*Odysseus' Face*

Truly Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I had hardly been released from the mast when in the distance I could see the white rising spumes of ocean water from that monster Kharybdis. Before long the two land masses I had been directed to travel through were visible. I directed the crew to sail as far from that alternating sea spout and whirlpool while still swiftly making our way past the promontories. I did not tell them of Skylla who waited on the other side for them.

The she-beast had six heads and twelve legs. Skylla's heads included the visages of the business professional, wife, daughter, mother, student and the self that could not integrate these aspects because it clung to disparaging definitions of itself. She roared out in anger at the male crew for not accepting her and forcing her to have a terrible self image. Her long tentacles reached out and scooped three of them up, inserting them into her toothy maws. I directed my crew to row even faster, but even so Skylla roared again at the female crew for ruining her life by being better looking than she, and grabbed three of my women which she also tore to shreds between her teeth.

I wept. Surely, this was yet the most horrible deaths I had witnessed at sea. Nevertheless, it was obvious to every one that keeping our distance from the she-beast would have meant all of our deaths. Even when we were out of harms way we continued our break-neck pace, trying vainly to out distance our broken hearts.


Bloody Oath!

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps