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This is me, Kelly Hevel
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Underground, unblinking medusa stares into the green light. Staring in the quiet as the city buzzes above as the city has buzzed above for endless years. The buzz, the volume, the quality, changing, increasing, but always below is the silence. And silent, damp medusa looking sideways.
Many years ago a powerful man proclaimed a reserve was needed for this great and envied city. Surrounded by water but vulnerable. Vulnerable to invasion from the east, from the west, from the big blue sea to the south from the big black sea to the north. And so the digging started, manpower never a problem in the teeming city where people stream in, pass through, often end up stuck, here at this crossroads. And the work was welcomed by some and forced on others and they dug.
And in the ancient city a wealth of ruins and falling walls and useless ill-used temples. So columns were scavenged from across the city and across all times. None sacred anymore, just useful old rock to shore up the new. Old columns dragged in. New columns dragged in. Medusa, with her Mona Lisa smile, dragged in. Twice. Sideways and upside down she is moved from above to her dark, dank, new underground cave. Submerged in the green water as she has been submerged in the white-hot sunshine above the ground for so long.
Medusa with the weight of the city on her head. Settling into her new role underground holding up the ancient city and the passing years and the evolving people. She sinks a few inches deeper. The water recedes. She is forgotten, they are all forgotten as the city moves on, the conquerors pass through, the wars come and go. Generals come, women emerge, Christian bells ring, imams sing and still Medusa waits, greenly glancing sideways, water lapping at her chin as she smiles her secret smile. Holding up the city, crumbling now above her head, the city is falling, but Medusa holds her ground below.
Forgotten, Medusa waits in the dark, eyes wide-open but nothing to see she waits. Over the years the pathways are lost, forgotten. Discarded cats and dogs take shelter in the cool silent darkness. A few new inhabitants drop scraps and refuse into blind holes polluting the surrounding water. Miraculously some think to lower buckets into dark holes, tapping the silent river underground never knowing they are tapping into history, the ancient plan.
One day someone thinks to wonder where the water comes from, how much there is, and starts digging. Not far below the buzzing busy city the forest of columns comes to light. At first just flashes of light bouncing off cool green water, reflecting on Medusa and the column of eyes and the oh-so-still cool green water. But soon rivers of people and washes of light surround them again. Soon Medusa is glancing at people and music sings around her and voices wash over her as the ancient water laps beneath her. Soon she is protected by bridges and rails and gates and above her the city grows, taller, brighter and still Medusa bears the weight and some of the responsibility for the rivers of people flowing in, down and around her and the eternally growing city.
But she thinks, I have seen you all before, above ground, below ground, you come, you go, but me I go on holding up the city, the crumbling, climbing city as it ebbs and flows. Its colors change, its people change, its language changes but I remain, sometimes in the dark sometimes washed in light looking on quietly but always holding up the city.