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Medea Above the Sea

After the tempest, when she rode on the dragon, she saw the choppy glittering water below and the rainbow. Above the human miseries, above drowning and destruction, silent up here, only the tender wind, no screaming or praying.

The dragon’s scales cool and smooth beneath her hands. Medea wore her bright mantle with the embroidered border of dolphins, her favorite shivery-blue linen with pockets to hold a ribbon, a wheat cake, a flower, a potion.

A ship was sinking, sailors in the sea. Another ship beside it, celebrating victory. She flew closer. One looked like an old lover. He floundered and would not last long. Thrashing and agonized, with white-toothed grimace. Not really Jason, who also had dark and open eyes. If she flew any closer, her dragon would bite him in two. Perhaps a quicker death.

Concealed in the clouds, she watched the drowning sailors, who would soon be concealed in the water, their secrets gone, aspirations drowned, bones settling in the gentle muck. This would never happen to her; she and her dragon would escape into the bosom of Hecate, the goddess that loved her. She noted the sailors’ flailing arms, shook her head, and sighed.

Her mother was a goddess. In Medea’s heart was a dragon. Beneath her, another dragon snorted, nipped at the air, hungry.

The smaller ship had a hole in the hull. Forty-six sailors drowning and drowned.

She lifted her gaze from mortal suffering, shaded her eyes. A country beyond the horizon, where she would be safe always. She would land there. She pulled her scarlet sash tighter. Inside the right pocket she had hidden a knife.


Cezarija Abartis has published a collection, Nice Girls and Other Stories (New Rivers Press), and stories in Bennington Review, FRiGG, matchbook, Waccamaw, and New York Tyrant, among others. Recently she completed a crime novel. She lives and writes in Minnesota.

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