Heartbeat of the Earth
She leads and he follows her away from the dancers, the wine and the music. She walks with bare feet across the ground and his heart races. She stands waiting for him in the open field, ploughed thrice, and he gravitates towards her without a second's thought. Her eyes are wide and fevered, both from the wine and desire which he tastes as she draws his mouth down onto her own. Her body arches into him and he doesn't hesitate in touching her as she moans into his mouth. Breathless, she draws away and takes a couple of steps back, her body sways gently and her smile is filled with such promises. She doesn't undress but lays herself down onto the ground, raising one arm above her head and the other stretches out towards him, beckoning.
Again, he follows hypnotised and he sees her breasts strain against the fabric of her dress in her anticipation. Her eyes are bright and he feels the air thrum, whispering, and, as her hips undulate to attract him, he knows what this is; ritual. He kneels between her parted thighs, sliding his hands up her legs and pushes up her dress up around her waist. He can smell the earth and she tangles one hand into his hair and the other digs into the ground connecting them. Her kisses this time are more urgent and she whispers against his lips – "now" – in a low chant and in perfect unison her body curves up just as he enters and fills her.
His senses explode, the rush of it all makes his head spin and he sways above her for a moment. In his ears he can hear his heart like the rhythmic beating of the ceremonial drums and he inhales the scent of the soil beneath them as he feels its texture on his knees and legs. Her small moan makes him glance down and she gazes up at him, pupils dilated and her right hand settles over his thundering heart.
"Can you feel it?" she breathes in a fevered whisper. "Can you feel the heartbeat of the earth?"
He cannot speak and so nods and her smile is full and deep, pleased by him. Then there are no more words, his body moves against hers, thrusting in slow and deep movements that are accompanied by the rocking of her hips and short, sharp cries. The drumming he could hear before now reaches a frenzy, this ritual reaching its momentum, with their bodies moving fluidly as one. But her body arcs and then it is he who is pressed between the earth and her body. Above him she rocks back and forth, eyes closed and mouth open sounding groans and cries. He watches mesmerized as she leans back and his fingers dig into her hips holding her. The air vibrates with the quickening he feels in her pace… With a final buck and thrust of their hips the drumming reaches its peak and they both cry out, suspended in a moment of ecstasy beyond anything either had felt before.
She smiles down at him and strokes back his hair off of his face and then presses her hand against the earth by his head, closes her eyes and lips move in what he assumes is a quick prayer. His heart is still racing in his chest and he can still feel the pulse of the ground beneath him. When their eyes next meet, hers are clear and calm and the air no longer thrums with that strange energy. His body feels lethargic making him barely able to stand up after her, but when he does she leans into him for another short, sweet kiss. A kiss of gratitude, he slowly processes as she takes his hand and leads them back to the wedding.
They have not been missed and she lets go of his hand, promising to return with a smile, and she walks to talk to her daughter for a moment. She soon starts to make her way back to where he is waiting, the conversation with the daughter being very brief and she sways in her step in time with the music. A small breeze momentarily flutters and whips her hair, exposing her back and the tell-tale soil marks upon her dress. She is in mid-stride when she feels a heavy hand descend upon her shoulder. She turns to see angry eyes bore down onto her and fear courses through her body. She opens her mouth but no words come out and then she sees him out of the corner of her eye come towards them…
But in a sharp illuminating flash he is gone.
She stares with wide eyes and her lips parted. The ground where he once was is scorched and blackened and the hand on her shoulder suddenly lets go making her stumble forward. She thinks that she heard screams but all she can hear clearly is the crashing beat of drums in her ears as she numbly sinks down and presses her hand against the burnt earth. She turns her head to look back at those eyes, the eyes of her brother and once lover, and the eyes are clear and cool and they are pitiless. She closes her eyes against the surge of tears as she turns away and her fingers curl into the grass underneath her. He didn't deserve to die, she had been careless and she aches now with the thought. He had been special, he had felt the beat of the earth just like she did and he had been so beautiful… She doesn't feel the hands pick her up and take her away and she doesn't hear their words of comfort.
She lets herself cry, lets herself mourn and then, later, she will make herself forget. For that is what it's like for immortals. With eternity she cannot let herself be haunted by death and fear and everything that mortals fight against. But weeks later, as she stands in that open field, she presses her hand against her lower abdomen. She feels the beating of two little hearts, created by Iasion and herself, and she smiles. Closing her eyes, she lifts her face towards the glory of the sun and beneath her feet feels the steady heartbeat of the earth vibrate through her.