Enchantments Contest Entry
Title: Visionless Fate
Word Count: 7,503
Fantasy Element or Creature: Medusa
Summary: Bella loathed her existence. She hated the monster that she had become and thought she couldn't be loved. Fate had other plans.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
I used to be Bella, but nobody seems to know that anymore. I used to be beautiful, but that's a far cry from what I am now. People used to talk to me, but now they don't even come near me. I used to have friends, but they are long gone.
Bella. It was an unusual name when I was born, hundreds of years ago. But then again, my parents weren't exactly normal. They were Ceto and Phorcys, gods of the sea, and I was their only mortal child. At least, I used to be mortal. I don't know why they named me Bella instead of something Greek, but Bella means beautiful in Latin, and beautiful I was.
I was a beautiful maiden, a priestess in Athena's temple, and I was happy. The other priestesses and I were responsible for making sure the temple was clean and welcoming visitors. We also spent our time worshiping Athena, the goddess of war, civilization, wisdom and strength. To this day, I still don't know what I did wrong, but I do know that the gods wanted to punish me.
It was late at night when I went to collect the latest offerings made to Athena. When I entered the temple, a feeling of unease came over me. I looked around, but didn't see anything.
I was almost done with the job when I came face to face with Poseidon, the god that rules the sea. I averted my eyes and asked if there was something I could do for him, but he didn't answer me. I stood rigid and was shocked when I felt his hands on my body. He didn't need to say what he wanted; his actions made it clear. There was nothing I could do, because what a god wants, a god gets, and he knew it.
I was left lying in the temple after he had taken advantage of my body, and I felt shame fill me. I didn't know why I had been treated the way I had been. Maybe it was because, like the meaning of my name, I was beautiful. My body was a part of a sacred place, but it didn't feel like that anymore. Poseidon took away the only thing necessary for a girl to become a priestess. Without my virginity, I lost my place in the temple.
And if you think that was the end of my sufferings, you'd better think again.
Athena heard what had happened in her temple, but didn't get all the facts. She came to me, filled with rage, and started screaming profanities. She accused me of seducing Poseidon and making love to him in her temple. I tried to tell her that I didn't make love to him, that he desecrated me against my will, but she wouldn't listen to my side of the story. She started cursing, calling me a whore, a seducer of the gods and many other vile names. She said she would punish me for what I did to her and Poseidon. She made sure that no man would ever look at me again, that people would stay away from me out of fear, and that the greatest warriors from all over the world would try to kill the monster I would become.
She transformed my beautiful locks of hair into serpents and made my face so hideous that a single glance at it would turn you into stone. I was banned from the temple and found a new home in a cave at the edge of the underworld, where only the bravest warriors dared to go. I looked forward to the day that I could die a normal death, but Athena wouldn't allow me even that. She cursed me, so that I didn't age and wouldn't die even if I tried to kill myself. Many warriors came to see me, but none of them ever made it out of my lair alive. They were no more than stone statues adorning my cave.
I wasn't beautiful anymore. I wasn't Bella. I was Medusa.
I was sitting inside my cave, playing the harp, when I heard someone enter behind me. I always tried to talk to my attackers to get them to leave, so that I didn't kill them. But they always thought they were different from the others, that they could be the one who would kill me and take my head back to Athena's temple as an offering. Not one had succeeded, and I was still alive.
"You'd better get out of here before you get killed," I said, while the snakes on top of my head hissed angrily.
"They told me you were a violent creature, Medusa, and that you killed men without giving them time to make a single sound. But still, I'm standing here talking to you. That must mean something, correct?" he asked me.
"My name is not Medusa!" I hissed as I stood up straight. "You shouldn't believe all the rumors that are spread. Just know that I didn't want to kill these men, and I don't want to kill you. So please, turn around and walk away from here. I'm begging you." I started walking away from him when he spoke up again.
"I'm not walking away without your head, Medusa. I will get eternal fame and will be welcomed home as a hero. I will be known as Tibitus, slayer of Medusa…" he trailed off.
