Pandora watched the phantasmic pictures of cruel and terrible things slither out of the box. She watched as the very men who had called themselves the protectors – the government – stole money from the farmers and killed the innocent. She watched the little-ragged miser boy steal an apple from the refugee vendor.
Pandora watched and although she tried to tear her eyes away from the smoky entrails of illness, grief and misogyny, she could not. She needed to see what she had unleashed. She needed to taste the bitterness of it all. The last wisps of what was to be the destruction of humanity slowly glided off into the darkness and she collapsed, knees against the hard floor, hands clenched, silent tears rolling down her envied face and landing like delicate dew drops on her red, full lips.
“What have I done?” wide-eyed, she whispered to herself as she looked at her hands, now unclenched, the weapons that had helped her open the box.
“You have unleashed illness, misery and grief into the world”. Said a deep eerie voice.
Pandora turned towards the box to see a tall, bronze, naked man climbing out of it. The moonlight shone on his face had made it almost impossible to look at as she squinted to get a proper look at him. The luminance his face emitted competed with the moon’s reflecting light all to create a massive explosion of beauty and radiance.
She could not tell the colour of his eyes for everything was just too bright. All she knew at that moment was that he was beautiful and he made her feel a sort of thumping in her chest, the likes of which her husband, Epimetheus, the kind and handsome man that he was, never made her feel.
“Who are you?” she managed to whisper.
“I am what will make all the difference in the world. I am Hope” he said as he walked passed her kneeling body, an expressionless look plastered on his face.
She watched his muscular back, as he walked on into the darkness, the world in which she had released future’s doom. “Pandora?” Pandora looked around to see her husband standing in the same moonlight.
Nothing special, nothing different. The box was laying there and she hoped he hadn’t seen it. “Pandora, why are you sitting on the floor like that?” he said as he knelt down in front of her. He cupped her face in his hands “Have you been crying, love?”
“No. It’s just very cold.” She said as she held his wrists and slowly balanced herself on her two feet. “Then you better go inside and get warm”, he said as he stood up. “I just wanted to let you know that Prometheus has called for me on some matters. Nothing to worry about. I will be gone for 12 days.”
The next three days were followed with an almost paranoid amount of vigilance for Pandora as she was constantly on the lookout for anything off in the human world. Things were so normal, that she thought that perhaps it was just a dream. However, she would then reach out for the opened box under her bed and be reminded again of what she had done.
On the third night, she heard someone or something outside her home humming a song of a sort of gloomy tune. She walked towards the door as it grew louder and louder almost deafening. She opened the door and it immediately came to an abrupt stop. Hermes stood there, an amused expression on his face. “Scared you, didn’t I?” Pandora never enjoyed his company.
“What is the Messenger of the Gods doing in my house?”
“Oh, Pandora. You know I am so much more than that. Will you not let me in?”
“Very well. Your husband has asked me to tell you that he will take longer than he said to return.”
“Why? Is everything alright?”
“There are a lot of problems in the human world, as you know. Your husband and his brother, the dear mankind lovers that they are, are trying desperately to make amends. A bit too desperate, I would say.”
“What do you mean by that? As you know? How would I know anything?”
Panic began to rise, consuming her and surfacing itself on her face. “You know why.” Said Hermes with a glint in his eyes.
“Well, I had best be off then.”
Hermes turned around and took a step and then decided there was something else to be said. “Oh and, if you want to help your husband, I suggest you start with making some hope.”
“What do you mean?” asked Pandora.
Hermes had left and Pandora quietly closed the door, shaken at what she thought she might have to do. Pandora unfolded her velvet navy blue robe and placed it over her sky blue dress.
She immediately set on to search for the man who had called himself Hope. She searched in all the markets and she was trying her luck in the last inn when she saw him sitting on a wooden bench, some beer in hand, crouched down low, watching her. She continued to watch him, her eyes never leaving his as she glided softly behind the wooden pillars that held the dining room of the inn in place below it. He continued to watch her as she made her way past the pillars and stopped behind one.
He immediately stood up, walked passed her and made his way upstairs to the inn. He was now wearing a black tunic and she couldn’t help but notice his lustrous black curly hair as he walked ahead. She knew that her husband would be very angry if he found out about what she was going to do. But if he knew that if seducing Hope was the only way to get him to put an end to mankind’s doom, then perhaps he would understand, she thought.
She knew it would work. She knew men. She followed him into a candlelit chamber. She stepped inside to see that he was standing, facing his back to her behind the four-poster bed that was shrouded with white drapes. She began to walk towards him, and as she took those few steps, she began to become increasingly aware of what was around her. She could hear the hustle and bustle of the men in the dining room beneath them, and although it was quite loud, she could hear those soft steps she was taking towards him. Those noisy steps, a figment of her imagination, seemed to be most important to her at that moment.
She concentrated on them, one step at a time, along a straight line, each step forcefully placed in front of each other, for she was in fear that they might betray her and run away. The moment she stopped behind him, she could sense the tiny, delicate hair on her body stand upright in a manner of worship similar to hers. He took a few steps away from her and blew the candles out, leaving only the candle at the entrance of the room and the moonlight to guide them. He turned around to face her, a soft, almost incomprehensive curve along the outline of his deep red lips. “You have come.” He said as he fixed his deep black eyes on hers.
His voice seemed to own every particle in the air for she felt the noise around her dim, the noise from her breath, the noise from her conscience. “I should not have opened the box”, she said. She could no longer feel her purpose, his essence so captivating, and thus she felt no remorse while she said that.“Indeed.” She continued to look straight ahead and she felt him look down, his eyes scanning her. “They had told me in there. They had told me that someone so beautiful, that she can steal light and can free us. They were right.” She did not understand what he meant by that but she watched him look up at her and she could see the shift in nature of his eyes growing from curiosity to hunger.
They lay next to each other until the candle no longer had wax to burn. Pandora’s thirst was satisfied and she began to grow ashamed at her intentions behind this. She had wanted to seduce him, to make him hers, so she could make everything right again. But she gave into him, and she became his. She told herself not to worry, for perhaps he will give her as she pleases as she watched him playing with her brown curly hair, an act of admiration.
“Will you help me? Will you make everything right again?” she said, sitting up.
“No”, he said, looking away.
“Please! Why not?”
She began to gather her clothes and wear them hastily.
“You have tampered me”, he said.
“What do you mean?”
“You have performed adultery. One of the many sins that escaped from the box. You cannot make everything right again with something that is wrong. You have contradicted your own purpose.”
“But you are hope!” she screamed. The room was quiet for what felt to Pandora the longest time.
“I have adulterated hope.”
She whispered in realization. She ran out the room, all the way to her house, not stopping a minute to catch her breath. As she grew closer, the deafening humming sound she had heard earlier when Hermes arrived began to play in her ears, loud and clear, until she could no longer handle it. She placed her hands against her ears and waited for it to stop. Hermes stood in front of her on the street.
“What did you do?” she yelled.
“What do you mean?” he asked smiling.
“You told me to go to him! I trusted you!”
“Didn’t I tell you I was more than just the messenger of the Gods?” he said as he turned around and walked into the darkness.
Pandora stood in the cold, crying at the knowledge of destroying hope, the only fragment of light humankind had left.
What are your views about Pandora and her lost Hope? Do let us know in the comment section below: