I looked down the cliff and far below I could see the desert stretching out for miles with no sign of life. It felt dead, the way I was inside, perhaps that was the reason why I liked this particular desolate spot. The constant hissing and writhing that I could feel on my head was a painful reminder of vanity, pride, lust and depravity of gods who were meant to protect humankind. Yet, all they did was play with us and then leave us broken and crazed when their little game was over.
I was a monster, a living abomination, a bane on the human kind and yet I lived. My existence was a cruel joke, each day reminding me of the days when I was young and naive and how within few cruel moments all was lost and replaced with constant misery, anger and self-loathing. My appearance was horrible yet my memories were more cruel. Especially in moments like these I was able to close my eyes and see a younger version of myself cavorting in the field of buttercups and lilies, splashing around beneath the waterfall with Nereids, stealing succulent strawberries from the local grocer, waking up at the crack of dawn to pay my obeisance to Athena and combing my hair to a golden sheen. The last memory pained me the most and my heart was filled with grief that I was unable to translate into tears. I had lost the ability to cry the way I had lost so many human traits when Athena changed me into a Gorgon.
Am I truly a monster?
Does my appearance makes me monstrous? Does all the mortal heroes that I turned into stone because they intended to kill me and attain glory in the process qualify as the monstrous act? Or the fact that I was raped in the very shrine I sought protection in sealed my fate as a hideous creature banished to this barren land.
Athena, wise and fair, Goddess of wisdom, she was one deity who I always admired for her fairness, her strength and her sagacity. Yet, when I truly needed her she failed me. I screamed for her help, I called upon her while another god of her kin pushed me down and forced his way with me in her shrine. The fight left me, he was stronger, the silent tears that trickled down my face felt useless in their fight against him. When it was over, I sought justice, I wanted the wise Athena to fairly challenge Poseidon for the sacrilege he just committed.
I was mistaken.
She turned me into this hideous monster. She gave me these eyes which can turn any mortal that I looked upon into stone. She cursed and changed my hair into snakes which spewed venom. All of this, just because I made the ‘mistake’ of being raped in her temple.
I ruined the sanctity of her temple and for that I was to be punished while the perpetrator roams free and powerful.
This doesn’t make me weak, neither it makes me a monster worthy of a sordid depiction. I am a goddess in my own right and this goddess knows how to wreak destruction!