Medusa Ch. 02byNovusAnimus©
~~Wow, in just a week Medusa Ch. 01 became my most popular story, with double the votes of the first story I put up here 2 years ago, and rated higher. I'm honestly very surprised, and have decided that I'll take a more mature approach to this series, with a more professional style of editing. I won't follow the simple two step formula I usually do: a situation introduction and a sex scene. Instead I will write this story like a real story, with proper pacing and character development. So I would ask some patience of you, my readers, as I turn this Medusa series into something real.~~
Chapter 2 - An Island in Poseidon's Shadow
The guard groaned as the boat's subtle tipping threatened to unleash his meal's vengeance.
Locked behind metal and wood, Darien and his fellow criminals sat in the shadow. Some of them rummaged through their empty rags, leaning against the walls of the cell as boredom started to rob them of their sanity. Some of them paced with anxiety, the unfortunate circumstance of their capture and being ported to Athens for judgment undoubtedly leading to a painful future. Some of them were covered in many scars; what future awaited them mattered little to them.
Darien stood by the bars, arms folded across his chest. His dark brown hair had grown out to his ears, and his beard was starting to get scruffy with its length. It looked odd on his small body, and stuck out strangely from his young face. The sight was enough to make the nauseous guard laugh.
"Hey little man, what'd you do to get put in with these lowlifes?" he asked, stepping up to the bars to tower over the shorter man. He was dressed in a mix of leather bindings and the tattered remains of what was once armor, looted from a battlefield no doubt. Darien remained silent, face cold and stone.
"Come on little man, what did you do?" he asked again, poking through the bars with a wooden club hard enough to make Darien stumble back slightly. Without a word or noise, the smaller inmate returned to his position, blank gaze looking at the guard with neither malice or rage. He simply waited, like a snake waiting to strike.
"He probably stole some bread to feed his tiny gut." From the darkness of the cell, another criminal spoke up with a guttural sound. He was thick and hunched over with a life's worth of slouching, broad arms and short legs accenting a solid gut from a hard life of alcohol and mine work. One of his eyes was missing, replaced with a nasty gash that cracked with unhealed scars.
Seeing his situation turn grim, Darien finally turned and faced the loud one, tilting his head to the side slightly as he considered the lumbering giant's words. After a moment, he resolved to silence and turned his back to the inmate, content to stare through the bars with a statue's patience.
"I think this little runt is ignoring me!" the giant mocked, pushing himself from the wall to approach his target. With a brute's strength, he reached out and forced Darien to turn around, grabbing him by the rags of his chest and lifting him like a feather. "I should rip you in half."
Darien said nothing, he just looked away, refusing to make eye contact with the drooling fool. His arms and legs dangled loosely from his body, and his rags started to stretch and tear with what little weight his form placed upon them, hanging from the ogre like a cloak on its hook. Angered by the lack of reaction, the giant raised a hand and clenched it into a fist, aiming it to Darien's face with intent to break bone.
"Hey! Put him down! I see any fighting and I'll make sure the warden sees you all get 20 lashes!" the guard yelled to the criminals, banging his club on the metal bars loud enough to shake some of them from sleep.
The brute groaned and dropped Darien to the floor, offering a smirk as the small man landed on his ass with a slight oomph. "Ah I wasn't gonna start nothing," he chuckled as he waddled back to the other side of the cell.
Sighing over the annoyance of the whole situation, Darien forced himself to his feet and resumed his watch of the bars. With a serpent's vigilance, he gazed at the bars and the guard, folding his arms across his chest. The sight was laughable, and the guard couldn't help but chuckle all the more over the young prisoner's resilience.
"Aren't you the quiet one," the guard finally muttered, stepping back to put his back to the wall of their cabin with his front facing the prisoners. With the slow wear of time and the gentle rocking of the vessel, the guard drifted into sleep, sitting upon a stool and leaning to the boards to keep from falling as his eyes closed.
Darien stared at him, grinding his teeth in his mouth as he tightened his hands into fists. The guard was close, and yet not close enough for him to reach, or any of them. Like a taunting piece of string in the cat's face, Darien could only stare at the guard and the key ring upon his waist. He glanced around at the floor of the cabin to the ceiling, eyes shifting about with quick calculation as he considered distances and sizes, and even looked back to the rest of his unwanted comrades and what they could offer.
"No," he whispered quietly, voice buried in the casual chitchat of the inmates. "Just wait, wait for the right time."
For almost an hour, Darien did nothing but gaze, occasionally glancing left and right as he weighed options. Time trickled like sand in an hourglass, and the very sounds of the sea changed with its passing. Rain struck the outside of the ship, creating a lulling white noise that drowned out the creeks and groans of wood and nail. Even the soft rumble of distant thunder did little but lull many of the criminals to sleep, only to occasionally rouse them with a teasing boom, till they resumed conversation.
Silence fell upon them as a quiet groan filled the ship, inhuman and large, yet distant and muted. The boards shuddered softly with its power, and all the criminals and guards opened their eyes with awakening. Even Darien broke his stone gaze, quirking a brow and looking down at the floor of the ship. The vessel gradually stopped tilting as the sea held its breath, and soon everything grew still while the world went quiet around them.
"What the...," the guard whispered in confusion, stepping from the wall to walk about with curiosity. Even the inmates ceased their whispering as everyone looked at each other in bewilderment.
Slowly at first, but with a rising force that earned the crawling of spines, a deep moan echoed throughout the entire vessel and through the very boards of its construction. It was a deep sound that caused the cabin to shake with its bass and the nails to turn in their holes. It carried through their bodies until they could feel its power in their fingertips, and even the water beads of their floor rippled until boiling.
Every foot was raised into the air and bodies thrown to the wall as a mighty wave crashed to the ship's side, the sea sinking its talons into the innocent vessel's gut with a fury unstoppable by wood or man. Lumber and rope cracked with the power of the assault, and geysers of water started to pour in through the newly created holes that decorated the ship's length. It burst its way up through the floors of the cabin, shredding through barriers like fire to parchment and pushing its way into the inner levels of the ship.
"What in Tartarus is going on!?" the guard yelled, horror on his face as the snapping of wood resonated throughout the ship. Water flooded over and up onto his ankles, the cold of the sea biting at his skin. He backed up against the cell bars, eyes wide and breath fast as he tried to figure out what was happening.
The small man responded instantly, grabbing his target and taking his meal despite the chaos of their situation. The guard's breath was cut short as a hand gripped his jugular and crushed it against the back of his throat, bone and cartilage bending and cracking as his neck was broken inward. Darien managed a small grin, his eyes suddenly void and empty of pupil or iris. As the guard twitched in shock and the burning pain of lack of oxygen and twisted flesh, the murderer pulled him down to his height, his head pressed against the bars so he could whisper to his victim's ear. "I committed murder," he finally answered.
As the guard at last went limp and lifeless in the smaller man's strong grip, the killer's fingers sunk deep into his neck to pierce and draw blood, Darien let him go. Catching his belt as he fell, he deftly removed the ring of keys and made quick work of the lock, unlocking it in one smooth motion that left the other prisoners speechless.
"Yes! Great work! Let's get out of here before whatever's out there brings the ship down!" one of the inmates yelled with exuberance, following up behind Darien with a cheer in his step. He didn't even register the elbow that collided with his nose, shattering it and driving it into his face, sending him backwards into the other criminals. By the time he managed to open his eyes, Darien had closed and locked the cell behind him, his empty gaze offering nothing but a cold, dead stare to the shocked inmates.
"By the gods man, let us out! LET US OUT!" they screamed in mad desperation, running over the damaged, bleeding criminal and shaking the bars vehemently.
"Let you out?" Darien asked with mocked confusion, turning without hesitation to leave the inmates to drown with the ship. "Poseidon is hungry. Your deaths might be enough to sate his desires." With that, he offered a small wave of his hand over his shoulder, dismissing their horrified screams with not a moment's pause. Not even the thundering sea or the explosive shattering of wood could bury their voices, earning another small grin from the killer.
Working his way up the stairs of the ship, he ignored the churning sea water as it poured through the cracks between doorways. It crashed against his feet as it broke through barriers, tilting the ship back and forth with ungodly pressure as if the water itself was chasing him. Finally managing to reach the door to escape the hold, opening it unleashed a massive surge of water that sent him flying, smashing his back to the splintered floor and tearing at skin. Groaning with determination, he forced himself to his feet and up the influx of piercing cold as it poured down the stairs upon him. Escaping onto the deck, Darien's eyes opened wide with terror.
