Even before my birth, everyone knew there was going to be something wrong with me. The doctors always came back though, with results of a healthy pregnancy saying that my mother was fine. Everyone thought it was a miracle or a sign.
“That one’s special.” My grandmother teased. My mother was ready to give birth, and yet she looked sick as first glance. Her skin, appeared a faded replica of her previous tone. Her mane, shone with a red gleam that she claimed had not been the result of hair dye. Her stomach was quite small for a woman in her third trimester, but the doctors assured her there was nothing wrong with her size. She had been in the garden, fell asleep, and woke up three days later with a positive pregnancy test to be revealed. My father had never been found or even seen.
After I came into this world, my troubles began. My hair was slate gray and red was highlighted throughout odd strands. My eyes were larger than the average baby’s and the color of fire. I looked into the nurse’s eyes when I first emerged, and stoned her. Her eyes grew wide in the split second before she suddenly became rock. I continued to kill three other nurses, before a doctor thrust a cloth across my face, deducing that they were the source of this lethal light. They yelled that it was the result of demonism and satanic. They spat on my mother for bringing this great evil into the world. She was kicked out of the hospital, into a world that left her homeless that would soon take her life. On her last day on Earth, she left me a gift. She gave me a name to carry: Medusa.
The winter never stole me though. It blew its icy breath throughout the cave I had been abandoned in. I grew up in darkness, never knowing what my mother looked like. I drank from puddles I found and licked at the fire that I could conjure with a simple giggle. I was found by a tourist group, of whom, I killed most of. They took one look at me, and when my burning eyes met theirs, they crystallized into a large, ugly stone. The survivor was a young woman. She had too discovered the source of the deathly light, and covered my eyes. She hadn’t time to find a cloth, or even a bag. She had thrust out her own hand, in a shocked need to end the madness. Her bravery spared her life. She went on to blindfold me with a portion of her jacket which she ripped off. She carried me from the cave into the world, as she didn’t possess the heart to kill an infant. She soon found that glasses would allow me to see, without costing the world hundreds of lives.
When she looked into my young eyes, she expected the color of lumber, grass, or the sky. She found a fire that danced teasingly as she tightened the strap holding my glasses to my head with a new fear. Childhood tantrums came. I argued over sweets and toys often, leading to a new horror being awakened. A mane of wild serpents erupted from my head, where soft curls would usually sprout. They threatened my new mother with tongues of venom. She had screamed and cried, declaring that she couldn’t bear to raise a creature of my wild circumstances. I was shaved, and given to a new family who owned several pets, and thinking I was a beast as mad as theirs, I was locked up in a cage and fed food from a bowl thrust in my home thrice daily. I learned to speak a decent amount, and in this home I blossomed from the age of six to thirteen. I was then kicked out when famine struck, as I was another useless mouth to be fed.
An older girl like I at the time, gathered no sympathy from the people in my town. My shaven head and tightly fastened goggles made for a freak show and certainly not a new member to any family. I was left to fend for myself. Stealing fruit from the farmer’s markets and water from a fresh spring where I spent my nights. In a furious rage of wonder as to why I had been born like this, I released the goggles and threw them into a small hole I dug. I let my hair grow long until it touched my back. I wore my goggles only on the days where I ran into town in search of food. On the one day I forgot them, stealing food seemed easier. I ran into the market and picked up my usual heist. I then heard voices behind me. I turned back for a split moment, and ran to safety.
I didn’t see the result of my ignorance. The shouter sprouted rock instantly and stopped breathing indefinitely. I became known to the villagers as the stone girl. I hadn’t seen what the result of no goggles could do, so I didn’t wear them the next day either. I eventually stopped wearing them entirely. I was an orphan, rejected by all, loved by none. I thought that stealing food served them right for what I had become. I was a monster. I soon began feeding the snakes that grew from my head. I quickly became acquainted with the idea of writing and reading, and instantly wanted to join in on the strange activity. I listened to people read newspapers and stole what they were reading to practice sounding out words. By the time I was sixteen, I could read and write the newspapers I stole along with bread, jam, and the occasional pastry. A few months later, I went back into town. This time, I wanted to make sure it was different. I wanted them to hear my name and know why I was doing this. I wanted them to taste the tears that soured my water supply and smell the smoke of the fire I couldn’t control. They needed to see the ferocious snakes on my head and hear my screams and sobs.
I stared directly into every eye I could find and took my time leaving a note for whomever would see. I emptied the carts of food eating each bite slowly. I took a finger full of strawberry jam and wrote across the stand a single word. Over and over until my arm grew tired. I was no longer to be known as stone girl. I was Medusa.