The Bacchae- A Contemporary Adaptation

Hello hello and welcome to this week’s short story, which was written for The Writer’s Mess challenge of writing a Greek Myth adaptation. I decided to write about Dionysus, and do a contemporary take on The Bacchae. It’s a little odd, and in first person, which you will see again for my Norse Myth post in two weeks. Apparently Gods like saying “I”, who knew they had such ego…

I was born the son of Zeus, not that anyone believed my mother when she told them.  They couldn’t imagine Zeus, A-lister as he was, choosing to have an affair with my mother of all people, even after she died in childbirth.

My father’s wife was furious to hear of my conception, the one person who did believe it, and so I was raised sleeping beauty style, in a small town at the base of Mount Nysa, by some people my father trusted to keep me safe. 

I didn’t set out for the celebrity life, the spotlight of it all, I started out making wine, because, well, wine is awesome.  I love wine, and I was good at making it, good enough that I went from being someone no one had ever heard of, to becoming a renown vintner.  Next thing I knew, I was living with the other world-famous people, in Olympus Heights, the most exclusive suburb in LA, where my father lived, and I had like made it.

It’s where I was when I heard the rumours my late mother’s sisters were spreading. Apparently, they didn’t believe I was famous, that I had status, and they were telling people that my mother was a, well, I don’t event want to repeat it, but it was the kind of thing that made my blood boil.

I know that the revenge was petty, that I was above it, and that I should have just let it all go, and if it had just been about me, I probably would have.  I had gotten used to having people take issue with me, I mean, when you make the premier wine in the world, party like it’s 1999 every weekend, the tabloids are going to tell tall tails, but my dead mother, she was off limits.

So, I got a make-under, a baseball cap, rented a low-key car and headed out to Thebes. Thebes was a good size town, near mount Citherion, and it’s Mayor was, my cousin Pentheus. He apparently had taken over from his grandfather, isn’t nepotism grand, not too long ago, and my aunts still lived there, stirring the pot.

My revenge was actually pretty simple, shove my existence down those ignorant assholes’ throats.

The method was simple as well, hold the party to end all parties.  On paper it was a promotional event, trying to break into a local market and all that jazz.  A few dozen venues were rented, stocked, and samples of his wine would be served all afternoon free of charge, with full bottles available for purchase.  At night, the events would switch to more of the party atmosphere, with the alcohol flowing for a low price, my logo on every cup, every napkin, every wall.  Then there was the map, which showed all the venues, which was soon to turn the whole thing into a crawl, making the party spill onto the streets, with Dionysus on their tongues. It would last an entire week, and when it was over, not even my family would be able to deny my existence.

I will admit, they were far more resistant than I would have expected, and to my surprise it was my dear cousin who held fast in his belief, trying a curfew, a crusade for quiet aimed directly at me, at arresting those who danced in the street speaking my name, and we both knew it.

I tried to change his mind, in disguise, but he could not be persuaded.   Things escalated quickly, and I will admit, I did a few things that while I am not ashamed of, they aren’t exactly points of pride.

Tricking him into cross-dressing to get into a women’s only party, and then spreading the rumor that there was a man on the registry masquerading at the part was probably overdoing it.  Even I didn’t expect them to beat him to death with their bare hands.  That his own mother, my aunt, she who disparaged my mother, was among those casting the blows, I will admit, it felt a little like karma.

When she finally realized who the man on the floor was, who I really was, watching her weep was less satisfying that I would have expected it to be.  Far more satisfying was having grandfather acknowledge who I was, rightfully so, and when he slithered off for a fresh start with my bereaved aunt, I finally let it go. 

I was Dionysus, and never again would someone speak ill of me or mine, and it felt good.


Executing the Perfect Date

Hello hello and welcome to this week’s six sentence story, based on the word SILK. This one is not what it appears, and I recommend reading the tags if you get triggered, but if not, try reading it through, and enjoy the surprise. Follow our narrator as he plans and executes the perfect date night, candles and all.

It was strange how something small, something otherwise innocuous, can take up the entire brain, all of a person’s thoughts, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t let it go.

It was a small sliver of silk, but the second he saw it he knew that it was for him, that she had worn them for him, and he smiled because he knew how the date would end.

The dinner had gone off without a hitch, even after he had upgraded to roses and candlelight, because if she was going all out for this, then let it be said that he put in his half the effort.

Looking down at her, lying in the bed, it was all worth it, every minute of the waiting, the planning, all of it, was worth it, because it led to this.

She thrashed unseeing on the bed, his own sliver of silk obstructing her vision, and this was the best part, when she knew what was coming, but didn’t know when or how.

She didn’t see the light reflect off the edge of the blade, but she felt it, screaming around the gag until she couldn’t scream anymore, blood soaking the sheets, and he watched the thrashing slow, then stop, smiling at his masterpiece, thinking again, that this made it all worth while.

High Expectations

Hello hello, and welcome to this week’s six, based on the word of the week LOUNGE. I took this to mean chaise lounge, and thought back to the classic cartoon therapist. Follow our narrator as they go to counselling for the first time, and well, you’ll have to read it to know more. Hope you enjoy!

Sitting in the office, in a chair that was uncomfortably close to the person in front of me, I found myself disappointing by the experience, though I really couldn’t say why.

I mean, I wasn’t expecting to lay on a chaise lounge and talk about my childhood, but the somewhat dim lighting was creepy, and the Himalayan salt lamp was more distracting than anything else.

I was nodding along on autopilot, because I just realized I had stopped listening just long enough that I had no idea what we were talking about anymore, and for some reason I didn’t want to admit that, though it probably would have been helpful information for her to have.

I smiled, and nodded, the facsimile of normality so convincing, that along with my sky high grades, I was shuffled out not to long after, and told to contact them again if I was having difficulties.

I was having difficulties, my own inability to articulate difficulties being one of them, and it seemed that somewhere between what I was saying and what she was hearing there was a broken telephone line that was making everything seem A-OKAY.

I left discouraged, downtrodden, an hour wasted, with nothing more than an patronizing handout to show for it that looked like it belonged more in a kindergarten class than on a university campus, and I resolved to try counselling again next year.

50 Shades

Hello Hello and welcome to microfiction Monday, this weeks prompt was “Write a Fable”, which I absolutely fell in love with. Follow Fanny as she experiences her justice system from the side of the defendent, I will say it is not as saucy as the title implies, and the following trigger warnings apply: Murder, Attempted sexual assault, extreme justice, dark AF. Hope you enjoy.

The rating system had always seemed fair before Fanny found herself at its mercy.

Where a jury was made up of twelve people, the new system presented the facts to 10,000, simply as they were, with no emotion, embellishments, or heartfelt pleas for mercy to sway the raters before they chose innocent or guilty. There were only two punishments, exile to a penal colony, or death, though some would argue given the conditions at the colony, it was a question of which was worse.

Upon implementation, crime rates plummeted, and for the first time in her life Fanny felt safe walking home alone at night in the city. She did so each night, and she was honestly shocked when the man held her at knife point, and told her to take off her clothes.

She fought, she got the knife, she stabbed him, and despite the fact it was in no way her intent, that knife struck an artery, and he died.

Intent however, was classified as an embellishment, as was a description of her fear, the way it felt to have him standing over her, the fact he had 100 pounds on her, and even the fact that with her broken heel she didn’t think she could outrun him.

She looked at the facts of the case as they were presented, and hoped for death, because there was no accounting for circumstances, and should she be sent to the colony, she might as well have surrendered to her fate. 

Suddenly, the idea of a few guilty people getting off on the mercy of other, seemed like less of a tragedy than it once had, and Fanny sobbed as she recognized the price of the thin veneer of safety that had been created.  She never realized that she would be the one to ultimately pay.

*Moral of the story: Not everything is black and white, reality is full of shades of grey.*