These days, she lives in a small hotel about twelve miles from nowhere. It reeks of the mundane, and she rarely gets visitors, but it’s home. Sometimes when the summer wind creeps in, she walks through the trees with her animals, dreaming of cool marble halls and the salty ocean air. Sometimes it comforts her.
Sometimes she dreams of fair Odysseus, and his body warming her bed. But that mostly reminds her of her loneliness. After all, her servants have gone, her sons are all dead, and visitors are few and far between. All she has now is her little hotel, and her pets.
Tigers and wolves roam her property, along with the occasional pig from an era long since lost. There are lions, but their teeth have decayed. There are bears, but it’s been centuries since the last time one bothered to hunt. She’s contemplated turning them back, just to have someone to talk to, but despite the years she’s spent alone, she hasn’t lost her cruel tongue or sharp temper.
At night, she sways her hips to music that crackles from an old, battered radio. She cooks herself breaded mushrooms for dinner, and falls asleep on frayed sheets.
She does get the odd visitor, though. He finds his way to her with stories of a broken car, or an unreliable map. On those nights, she cooks a feast and they dance to her old radio. On those nights, she does not go to her bed alone. On those nights, she lives again.
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