The Escape Artist

Odysseus could feel her rage at these young men, these leeches, who had terrorised both her daughter and her husband while she was away, rise within her. How she would love to put an arrow individually through each one's heart. Yet, something inside remembered the futility of all the killing in Troy.

She would never be able to make them feel as much pain as she felt, because she would never know what they felt, whether it was enough. No doubt some had parents who had put them up to this bid for the throne, and taking their lives would mean she would have even more battles to face within her own country, amongst her own people, as they sought vengence for their children's deaths. So many better things were available to occupy oneself in the world than fighting and domination.

"So many things better than fighting and domination," Odysseus suddenly listened carefully to her own thoughts.

Antinoos had not taken Odysseus' threat seriously. He had one of the fine goblets of the household, made of gracefully moulded gold bedizened with bright jewels, in his hands and was tipping its intoxicating contents through his open lips. Odysseus released her arrow.

The arrow pierced through the young man's cup, draining it of its contents. Odysseus seamlessly pulled out two more arrows and readied them.

"All of you," barked Odysseus in a preternaturally loud voice, "Back up against the wall now or the next arrow will go through your heart." In surprise and terror they did as they were told long enough for Odysseus to signal her family and Eumaios to make for the castle door. As soon as Eumaios had undone his own knots latching their exit, Odysseus joined her family in retreat.

While they passed through those portals, the suitors found their courage. They could not find their weapons near them, but led by Antinoos, a number chose to rush the royal family. Before they too could pass outside, braided lightning struck before the door. Its leaves then apparently slammed shut of their own accord. The suitors were trapped inside.

On the Road Again.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps