The sudden storm caught the woman off guard, the clash of thunder startling her, making her lose her footing on the wet rocks. Her hands slid against the rock, frantically trying to grab at one sticking out. She gasped when she found one that was also flat. She clung to the rock and pulled herself up, patting her hands on the surface. She slowly stood up, pressing her body against the rock wall as she stepped, surprised that the rock beneath her kept going and eventually turned into the stairs. She stepped slowly as she went up, the stairs twisting around. Another clap of thunder made her jump and slip on the wet stairs. She hit her chin and slid down a few, crying out in frustration.
When she managed to get to the top of the stairs, she placed her hands out, grasping at something that would help her lead her to warmth. One hand on the wall showed her an opening that had a bit of warmth coming from it.
“H-Hello?” she called out, slowly stepping inside. Candles lit the way, but she couldn’t see them. “I-Is anyone there? My boat crashed when this sudden storm happened and I’m–“
She stopped walking when she heard something slither behind her. Her heart pulsated faster, her breath shook even more.
“If you could just… tell me where I am, I can find my way home,” she squeaked, taking a small step forward.
The slithering was closer now. She stopped walking. Her eyes stared straight ahead, staring at a stone figure who was screaming out in horror.
She was surrounded by these stone warriors but she managed to walk through the maze of their bodies, her small voice calling out to whoever was snaking their way around them.
“How do you walk among these bodies and not run out screaming?” a voice called out to her. The woman stopped walking, her hands clasped into her chest.
“You walk among a graveyard of men and you still press on.”
Footsteps made their way to the woman from the right. She slowly turned in that direction, her face staring at a woman with locs for hair. The woman with the locs stared back at the lost woman, squinting. The wet woman shook from being soaked and cold, the loced woman raised an eyebrow.
The soaked woman nodded and smiled sheepishly. The loced woman nodded and took her hand, leading the woman through the thousands of men she had turned to stone.
She sat the woman on her bed and helped her undress, helping her redress in dry clothes and a blanket.
“You should rest here for the night. There is no telling how long the gods with squabble. I’ll have you returned safely.”
The blind woman nodded. She reached up with both hands, touching the loced woman’s face. The loced woman blinked.
“What are you doing?”
“Looking at you,” the blind woman said, smiling, her brown face turning a bit red in her cheeks. “You’re beautiful,” she whispered, removing her hands.
The loced woman stared wide-eyed at the blind one, her own face turning red.
“Er… I… Thank you,” she whispered back. “You should get some sleep…”
The next morning, the blind woman was led back down to the dock she crawled herself onto with a basket of food and a small sack of coins. As the loced woman settled her into one many small boats from the warriors who tried to kill her, the blind woman stared out at the now calm sea.
“What’s your name?”
The loced woman paused and took a deep breath.
“Medusa,” she whispered, rigging the sails.
The blind woman nodded, having heard the stories of the ugly woman who would turn men into stone with just a look. The blind woman knew better, however.
“Alright, you’re all set,” Medusa said, untying the boat from the dock and pushing it off.
“When can I come back?!” the blind woman called out when the nervousness left her body.
Medusa blushed again, watching the woman confidently man the boat with ease.
“When you can find your way back here on your own!” Medusa called back, smiling. The blind woman was quiet for a moment.
“I will see you when the sun opens the flowers!” she called back, disappearing passed the horizon.
It was months before Medusa saw the blind woman again. Every morning, she would play with her hair, watching the fog rise up from the water and every night, she would stare out to sea, waiting. Why she waited, Medusa didn’t know. Maybe it was the way the blind woman’s skin seemed to glow in the sun, or that her dark brown eyes turned into a shade of honey when she faced the sun. Only seeing her that one night, that one day, had turned Medusa bashful, yet somehow even more cold. The men who had wandered into her lair weren’t turned to stone, only stabbed to death, their bodies tossed into the ocean.
She had overslept one morning, waking up to the quiet ripples of the ocean. She quickly sat up, throwing on a shift and rushing out to the dock. The blind woman’s boat was there! But where was she ? She walked back up the stairs, her eyes wet. She heard humming to her left, in the trees that hid her lair. Curious, Medusa followed the humming deep into the trees. She pushed aside branches, staring in awe at the blind woman in front of her. In the short amount of months they had been apart, the blind woman seemed to have blossomed more. Her hair spread up and out, adorned in red and yellow flowers. She was dressed in purple, her lips redder than the blood of the man she killed two weeks before. Medusa watched her as her hands fondled flowers, picking up an orange one and smelling it.
“I can hear you, you know,” the blind woman said, giggling. Medusa blushed, stepping from behind the brush.
“How long have you been here?” Medusa asked.
“Oh, a few hours. I wanted to pick flowers. Your garden is different than the ones back home,” the woman said softly, turning her head to Medusa.
“I just realized, I don’t even know your name,” Medusa said, sitting next to her.
The woman grinned. “I don’t have one. I am lowly fisherwoman, who begs when the tide is low and steals from men who think they have taken something from me.”
Medusa stared at her wide eyed. This beautiful creature shouldn’t have to stoop to thievery and fishery. Medusa grabbed her by her face and kissed her. The woman gasped, but fell into the kiss, wrapping her arms around Medusa’s neck, pulling her in close.
“For months, I have missed you,” Medusa whispered against the woman’s lips, her hands roaming her body. The woman’s breath picked up, her hands playing with Medusa’s hair.
“I told you I would come back,” she whispered back, kissing her once more.
“Stay with me, Airla,” Medusa pleaded, laying the woman down in the grass.
“What… What did you call me?”
“Airla… That’s your name, yes?”
Tears started to run down Airla’s cheeks and she nodded, pulling Medusa on top of her.