fugue. He didn’t or possibly couldn’t see her. She opened her hands and her arms causing golden light to flood him. She let the light do its work. When he seemed to be waking, she put a golden apple in his hand.
As if he hadn’t eaten in a year, he devoured the apple with giant bites. He ate the apple core and seeds. She put another apple in his hand. He ate that down.
His entire body shuddered. His eyes closed for a long moment. When he opened his eyes again, he was awake. Seeing her, he instinctively dropped to his knees.
Hedone wasn’t sure what caused this reaction in others. The fairies had started doing this when she transformed into a full Goddess. The longer she was the Goddess of Love, the more beings fell to their knees. Hedone was not comfortable with this kind of prostration.
She held out her hands and helped him up. They stood face to face.
“Hedone,” Nelson said, recognizing her for the first time. “I didn’t recognize you.”
He started to drop to his knees again, but she held him up.
“Please don’t,” Hedone said.
“Is it possible to have another apple?” Nelson asked.
“Of course,” Hedone said.
This time, Nelson seemed to savor every bite of this apple.
“This is the best apple I’ve ever eaten,” Nelson said. He held the apple to his nose. “Just the smell is divine.”
“Apples are my thing,” Hedone said.
“Now that you’re a Goddess?” Nelson asked.
“Always,” Hedone said. “It was a long time before apples were common fruit. Most of history, they were something people could only dream about. But then again, some apples are worth dreaming about.”
“I will dream about this apple for as long as I live,” Nelson said. “Have you ever thought about trying to grow them?”
“Of course,” Hedone said. “There might be a tree behind the Castle — a giftin homage to the Oracle.”
Nelson suddenly looked surprised. Hedone smiled.
“Am I still alive?” Nelson asked as he looked around. He was standing in a white walled room with a beautiful blue sky above him. It seemed to be day light, but he was sure that was artificial.
“You’re in the in-between,” Hedone said.
“What is the in-between?” Nelson asked.
“The in-between is a place that humans fall when they’ve been dislodged from their lives and aren’t sure what will happen next,” Hedone said. “Everyone sees it a little differently. Clearly, you see yourself in some kind of medical exam room.”
“It does look like an ED exam room,” Nelson said with a nod. Nelson pointed to the blue sky above. “I’ve never seen one like that though.”
“Fair enough. This is a place in the mind as much as it’s a place in the world,” Hedone said. “You may be here for hours or many days, even years.”
“What ends the time in the in-between?” Nelson asked.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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