'A soft breeze tickled my cheeks, gentle hands splashing the coolest of water on my burning skin. The pain diminished, gone too the horror of it that racked my mind. Relief, finally. Birdsong played in the air, high and sweet, mixing with the musical sound of someone humming close to me. Behind my closed eyes, I sighed, my muscles relaxing.

   'Tender fingers, small and soft, opened my eyelids, revealing to me the prettiest of skies, painted with pale pinks, golds, and blues.  Life's breath mingled in my chest, my heart fluttering to action once more. I gazed to the eyes of the one who had awaken me from my rest of agony, a warm, familiar color of brown hinted with gold. Where had I seen these eyes before, set in a face unrecognizable to me? Thick, golden ringlets of hair framed her bright, youthful face like brilliant rays of morning sunshine. Her lips were large and pink, her cheeks blushed with the color of the dawn sky above.  She smiled at me with such a smile that would grab any mortal man's heart.'

   "Good morning," she murmured with the voice of birds, with the voice of a spring breeze, with the voice of a gentle brook.

  Ajax blinked a few times, still caught by her tantalizing smile, and of all things, her strangely familiar eyes.  "Good morning." his voice was soft and far away, as if it did not belong to him. "Where am I?"

  She laughed, the most beautiful sound in the world. "You are in the Elysian Fields, Ajax. You have been 'born again', so to speak."

  "Born again?" Ajax looked at his hands, his arms. They all looked the same, yet they were clearer, free of the scars of his life, and smoother, like a newborn's child's skin.

  "Your death brings the start of a whole new life here. A life of rest and peace. The wounds of your life have been cleaned away."  she continued in a sing-song voice. From beside her, she took a goblet of gold and gems and handed it to him. "Drink this."

  Obediently, Ajax sipped from the goblet, cupping it between his two hands. His mouth tingled in delight, the sweetness of the drink had been so pleasurable. Eagerly, he finished off the whole goblet. "Ambrosia," the woman whispered, as if reading his mind. The drink of Gods?

  "Who are you?" he breathed, looking over her beaming face.

   She smiled playfully, "Eos."       

  "Goddess of Dawn?" Ajax furrowed his brow.

  "Indeed," Eos replied. "My duty is to open the sky for my brother Helios, so he may take his chariot of the sun across the sky each day, and, too, I am the one to open the Elysian Fields for the souls who arrive here."

   Thoughtfully, Ajax looked about. Rolling fields spread in each direction, the largest of trees, like ancient pillars, were scattered throughout, their leafy tops as tall as mountains.

   "Where is Elpida?" cried Ajax suddenly, leaping to his feet.

    Eos put her hand on his arm to calm him, "Who?"

   "My wife, Elpida." he looked around urgently. "Where is she?"

    The goddess gazed at him, her eyes wide and sad, "I do not believe she is here."

The End

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