Just another man, deciding that he deserved a piece of me without asking. Another one who would break into my home, trying to get a glimpse at what I’ve become. Using my name as a synonym for monster.
I grinned. He was trying to be sneaky, thinking that I could not sense his invasion. I took off my glasses, putting them on the coffee table, and stood to meet the invader.
I spotted his camera first. The lens catching the light of my home and a small light clicked on to let me know it was recording. I stared directly into the camera, the snakes around my head rose to their full height, making themselves bigger in the presence of an enemy. I strolled forward towards the camera. The intruder still hasn’t realized I’ve spotted them because they haven’t dared to look at the camera for more than a second.
I’m guessing he felt like it had been too long, but once he looked up to check on the footage, he met my eye. That was his mistake, admittedly, it was his last mistake.
I went outside and pried the camera from his now stone-covered hands. I flipped the screen around so I could see myself and held it out, capturing my full face in the camera.
“My name is Medusa.” The snakes around my head calmed down at the lack of enemies nearby and so I continued, “Most of you Mortals think of me as a monster. You do not acknowledge the reason that I am this way or even my opinion of it. Instead, you hunt me down, break into my home, and make a mockery of me on your televisions.”
Noticing the rise of my anger, a few of the snakes began to look around for some sort of unseen threat. I took a deep, shaky breath. “I was not born this way. When I was young, I served my goddess and gave her everything. One day, when I was in the temple, I was approached by yet another man who wanted to be with me. But this man was different, this man did not ask for a piece of me, he stole it.” A small tear escaped the side and I brushed it away quickly.
“It has been said that Athena cursed me for defiling her temple, something that I had no choice in. However, this is not the case. This was a gift. I never wanted to be hurt again and so she made sure that I never could be. I am not a monster, I am not your enemy, I am merely protecting myself from the inevitability of men feeling that they are owed something that they are not.” I stared into my reflection, I looked weak and vulnerable, something that I was not comfortable with. I snapped the camera closed. I pulled out the SD card and crushed it in my hands, throwing the rest of it and the camera into the bushes.
I returned to my reading. This life of solitude was the best gift I could be given and anyone who dared to take that from me deserved their fate.
This short story is inspired by one of the many stories of Medusa. I actually first heard this story on Spirits Podcast and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. If you are into Mythology and Folklore, I highly recommend checking it out. Their podcast is done beautifully, with just the right amount of story and side humor.
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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash