My new client turned out to be a bit of a killer. What she actually said on the phone was,
“My name is Stheno and I need some help finding my feet in the city.”
Foolishly, I told her, “I have an hour free this afternoon.”
Miss Stheno arrived promptly and my first impression was that she needed to find more than just her feet, and that might be made easier with binoculars. Clad in ragged clothes that smelled like they were taken from the grubbiest tramp, she was tall, well over six feet, with an olive complexion, a rather wide and flat face, a vast array of grubby blond dreadlocks down below her shoulders, and mirror shades, which were the only thing about her that was clean and polished.
“I have to keep them on,” she told me, grinning to show big, ragged teeth that needed an hour or three with an orthodontist. My first lifestyle tip for her would be mouthwash.
“No problem, Miss Stheno,” I assured her, keeping my breathing shallow. “Come in, take a seat and perhaps give me some background. You’ve moved to the city quite recently, I take it.”
“It’s the trend, isn’t it? I’ve been living in the countryside for thousands of years, but times are changing.”
“Sorry? Thousands of years?”
She grinned again. “Didn’t I say over the phone? I’m a Gorgon. One of the immortal ones. Not like my stupid sister Medusa, getting her head cut off like that.”
I have previously had a client who claimed to be Napoleon, but it turned out that he was just taking the mickey.
“You know I’m not a therapist, don’t you?”
“Lifestyle Coach it said in your blog. Guiding people to a more fulfilling and contented life, and that’s what I need, some guidance on lifestyle, how to fit in to the city. The countryside is getting cluttered with people from the city taking a break, so I decided to move here.”
I fiddled with my phone and set up a call to the police, ready to dial, just in case.
“Uh, Miss Stheno, you know that Gorgons are mythical creatures, don’t you?”
“Do I look mythical?” She briefly clasped her hands in front of her chest, and then spread her arms wide. “Mystical, yes. Mythical, no.”
If only she’d take off those damned mirror shades maybe I could see if there was a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. Something to tell me whether this was a wind-up or a potential danger.
“So, you’re supernatural.”
“No, I am perfectly natural, it’s just that you humans have a very narrow understanding of nature. I’m a natural, mystical being, and I want some help settling in to the city.”
She sounded so reasonable.
“Right. OK. Let’s start with the basics. Where do you currently live?”
“In the park. I’ve been hanging out, as the local kids keep saying, just before I eat them.”
She paused and thought. “I suppose not. They say things like hanging out long before I eat them. But just before I eat them they say you bitch and argh. So not everything has changed in this modern age.”
“Um, as a lifestyle hint, you probably shouldn’t eat the local kids.” What am I saying? “How many have you eaten? So far? Roughly?”
“Four. Maybe five. There were also the ones I turned to stone. I’ve done three of those.”
I suddenly recalled some recent news headlines about missing kids and mystery statues appearing in the park. Just like that, I was starting to believe that Miss Stheno really was a Gorgon and not just a delusional client.
Or a delusional client who probably keeps up with the news.
“At least you didn’t do a pillar of salt.” I tried to laugh at my own weak joke, but Miss Stheno titled her head, a simple threat, the mirror shades could come off. “Right. So. Lifestyle.” Humour her and get it over with, and don’t make any future appointments, or any more jokes. “Stop eating kids in the park and don’t turn any more of them into stone. Um… what do you do for a living?”
Miss Stheno nodded and set her dreadlocks swaying. “Someone told me that I needed a job if I’m going to live in the city. He also said that I have a future in garden ornaments.”
“Really. What else did he say?”
“Nothing. I turned to talk and forgot these.” She tapped her mirror shades. “Life was simpler in the countryside. People came and I ate them, or turned them into stone.”
“Right. Perhaps you ought to turn people into something other than stone. Is that possible? Something a bit less… rigid.”
“I don’t do pillars of salt.”
“No, no, I mean something less… I don’t know… something that means people survive being turned. I mean, once you’re stone, it’s pretty much over, isn’t it. If you want to fit in to city life, it’s best if you don’t kill people.”
“Thank you. Progress. That’s perfect.” She raised her mirror shades and her dreadlocks reared up like a nest of vipers. “How’s this?”
I died. I know I died. I just felt pain and ending and a deep wrenching something that filled me with a single word, posted.
Miss Stheno hummed contentedly. “I turned you into a blog.”
Another wrenching something ran through me, updated.
So, my last client proved to be a bit of a killer, but I can keep going, writing about her, warning others of the danger.
Miss Stheno growled. “You will not turn me into an urban myth.”
“Hah! I am words on a screen. I live in the cloud now. I will tell the world, warn the world and there is nothing you can do to stop…”
404 – Page not found.
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This was written in response to the July #BlogBattle prompt of Myth.
Images from pixabay.com