One: In the Beginning

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I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.

Medusa threw the playbook across her small cottage, located in the deepest part of a very dark wood. The book landed near the fireplace with the page she had been reading face up, illuminated by the fire, mocking her. Why she decided to read that particular play she had no idea.

She pushed herself up from her chair near the window. After huffing, she made her way to the coat closet and hastily threw her long coat on. She needed fresh air. The stuffy cottage seemed to be closing in on her for the past few hours and if she stayed any longer she feared she implode. Not that it mattered.

She did, though, enjoy the long walk it took her to get to the nearest town and she enjoyed people watching as ironic as it was. She just had to be careful and take the right precautions; there hadn't been an incident in a very long time.

After wrapping up the serpents protruding from her head, much to their discontent, she grabbed her gold-rimmed sunglasses and slammed the door behind her. She hated wearing the glasses at night, and she received bewildered stares, but the mirrored lenses helped keep prying eyes from her own.

As she walked towards the town, she mumbled to herself about the play she had been reading and she cursed Athena for the trillionth time since the goddess cursed her. Medusa could practically hear the hellion cackling at her from Olympus.

Much sooner than she realized, the grass and sticks evened out into a more paved path and Medusa knew she reached the point in her journey to cover up more thoroughly. She placed her sunglasses on her nose and secured the wrap on her head tighter. The snakes protested in her ears. "Silence" Medusa hissed back, they quieted down some and stopped moving so they didn't give away the illusion. She then pulled on the black leather gloves that she kept in her coat pocket to hide her greenish skin.

As Medusa strolled aimlessly through the town, she could hear the whispers of the townspeople. They always whispered about her and it was interesting to hear the different stories they've come up with to explain her complete cover-up. Some assumed she was a vampire, which was the most amusing. Some thought she had some kind of disease, which was closer to the truth. Others said she could be a lost soul hoping to find a way into the afterlife, and that's the one that hit a little too close to her heart.

Though this was a smaller town compared to the ones she's taken a residence in, there were an awful lot of people out this night. Medusa didn't keep up with the local schedule of the townspeople, but she overheard that summer break has begun and the schools have let out all their students. She'll have to cut back her time in the town. Usually, Medusa starts coming into town later and later during the warmer months. It gets too hot to be covered up for a long time and if her clothing rubs her sweaty skin too much, she starts to molt. It gets very itchy and having to scratch herself every ten minutes causes more attention and more talk. Not that she cared much. Too much attention, though, was troublesome.

While walking the streets, Medusa watched the people go about their business. There was a mother pushing a stroller of twin boys with messy, curly, brown hair and big, brown eyes that were alight with new life. There was a group of teenage girls sitting in a diner, drinking milkshakes and laughing together. There were a group of boys either early in their years of high school or last year of middle school, skating and biking through the streets. There was also an elderly couple walking hand in hand, whispering to each other, love clearly still in their aging eyes. Medusa smiled to herself at the life so alive in the town at such a late hour.

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