"Please, just listen to me. Leave here now!" I started getting desperate and tried to change his mind. "I promise that if you don't leave now, you'll never see your family again. Your wife, your children, they'll all have to live on without you. You won't succeed; you'll turn into stone before you've even lifted your sword." I grew restless, and despair started to fill me. There was no way that I was going to change Tibitus's mind, and as he moved closer and closer to my body, the serpents on my head became angrier. I tried to suppress the fury that came over me, because I knew that when my anger hit me full force, there would be no stopping me. I wish I could just let the warriors who came to my cave kill me, but Athena was too smart for that. She made sure that I absorbed all of the serpents' emotions and that I felt their anger, their need for attack.
I could feel the exact moment when it all became too much, when the anger blinded my logical side. All I could think about was killing the man standing behind me. He had angered me, called me Medusa, and wanted to kill me. I knew he wouldn't have a chance.
"Are you certain you want to fight me, Tibitus?" I spat, while moving through the statues of the men that came before him.
"This won't even be a fight, Medusa," he said. "I'm going to ensure that no man ever gets hurt because of you again!" he screamed while running towards me.
One look was all it took. One second and it was over. I had turned my body toward him and one glance at my face was enough. The serpents hissed violently around my head as I saw his face contort with anguish. He tried to avert his eyes, but the damage had already been done. His feet and hands changed first, and then the stone continued up his legs, arms, torso and finished off with his face.
I fell to my knees when his transformation was complete. The snakes calmed down, and the anger left my body. I started sobbing when I looked at Tibitus and saw what I had done. He had been a beautiful man, and I knew that he would be missed by his family. I stood up and made my way over to where his statue stood between the others. I lifted my hand and traced the contours of his face. You could still see the way it was etched with the fear and surprise of seeing what my face actually looked like and was capable of doing. "May the gods take care of you, Tibitus," I whispered. "May you rest in peace."
It was raining, the thunder was loud, and I saw lightning crash all around me. It was times like this when I felt most like the monster I was. Alone with my thoughts, alone in this place, alone between the statues with nothing left to do. I felt just that—lonely.
It had been two months since Tibitus entered my home when I heard a rustling noise at the entrance of the cave. I heard footsteps come closer to where I was sitting, but it seemed like he was advancing slower than the other men who had been here. The serpents had noticed his presence as well and started hissing lightly. I started to feel their anger bubbling inside of me. When were they going to give up? When were they finally going to admit that nobody could kill me, that I was doomed to live this life forever? I was so sick and tired of killing these men. I just wanted to live my life, but as long as warriors came to my cave, I wouldn't be able to do that.
"Hello?" I heard a low voice ask. "Is anybody here?"
"Go away!" I yelled at him, my annoyance flaring. "Don't you know who I am? What I am capable of doing?" I didn't wait for a reply and kept on shouting. "I am Medusa, and I will kill you in an instant."
"No, you're not, and you won't," the voice spoke calmly.
"I am, and I will!" I spat out as I started to get irritated by this man's cool behavior. He was supposed to be afraid of me, so he would run away and stay alive. "A single look from me is enough to do the job!" I shouted. "You'll turn into a stone statue before you can even make a run for it. I can't be killed, so don't even try! Get out of here!" My breathing was coming in short gasps as I tried to control my anger. I clenched my fists and willed the serpents to stop hissing at the intruder. "Go, before it's too late!" I screamed in a last attempt to save this man's life.
"Bella?" he whispered softly. "Bella, come back to me."
I stopped breathing the moment his words broke through the anger that clouded my mind. "What did you say?" I whispered, barely audible. "How do you know my name?"
"I know the true story, Bella. I know the reason Athena banned you from her temple and transformed you," he said.
"No, you don't!" I sneered. "You'll be just like everyone else, telling me I seduced Poseidon with my beauty, that I tricked him into making love to me in Athena's temple and dishonoring the gods."
"You and I both know that's not the truth," he interrupted me. "You didn't seduce Poseidon and you certainly didn't make love to him!" he exclaimed. "The gods only hear what they want to hear, even if it's not the truth. They do whatever they choose and will use anything to get what they want" He sighed and took a deep breath before continuing. "They'll even use an innocent maiden…" he trailed off softly.
I blinked my eyes to keep the tears from falling and exhaled a shuttering breath. "Who are you?" I asked, trying to keep my voice from breaking, but failing miserably. "And how do you know?"
