Katie’s story: ‘Head of the Hydra’

Highly commended

You may have heard the stories of the great Hercules, the man who killed so many monsters, but monsters weren’t the only things he killed, the reason he killed them in the first place was a punishment for murder – human murder. We were his second punishment, the monster bred by Hera to kill him once and for all, but he cheated, he got his nephew to help him. Two against one, no wonder we died.  

What are you talking about, it was not two against one – you make it sound like you fought him by yourself, I was alive by then. He cut off your head easily, remember – all by himself – and was celebrating when he looked up and I was there as well. He was terrified. You he could handle but with me there as well he knew he’d never win. It just shows my incredible strength.

Firstly, he did not defeat me easily, it was a very long and hard-fought battle in which he suffered a great many injuries, and secondly, he did defeat you he cut both our heads off and the twins were born. He looked so scared I almost felt sorry for him. 

He tried to kill us!

I said almost.

After the twins were born, he went insane, swinging his sword round wildly until there were roughly a hundred of us. That was when he decided it was probably a good idea to stop cutting the heads off and that was when he started to cheat.

I know who I did feel sorry for, all the new heads who’d just been born when a maniac with a sword starts attacking them. At least we had a chance to see the world before we were killed.

Exactly, I opened my eyes and that was the first thing I saw. All I wanted to do was explore a bit, meet the other heads, maybe eat a few mortals – you know, just get used to being a head. But instead, all I got was someone wanting to kill me. Of course, I got defensive and attacked him back, he was threatening my home when he should have left it alone. Of course, I tried to kill him – he was trying to kill me. And then I realised that some one else was helping him, two against one is so unfair.

See that’s what I said, they cheated. Cutting off some one’s head then burning the stump! How barbaric! If you’re going to kill someone then you could at least be polite while doing it. First, you bit off their head and then you devour their insides. Much more civilised.  

And if you can’t do it politely then at least have a reason better than some king told me to.

I think it was a God.

It doesn’t matter, the point is he killed us unfairly for no reason and we deserve revenge. 

Actually…

Actually, what? What did you do?

Well, before you two were born…

Seriously, what did you do?

Before you two were born, I may or may not have been terrorising the village.

Oh, no.

And eating most of the inhabitants.

What?!

And stealing the children.

So, I have lived my entire life believing he was the bad guy and had absolutely no reason to attack us, but now you’re telling me that it was your fault all along. I thought we were the victims.

Technically, we’re the same person so if it’s my fault, it’s your fault, and anyway the children really were delicious.

You’re right, they are delicious. And you didn’t really do it because you were bad, only because you needed to eat.

Exactly, where else could I get food? Everywhere we go, people complain. 

So really, we are the good guys because we were only doing it to survive, and he had no right to attack us.

Speaking of surviving, I’m getting hungry.

Me too. Back to the village?

Definitely, I’m in the mood for demigod. The palace?

Of course.