The Abduction of Hippothe
He was written into my linage for generations before I was born, in blood and saltwater.
He wanted my great-grandmother brought low, so he demanded my grandmother. Drunk on arbor wine, she’d whisper to her granddaughters what it felt like to be lashed naked to the rock, anticipating the leviathan. In the dreams I had, part of her was still chained there.
Her hero couldn’t save all of her.
I wanted badly in my youth to drown. I wanted the teeth of a sea snake. I wanted anything but to be who I was: an ugly and disappointing daughter, not the strong grandson everyone wanted. They would have named him Pericles; he would have been a warrior.
I wanted most of all to be beautiful.
Andromeda was so lovely, she had forced the seas to rise and meet her, had incurred the wrath of jealous gods, had shaken stars from the sky. And who was I, ungainly girl, to claim her bloodline? The Leviathan’s Daughter, they called me. Spawn of the Sea Snake. The fact that I was Andromeda’s granddaughter didn’t seem to matter; to them, I was evidence that Perseus came a moment too late.
Sometimes, these things skip a generation.
But still Poseidon called for me. I heard his voice in the crying of gulls, in the crash of waves against the shore. He sounded like a typhoon inside my own head. He had no reason to speak to me but speak he did.
One day, he promised. One day.
I told no one. I knew what it meant. I waited. I prayed.
They tried to keep me from the shoreline when I was young but, once I proved unthreateningly hideous, no one cared much what I did. Only daughter of a fourth son. Named for a grandmother whose womanhood had cost eighteen lives beneath chariot wheels. Nowhere close to a beautiful or tragic as my bloodline would suggest.
I ran to the waves, desperate for his voice every time I picked up a seashell and brought it to my ear. And then, as I began to come into age, something changed in me: I began to grow into my limbs, into my nose which had been mocked mercilessly by fishwives in loud whispers.
The gods were—I thought at first—merciful.
When my grandmother saw me, six months shy of eighteen and almost all traces of childhood stripped from me, she fell to the ground and wept. She knew as well as I did that he was coming. I had heard his voice in my head relentlessly for weeks, singing siren songs with promises of seas and sons.
When he came for me, he came unheralded, wrapped only in a cloak of foam. When he came for me, he came not with chariots or spears. When he came for me, he came in the kiss of waves against my bare feet. When he came for me, he came in the calling of the tides, pooling around my ankles.
And finally I answered.
Hippothoe was the daughter of Mestor (son of Perseus and Andromeda) Poseidon abducted Hippothoe from her family and together they had a son.