Excerpt 41

“Tour guides call her the Bound Woman,” Liliana said. “No one knows the significance. Or why she’s placed at the head of Archie’s grave. Some people say it’s his wife. Or a lover pining for him, sitting on his face for all eternity.” She shrugged. “It’s a mystery.”

Kak ran her hands around the base the woman perched on, tracing the raised outlines all the way around it. They were similar to the carvings on Archie’s tablet. Yes. Cresting waves. The edge of the sea. At the base of the woman’s back her wrists were bound alright, by carved rope from what Kak’s touch told her. Chains would have been more accurate to the mythology but her bondage captured the idea.

“It’s Andromeda,” Kak said. “Chained at the edge of the sea.”

“Andromeda?”

“To be devoured. To be sacrificed into sacred marriage to the monster, Cetus.”

“Why?”

“Because her mother mocked the gods. Andromeda’s death was necessary to satisfy them. It would consecrate her union with Cetus and save the kingdom from destruction.”

“Screw that. I’d have run like hell.”

“Well. She was chained to the spot.”

“Before that. I’d have run away.”

The candlelight threw its wavering glow over Andromeda’s upturned despair. Kak lay a hand on her troubled stone brow. “Maybe she tried.”

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