S.G. Browne

Fiction Friday: Homer’s Reprise

This week on Fiction Friday, rather than a review of a book I’ve read (since I haven’t read anything new this week that I can blog about) I thought I’d share the first part of a short story I wrote a number of years ago that imagines what Odysseus would be doing if he were alive today.

If you like the first part, I’ll share the rest in future posts…


Odysseus Sucks!

The red, spray-painted graffiti screamed from the sheer cliff that jutted out of the ocean off the ship’s starboard bow. There was a time when anyone who sailed near the cliff would have met with the vengeful wrath of Scylla, a monstrous creature who would reach down from her cave and snatch a crew member from the passing ship with each of her six horrible heads. But that was eons ago. Now the mythical beast sat in a museum in Oslo, stuffed and preserved for display among the likes of Cerberus, Big Foot, a family of Cyclops, and the Loch Ness Monster – all hunted down and killed by the same bounty hunters who had left the taunting message in graffiti on the face of the cliff.

As he sailed past, Odysseus sighed – half in dismay at the loss of Scylla, half in longing for the simpler times, before the gods had ‘blessed’ him with eternal charge of the earth’s great beasts. Battling the Trojans and facing the terrors of the Sirens and Scylla gave him more joy than this endless excursion across the globe, always one step behind those who sought to make him irrelevant. He often wondered if they had already succeeded.

Odysseus turned from the defaced and empty lair of Scylla, from the taunting words and the memory of what had once been – though he found no solace on the opposite side of the strait. On a smaller cliff that rose out of the ocean less than an arrow’s flight away stood the barren corpse of a giant fig tree. Beneath the fig tree had once existed the great and terrible Charybdis, a whirlpool who sucked in the ocean thrice a day and spewed it back out. Pity those ships that sailed too close in an attempt to avoid the reach of Scylla, for they would be reduced to splinters by Charybdis and their entire crew either drowned or battered against the rocks.

Unlike Scylla, Charybdis had not been hunted down, for she was more ethereal than substance and could not be mounted in a trophy case. Yet that did not prevent man from hastening her demise. Years of pollution and oil spills had taken their toll on Charybdis, depositing toxins and wastes in the water until she eventually succumbed. Now she sat silent and impotent, the waves lapping listlessly beneath the barren fig tree.

Odysseus stared up into the heavens, where Zeus had once ruled the planet with the rest of the Olympic gods and offered guidance. But in the countless centuries since the fall of Troy, the Greek gods had been forsaken, turned into myth by men who created and venerated a single God. If that wasn’t preposterous enough, those same men worshiped another man, a mortal, who had once claimed to be the Son of God. Odysseus had no doubts that the man could have been the progeny of a god, as Perseus and Hercules had been fathered by Zeus. Yet they were not worshiped and entire religions had not been built around them.

Odysseus found modern beliefs to be strange indeed. And without Zeus and Poseidon and Athena to guide him, the Greek warrior felt adrift in a world that had passed him by. As he sailed from the cliffs that now served as nothing more than headstones for the creatures that had once dwelled within their shadows, Odysseus gave in to the melancholy that inhabited his soul.

Filed under: Fiction Fridays,Random Fiction — S.G. Browne @ 9:49 am


  1. I like the first part, please share the rest

    (yes, I am a sucker for stories about the Gods)

    Comment by Thom Marrion — January 27, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  2. Consider it done. It’ll be up sometime later today. And thanks for reading!

    Comment by admin — January 28, 2011 @ 7:43 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

5 − = three