Medusa Merlot


Abigail opened the mystery box and pulled out four bottles of wine, setting them on the coffee table. Brooke picked one up and peered at the label.

“Medusa Merlot?”

Abigail nodded, brushing a long strand of raven hair away from her face. “Yeah, apparently. I have no idea who sent it to us or who delivered it this late at night, but it is New Year’s Eve. And there are four of us, so it works out perfectly. What do you think, Darcy?”

“Bottoms up!” the redhead exclaimed.

Abigail turned toward a tall blonde. “Courtney?”

“Do you even need to ask?” Courtney replied with a grin.

Abigail put her arm around Brooke, a simple move given the brunette’s diminutive stature. Brooke looked up at her friend and rolled her eyes.

“Sure, I’m in, too. Why not?”

“Then it’s settled!” Abigail exclaimed. “Prepare to get buzzed, ladies.”

Courtney scrounged up some wine glasses while Darcy uncorked all four bottles. Each of the women selected a bottle and poured their first glass. Abigail held her goblet aloft and smiled at her roommates.

“To the unknown!” she exclaimed.

The four women each took a tentative sip, then a larger one, and finally downed the rest in one go.

“Wow!” exclaimed Brooke. “I had my doubts, but this is freaking delicious!”

“Damn straight, babe!” Courtney replied, unbuttoning her blouse.

“Is it hot in here?” Darcy asked as she pulled off her T-shirt and tossed it on the floor.

Abigail was already down to her underwear and busy unhooking her bra. “Nah, I just really feel like getting naked for some reason.”

“Way ahead of you,” replied Brooke as she tossed her panties over her head and struck a pose.

Seconds later, all four roommates had finished stripping. Now totally nude, they all eagerly poured a second glass.

“My turn to toast!” announced Brooke, raising her glass. “To freedom!”

This time, they all chugged their wine. Abigail frowned.

“Is it just me? Or are you ladies also feeling a bit stiff?”

The others nodded slowly.

Darcy shrugged. “I’m sure it’s nothing another glass of wine can’t fix.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Brooke replied.

With a bit of effort, they all poured their third glass.

“My turn!” announced Courtney, raising her goblet. “To stillness!” She paused and furrowed her brow. “That’s an odd toast. I just felt compelled to say it for some reason.”

“Well, it works for me,” Abigail replied, downing her wine in one gulp.

The other women followed suit. Darcy raised an eyebrow.

“Abigail, your skin looks a little gray.”

Abigail looked down at herself. “Yeah, you’re right.” She looked at each of her roommates. “And it’s not just me. We’re all turning gray.”

Brooke shrugged. “The wine probably has some hallucinogenic properties. And it’s Medusa Merlot, so turning gray would fit the theme.”

“In the meantime,” Courtney began, “more wine, please!”

The four women nodded and set to work pouring a fourth glass.

“It’s finally my turn!” exclaimed Darcy, raising her goblet. “To art!” She paused. “Hmm, not sure why I said that, but we’ll just go with it.”

She chugged her wine as the others followed suit.

“Whoa,” said Brooke, “I’m feeling… super sluggish… all of… a sudden.”

Courtney turned slowly toward Brooke. “Yeah… me… too.”

Darcy chimed in. “Don’t worry… about it. We have… one… more glass.”

With tremendous effort, the roommates emptied the rest of the wine into their glasses.

“My… turn… again,” gasped Abigail, slowly raising her goblet. “To… eternity.”

As they all raised their glasses for the final toast, a crackling sound filled the room. The women managed one last breath before their lungs turned to stone. Moments later, their hearts beat once more and were still. They stopped moving entirely as their eyes became empty marble orbs and the transformation finished running its course. The crackling subsided.

Four nude statues now stood together, glasses raised and broad smiles on their stone faces.

They remained silent and still through the early morning of the new year. Before dawn, two men entered their apartment with a furniture dolly. They carefully placed a silicone cover on Abigail’s wine glass, threw a sheet over her statue, loaded it onto the dolly, and wheeled it outside and into a moving truck parked in the alley. After repeating this process with the other three ladies, they drove off just before sunrise.

The museum guide stopped beside a group of statues, turning to face the twenty visitors in her tour group.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” she began with a smile, “this is our final stop on this morning’s tour. The museum acquired this exquisite work of art a few days ago, and I am thrilled to share it with you. The piece is called ‘Medusa Merlot’ and depicts four nude priestesses of the temple of Medusa. After completing five years of faithful service, the eager acolytes have turned to stone by each drinking a bottle of enchanted wine. According to legend, every bottle is infused with a few drops of Medusa’s blood—enough to transform a person into solid marble.”

The guide pointed to the wine glasses in the statues’ outstretched hands.

“If you look closely, you’ll notice their glasses are still filled. Could it be the legendary enchanted wine? Perhaps. And who knows? It may still have the power to petrify.”

Copyright 2024 Olivia Zoe Quinn

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Story notes

This short tale is based on a photo manip of the same name by StoneFan88. He was all in favor of me writing a story about it. Actually, I have my eye on a few more.

You’ll notice the women’s names start with A, B, C, and D. That’s also the order they’re standing in from left to right. I needed some way to keep them all straight in my head while writing.

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Olivia Zoe Quinn lives in Ohio with her dog and two cats, who mostly get along. She is pursuing her BA in Creative Writing while working part-time in a lingerie shop. She may be found after hours standing motionless among the mannequins. Olivia is the Editor-in-Chief of Stone Cold Stories and an Associate Editor at Rock Hard Press and GAZMYK Magazine. Olivia is the author of the upcoming sci-fi erotica novel, StoneSport Chronicles: Volume 1, due out in the fall of 2024.

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