It had gone, Perseus thought as he washed the glowing green blood of Medusa from his bronze blade in the sea, easier than expected.
Shouting challenges, he'd walked naked but for his sandals, sword and shield through the small forest of skulls on stakes that surrounded her house, a bizarre affair on legs, which glittered in the Mediterranean sunset.
Mouthless, she'd limped out to meet him; arms spread wide, fingers clawed, and a lot bigger and taller than he'd been led to believe. It had taken every ounce of self-control that the son of Danaë had to keep from tossing his sword aside after he'd dropped his shield in panic and fleeing back to the warship that brought him to Medusa's lonely home.
Shieldless, Perseus advanced, the two of them circling and panting until she clawed him.
He'd slashed back, bronze blade rebounding against her mottled green hide until a stroke finally landed, sending her toppling facedown to the sand.
Hacking off her head and grabbing it by the clammy gold-ringed serpents that were her hair was disgusting. Also, she'd been wearing a mask, which fell off as he raised the head in triumph for the watching sailors, revealing a mouth like a crab's: complete with mandibles but with teeth like a shark's!
Perseus kicked the mask aside; it wasn't very big, merely covering the lower part of her face. What good was a mask if it didn't cover your entire face?
The grandson of the King of Argos then spat upon the headless carcass, and with his dripping gift to Polydectes, king of Cos flung over one shoulder by its serpentine tresses, swaggered towards the warship, only to pause, turn, and stare as Medusa's headless body convulsed, knocking over several staked skulls with a bony clatter, torso rising and falling with a ripping sound.
Perseus dropped his oozing trophy, drawing his sword while Medusa's body continued its bizarre back dance until another head, a tiny fanged one, ripped out of her belly in an explosion of glowing green, followed by a tightly coiled body with a tail.
He stumbled backwards, sword forgotten, trophy still gripped by its hair, landing on his ass, scrambling, stumbling through the forest of skulls, knocking them over in waves as the full moon rose.
The bloodstained child of Medusa gave out a squalling sound, tail uncoiling.
Unable to look away, Perseus scrambled further backwards – until he backed into a boulder and screamed before clutching it, edging around so that he was behind its rough but reassuring, bulk.
Medusa's brat's head swiveled, tail lashing.
Perseus's fingers dug into his trophy's clammy scalp, whatever it was had seen him. With a yell, he threw the head at its offspring.
Medusa's head toppled it. Picking itself up, the thing gave out another bubbling, hissing cry and shot off into the twilight, a green, glowing streak of motion.
Perseus sat, back against the grit of the boulder, breathing hard. Finally he wiped the sweat from his eyes and stumbling over skulls and stakes in the dark, retrieved his prize from beside the burst open carcass of its former owner.
Later if asked, Perseus, now the king Mycenae, would say that many years ago he once witnessed the birth of a winged horse and a hero with a sword on a distant shore… which is as good an answer as any.