Medusa

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A reimagining of Ovid's version of Medusa's story.
Cover art by Art de Noé

 

 

 

 

Trigger Warning: This story contains mentions of rape and gore.

 

The doors were barred and the windows veiled. The sun rose and set a hundred times while she lay in the dark, afraid to look outside, afraid to see her reflection and face what they did to her. Someday, she would shatter that mirror so it could no longer torment her, but she would first have to confront her monstrous reflection.

The snakes hissed day and night, interrupting her thoughts, intruding on her daydreams, and sometimes, their terrible song disturbed her sleep. Medusa wondered how much longer she could stay sane. Her only comfort was imagining their venom course through the bloodstream of those who had ruined her. She would close her eyes and see their fangs bloody Athena’s cheeks as they tore her face apart. As for him, his punishment differed each time, but his agonized screams that went on for days were constant. In those daydreams, the hissing was music from a lyre welcoming her to Elysium.

A rat scurried from a hole in the wall and crawled over her feet. After her change, she found herself with cravings that would’ve once made her stomach turn. She bounded after the rat and wrapped it in her claws. The snakes wrestled to reach the bounty she’d caught, coiling around each other. She sank a nail in the little body. Blood came out of its heart, which she sucked until it ceased to struggle. She peeled the fur to reveal the thin flesh underneath. The snakes grew louder and louder until Medusa nibbled at the muscle and organs beneath, appeasing their hunger. It would not be long until they hungered again. The snakes were never satiated.

She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. Her skin was rough and scaly, and even though the room was dark, she could tell it had changed. Sometimes, Medusa wondered what exactly she’d become. She knew that Athena had changed her into an abomination; not a human or snake, but something that is both and neither and far more hideous than the vile creatures rotting in Tartarus. After what happened, Medusa wouldn’t have minded being a monster if it meant she could hurt Poseidon far worse than he’d hurt her. But he was a god, untouchable, unbreakable, and she wasn’t the first mortal he’d broken in and discarded like an old shoe.

What pained her the most, more than the anguish she’d endured, was the thought that once, she wanted to serve Athena. The day she was inducted into her Mysteries was the first time Medusa had wept with joy. She prayed to the Goddess every day, hoping to be rewarded with her grace and wisdom. She orchestrated prayers and sacrifices in her name. The other priestesses loved Medusa, and she loved them. Her life in the temple was quaint and happy.

The first time she saw Poseidon was by the creek where the sisters bathed and washed their clothes. She was with another priestess, who was enamored by the god’s strong build and deep, aquamarine eyes. He gave her no mind, keeping his attention on Medusa, his eyes appreciating her body, plump beneath her wet, translucent robe. She was quick to refute his interest. A priestess had to stay a virgin, and she did not want to lose her position to satiate his lust. He told her something she doesn’t remember anymore. She rolled her eyes and stomped away, but she could still feel his gaze on her like a hawk watching its prey.

Long, uneventful days came and went. After the prayers, sacrifices, and work around the temple, Medusa would retreat to the sea to rest. She loved how the pebbled shore massaged the soles of her feet and how the crashing waves soothed her spirit. She liked to close her eyes and listen to the seagulls, the waves, the wind ruffling through palm leaves, and the faint sounds of the city. She breathed in the saltine air, and felt at peace, not knowing it would be the last time she had that luxury.

He had waited for her to come back, and the altar which he took her on was still dripping with the last sacrifice’s blood. Medusa’s tears were searing against her cheeks, but she couldn’t cry out. She clenched her teeth and retreated inside herself, praying for it to end. Time stretched into eternity until Athena found her hiding behind the altar, trembling, her limbs drawn to her chest.

Upon seeing the goddess, Medusa threw herself at her feet, begging to be purified of the crime committed against her. Athena spat at the girl, and the curse she snarled sealed her fate.

Medusa screamed, white-hot fury coursing through her veins. Her voice echoed in the empty room, and the snakes joined in with their dreadful song. It was when the cacophony ended and she was trapped once more in the never-ending quiet that she heard footsteps.

Athena had sent many her way, though none survived to make a trophy of her head. She took away everything from her except her strength, and as the snakes grew hungrier, so did the fire within her.

The warrior drew his sword. She stood, yellow eyes glistening in the dark, and her snakes bared their fangs.

 

 

 

 


Submitted: June 12, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Christy Writes. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Jeff Bezaire

Epically painted, Christy! The first paragraph cuts a strong picture in to my mind. Her description paints the monstrous qualities about her, but never paints her as a monster, which I like.
Medusa's story is a tragic one - being scorned by two gods and cursed for being unable to defend herself. I enjoyed the greater depth of backstory you give her - her time as a priestess, her duties, her previous acquaintances with Poseidon and Athena. The story flows well and is graphic enough that nothing needs to be labelled. The emotion is potently felt.

Sat, June 13th, 2020 12:03am

Author
Reply

That's how I wanted to portray her, she was turned into something she really isn't. While she is vindictive, her anger is righteous. The reason Athena cursed her, as per Ovid, is that Medusa was assaulted within her temple. Thank you for reading, Jeff!

Wed, June 17th, 2020 1:17am

hullabaloo22

A fantastic retelling, Christy.

Sun, June 14th, 2020 6:53pm

Author
Reply

Thank you!

Wed, June 17th, 2020 1:17am

LeParadisGothique

I think that Medusa is more anti hero than villain. She is more of a flawed hero. She didn't ask for what she become, so she can't be classed as a monster. She has traits of a feral, where the humanity is there somewhere, but she will never be able to find salvation in it. You write about the snakes getting louder and more deafening; do you believe that they are the cause of her insanity?

I've always found the story of Medusa to be fascinating. It can be interpreted in so many ways, mainly because this curse was placed on her. I enjoy this journey you take us on, mentioning pieces of her mythology, and the beings that would shape the destiny of her curse. I can tell how much mythology fascinates you, or maybe it's this story in particular.

Very well written Christy. Love the effort you put into this. A very good story that you wrote. I have so much of your work to still read, and I'm going to enjoy reading each word. These last few months, your writing has been on a higher plane!

Tue, June 30th, 2020 9:03pm

Author
Reply

I wouldn't call her insane. Her situation has put her in a flurry of emotion, but above everything she is angry, and rightfully so. Thank you for reading and for your praise, Dexter!

Wed, July 1st, 2020 3:57am

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