The sea roared in fury as lightning lit up the dark clouds of the night, and thunder battered his ears with a god's rage. Around him, soldiers and guards scrambled with fright and desperation as they picked up spears, only to drive them into large, round masses of green girth easily 10-feet across. As each stab of their weapons brought a gush of blue from the surface of their attention, Darien finally realized what was happening. They were stabbing limbs.
Limbs, long and vine-like in structure were wrapping themselves about the ship's size, each absolutely massive in width and longer than he dared consider. Armed with triangular hands, fingerless and palmed with round pads of black, the mighty creature's tentacles crashed down upon the ship's mast, sending it down against the panicked occupants of the deck with a shattering of wood. Torches were put out by the splattering of waves and blood, and soon the only light to show Darien the carnage ahead of him was the cracking of the sky's brilliance, white light that blinded him in a twisting rapture of lightning.
There was only chaos. Suppressing the overwhelming need to panic and flee at random, Darien looked around with desperation, cursing quietly to himself as he kept out of sight of the soldiers and guards. "A boat, a boat, there must be a boat," he growled, risking to glance over the edge of the vessel where he guessed rowboats may be found. Amidst the swirling water and moaning sea, lightning showed him the remains of what were his only hope, scattered and demolished against the vessel's side and littered with the bodies of men with the same idea as him.
"No. No no no!" he yelled, forgoing caution as the howl of thunder drowned out any chance anyone would notice him. He cared not for stealth anymore, and actively started to run down the side of the ship with his hand on the railing, looking down at the deep as he tried to find a way to save himself.
With another loud moan that made the very ship tremble beneath him, the water he stared upon raised as a growing mountain. It poured off of itself in a torrent of rising flesh, and wood and bodies soon found themselves twisting and turning against gravity as a body of green grew from the black depths of the sea. It was huge, cracks of lightning showing only glimpses of its girth as it shadowed over the ship, soon lifting itself into the air high enough to tower over Darien. The young man, once cool and calm, stared in horrified awe at the sight.
A single eye, as large as he and onyx in color stared at him from the middle of the gigantic being. It loomed over him, twisting and turning with awareness. It moved closer, its lumbering mass making its movement seem slow, and yet the very size of its being dwarfed the vessel; a child playing with toys in the basin.
Overcome with fear, Darien did the only thing he could do. He ran. Bolting to the side of the other ship, he abandoned reason and drove a foot down against the railing, pushing himself with all his strength away from the ship, the creature, and into the black, cold sea before him.
A flash of lightning was the only warning he had to how close the sea's surface was. He barely had time to brace against it, and the slap it struck against his face knocked the wind out of him. The crashing waves and torrent of whirlpools bent his body like a ragdoll, whipping him back and forth until the pain became unbearable. Darkness took him, drowning his senses and burying his breaths in the merciless grip of the bottomless depths.
In the empty cold of the night, Darien could barely sense the sand beneath him. As feeling gradually returned to him, he could feel it, rough and unforgiving, refusing to give him a peaceful death that he was sure was already forced upon him. The bite of the shore's tiny crystals and rock sneaking into the cuts of his body did little to move him, and soon exhaustion forced his eyes closed. Turning his head just enough to breathe, he drifted between death and sleep; not even the sea's tide against his feet could stir him.
The rising sun struck Darien's eyes, forcing them open and bringing a sharp breath to his lungs with fright. He sat up with a snap, almost tripping over his bruised legs as he crawled to a stand, ignoring the pain in his body. As the memories of last night crashed upon him like waves of pain, he looked around in a panic, only to find no cell or jailer awaiting him.
Almost unable to believe his eyes, he slowly turned around with labored steps, arms clutching at the burning cuts of his skin. The sunrise was red with the night's bloodbath, but for all the horrible death that lay behind him, the sight of its rays cresting over the rippling sea and onto the white shores of the island was breathtaking. Its warmth melted the pain away, and he soon found himself forgetting about his cuts and bruises.