"My name is Edward, and my father told me your story. He was a priest who studied the behavior of the gods, and the myths surrounding them. He believed that not all the stories about the gods were true, and he decided to find out more about yours. Believe it or not, there was a witness the night Poseidon entered the temple and violated you. My dad found a relative of that witness, and she told him the truth!" Edward hesitated before continuing. "I believe you, Bella," he said softly.
I couldn't grasp what I was hearing. This man came over here to tell me that he believed me, that he knew what had really happened to me hundreds of years ago, and he dared to approach me.
"I believe you," he repeated when I still hadn't uttered a single word. I heard his feet begin to move, and I yelled out to stop him from walking toward me.
"I'm glad you believe me," I started. "But that doesn't change anything. I'm still a monster, and I can still kill you! I won't ever be normal again," I said, feeling defeated.
"You can't kill me," Edward told me.
"That's what they all said!" I snapped. "And look what happened to them. They all turned into stone! Look around you," I went on. "Don't you see?"
"You can't kill me!" he emphasized.
I felt the anger start to build again. "Don't tell me what I can or can't do! You have no idea what you're talking about!" I screamed. "I'm not Bella, not anymore. She was just a naïve little girl who didn't know the world. She's not here anymore, but I am. I am only Medusa, the monster!" I was breathing heavily, and fury took over my body.
"Listen to me, Bella!" Edward roared as he came closer. "Listen to me! You can't kill me! I haven't told you any lies, have I, Bella? I believe your story. I know the truth."
"Stop calling me 'Bella'! She would never do the things I've done, she would never kill innocent men, and she certainly wouldn't kill you!" I shouted as the sound of hissing snakes grew louder.
"You won't kill me, Bella. You won't be able to."
I couldn't take it anymore. He was just like all the other reckless men who dared to enter my cave.
"Face me, Bella, and you'll see for yourself."
And that's what I did. I turned around and faced him. I closed my eyes so I wouldn't have to see more destruction while I waited for the transformation to end. I fell to my knees as the tears started to fall, and a feeling of total loss filled me. I had just killed the one person that truly believed me.
"Bella?" I heard him whisper once the serpents in my hair calmed down.
I opened my eyes in shock and looked up at the beautiful man standing in front of me, alive. "Edward?" I whimpered. "How… How is this possible? You're alive! You're… you're still breathing!" I stammered. "This isn't possible," I muttered to myself.
"I told you, didn't I?" Edward chuckled lightly.
"I…I don't know how this is even possible! I must be dreaming."
"It most certainly is possible, Bella. I'm still standing here, alive and breathing," he assured me.
"I don't understand…" I trailed off.
"Look at me—really look at me. What is the difference between me and all of the other men who have come to you?" Edward asked me.
"You're not dressed like the others," I began. "You're not carrying any weapons."
"Try harder, Bella. Look closer," he urged me.
He was tall, had broad shoulders and was muscular. He had long, elegant fingers that were holding a small bag. His neck was long, and his face was absolutely beautiful. He had a strong, sharp jaw and messy brown hair. His eyes were a dark green and were surrounded by long eyelashes, but they were cloudy, like there was a white film that covered them.
"I don't..." I started to say after a few moments of silence, but Edward interrupted me.
"I'm blind. I can't see," he said looking straight at me, but not really seeing me.
"But why didn't you turn into stone?" I asked him, confused.
"Athena's curse isn't as airtight as she thought. She cursed you so that everyone who even took a single glance at your face would be turned into stone. But I can't look at your face, so the curse doesn't work on me," he explained.
"I can't believe I never thought of this before. I have been thinking about my options for so long, but it always seemed like there weren't any means of escape," I said. "But I'm still immortal, aren't I?"
"Yes." Edward sighed, taking a step closer to me. "You're still immortal. I don't think there is a way to change that."
The despair I felt over this news couldn't take away the happiness I felt over the revelation that had been made.
I now had a solution to keep me from killing the warriors that came after me. I needed to make sure that I wasn't seen, but I didn't know how I could accomplish such a thing. If I stayed here, they would find me and there was no way I could keep them from seeing my face when they entered the cave. I could wander about, but where would I go? Was there any place in the world where no one would be able to see me?
