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Saving Andromeda

What in the– close that blind back up right now! Well, I don’t care what time it is, I’ve slain the Gorgon Medusa so I can sleep as late as I want! You’re lucky I haven’t had anyone to talk to in the last week or I’d kick you out right this minute. Fine, you want your story that bad? Here you go then.

 

Having slain the Gorgon Medusa, I rode the winged Pegasus in search of my homeland and my mother. I had been gone so long that I couldn’t remember exactly how to get back and found myself roaming for weeks. I periodically came upon humans, but when I tried to approach they spoke a strange and confusing language. I was able to trade the winged slippers of Hermes for a large sum of gold, and with that purchased food and water to sustain me on my journey.

 

It had been a week since my last interaction with humans. Just as all began to feel helpless, I saw one day in the distance a speck of white next to a large body of water. As I got closer, I began to see more clearly the image of a beautiful woman. She lay almost entirely still, sprawled on her back across a rock in a plain white dress. I directed Pegasus to land a short distance away and dismounted quickly.

 

“Are you in distress?” I called out to her. As I walked up, it became clear to me that her arms and legs were bound to the rock, preventing her from moving or escaping.


 

“Yes,” she replied, “but you cannot help me. You must try to escape while you can!”

 

“Please, wait,” I pled. “Who are you? How did you get here?”

 

“My name is Andromeda, and I’ve been pinned here for weeks. Many have tried to save me and many have failed – you will be no different. Now run, before it returns!”

 

I was taken aback by this response, unsure what ‘it’ could be. Before I could respond, I felt a slight tremble in the earth beneath me. Suddenly, the water next to the rock began to foam and rush, as if some unstoppable force was pushing its way upward.

 

“You must go!” Andromeda yelled. “You can’t save me, but you must save yourself!”

 

I turned and ran, pulling Pegasus behind a boulder with me. We looked around the corner, shaking in anticipation and in terror as the anger of whatever beast this was caused the very earth to shake. Suddenly, from the ocean burst the head of some sort of snake-like monster. Its head was the size of Pegasus, and its neck reached over fifty feet out of the water. Before I had time to truly understand what I faced, I was shocked to see another, similar beast, appear next to the first. Quicker than I could blink, another three appeared, until there were five of the beasts, leering at Andromeda.

 

Now if you’ve learned anything of me thus far, I hope it’s that I’m not one to back down from a challenge. Rather than run, I hopped onto the back of Pegasus and made to defeat these beasts. Ignoring the screams of Andromeda, Pegasus and I charged forward, armed with the sickle of Cronus. The furthest away of the creatures saw us, but I was sure it was too far to reach us before we slew the first of them. To my surprise, as we neared, the other four beasts turned their heads, as if directed by a single mind. Pegasus reared away, and we were able to narrowly escape those reaching fangs. We pulled back to the land, hoping to take stock of the situation.

 

As I watched the serpents sway and lurch in the ocean, I realized that Andromeda was yelling something at me. I returned my attention to her, but struggled to make out her voice over the hissing of the beasts.

 

“They’re one? They’re one what?” I called back to her, confused.

 

“They’re all one! They’re all ONE!!!” she screamed, just as all five heads suddenly lurched towards me.

 

It was then that I understood what she was saying, as each of the monsters rose further out of the water, until the single body they were all connected to emerged. I knew finally what I faced – I had heard many horrible stories of the mythical hydra, but knew of no one that had ever actually seen one. Had I been standing alone, I’d likely have been killed then and there while I gaped in shock. Luckily, Pegasus had the presence of mind to move before we became hydra food.

 

As we fled, I lashed out randomly with the sickle and was shocked when I felt it hit something and then continue through. I turned to look over my shoulder, and felt a shot of elation as I watched one of the five heads fall free to the ground. Maybe I had a chance after all. The other heads pulled back, and the headless neck began to writhe in apparent pain. Then before my eyes the neck sprouted two new heads, with four eyes that stared at me hungrily. That day was not my day.

 

Realizing I had but one chance left, I directed Pegasus back towards the ground and grasped the magical bag containing Medusa’s head. Closing my eyes as tightly as I could, I pulled the head out by the hair and thrust it forward, as the screams of six snake heads assaulted my ears. Then, suddenly, all was quiet.

 

I slowly opened my eyes to the sight of six heads staring at me. Each stood still, encased forever in stone. To this day, that stone hydra still stands by the side of the lake, a memento of my journey.

 

After that, I raced over to Andromeda to check that all was well. She appeared okay, though clearly shaken. After I had freed her, we both jumped astride Pegasus and continued our journey. Over the following weeks Andromeda and I became quite close, if you know what I-

 

Oh, now who’s coming in unannounced this time? Oh, honey, it’s you! Why young traveler, this here is my wife Andromeda, the most righteous woman you will ever meet and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Now I think it’s time for you to be on your way - she’s been off visiting her sister in who-knows-where, which means I’m about to be scolded for being an inattentive husband who doesn’t do enough to provide for her. Go on, shoo! This isn’t going to be pretty.


Author's Note: This is the story that I veered most from the original. I knew the setup for the story but really didn't use any references from there to make it what I wanted it to be. The hydra is one of my favorite mythological creatures - I've always been fascinated by the idea of one walking around with 100 heads from all the battles it's been in. I used to play Age of Mythology frequently and would see how many heads I could get on my hydra before it got killed. I also thought this offered a great opportunity to add a little suspense and misdirection to the story by having the six monsters suddenly become one monster. I didn't think of the idea until I was doing the Pinterest extra credit assignment, but I saw so many cool drawings of hydra that I realized I really wanted to include one in my story. I think I probably closed the story down a bit abruptly, but that's because it's already 1100 words long...whoops. I think this was my favorite to write of the three though, so please let me know what I change or adjust so that it's as good as possible!


Bibliography:

"Perseus.Greek Mythology. Web.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "Perseus and Medusa Summary.Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 

"MEDUSA & the GORGONS : Serpent-Haired Monsters | Greek Mythology, W/ Pictures, Medousa, Gorgones." Theoi Greek Mythology.

"Perseus.Greek Mythology Hero.