"Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic." (Wilde 48)

A budding floret tends to be delicate, flawless, reticent towards the world, innocent to its sin. It starts as several bright petals, cupped together in a timid, withdrawn manner. Then it grows until it's about to burst at the seams. Gradually, it begins to unfold into spontaneous hues. Beautiful elegance, to say the least. However eventually petals tear apart in a cascading calamity. Crimson petals drip to the ground, mercilessly. Consent is foreign to mankind.

Her petals ripped asunder, in a pool surrounding her. Regardless of her muted sobs, the gods neglected her agony. Her struggles were in vain, as he stole from her her chastity.
On the cold marble, gazing at the gilded statue alone, a young woman wept, tears shedding at the cruel reality. Before her, a silver mirror adorned the wall of the temple. Its haunting reflection gazed at her, it's harrowing, metallic iciness judging her. She dared to peer at her pitiful reflection. Dark eyes peered solemnly back at hers; dark hair descended down her back, past her shoulders; an hourglass body, the envy of all who perceived it. Biting her lip, she thought with disdain, even him.
Without warning, the Parthenon began to shake, violently. The mirror shattered against the floor, shards of glass scattering across the temple. A piece skidded against her foot, and trembled on the quaking marble. The woman carefully picked it up. She inspected the beauty who stared curiously back at her. Then, hair began to fall from her scalp, first little by little, then in clumps. Her hands followed her eyes to her head full of luscious locks. Shock was caught in her throat. Until it finally escaped in a deafening shriek of anguish. A clamorous hissing sound accompanied the woman's cry. Once more her eyes scoured her head for an answer. To her astonishment, hundreds of scaly reptiles slithered from her scalp, each connected to her own epidermis.

As she stared at her new tresses, her very reflection transformed before her very eyes. It started at the very tip, a minuscule gray particle appeared at the nose of a snake. Then it spread, gradually, but enough for the woman to notice. It progressed to another snake, then quicker. Each time, it seemed to spread even faster than the last. Then it reached the top of her head, where scales meet flesh and bone. Forever, the woman's frightened expression would be engraved into a shard of glass. Luckily for her, it was only her reflection that turned to stone. Tossing the piece of glass aside, the woman's gaze fell to a shadow on the floor.

Athena glared at the creature before her. With a scowl, she retaliated, "begone from my presence."

In a haste, the woman fled to a desolate island. Every so often, someone would pay her a visit. Each time, her stone garden would increase by one. This is the story of the renowned Medusa and her inevitable fate.

Eventually, loneliness and paranoia consumed Medusa's sanity until she was hearing voices.

Wait... there was another one. They sounded... audible.

Crouching behind a statuesque, marble column with her arms protectively hugging her legs, Medusa peeked out from her hiding spot to survey the scene. Not a living soul. Not even the chirping of crickets to accompany her loneliness. The tumbleweeds didn't even bother to roll across the empty landscape to emphasize her exile.

Just as Medusa was about to curl into a ball, feeling depressed at the turn of events, she picked up the sound of rustling, followed by, yet again: a voice.

Dissatisfied with her secluded community, Medusa decided to introduce herself to the unseen travelers. Remembering her curse, the young Gorgon found a piece of loose fabric to tie her scaly wig back, in hopes of appearing human. With caution and curiosity, Medusa located the silhouetted figure.

"Hello!" she called as she approached, eagerness ringing in her ears.

The figure turned at the sound of her voice. His mouth curled into a twisted grin. "What have we here?"

At the sight of his unscrupulous expression, flashbacks smote Medusa like a horse-drawn chariot. Images of Poseidon and the Parthenon enveloped her until the breath was knocked out of her lungs. Medusa's knees buckled. Her voice was inaudible. Her body felt weak. Tears that she had bottled inside began to arise. In a hurry to dry her eyes, Medusa's hands flew to her face. At the same time, the fabric covering her head became loose and dropped to the ground, revealing a scalp full of venomous snakes.

Horrified, the man faltered. He took a step back... but it was too late to retreat. Instantaneously, his body turned to stone, his horrified expression forever fixed upon the masonry.

Medusa regained her breath, adagio. Her strength soon after. Dusting herself off, Medusa peered at the stone statue in front of her. The first of her collection of many.

Time seemed to crawl on that godforsaken island. Until it was at an insufferable standstill. Seconds seemed like hours as the years ticked along to the rhythm of an ungodly metronome. Ten inhospitable, interminable years lingered. Each day, another victim was added to Medusa's solitary garden of statues.

Evidently, the companion of her first victim escaped Medusa's cursed territory. Rumors circulated about a monstrous creature that petrifies men at mere sight of it. Warriors, adventurers, and imbeciles traveled across the land, daring to step on her small island and slay her for glory and honor. Only to be forever frozen in time.

Thusly, a decade elapsed, although to Medusa, it seemed like an eternity.

Solitude was the cruelest gift that Athena could have possibly bestowed upon Medusa. For perpetuity, Medusa was not only forlorn, she had to endure living with her worst nightmare: herself. Her mind continued to recollect the events leading up to her transformation. No matter how hard she tried to forget, he haunted her every breath. Eventually, Medusa established that death would be the most merciful fate.

Little did she know; her death would emerge in the shape of a demigod.

Hereafter, the day approached that yet another fearless gladiator stepped forward to face Medusa. Meanwhile, the young Gorgon was occupying her ever-growing graveyard of sculptures.

The overwhelming silence could be detected from a radius of approximately ten astronomical units in any direction. The stifling atmosphere all but suffocated Medusa. Immediately, she sensed an alteration of the environment around her. The occasional breeze that liberated Medusa from the warmth of the sun ceased to waft. The heat of the day seemed to exaggerate, tremendously.

Medusa's suspicion arose. A million scenarios crept to her mind, all at once. Alerted, she assessed the scene. Nothing remarkably extraordinary caught her attention.

That is until she heard the voices.

There was a single murmur; barely audible, however, loud enough to pique Medusa's curiosity.

Glimpsing over her shoulder, Medusa surveyed her whereabouts. Carefully inspecting every potential hiding spot, she had begun to feel like she was losing her mind.

And then she spied it. Movement despite the lack of a zephyr. Due to the lack of wildlife around her, Medusa decided to investigate.

As she stood, the whispering ceased.

Finding her voice, she called. "Come out where I can see you."

When there was no answer, Medusa cleared her throat. "Hello? Who's there?"

Again, no response. Not even a footfall or a glimpse of loose fabric fluttering along as the hero made his move.

The last thing Medusa saw was a metallic object and her reflection in the silver escutcheon.

Then it happened. In a swift movement, Medusa's head separated from her neck, blood dripping to the ground in pools.

Eventually petals tear apart in a cascading calamity. Crimson petals drip to the ground, mercilessly.

One by one, they fall, leaving ashes and devastation in their wake. Green becomes grey, the once soft and fragile blossom turns dry and brittle. Over time, it is obliterated until nothing remains. Death consumes every living thing.