The Monster

03/03/2016 07:37

Another story written in response to a prompt at Blackship Books and F 3. A bit shorter than usual but I think it works. Do let me know what you think!


I remember the day The Monster came and took my sister's life. She was young and beautiful and strong. The strongest of us all. We believed ourselves invincible. Pride comes before a fall, they say.

The day started like any other. We three awoke and flew down to the beach, chasing each other through the statues that still stand here and there about the island – a mockery, now, but then symbols of our power. Down on the beach were our sisters, older, wiser. They were eating breakfast and making plans for the day, and invited us to join them as usual. It was just a day like any other.

Until The Monster came.

We had no warning, no hint of what was to befall us. When we had eaten, we all set off to do whatever we had chosen to do that day. I headed off towards the hills but I soon doubled back. My plan was to spend the day as I spent every day, watching my sister. I loved to see her move, toes barely skimming the earth as she hovered near a favourite statue, feathers ruffled by the sea breeze; or lying stretched out on an air current, only the snakes making any movement.

My sister was graceful, elegant, the most beautiful of us all. She would gaze at one of the statues for hours, tracing the features that had once been living flesh but were now only crumbling stone. But she knew each one by name, could tell us the exact moment when he – for they were all men that came to visit us – had joined her collection. When she moved on, I and Euryale would take her place for a moment, staring at the cold marble and wishing we had such power.

Oh, how much more do I wish that, now that she is gone? How much do I wish I could have tracked The Monster down as he returned to his ship, called out to him, petrified him where he stood? But only one of us had that power, and she is gone.

On this day, we were playing hide and seek. The rules stated that we could not use our wings either to find a hiding place, nor to help us in our search. But there are plenty of places on the ground that can conceal us. We had gone to the caves that wind through the hill at the centre of Sarpedon, leaving the old ones on the beach. Sometimes we played with them, but down on the beach for they are too ancient to travel far. They might only have one eye between them, but their hearing is razor sharp. It always made for a great game.

Of course, none of us play games any more, now that our sister is gone.

The Monster arrived in his ship in the morning. The old ones confronted him but he took their eye and would not give it back until they told him where to find Medusa. I cannot really blame them for what happened. Who could have imagined that a mere trick would cause her death? She was the most beautiful, the most elegant, the most perfect of us all. Who could foresee a day when she would be cut down?

In the caves, I was 'it' and I had just found Euryale. We held hands as we continued our search for our sister. The caves were our favourite place on the island for they are filled with treasures, taken from those my sister turned to stone. The treasures are still there but we can no longer enjoy them.

As we moved through the caves, I could hear other footsteps moving through the dark but I assumed they were Medusa's. Echoes run along the walls there, tricking the ears. Euryale and I clung to each other, giggling, calling out to our sister that we were coming to find her. I wonder what The Monster made of that?

We came to one of the larger chambers, one of those filled with light that falls through a hole in the ceiling, sparkling off gems and golden objects and weapons, all piled in heaps around the floor. We were sure that Medusa must be in here, and began searching behind each pile of treasure. It was then that I thought I could hear an extra footfall, a fourth pair of feet. But I told myself it was just the echoes.

Why did I not trust my instinct? Why did I not hunt for that fourth pair of feet instead of my sisters?

We saw the whole thing, Euryale and I. As we came around a particularly large heap we saw The Monster crouching down. We were so surprised that we did not act at once. He was holding a shield, using the reflection in its inner surface to find his way. Wise Monster. He knew that gazing upon our sister's beauty would be his downfall.

Then everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Medusa came around the other side of the heap of treasure and The Monster saw her in his shield. I opened my mouth to shout a warning but my words died on my lips. He was up and swinging his sword around his head before I could even blink. Then he returned to his shield to take a quick look at his handy work.

My sister's head rolled to his feet, the snakes still writhing and biting.

That was when Euryale and I found our voices. We screamed our fury and grief and launched ourselves at him. He grabbed Medusa's head and waved it at us, no doubt thinking he could turn us to stone. But she was our sister. Her gaze could only fill us with love. But it was the horror of seeing her like that, blood still dripping, the look of almost foolish surprise on her beautiful features, that made us shrink back.

He took advantage of our hesitation and swept past us. Of course, we pursued him but he managed to evade us and got back to his ship.

All that was left for us five to do then was to share one another's grief and to support each other as best we could.

Others come, now, to take our treasures and none of us stop them. Euryale and I could rend them open with our nails and teeth but what would be the point? Our treasures are empty things without Medusa to help us enjoy them.


Comments for The Monster

The Ultimate Monster

Date: 08/03/2016 | By: Joyce Juzwik

Rose, This is beautifully done. The images pull you into the story and it's as if you can feel the wind on your face as you soar with the characters. Medusa has always been such a frightening creature, but here, she is the core that holds the others together.

She is loved and revered, and when the monster comes - man, he destroys not only her, but takes from the sisters their reason, and desire, to exist. This is heartbreaking, picturing them left with no hope. Superb job with this.

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