I know these few turns so well.
Just these few – beyond them I am afraid to go. The shadows grow too deep in the twisting corridors beyond. Here, at least, I can still see the sun. Sometimes I press my ear to the corner with the chink in it.
The sound reminds me of the sea my people ruled. It comforts me to sleep there, where the wall leans, precariously, but never falls.
The rats come here. Some of them the traps catch, and I can eat for a day or two. Some of them, the wily ones, miss the traps and come close to nibble at my flesh, and so we feed one another.
No one will ever see the scars, so what difference does it make?
I merely wait to die, as all the others died, to feed the appetite of the monster, to feed the pride of kings.
What did they call me, when I was young and beautiful? Was it anything more than Maiden, the lovely Kore in a gleaming white chiton, crowned with flowers? Like so many before me, barefoot and singing. Yet I was not a sacrifice. Not even a sacrifice, not a hair of my head or a drop of my blood to the gods.
Iphigenia died into glory, the dust of her bones golden by the Huntress’s regard.
But I am worthy of nothing but the Earth-Shaker’s contempt, the leftovers of a revenge served cold.
The bones here blacken with dried blood and dirt, and the offal of birds and vermin. A meal’s remains left to rot on the stone. I remember flames leaping from bones – or was that a dream? I remember running under torches, my six sisters and I clutching one another’s hands, a chain of fallen glory. Our brothers outpaced us, entered first, scattered into the shadows.
Sometimes I imagine I hear voices on the other side of the wall and think, “Ah, my brothers yet live!” Or the ones before us, or after us – how many sevens of years passed, I do not know.
There are so many bones.
I see things here. Impossible things. But never the most possible, the destined thing – the monster itself. Not yet. But of talking rats, and rainbows in the dark, and falling stars, I have intimate knowledge. Falling feathers, too.
Once I dreamed a man flew over me, a man whose arms were wings. His shadow fell upon me, like that of a gull, and chased away a rat. He passed over, and beyond my view, but that shadow lingered in my mind.
How strange that I never dream of the sea, but only these same walls.
I know these few turns so well.
Keri Bas lives in New York City, where she works a pretty decent day job while stealing time for writing and crafts. She was ordained as an Interfaith Minister in June 2005 after two years at The New Seminary. She has a bachelor’s degree in Latin, a voracious appetite for random information, and a talent for making Google find just about anything. When she isn’t writing, she explores the wonders of the biggest small town in America, and gets kicks out of museums and libraries.
“Leftovers” was inspired by a long chatroom discussion of the myth of Theseus and Ariadne, and some technical notes on labyrinths. What happened to all those previous years of tribute from Athens to Crete? If it was impossible for the Minotaur to escape, how much more so for a human who survived the initial slaughter?