"Alive and free... finally free," he whispered to himself, afraid any volume might shatter the illusion. No, he truly was finally free. No more would he share a cell with the scum of the worthless populace, and no more would he share his meals with the maggots of the city. "I am free!" he yelled to the sun, pointing a fist to the sky with excitement and joy as the revelation sent adrenaline pumping through his veins. "Free... and trapped on an island. Heheh." Chuckling to himself at his new predicament, Darien turned to put his back to the sea, and finally take stock of his, hopefully temporary, home.
The island was surprisingly small, with maybe only a couple day's walk to cover its width. It was surrounded by white beaches and calm shores, a collection of smooth rocks along dipping edges that rose into the gentle curve of a hill. To Darien's surprise, the hill itself was topped by a massive temple, easily reaching a hundred feet tall and domed by a majestic arch of aged stone. He could not see its gates from the shore, but the sight of it was unnerving. A temple meant people, and people meant trouble.
Groaning with frustration over the inevitable pains of future encounters, Darien looked around with a new goal. Wood would be needed, and vines or roots for ropes. A weapon too, a weapon first. Walking along the beach with a mind to eventually put himself in view of the temple's front, he combed the shoreline for possible tools for self defense. Woods pooled in random gatherings of dense to scattered trees, and mild rustling in their bushes drew his attention as he explored the island's edge. There were animals to eat here, good, would not need to eat fish alone.
As it grew bright and hot, Darien found himself lifting a hand to his eyes to shield them from the sun. What was once a blessing upon his frozen body soon turned into a curse, and beads of sweat dripped from his skin.
"I need to eat something. By Zeus's hand, what I wouldn't do for a quick meal," he complained, falling to his butt upon the shore and laying back into its warm grip. Taking a moment to give into exhaustion, he rolled his head back until he could see behind him. With the blur of heat and humidity, he almost believed it a mirage. "Wow, almost missed this." Jumping back to his feet and shuffling the sand from his body with a youngling's vigor, he gazed over a much enjoyable sight.
A creek of sorts dipped into the island from the sea, and through a thin trail of rock and gorge only a few inches deep, water was free to fall into a crevice. A foot deep into the earth and protected by trees, the large pool was constantly being fed water from the sea's tide, and it seemed that fish had grown used to its daily filling. It was packed with them, their sparkling bodies swirling in schools.
"Zeus, I owe you one." Chuckling to himself, Darien looked around for a stick to sharpen, turning away from the pool to reach around the gathering of trees to see what was usable. As he glanced over the sea's horizon with a casual passing, he stopped dead in his tracks.
Distracted by his exploring of the island, and now his access to easy fish, he had neglected to scan the coast. Now, he was stupefied. A large, white sail was before him, maybe only 30 minutes off and sailing towards the front of the island, where it seemed the temple's face pointed.
"With one hand you would aid me, and with the other you would undo me," Darien sighed, shaking a fist at the sky. From the shadow of his new found food source, he watched the approaching ship. Rock and tree kept him hidden, and he was fairly certain he could avoid contact with whatever people came to and from the island. "But then, I'd be nothing more than a trapped animal. No, I need to find a way off this land and back to Athens." Gradually, with slow determination and an eventual succumbing to logic, Darien resumed his forward march along the beach, this time keeping to the break-line of the forest in case he needed to hide.
Rounding the edge of where the massive hill reached down to create a corner for the island, Darien stopped dead in his tracks. The shadows caught his attention first, deadly still and poised in action, with unmoving bodies and stiff limbs. Their bodies were dark to the eyes and worn with rain and storm. Their eyes were blank with horror, and their lifeless forms seemed trapped in a never ending task to escape their murderer.
Statues. Hundreds of statues littered the ground, creating a maze of limbs and silently screaming mouths. They were stuck in place along the stairs of the temple, the stairs themselves at least 400 in number and as wide as a ship's length. They raised in a curve towards a high rising open temple gate, dauntingly massive and easily casting a shadow upon the stairs that lead to its girth. Dozens of figures were found upon the rising stairway, each in various positions of dread and fright. Even the clothes upon their body was stone, and what soldiers were found in the mix of misery had their armor, swords and shields cast from the same rock.