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MFC: "A Sorceress Spurned"

MFC: "A Sorceress Spurned"

By Miss Marm

nesgurl90's excellent story reminds me of The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. That's high praise, nesgurl!

A Sorceress Spurned

Honey honey, the bees sing to me. One by one, they land on my cheek as I rock back and forth in my chemise hammock.  The softness of their legs and fluttering of their wings wakes me from my reverie. I move my hand and slowly crush the bees between my fingers.

They are not who I wanted to wake up to.

I let my hand fall to the ground and the breeze whisks their dead bodies into the pool of wine beside me. I want the bees to float over the white sand into the sea and follow his boat onto the horizons, so that when he looks into the choppy waters, he might stop and think of what he did to me.

Pah! Odysseus knows full well what he did to me. I gave that man a choice and he rejected me-the sentimental fool.

I hear a squeal and snort behind me. I look over my shoulder to see two of my potbellies sniffing the gardenias and jasmine flowers lining the cave walls. I get up to wave them away. They love destroying my beautiful work no matter how much I yell. I swear they are determined to taunt my only pleasurable past time.

Normally, I would have drowned the exasperating creatures, but I have learned to control my temperament somewhat. I would never change myself for any one, especially not a man, but Odysseus had been different. I learned carefully what pleased his soul, made his mind wander or heart beat faster. I also learned he did not share my amusement in turning men into swine.

The pigs squeal again and trot to the mouth of the cave. The sky is dark and I feel the blue rush over my tired body. The clouds opens and a sheet of rain begins to fall. A show is beginning,a grand performance of lightning, thunder and howling wind. My pitiful companions watch in adoration as I sit down on a plush chair behind them and began eating from a vine of white grapes.

How silly of me to sit here pining away when I am safe on this island and he is out battling the wayward ocean storm at the mercy of Poseidon.

Why did I promise Odysseus a safe return? I could have lied when I advised him on taking the most cautious path home for spite, but what good would my deals be if no one trusted me? I would never receive any more visitors of mortal or godly status and become even more hated, even though I don’t wish to be around another soul as long as I live-which is unfortunately a damned eternity.

Well look where that goodness got me. Now I am alone in my home, which is nothing but a hollow land of enchantments, trinkets and memories of our time together. I still wear the necklace of shells and pearls he strung together for me in a drunken stupor one night. I bubbled with glee in thinking that he was finally giving up what he had-his past, his home, his wife and son.

But I was stupid to think Odysseus would forget everything. When he overpowered my spells, I should have known he’d bring me trouble. For once, I had met my match, a feeling most unnerving and enthralling. I realized I would not have to pursue him the way I had imagined, not like with his dimwitted seamen and those who came before them.

Thunder crackles through the darkness awakening the same raw anger inside me so fast my back stiffens. How could I have lost to ghost of an old wife? Was I not flesh and blood beating, bursting right in front of his eyes? We shared embraces that were far from boredom or desperation. Didn’t I show him how I would care for him in every way yet never nag or bore him? The nerve of that man to grow tired of my companionship!

If only I had laced him with more sweet affection and crafted a stronger, more perfect love. But after Odysseus, I feel my identity as a sorceress weaken. All my jars and bottles have been sitting uselessly, cast aside in dusty chests. Somewhere along the way, I became a simple woman and came to the infuriating realization that he couldn’t be captured like an element or herb in one of my potions. I can only imagine how lesser, homely women react in his presence. Hopefully, I haven’t debased myself too greatly.

No, there wasn’t a single thing I did wrong but even so, my island and I will soon be but a waypoint on his journey. I will be a tale Odysseus will spin into a dangerous encounter with a sly, bewitching woman on a lonely island and they will laugh and sigh, then retreat to their chambers after a lavish feast on golden platters.

I set down my half-eaten vine with a sudden desire to walk out into the rain. The pigs grunt and roll over on their sides as I move past them. Raising my hands up and closing my eyes, I relish the droplets of sustenance that is falling on our skin at the same time-me on dry land, he on the sea.

Perhaps Odysseus is thinking of me now, wishing he had abandoned his fruitless quest. Perhaps he is holding back the impulse to stop and order his crew to turn the ship around. I hope the cold wind bites his watery soul and make him yearn for my arms.

It isn’t worth risking your life to glory, but they never learn.

I feel a light kick inside and touch my stomach gently under my soaked gown. I turn back into the cave to dry off, knowing even if he wanted to, he wouldn't come back.

Based on "Honey Honey," by Feist

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Topics: musical fiction contest

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