by Bayveen O’Connell
Nice to meet you! Welcome. Oh, thank you for your gift. You really shouldn’t have. Chilean? Hmmm, I’m more old world myself. Where were we? Oh, yes. First of all, I’m not going to apologize for my attire, or lack thereof. You’re a grown mortal; I assume you’ve seen a naked man at least once. Though he probably wasn’t adorned in a cape made of vines, I’ll grant you that. How rude of me; here, have a grape! Pluck a juicy one, and another. You’re the guest. Don’t bite. Suck slowly. Taste the river of heaven on your tongue. Can you feel it flowing down your throat? Already your lips look kissed and cheeks flushed. And that was just the amuse-bouche!
Take this goblet and follow me. What do you think of the hallway? Do you like my collection? Yes, they’re all me. Even if some have my proportions a little off. There weren’t any selfie sticks back in ancient Greece, sadly. Ha, look! My wine belly is quite rotund in that one. I agree, pregnant with mirth indeed.
Down that spiral staircase you’ll find the vats. Oak barrels, steel barrels, tanks. When I was little I used to get in trouble for bathing in them. What a mess! Hermes would be sent to fish me out and scrub off the tannins.
You’d like to see the kitchen now? Well, I must confess there are three but I call them cellars. Food? That’s a moral distraction for mortals. You seem to have a lot of judgement around imbibing. When, where, who? How much? Spare a thought for the children, pregnant women, chariot drivers, and takers of medication!
Through here. Beautiful, isn’t she? The woman on this fountain is the mortal Semele, my mother. Dip your cup in and drink from her. Swill the oldest fermented juices from the seeds of Armenia. I was not born from Semele’s blood but from her ashes. My father Zeus appeared to her as pure light and set her ablaze. No! Don’t cry, my new friend. For it is next to the scorched earth that grapes grow best.
Come! Let me top you up. I want to show you the garden. Behold! Yes, those are cork trees. Over there an orchard. Remind me to get you a bitter cider for the road. Oh, and in the vineyard are Malbec and Pinot Grigio grapes. That’s about it. Sorry? The bathroom? Ha ha. Don’t you know I’ve gone organic? I simply can’t allow you to leave without peeing on my crop.
Bayveen O'Connell is a writer based in Dublin, Ireland. She loves all things dark and mythic. Her writing has appeared in The Bohemyth, Nilvx, Molotov Cocktail, Tales from the Forest, Boyne Berries 23, Scum Mag, and others. Bayveen facilitates creative writing workshops throughout the year. She's seeking a home for her first novel and is working on her second.