"I have to leave," I announced. "I have to go before anyone else comes here and sees me."
"But where will you go?" Edward asked me.
"I don't know, but I have to try," I said and looked him straight in the eye. "I can't live here anymore with the knowledge that I can prevent all these deaths."
I grabbed some of my things and put them in a small bag. I didn't have many belongings, but there were some that I couldn't stand to leave behind. I took some dresses, an extra pair of sandals, my flute and a necklace that my parents gave me the day I became a priestess in Athena's temple. I took a scarf and wrapped it around the serpents, so they wouldn't be seen. I threw on my cloak and put the small bag over my shoulder.
"It was nice to meet you, Edward," I told him. "You gave me hope and a way out of the darkness that started to consume me. I will be eternally grateful to you and your father. Thank you."
I walked passed him, but was stopped when Edward grabbed my arm. "Wait. I'm coming with you."
"No, Edward," I objected. "You can't come with me. What about your father and the rest of your family? They'll be worried about you. We won't be able to go into villages. We won't see anyone. We'll have to sleep on the ground, with no blankets, nothing to keep us warm." I sighed and placed my hands on his face. "Go home, Edward," I whispered. "You're too good of a person to wander the world with someone like me." I dropped my hands and walked to the opening of the cave before his voice stopped me.
"My father is dead," Edward said. "He got sick last year and didn't make it. He was the only family I had left." He turned and slowly made his way over to where I was standing. "You'll need me. I can go into town. I can get food, blankets, clothes, and even a place to sleep. You won't have to do this on your own, Bella. I'm here, and I want to come with you."
It was true that Edward could be helpful, and I had been so lonely before. He was the only person who didn't see me as a killer, and I was going to miss his company. I didn't even know him twenty-four hours ago, but I couldn't see myself being apart from him. "Where do you suggest we go?" I asked after several minutes of silence.
A smile graced Edward's lips. "We have to stay in the woods. The chances that someone will see your face are minimal that way."
"Okay, let's go. We haven't got much time before it gets too dark."
"Um, Bella?" Edward began. "You might have to guide me just a little bit, since I don't know where we're going. I can follow the noise you make, but I can't see the trees or rocks…" he trailed off.
I walked back over to where Edward was standing and laced my fingers with his. "Is this okay?" I asked him uncertainly.
"This is perfect, thank you," he answered as we took our first steps away from my former existence.
We have been wandering around for some weeks now. Edward managed to get us blankets, some extra clothes, and other necessities that I didn't have. We hadn't come across any people, but when we heard some, we hid. I made sure my face was covered with my cloak and buried it in Edward's chest. It had been weeks since I killed anyone, and I felt lighter, like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Edward and I got along well. We didn't have anything left to live for, and that made us perfect companions. We were both frowned upon by society. Me, because I am a monster, and Edward, because of his blindness. It was said that blindness was a punishment from the gods-one must have done something wrong to deserve it. But I didn't believe those stories anymore. Anyone who knew Edward would know that he would never hurt another human being.
"Were you happy, before you got cursed?" Edward asked me one night when we were sitting next to the fire.
"I don't know," I said as I pulled my blanket closer around my body. "I guess I was, but I didn't know any better. My parents were gods, and I was their only mortal child. I never thought about doing anything other than becoming a priestess. It was an honor to be selected to serve Athena and I was grateful that I got that chance." I looked over at Edward before continuing. He was sitting next to me, eyes closed, soaking up the warmth emitted by the fire.
"The other girls were great; we had a lot of fun. It was hard work, being a priestess, but it was worth it… or so I thought."
"And now?" Edward asked.
"I was miserable before you came into my life. Every day was a struggle. I loathed myself and what I had become. I was angry at the gods for doing nothing to stop Athena. I even cursed my parents for the beauty they gave me." I turned my body toward Edward's and gently took his hands in mine. Edward opened his eyes and started rubbing circles into my palms. "I thinks it's fate that you came to me," I said, softly. "I believe there is a god up there who took pity on me and sent you to me."
