Listen child, all true stories start this way:
Once upon a time we all lived in a forest with lions and tigers and bears. We waded in the wine-dark sea where kraken stirred, and still there were stars and gods to fear.
On the Island of Kos, the Witch-Queen bitterly summoned from the sanctuary of the Moon Goddess her daughter to send as tribute to the Island of Fear - from where Minos ruled over the Middle Sea.
And so it was the silk-sailed, slim-hulled boats tacked to the world’s wind and sailed to Crete carrying humility, perfumes, and gold; carnelian and coral, silks and finest linen; and one Princess.
The ceremony of power concluded: finery doled out to covetous hands, gold and treasures confined to darkness, and only one Princess remained to be disposed of.
They took her down beneath the city, to a great carven door made of gold and on that door a great golden Bull rode his burnished cock on a woman with avid eyes, surrounded by a writhing labyrinth of snakes. The light of the torches flickered and the figures panted and shifted, shimmering to motion.
They said to her: “Here ends your life. Go with dignity as is fitting for the Princess of Kos.”
Unbinding her hands, they left her before the great doors to make her peace with her Gods and choose the hour of her demise.
She had left her Mother’s house dressed in the joyous scarlet of the virgin-brides of Kos - linen spun finer than spider silk, and unbinding her hair, she drew from the edge of her dress a thread, pressed her hands to the great doors and opened to darkness. Ariadne - the Virgin of the Goddess, Princess of Kos -drove upon the ground one long pin that had held up her night-black hair and wound around it the scarlet thread.
One long fine line, scarlet as blood, thin as hope unwinding behind her as she walked. Under her feet lay the dry bones of tribute: gaping denuded skulls lined the walls, smirking in the scant light of the torches.
Still, all death is not final; and she pressed on, the flaring scent of ferocity guiding her deeper into the maze.
Too soon she heard the slow slap of footsteps, the slow breath hissing in broad nostrils.
A presence in the darkness: the jet eyes and the broad horned expanse of the Holy Bull; and beneath, the shoulders, tapering man-flesh, and one more goring horn.
She bowed, clapping her hands in the sacred greeting.
“Great One, I submit this life to thee as is fitting.”
Heat and laughter flared from the Man-Bull “I have fucked and devoured great warriors, cowards, kings and queens, and none submit willingly at the end. None.”
“As you say.” She spread her hands, “I have made my peace, my pain you can devour, if you feed on such…thin milk as this.”
“What else is there?”
“Indeed, there is richer fare. There is fire, ecstasy in pain, yes…and these you know well. What else can there be for one such as you?”
“One such as I? Don’t anger me. Death is not the worse in this place.”
“In Kos there is the Dance, the great Summer Solstice Dance of the Holy Bull, the conquering God trampling Spring, tossing the fertile Moon on the curve of his great horns…and the ultimate pleasure is in the culmination of that Dance.”
He laughed, shaking his great head “Do you wish to prolong your suffering? Do your dance…amuse me, and then I shall toss you on the curve of my great horn, and you will die and feed the fire, as all must”
The daughter of the Witch-Queen drew from her head three long black hairs and wove with skilled fingers. She let fall from her shoulders the scarlet rag of her bridal gown and drew it between her hands. All the light in that dark place glowed in her, on her incandescent moon breasts, flesh of the Goddess. The red rag, the black cord became a garland, a ceremonial offering – and so she danced. Sinuous curves she drew in the dark, the slapping of her feet her drum, the hastening of the Demi-God’s breath imparting new urgency to her slow unfolding. She wove around him, proffering the garland, then whirling away-skimming light fingers on his flesh then slipping past the groping hands with easy grace. The pursuit and the evasion, the twin offering of the garland and her flesh were one: an acceleration ending with a cry and her hands crowning, and crowning him: the bull horns entangled in the scarlet threads, the man-flesh bisected by a thousand skeins of deception, motionless.
“Now, now ends the Dance and so begins true ecstasy. Now shall you yield: submit and conquer; or fight and die.”
I don’t know how the story ends, or who said what to whom.
Maybe stories do not end, there are no straight lines, all things curve.
That is the truest thing I know.