I couldn’t stand being at the God Complex another minute. I had been back for weeks, and I still felt lost. Yes, I was very thankful to be given a second chance, so don’t think I’m ungrateful. I just wasn’t ready to face everyone yet. My emotions were all over the place, and when I came face to face with my past, I wanted to be ready.
With nothing more than a thought, I teleported to one of my favorite beaches. It was on the coast of California, just north of Santa Cruz. It was a small beach and there was never anyone else here, unlike most of the other beaches I’d been to. It had become my favorite because there was a huge rock that sat out in the ocean that could only be reached by foot at low tide. The sand was covered with seaweed that crunched under my feet as I walked. I loved standing on the edge of the rock that looked out over the ocean and watching the waves crash against the jagged stones below. The roar of the ocean and the salty air helped to calm the beast within me. I have been coming here almost every day since my return. I needed the serenity the turbulent ocean brought me.
My mind drifted to Zeus’ decree that the Gods become relevant again. It made sense; the world had changed so much, and the mortals were in desperate need of guidance. Everyone else seemed to have found their place; granted, they did have more time to adjust to life here than I have had. Still, I needed to figure out how I fit in with this new world. I needed to show people that I was here to help, not to terrorize them. Making up my mind, I turned and walked towards the path leading into town.
There were people everywhere, and I was glad I was wearing jeans. I never would have been able to blend in wearing one of my dresses. I was still getting stared at, though. I moved my hand over my hair, smoothing it down, worried my snakes were going to come out and scare people.
I noticed a group of men following two women. The guys looked like troublemakers, so I watched them. The women were trying to ignore them, but the men kept yelling out rude comments and were becoming increasingly aggressive and obnoxious. When the men circled around the women and wouldn’t let them pass by, I headed in their direction.
I narrowed my eyes and tried to sound pleasant. “Hey, sorry, guys, I don’t think they’re interested.”
They laughed, and the one that appeared to be the leader of the merry band of dipshits stepped closer and tried to take my arm saying, “Why don’t you come party with us then, baby?”
I yanked my arm back and heard my snakes hiss. Clenching my jaw, and trying to stay in control, I said, “Does that ever work? No one here is interested.”
The women were slowly edging backwards, trying to sneak away. I started to turn, to put some space between us. I didn’t want to cause a scene, that would be bad, right? A hand clamped down on my wrist and spun me back around. My snakes burst to life, biting the air around me, and my beauty was gone in an instant, replaced with the monster I was trying to keep hidden from the world.
So much for staying hidden.
I tried to pull away, but it was too late. He was frozen, his face a mask of terror. I looked at his friends, unable to help myself, and watched as one by one they turned to stone. Suddenly, everyone was screaming. People were running, trying to get off the street. I looked around, part of me fighting for control, the other part finally feeling free. I leaned my head back and screamed in frustration.
The women were crying and running away.
“I was just trying to help, don’t be scared. Wait!” I yelled to their retreating backs as they rounded a corner.
Well, that was just fanfuckingtastic. I was supposed to be finding a way to help the mortals, not terrify them. I forced myself to calm down. Just as I was getting myself under control, a guy came running at me, clearly trying to take me down. I might not have as many gifts as the other gods, but I could take care of myself, even without Gorgon help.
He was twice my size and running right at me. I stayed where I was, and just as he would have plowed into me, I grabbed his arm, turned and bent over to use his own momentum against him. He flipped up and over my back and landed with a nice solid thud.
I stood looking down at him for a minute. Except for us, the street was empty now. I was back to myself again, so I wasn’t worried about turning him to stone.
“What are you thinking? Everyone obviously knows who I am,” I waved my arm, gesturing to the new statues. “Why aren’t you screaming and running away? What did you even think you could do here?”
“Ah, it was fine, I had my eyes closed,” he said with a smile.
My mouth dropped open in shock. “You’re not scared of me?”
Laughing, he said, “Not with my eyes closed. I figure you’re kind of like a weeping angel but backwards. As long as I’m not looking, I’m ok.”
I didn’t know what to say. I mean, he wasn’t wrong. It was really nice to find a mortal that wasn’t afraid of me. I held my hand out and helped him up. “You wouldn’t happen to know what to do with them, would you? I guess I could dust them, that’d probably be easiest.”
He gave me a funny look. “You think cleaning them will help?”
“Wha…no…what? I’m not going to clean anything. Dusting, turn them to dust. Duh. Well, it’d be more like sand than dust, but you get the point.”
“You can turn them to sand?” he asked.
“That’s what I said.”
“These guys are from a local street gang, you’re lucky you can take care of yourself. Others haven’t been so lucky.” He pointed to the stone gun partially hidden under their shirts. “You’d be better off sanding them, so their gang won’t find anything when they come looking.”
“Dusting,” I corrected, automatically. I tapped my finger on my lip as I stood there looking at them. “Let me check first, make sure they’re bad guys.” I stepped up to the first one and laid my hand flat on his chest and pulled out what was left of his essence before his soul could move on. When I was done, I stepped back. “He was a special kind of evil. You’re right, their gang will come looking.”
I moved to check the rest and found they were as bad as the first. They were all attractive men, and they used that to their advantage. Evil is real; pure evil is alive and well, hiding behind fake smiles and lies. I couldn’t believe the things they had gotten away with. I wouldn’t feel bad about what happened here today. When I pull their essence, I’m essentially pulling the strongest thoughts and emotions. The first guy was thinking about adding me to the list of women he’d murdered.
“You going to stick around?”
“I think so. Think you could use the help. My name is Luke.” He held his hand out for me to shake.
I looked at him for a minute then figured, what the hell, and shook his hand. “I’m Medusa.”
“I figured. Let’s see what you’ve got.” He waved towards the statues.
I didn’t want to waste any time, no one was around now, but that could change. I had already put on enough of a show. Reaching out, I put my hand on the arm of the first statue and released a trickle of energy into it. As soon as it started to crumble I moved onto the next, until all five were nothing but a pile of sand.
“I can’t just leave them out there. I saw where he buried them.” Luke and I were sitting in the back of a dark bar arguing. When I pulled the essence from the first guy, I saw that he had been killing women for years. No one even suspected him. He had been getting away with so much. Even though I knew he wasn’t a danger to anyone now, I still felt like he was getting away with everything because the gravesite had never been found.
“I said I’ll take care of it, I will get an anonymous tip to the cops. That way no one will ever know you had anything to do with it.” He was clearly getting frustrated.
“All those people that ran screaming from me definitely know, so why does it matter?” I downed another shot of whiskey.
“Those losers have been terrorizing everyone for months. No one is going to say anything to anyone. Trust me.” He took a long drink from his beer before continuing, “I’ve been trying to do what I can, to help where I can, that’s why I was there tonight.”
I leaned back, studying his face, thinking. He didn’t look like the Gods, he had a rougher look, but it was kind of nice. His black hair was overgrown and brushed the tops of his shoulders. “You don’t look like a cop. Why are you out there trying to protect people?”
“Because no one else is.”
“Alright. Take care of it. Can you call me and let me know after?” I got it; I wanted to help, too.
Luke tipped his beer towards me and said, “I will.”
I left him my number and walked outside before teleporting home.
- Confessions and Stone - April 11, 2022
- Tears of the Sun - January 13, 2022
- Side Quest - November 24, 2021