In the waning hours of dawn, a gust of wind surged from the islands coast.
Every morning, for nearly a century, the breeze traveled to a woman.
With a gentle moan and a grunt, she slithered out of her knapsack.
Humming as she rose, she began her morning routine. Feather duster in hand, she slid across the cavern floor, swiping at her statues with subtle strokes.
To her left, a stone man stood tall with gleaming armor and a trident in his hand.
“Why do the gods keep sending me these statues?” she said.
“Every time I think I will have the pleasure of conversing with someone, I turn the corner and the person I’m speaking to is made of stone! After all these years, I do believe I have lost my mind.”
She was right about one thing; the statues had, at one time, been people.
Unbeknownst to her, she had been cursed by the Gods. Whenever she gazed upon another being, they instantly, and miraculously, turned to stone.
Had she known of her disability, she might have been able to warn visitors of their impending doom. But, she was naive, lost in the routine of an isolated life.
The breeze blew quietly through the caverns walls, a fresh burst of comfort as she slid into her knapsack.
As fate would have it, on this morning, the warrior Jason had landed upon the island.
Hailing from the Greek city of Iolcos, Jason, leader of the Argonauts, had traversed many leagues of sea in search of the fabled Medusa.
On the ninth moon of his voyage, the ocean wind had carried Jason and his crew to the island. He had been tasked by the King of Archimedes to recover Medusa’s head.
Jason and his Argonauts disembarked from their ship and set out towards the highest mountain. Upon reaching the peak, Jason discovered a cavern entrance shrouded in tapestry- a colorful portrait of the Greek Gods atop Mount Olympus. Although exhausted from the trek, Jason led his men into the dark, damp cave.
The sound of footsteps echoed from the entrance of her home, awakening Medusa from her afternoon slumber.
“What in Zeus’ name could that be?” she wondered.
With a start, she sprang from her knapsack and slithered towards the sound of footsteps. She made her way towards the caverns entrance, passing a multitude of statues scattered throughout her lair. From behind a column of marble, she spoke,
“Who approaches my home?”
Jason held his fist high in the air, signaling his men to halt, and responded,
“I am Jason of Iolcoas. We have traveled upon the breath of Poseidon in search of the one they call “Medusa”.
Jason raised both his hands and signaled for his men to flank the marble columns while he continued to speak,
“I have come for your head. I do not wish to see you, for I know the fate that awaits those who gaze upon your monstrous face.”
Medusa was stunned.
“Why do you insult me so? And threaten me? I have not brought trouble upon you or your men!”
“Maybe not me or my men, but what of the statues scattered throughout these caverns? What became of them?” Jason retorted.
“The statues are a gift from Zeus! I know not why they appear, or what favor the gods have bestowed upon me. I only do my best to maintain them…”
The sound of an arrow twanged across the cave, striking Medusa’s lower torso. A splash of red sprayed marble as Medusa recoiled in agony. She turned quickly to confront her attacker and was faced instead with a small army of statues, all holding bows and arrows. It was then that she realized:
The “gifts” she had received from Zeus were a curse.
Medusa turned around; “Jason! I did not realize that I had caused…” Medusa’s voice trailed off as she stared directly at her reflection upon Jason’s glass shield. She saw her face, scowling with layers of sharp teeth. A knot of snakes slithered atop her head where her hair should have been. Her skin was a pale green, scaled from her face all the way down to her serpentine body.
Medusa recoiled at her own reflection, enfeebled by her own monstrous features.
An axe protruded from the side of Jason’s glass shield, swooping across Medusa’s midsection, tearing through internal organs and spilling blood unto the floor.
Pain seared through her stomach as she was split in half. Her upper torso fell to the ground and her eyes slid back into her skull.
“What have I become…”, she hissed…”What am I?”
Jason tilted the glass shield towards Medusas body, her lower torso flapping amidst a pool of blood.
He gazed upon the reflection of Medusa and brought his axe down, severing her head from its neck.
Jason withdrew a knapsack from his belt and rolled Medusa’a head inside.
“I didn’t k…n…o….,” her thoughts sludged, bubbling to the surface of her mind.
And then, all she knew was darkness.