The bull drove into me again and again, grunting, snorting, blowing hot gusts of steam. I would not have cared if a jealous Hera had cursed me forever by transforming me, for such a fate would be worth it, accepted gladly.

The throb and pulse of him buried in my body was purest carnal elation. I felt his massive body lunge harder against me, the tip of his huge phallus penetrating so deep that it seemed to enter my very womb, and I felt that entire length convulse, felt my loins flooded with his divine libation.

Had the framework of the cow not been holding me in place, I would have fallen limp to the grass. My every nerve shook, my senses reeled. I rested my brow against a wooden brace, and closed my eyes, and saw my heartbeat flaring in bright lights behind the dark lids.

His seed had overflowed, coursing in slow, sticky trails down my thighs. His softened, but still formidable, member slipped out of me as he withdrew. His forehooves thudded heavily to the ground again. I heard another snort, which seemed still amused but also weary.

Now he would reveal himself to me, I thought. Now he would stand before me, not in his true god-form that would sear the eyes from my head, but in some other recognizable image. If I could open my eyes, that was. They felt leaden, my limbs slack, my entire being wrung with welcome exhaustion.

I tried to raise my eyelids, but could not. I heard the slow and solid tread of his hooves moving away. All I wanted now was to rest my sated body. I succumbed, and slept.

Ligia returned for me, and when she found that she could not waken me, she summoned Daedalus. Together, they got the wood-and-hide cow back to the workshop, and removed me from its interior. I woke much later, when dusk was settling over Crete, to see that the device had served me well but almost fallen apart under the repeated battering of the bull's hearty thrusts.

I told Daedalus to destroy it. I knew I would not be needing it again. Just how I knew this was a mystery to me, but I accepted it as true. I returned to my chambers, bathed, and slept until nearly noon the next day.

My craving had been met. I found that I was content now with the pleasure that my hands, my ivory plaything, or my maids could give me. Minos told me that he had been right in sparing the white bull, that his herd would see a bounty of splendid calves in the spring. The bull, he said, was as virile as a satyr, as potent as strong wine.

He was, indeed. For, shortly thereafter, my womanly courses ceased. My breasts swelled with tender aches. My belly began to round.

I was pregnant. And not, I knew, by my feeble-membered husband. If he had not sired a child upon me in all these years, he had not done so now.

This condition could not be hidden forever. Minos initially thought that he was indeed the father, though just when this impregnation was supposed to have taken place, I could not know. He saw it as another gift from the gods. He was finally to be blessed with a son or daughter, and boasted of it throughout all of Crete.

I prayed that he was right, while my heart knew better. And when my son was born, when Minos beheld the thing that had come from my womb, I had to confess all. My lusts, my unnatural desire for the white bull, the aid I had enlisted from Daedalus, the mock cow, all.

"From this day forth, you are my wife in name only!" Minos roared, as though that was not what I had been all along. "And this … this monster is no son of mine! I would kill it, Pasiphae, but that would be too kind to you. I shall let it live, to remind you of your shame for the rest of your life."

He was as good as his word. Impotent and vainglorious he may have been, but a fool Minos was not.

His plan was simplicity itself. The child that Ligia had birthed, result of her dalliance with Daedalus, would be raised as our daughter. He needed an heir, even one not of his own blood. And as Ariadne was a mere girl, Minos would be able to choose the best of husbands for her, to be king after him.

My son, born with the torso, hands, and arms of a normal babe but the head, hind-hooves, and tails of a bull, would be condemned to a lightless captivity forever.

Daedalus, for the part he had played, was forced to build in the dungeon catacombs beneath the palace a maze of rooms, stairs, corridors and traps. This dark Labyrinth would be my son's home. My son … who would be known as the monster of Minos, the curse of Crete … the Minotaur.


To be followed by a sequel: Ariadne

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