The story has two versions.
In one of them, you are a goddess. Nymphs pursue you, crushing flowers underfoot in their haste. They call out your name, search the hills, the grass, the sky. Your mother looks for you with a gaze that could find anything on Earth. You are not on Earth. You are underground, being carried away in a chariot pulled by black steeds.
In this version, your version, you are thirteen, and your girlfriends are wearing low-cut tops and shorts. They call your mother on their cell phones. After hours of searching for you, they sit down and bury their heads in their hands, they say, we can’t, we can’t, we can’t. Your mother, no longer a goddess, wanders the mall until the woman who runs the piercing shop leads her to the guy in charge of the CCTV. The guy checks and says that a man came by in a Mercedes and snatched you from the parking lot, just like that. Your mother finds the crack you stood on in the asphalt and cries. Your case is closed after two years.
In the other version, your mother looks directly at the sun and asks him where you are. In the other version, the thief is a king and a god and your mother curses the world with famine until a messenger is sent to fetch you. In the other version, the flowers do not bloom again until you are back in your mother’s arms.
In this version, you become a ghost within two days of going missing. You watch your mother call the police station every week. You float above your little brother without him noticing. In this version, they find your body twenty years later. Your mother is already dead.
In this version, there is nothing to recognize you by but your dental records. The orthodontist had you measured for your retainer a few weeks earlier. You bit into the red mold, leaving your toothmarks in the goo. In this version, the only person left to inform is your brother, who doesn’t remember you. He lives on a horse farm and drinks his pain away.
In this version, you do not know of the other. In this version, no one visits your grave. In this version, you sometimes re-enter your body to watch as flowers sprout through your ribcage. In this version, it is your decaying body that brings forth spring.
Noa Covo's work has been published in Jellyfish Review, trampset, Hayden's Ferry Review online, and Okay Donkey. Her micro-chapbook, Bouquet of Fears, was published by Nightingale and Sparrow Press. She can be found on Twitter @covo_noa.