Oedipus Rex

Kira Anderson

The quaking light of a thin, crescent moon fell upon a young woman, standing alone in the middle of the empty field. Her pale brown hair was framed by a halo of light. The tawny locks curled across her shoulders and stopped at the curves of her breasts. The woman's sorrowful cobalt eyes were decorated with a thin layer of lilac paint. Her pink lips were made-up well with ruby paint. By all standards, she was beautiful; her skin was a flawless peach, her features perfectly symmetrical. Her long legs, along with the rest of her body were thin, but still attractive. She was eye-catching on many levels. Her long, ornate dress clung to her body more tightly than would generally be acceptable, but this fact was accentuated by the wind tossing the skirt above her knees. She paid no mind. All of her attention was focussed on the mountain in front of her. The peak was hidden behind a layer of white, cottony clouds. She shook her head, tears sliding from the corners of her eyes.

"I did nothing to you." she said through her tears. "I did nothing to you; spoke no insults, expressed no enmity. I worshipped you as did everyone else. And yet you punish me." She shook her head. "Took my mother, my father, brothers, and sister. What have I ever done to deserve this?" she demanded, but was met with nothing other than the whispering of the wind through the knee-high, browning grass around her. She lifted a hand to her face to hide her tears.

He was holding her hand, telling her that their family was cursed for his sins. The sins that brought the family to their knees.

"Remember me, Ismene, as you would remember a dead man. I am dead to you; As I should be." he told her.

"Father…" she started, but was interrupted.

"I am not your father, I am your shamed brother." At that, Ismene quieted. She looked into the kind eyes of her father-brother, Oedipus, and put a hand on his.

"I still love you." she proclaimed with all the heart of a young child. The king gave a humourless laugh.

"There will come a time, daughter-sister, where you will come to hate me for the curse I have brought upon you."

Ismene did not believe him then, she loved him and she was sure that she always would. Looking at the mountain of the gods in front of her, though, she was not sure who she hated. She hated the curse, she hated the gods, she hated Creon, and she hated herself. "I should have helped you bury Eteocles." she admitted to her long-dead sister. "For the laws of gods are far more potent than the laws of man."

"Lady Ismene," a man said, running up to her on the street. Ismene looked up through her black veil which hid her from the shame of her family and allowed her to become simply another mourning daughter.

"Yes?" she asked, setting down the fabric she had been selecting from the booth in front of her.

"Lord Creon… He…" The young lad delivering the message gasped in air and continued. "Your sister, Antigone, hung herself. And when Prince Haimon found her, he too killed himself." Ismene froze at the words, stopping as though a sword had ripped its way into her body and rented her very soul in half. Her right hand made it to her heart as her knees gave out, sending her to the ground with a harsh shock that stiffened her entire body. It was the curse of Oedipus.

Ismene remembered hearing someone tell how Oedipus had once declared himself to be the "child of luck." At the thought, she gave a small laugh through her silent sobs. The irony was nearly paralyzing. She gently wiped away her tears, careful not to smudge her painted face. "And I cannot die yet, because that would mean that you have won." she reminded the mountain. The gods were so far away, no longer a comfort to her. "And yet I cannot live, because there is nothing else to live for, so what am I to do?" Again, her questions were met with nothing but a whispering silence. She gently turned her head to the ground and looked at it intently. She lowered herself to her knees slowly, eyes glued to the clouds hiding the peak to the home of the gods. "And I am here on my knees begging for an answer." she whispered. She kneeled for what seemed to be hours, waiting for something to change. Her hair whipped into her face, her skirt fluttered around in the grass, her tears stopped altogether. Suddenly, with her mind made up, she rose to her feet and turned her back to the mountain.

"My curse was not brought of Oedipus; it was brought of my own folly- believing that perhaps you could actually be real."