"I know I was destined to meet you," Edward spoke up. "From the moment my dad came home and told me your story, I knew I had to find you. I wanted to let you know that there was at least one person on this earth that believed you and knew your true story."
"I'm glad you did," I said with a smile. "I'm happier now than I've been in a very long time."
We sat in silence for a while, enjoying the quiet, hearing the fire crack and sizzle.
"Can I see you?" Edward suddenly blurted out.
"See me?" I asked, confused. "I thought you were blind? How would you be able to see me?"
"Just sit still and close your eyes. Nothing bad will happen. Trust me, Bella," he assured me.
I closed my eyes and waited patiently. His thumbs stopped rubbing my palms and trailed from my hands up to my arms. His fingertips were as light as feathers as they made their way to my shoulders.
"You have the softest skin." He sighed softly.
I exhaled a shuddering breath as he trailed one finger over my collarbone before softly stroking my neck. He continued his ministrations on my face. He gently touched my cheeks and forehead before caressing my closed eyes and nose. My breath was labored by the time he reached my lips, and my stomach was doing somersaults. A shiver ran up my spine when he softly rubbed my lips.
It seemed like hours had passed as we sat there, my hands in my lap and his fingers exploring my face. "You're beautiful," he finally said, his fingers still lightly grazing my skin.
I opened my eyes and looked at him incredulously, but closed them as soon as his fingers brushed over them. "You can't mean that," I said, sadly. "Athena took away my beauty as part of my curse."
"You're beautiful," Edward repeated. "Your skin feels as soft as velvet, you nose is small and your lips are full. You care so much about other peoples' lives that you would run away in order to keep them safe. That's what makes you the most beautiful person in the world," he emphasized.
A lone tear rolled down my cheek as I listened to him. Edward quickly brushed it away when it reached his hand that cradled my face and pressed his forehead against mine.
"You're so beautiful," he said again, his sweet breath fanning my face, before softly brushing his lips against mine. He hesitated before pressing them to mine again and again. I broke out of my frozen state as his lips started moving softly. I lifted my hands and slid them into his hair. Our lips stayed locked together as Edward lifted me into his lap. I whimpered when I felt his tongue slide between my lips, and I opened them slightly. I moaned as our tongues started to battle for dominance and pulled at Edward's hair to bring him closer to me. Edward groaned in response and pressed me further into his lap. I felt his hardness and couldn't stop myself from moving my hips. I felt Edward move his hands from my face to the sides of my body, as he started to place soft kisses along my throat and suck at my collarbone. I gripped his hair harder and kept moving my hips. Edward caught my lips in another searing kiss and palmed one of my breasts. I felt my nipple pucker and couldn't stifle the moan that escaped my throat. I needed more: I needed his hands on me, and I needed him to make me feel good. Edward seemed to know exactly what I was thinking, because he started to massage my breast with one hand and guided my hips along his length with the other. We were pulling and pushing, giving and taking, and we couldn't get enough. Edward's moans became louder, and his hips moved more forcefully.
"Edward…" I whimpered. "Please."
"What is it, Bella?" he whispered in my ear. "What do you need?"
I couldn't bring myself to answer his question, as the tightening in my abdomen reached its peak; my body took over, and I screamed in pleasure. I felt Edward make a few more thrusts before he stiffened and muttered incomprehensibly into the dip between my neck and shoulder.
He let himself fall on his back and pulled me with him. I laid my head on his chest and ran my hands over his arms while I listened to his heart beating wildly. Edward was rubbing soft circles into my back when he spoke up. "I wish I could have seen your face when you came." I lifted my head to look at him and couldn't help but feel sad about his revelation.
"Didn't you enjoy it?" I asked softly.
"Bella, no! Don't think I didn't enjoy myself. On the contrary, I loved it. It felt amazing," he assured me. "I only think that you must have looked so beautiful, and I wish I could have seen it."
I sighed deeply and dropped my head to his chest again. "I wish that, too," I whispered softly before drifting off to sleep.
I felt like justice was finally being served, like the gods were finally righting their wrongs. By sending Edward to me, I couldn't help but feel like someone was trying to undo what had happened to me. I was happy, and that was all because of the man currently lying next to me with his arms wrapped tightly around my waist.
