This is third installment of my series of stories exploring Women in Greek Myth. Click on the link to read Ariadne and Medusa's stories.
I hear it again, the laughter, deep in the stygian shadows beyond the temple wall. It is lost almost immediately, stifled by the greedy rush of Boreas’ breathless passage.
“Iphigenia?” The forbidden name escapes me, dusty and threadbare with disuse. It echoes in the empty chamber of my body, the dry husk that was once a womb. The silence wraps around me, a choking blanket which clogs my throat and settles like ashes in my hair. The urn in my hands drops to the floor, spilling spice-scented wine like blood across the marble floor.
“My Queen.” I feel Aegisthus’ hand upon my shoulder and for a moment I am grateful for the human solidity of his touch. I realise I am trembling. Slowly I lift my head, meeting the sightless gaze of the Goddess’ blank stone face.
No seed of life was ever planted in her untouchable body; her belly was never swollen, stretched and scarred by its fecundity. No child has been nourished from her breast, its tiny, pink tipped fingers clutching in greedy exultation at her milk-swollen dugs.
I am cold, so cold. My fingers curl, digging into the palm of my hand.
“He is here,” Aegisthus says. “He is home.”
I turn and I see what is draped over his arms. It is the carpet I have woven these ten long years, purple-red, the colour of the crushed grape. It has stained his open hands, like blood.
Our eyes meet. I nod, slowly. “I am ready.”