This is my submission to the Write On Edge Week 11 writing challenge. The idea is to write a piece of fiction in 500 words, based on the picture prompt, the given quote, or both f you’re so inclined. This week the quote was:
I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.
The picture prompt:
Image courtesy of Unsplash.
I have taken inspiration from the picture. Here are my 490 words 🙂
DON’T MESS WITH THE SIRENS
She had watched him from afar, noon and night, ever since he had pitched his tent on the island. Often he had caught her eye with a knowing smile, and every time she had lowered her adoring gaze until he turned away. Parthenope, the sea siren, was infatuated with Ulysses, and he knew it. The handsome hero loved all the attention, but never would he fall prey to her charm. The great Ulysses and a low down creature of the sea! Impossible. That was exactly what he would tell Parthenope if she came to him, demanding his love. He was well aware that rejecting a siren’s advances was dangerous, and all his well-wishers would advise him to flee , lest he be killed. But from the siren’s unusual shyness, it seemed unlikely she would approach him, and so he remained complacent.
But she did come to him one afternoon. She rose out of the tide, pearly-eyed and dark haired, her beauty putting the loveliest goddesses to shame. But all this was wasted on the stone-hearted Ulysses who bestowed her with no more than a cursory glance.
Still she tried to woo him. Again and again he spurned her, taunting her and her sisters for being wicked deformities of nature and boasting about how he was too great a hero to ever stoop so low as to love a siren. “Begone!” He spat. “You are not worthy of being the ground I walk upon.”
Gathering up her wounded self-respect, Parthenope responded with cold dignity. “Do not underestimate our worth. My sisters and I are powerful. Men have killed and have themselves died often at our bidding. Many in this world have sought our affections, none have been fortunate enough to glimpse it. Be wise, Ulysses, this is not a gift to be thrown away. Choose well, while you have time.”
But the hero merely laughed and threatened to obliterate Parthenope and her sisters until the siren left him alone.
On their home island, Parthenope and her sisters discussed Ulysses.
“Perhaps he’s faithful to his wife.” Suggested Ligeia.
“Hardly!” scoffed Aglaope. “There is not a land in the known world where he has not bedded a woman.”
“He must be dealt with.” They agreed.
The day before Ulysses was supposed to return home to Ithaca, he mysteriously disappeared. His men, whom he had ordered to camp on the other side of the island so he might not be disturbed; found nothing but his tent despite searching thoroughly. Large, skilled search parties were launched, but the hero could not be found. In Ithaca, Penelope, his wife, grieved his assumed death.
“Slave! Fetch me a goblet of wine!”
“Have you not mopped the floors yet, slave? Really, you are the slowest!”
Ulysses wiped his brow and continued his unaccustomed labour. By Gods, he should have fled while there was time. Now he was stuck as the sirens’ slave forever…