It had been six months since Edward found me. We shared our burdens, and we were happy. It had been a long time since either of us had felt joy, and we reveled in it. But as I lay there, next to a sleeping Edward, I couldn't help but think about the future. I was still immortal, and Edward grew older with each breath he took. He would die, and I didn't know how I would survive without him by my side.
I felt Edward tighten his arms around me and kiss my neck. I turned around to face him and pulled him closer so I could kiss him. "Mmm, good morning," Edward said sleepily, while placing soft kisses on my lips, cheeks, nose and eyes.
"Good morning to you, too," I replied, smiling. "How did you sleep?"
"Amazing," he answered. "But then again, why wouldn't I sleep amazingly with you wrapped in my arms?"
"Oh, aren't you being sentimental this morning," I laughed, before being pulled into another searing kiss. I sighed happily when he finally released my lips.
"Hmm," Edward hummed. "But you like it."
"That I do." I sighed.
I was throwing the blankets away from our bodies when I heard the sound of horses approaching.
"Quick, put your cloak around your head and hide," Edward urged. "I'll try to get them to leave as quickly as possible, just stay hidden and don't show yourself!"
I grabbed my cloak and ran toward the bushes that stood a few feet away. I could hide among them and still see everything. Only seconds after I had hid myself, the horses stopped and ten Greek soldiers circled Edward.
"What's your name?" one of them asked.
"Edward, sir," he replied. "May I ask who you are and why you are here?"
"My name is Creon," the leader of the group said. "I've been ordered by the emperor of Greece to find Medusa and bring back her head."
My breath got stuck in my throat, and I prayed Edward could get them to leave. I hadn't even known there were warriors looking for me, and I grew even more concerned when I saw all the weapons they were carrying with them.
"Have you heard anything about her whereabouts, or maybe even seen her?" Creon proceeded to ask.
"I haven't heard a thing, sir," Edward lied. "And I most certainly haven't seen her. I would be a statue if I had."
Creon didn't acknowledge that he heard Edward and walked around the fire that was still burning. "Who are you traveling with, Edward?"
"No one," he answered while starting to look nervous. "I'm traveling by myself, enjoying the quiet that traveling alone brings me."
"Hmm," Creon hummed. "I have to say that I am impressed by your traveling skills, Edward," he said while walking over to our bag of belongings. I noticed two soldiers shuffling closer to Edward's back. "How you managed to make this fire all by yourself and not get lost in these woods while being blind certainly is a great accomplishment." He paused and picked up the bag. "You are blind, aren't you?"
"Yes," Edward gritted out between his teeth.
"Well, well, well," Creon said darkly as he went through our belongings. "Look what I found here!" He nodded at the two men closest to Edward, and I could do nothing but watch as one of them roughly pushed him onto his knees and tied his hands behind his back, while the other pulled Edward's head back and pushed a knife against his throat. I felt the tears pool in my eyes. I had to do something, but I couldn't let myself be seen. Edward would be dead before the first of them was turned into stone. So I held my breath and anxiously waited for Creon to continue.
"I think we have a liar among us," Creon continued menacingly. I was shocked when I saw what he was holding between his fingers-it was the necklace my parents had given me. "She's here," he said while looking around for any sign of me. "Find her!" he yelled, and I shrank deeper into the bushes.
"Tell me where she is!" Creon demanded of Edward as the blade of the sword was pressed harder into his neck.
"I don't know!" Edward cried out. "I swear I don't know. And even if she was here, I couldn't tell you where she went. I'm blind!"
They kept arguing back and forth for half an hour as the men searched for me, but they still hadn't found me.
"Well," Creon sighed. "If we can't get you to tell us where she is, we'll just use you as bait. You must mean something to her, seeing as you're still alive." He turned away from Edward and looked around with an evil glint in his eye before shouting out, "Medusa! I know you're here!"
I didn't know what he was planning and feared the worst. I tried to sit as still as possible and just hoped they would give up and leave.
"Medusa! Get over here!" Creon yelled while the soldiers were all frantically turning their heads searching for any kind of movement. I kept myself hidden among the bushes, but I knew Creon was losing his patience. He stayed quiet but kept walking in circles, watching every leaf that moved. I saw him take a deep breath and address his men. "Kill the man!" he ordered.
