In the timeless way, a divine coveted what he supposedly could not have. Thus was a beautiful mortal woman ravished by him.
Soon life was growing in her belly. Groping blindly in their watery pellicle, the hands of two girls discovered one another and each fastened a tiny bud to her twin. From that moment, they never sundered the seal .
They started dancing and pirouetting one other, which set off a great delight in their mother. Now all three of them were melded in joy.
Through such a fusion the girls' senses passed and quickened one to another. They shared and swapped thoughts, for they could read each other without barrier nor impediment. Lacking eyes that could yet see, the sisters touched one another in order to report the beauty of the other. Outside the womb, their mother described her own features of pulchritude and the dazzling beauty of their divine father as she bent forward to whisper to her daughters.
Nearing full growth, the two started plotting for their life outside in the world. They had already sworn an oath that they would never be separated. Yet in offering up their perceptions, they descried the first difference between them. One sister knew herself to be immortal. While the other had no such sense radiating throughout her frangible body. When they occasionally collided one into the other in the swing of their convolutions, the immortal felt no pain. Whereas her sister suffered the full sting.
They abandoned sleep as they feverishly pondered this alarming discovery. Their dances too were cut short as they intently tried to resolve the riddle. Their mother fretted at the cessation of activity within. That they may have curled up and died. Her only faith, that her immortal seducer was still pledging his troth to her and his daughters, so that he must divine them to be healthy.
'Clearly the founding fund of fecundity provided by our father didn't stretch to two bodies. I'm so sorry to have claimed all the sap for myself oh sister of mine, inadvertent as it was'.
'No need for apology dearest sister heart'.
'Perhaps if I can make myself bleed some of my own vital essences on to your own flesh-'
'We both know that is not possible. Nor should you even contemplate such an act. You have to preserve yourself intact'.
'So do you sister love. For I can't bear to live without you for even a minute'.
'But you won't have to. Not for many a year yet. We shall live a full and long life together'.
'But you will leave me. In the end. I shall be bereft of your loving company. Though of course it will be infinitely worse for you once life and spirit has departed your handsome frame'.
'I believe it will be worse for you dear sister, for I will not know any different. All the shared beauty I will have, will end for me sharply and forever'.
'But not me. I credit immortality to be a worse disposition. Think of an eternity musing on what I no longer have to cherish. It is a merciless punishment to be sure'.
'You are not to think like that sister heart. Cherish the gifts we are to share while together, for that's all I have to feast on. They will be taken away from me, but you have the opportunity to preserve the memory of what we once had'.
'Day after day after day with no end. No escape from myself. No means of sharing it with you once you are gone No escape from never having you back in my arms, holding my hands as now. I simply cannot live with that knowledge'.
'But you have to. This is our respective fates. Both condemned to solitude'.
'Perhaps not. The immortal can cheat never dying, much as the mortal may cheat death'.
'Even immortals have to go through the process of being born of woman. There is no difference between us there'.
'Yes I suppose so. But I cannot see-'
- 'By never being born. Cling on to me, hold me like we are never going to be prised apart, even by Ajax's spear. Tighter. So much tighter. We must squeeze the breath from one another, for we are never going to leave our mother's cave'.
So the sisters clung to each other for grim non-life. They were guilty at what they might be causing their mother to feel, but their sisterly love was yet stronger. For her part, the mother could not help but notice that this time there was something amiss. Further reinforced when her consort accused her of withholding his offspring, not wanting to release them into the light of the world fearing they might repudiate her as a mere mortal. Her body had grown ugly in his eyes and if she was not going to release her infant hostages, then no part of her was any longer ravishing to him.
Scorned by her lover, rejected by her children who steadfastly refused to emerge and greet her, she began to waste away. She truly did surrender her pulchritude as she railed day and night against her own body that had betrayed her. Her skin washed away by lamentations, her heart fatally wounded by desertion.
There was no one to mourn her. For inside her belly the twins had been delighted by the cessation of nourishment passing along to them from their hostess. As the mother's hungering body turned in on itself, the girls' too started to undergo a metamorphosis. They started calcifying, as the callow membranous skin was reabsorbed into their bones. The capillaries forming the veins of the stone. Soon all movement was stopped up behind a petrous wall and they stood, hand to hand as fully-fledged statues. Once the cowling body of their dead mother fell away, their mineral cast was exposed for all to see.
Never born, yet never dying. As old as the rocks themselves.