Every now and then Medusa heard a knock at her door. Friends and family—even strangers—called out to her. And each time, she sat, still a rock, and waited for them to leave. If they see you, warned a voice inside her, they will turn to stone.
As a maiden Medusa had been beautiful and blithe. Now, she covered her mirrors, fearful to gaze at her marked, pendulous body; knowing it to be monstrous. If you look in the mirror, you will turn to stone, said the voice inside.
Day after day, she had held her children, fed and cleaned them, and moved in the world when she must, but always with her eyes downcast, gaze averted. She felt her body gradually stiffening, growing dense with tension, as though filling a glass vase an inch too small.
One night, in the quiet hours before dawn, Pegasus woke, and brushed his silky wing tip across her face. Unthinking, Medusa followed it with her hand, touching her face, and in place of flesh, felt stone. Horrified, she jerked her hand away, thinking: But I did not look in the mirror!
As she sat, reeling, Chrysaor woke and climbed into her lap. Before Medusa had time to avert her eyes, her child looked into her face. If they see you, they will turn to stone, whispered the voice inside. But Chrysaor was not turning to stone. In fact, he was smiling.
Medusa looked down into Chrysaor’s golden eyes, and saw a glowing silhouette reflected. Another voice rose, from a deeper place within her than the first. If you don’t look in the mirror, you will turn to stone...
Looking deeply, past the reflection, she saw how the snakes spiralled into themselves, swallowing their own tails. She heard secret knowledge in their hisses and saw how their dark scales shone, multiplying the moon’s light. Medusa touched her body, walking her hands deliberately over her hills and pooling them like water in her hollows. She touched herself as she did her children, tenderly, hands neither harsh nor limp. And as she did, she saw stone give way to soft, palely striped flesh.
The next morning, Medusa heard a knock at the door. She stepped towards it, pulling the covers off the mirrors as she went.