"NO!" I screamed as I saw the soldier that was holding the sword against Edward's neck quickly stab him in the stomach. I watched in horror as Edward's eyes widened in surprise, and he tumbled backwards. He groaned in pain and clutched his hands to his stomach, pressing down hard to stop the bleeding.
Creon grinned evilly as he had gotten exactly what he wanted; I had given away my hiding spot. The soldiers came running over to where I sat while I pulled my coat firmly around my head. My breathing was labored, and I felt anger surge through my body as I heard Edward cry out in pain. I didn't fight the hands that roughly grabbed me and pulled me to the fire. With my coat wrapped tightly around my head, I listened to the shuffling of feet, the soft murmuring of the soldiers, the crackling of the fire and the moans of pain emitted by Edward.
"Well, Medusa," Creon sneered. "Why aren't you showing us your face? I heard you were such a beautiful maiden, why wouldn't you want to show us your pretty face?" he asked darkly.
Before the words even left his mouth, I was pulled up, and the coat was ripped away from my head. The serpents were hissing furiously as the soldiers who stood facing me immediately turned into stone. I felt the warrior that was holding me from behind drop his hands and step away from me.
"How the hell did you do that?" he yelled.
The anger was coursing through my body, and I was having trouble keeping it under control when a soft moan grabbed my attention. Edward was curled into himself, shaking.
"Edward," I whispered as I ran over to where he was lying. He was almost within my reach when two arms pulled me back. "No!" I screamed. "Let go of me!" I grabbed at the hands around my waist and tried to break free. The angry haze back in full force. My hatred toward these men for hurting Edward allowed the rage to flow fully through me. They hurt him, and I wouldn't let them get away with it.
I managed to pull myself out of my attacker's grasp and turn around before he got the chance to grab me again. He was turned into stone immediately. I walked past his statue and turned towards the rest of them. There were still three left. "Close your eyes!" one of them yelled. "Don't look at her face!" But it was too late. He was the only soldier left breathing.
"You won't be able to trick me, Medusa!" he yelled, his hand clutching his sword. "I will cut off your head with my eyes closed!" I slowly made my way over to where he was standing. I made sure to not make a single sound, so he wouldn't know where I was. "You can kill everyone else, but not me! I'm too smart for you!"
"Are you now?" I said suddenly while standing right in front of his face. He opened his eyes in surprise, having no clue I was that close. He immediately transformed.
I was breathing hard and turned around to see the damage I had done. Ten stone statues stood spread out around the fire that was still burning. The wind was blowing, and leaves were falling to the ground. For the second time, Edward's soft moan of pain pulled me out off my transfixed stance. I ran over and dropped to my knees, taking his head between my hands. His face was white, and drops of sweat trailed over his forehead.
"Edward…" I choked out, my voice breaking from emotion. The tears came back full force as I saw the state he was in.
"Bella?" he whispered.
"Shh, Edward, try not to speak. I'm going to get you out of here and to a doctor. Everything will be all right." I said to him, frantically looking for a way to move him.
"Bella," he whispered again. "Love, it's alright."
"No, it's not!" I sobbed. "You're hurt and I need to get you some help. I can't leave you here and let you die!"
"It's too late. You've done everything you could, my love," he choked out, curling deeper into himself. I pressed my hands against his, trying to stop the bleeding, as Edward didn't have the strength to press down anymore.
"Please, Edward, please don't say things like that. You can't leave me. I just found you. It was fate! You said so yourself. Don't you remember?" I continued. "It's our destiny―we belong together. This is all my fault." I whimpered.
"No!" Edward yelled. "No, Bella, no! This is not your fault. Promise me you won't blame yourself."
When I just kept quiet with silent tears falling, Edward gently took one of my hands and brought it to his lips, placing soft kisses all over it. I couldn't speak, my breathing came in short gasps, and my entire body was shaking with sobs.
"Bella, I'm so cold," he said.
I lifted his torso and wrapped my arms around him, rocking both of us. He was trembling, and his breathing was ragged. Edward's head lay in the crook of my neck, and I felt wetness gather there.
"I wish I could take it all away. I wish this never happened. Tell me I'm dreaming. Tell me this never happened," I spoke after a moment of silence. Edward opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out.
"Shush, don't try to talk," I interrupted him.
"No," he croaked. "I have to tell you one more thing before I go." He reached up and wiped the tears from my face. "I love you, Bella, and I feel blessed to have met you. You brought joy into my life, even if it was only for a short amount of time." He smiled at me. "I love you."
"I love you too," I said, and brought my lips to his. Our lips fused together and caressed each other lovingly. I sighed and opened up my mouth to his. Our tongues were slowly stroking each other, exploring the other's mouth. Edward cradled my face as I brushed my fingers through his hair. We continued kissing like no one else existed. We were in our own personal bubble, far away from reality, and I couldn't bring myself to break away from it. I wasn't ready to deal with the real world, with pain, loss or overwhelming grief. But we had to come up for air; we had to let the bubble burst.
Edward kept wiping away my tears as I rested my forehead against his. "Don't be sad," he said softly, his own voice breaking. I didn't think Edward had much time left. His body was shaking, his lips had turned blue and I felt the spirit leave his body.
"I love you, Bella. And I always will."
Those were the last words he said to me before he closed his eyes and breathed his last breath. If I felt pain before, it was nothing compared to what I was feeling now. It felt like my heart was violently ripped out of my chest and left a black hole that could never be filled. My head was pounding, tears were streaming down my face, and I couldn't breathe. I clutched Edward closer to my body and rocked us back and forth while I succumbed to the darkness.
Months could have passed without me moving. Someone was screaming, begging the gods to bring back her love or take away her life. She was filled with grief and couldn't take the pain. She kept kissing her love and clutching him to her, not tolerating any distance between their bodies, trying to warm him again. I don't know how long it took me to figure out that that someone was me. But it didn't relieve my pain.
I was pulled out of my trance when I saw a cloaked figure slowly make its way over to me. It was too late to hide my face, but still the person hadn't turned into stone. "Don't worry, Bella," a female voice rang out. "I'm not here to harm you."
I didn't speak. The woman came to a stop before me and removed her hood. She had long, brown, curly hair that went past her shoulders. She wore a white tunic, made out of the most expensive materials, and she wore golden jewelry which only added to my suspicion that a goddess was standing in front of me.
"My name is Aphrodite, goddess of love," she said. "And I've been keeping a close eye on you for the past year, Bella. The love you two had for each other was one that's rarely been seen. It was love in its purest form. It wasn't a love out of convenience. You found one another, just as Fate predicted. And your love won't stop here. I won't let it go to waste just because you have been mistreated by Poseidon and Athena. I will set things straight. The gods can't keep taking advantage of innocent people."
She knelt down beside me and took one of my hands, placing it over Edward's heart, with hers on top. She mumbled softly to herself. Tingles were slowly making their way from my hand through my arm to the rest of my body. Soon, my entire body felt alive. I felt an enormous energy coursing through my veins, pushing the evil out of my body. I closed my eyes and reveled in the feeling. I didn't feel any pain.
Suddenly the energy was gone. I opened my eyes, but Aphrodite was nowhere to be seen. I looked down and couldn't believe what I saw. Edward was breathing, and his heart was steadily beating underneath my hand. What shocked me even more was the color of his eyes. They were vibrant green and they were looking straight into mine. No, they weren't looking―they were seeing.
"Bella." Edward breathed. "You're so beautiful." I couldn't contain the smile that spread over my face. Edward was alive, and he could see. He reached forward and took a lock of my hair between his fingers, tucking it behind my ear. I gasped in shock. The serpents were gone. Edward hadn't turned into a statue, and I was beautiful again.
Edward didn't waste any time and brought my lips to his. My curse was broken, and Edward was alive again. My heart had found its way back.
I know it's a cliché to say we lived happily ever after, but that's exactly what we did. We went to Edward's home, where he continued his father's work while I stayed at home and took care of our three children.
My story has been told for centuries and will continue being told. But I wanted to set things straight and let you know the real story. I wanted the world to know my story, not Medusa's, because that's not who I am. I am Bella, and that's how I will be remembered.