We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the nature-loving activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one without a boyfriend or real family and who has never fit in anywhere.
We hardly knew one another, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unfair world.
We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our seaside town, until one day a mysterious and beautiful classmate taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious.
Yes, that’s us. The three Greek Furies, come to life, ready to take our revenge on everyone who deserves it. And who doesn’t deserve it, really? We’re done with chances. We are angry. The Furies have come to town.
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A Guide to the Furies
What’s the mythology of the Furies?
Back in the day, before Greece was even ancient, there was Father Heaven. He was a deadbeat dad who hated all his children. True, the kids were total monsters. Literally. There was a one-eyed flesh-devouring giant and a towering creature with a hundred hands and fifty heads. Father Heaven hated his offspring so much that he imprisoned them in the bowels of the earth. But one of his kids – the Titan Cronus – decided to stand up to him.
With his sword, Cronus castrated Father Heaven and threw his dad’s mutilated genitalia into the churning, swirling sea.
When the blood hit the water, it created a mighty trio, conjuring them out of pain and the desire for revenge. The Furies, a.k.a. Creatures of Darkness. a.k.a. Sisters of the Night. a.k.a The Erinyes, were born. They have writhing snakes for hair and eyes that weep tears of blood. Sometimes, they have bat wings and the bodies of dogs.
Their entire reason d’être is pursuing and punishing, avenging the innocent and taking care of injustice. They don’t attack with swords or teeth; it’s more a mental game with them. They make their victim feel so crazy guilty that he or she goes insane.
But power is power, and the Furies can quickly go overboard in their hunger for revenge.
Megaera translates as “the jealous one” and she is the epitome of envy. She’s angry, untrusting and resentful, the master of holding a grudge. She especially punishes those who commit marital infidelity – or in high school terms, guys who cheat on their girlfriends.
Tisiphone is the avenger, a retaliator who punishes those who harm the guiltless and vulnerable. She reserves special anger for anyone who murders a family member. In Furious, Tisiphone wants to avenge Mother – Mother Earth.
Alecto, the implacable, is the restless, endless maker of grief who revels in wars and quarrels. She loves nothing better than the adrenaline rush of taking on someone who’s gotten in her face.
Which Fury sounds most like you? And why? Let me know.
Want to Know More about the Furies?
The Oresteia, a trilogy of plays by Aeschylus, lays it out. The story involves Agamemnon, his wife Clytemnestra and their son Orestes, plus a whole bunch of gods. The complicated plot revolves around bloody payback, real eye-for-an-eye stuff. I recommend it.
The final play, The Eumenides, shows how the Furies got called up and involved in this nasty family feud. It ends with the Goddess Athena having enough of revenge. She tames the Furies with a mixture of bribes and threats. Throughout the land, the former terrors become known as “The Kindly Ones.”
Furious picks up here. What if the Furies weren’t permanently tamed? Centuries later, when there’s enough injustice and people get mad enough, the Furies answer the call.
In times past, all dramas started with a prologue, the before before the beginning.
Enter the character to tell you what you need to know.
Enter me, Ambrosia.
Here is what you see. Someone tall and straight, dressed always in black, unruffled in every way down to the clean, classic lines of my designer clothing. I am not perfect by contemporary standards. My almond-shaped eyes – a legacy from my ancestors – sit a little too close together, giving me a penetrating gaze. My nose is too pointed and prominent to be considered an iconic profile in this culture of perky and pug-nosed Anglo-Saxons.
Yet, this is the face that all other female faces at Hunter High are unfavorably compared to. Beauty is not merely in the eye of the beholder. It exists beyond fashion and trend, and everyone feels drawn to it, to what’s deep and unshakable.
From this description, you think you know me, right? I’m the girl who has it all – the looks, the grades, the boobs, the family connections. But my face, this mask of self-assurance, covers a seething anger.
Because in truth, I have nothing worth having. When someone has wronged you and has gotten away with it, when the guilty walk free, that miscarriage of justice makes your very soul writhe in agony.
Let bygones be bygones?
Come to peace with the past?
Animals may forgive and forget, but not a human. I will never find relief, not until a certain someone pays for the crime and suffers as deeply as I have.
I’ve been waiting ages, and finally all the elements are coming together. What a rare alignment of sun and stars and flesh it is. It’s been up to me to find the talent, coax it, feed it, and slowly cultivate it into its full dangerous bloom.
I have two-thirds of what I need. I wait for the missing piece to reveal itself.
I can already taste the iron tinge in my mouth, blood calling out for blood.
It’s time for me to close the book on the prologue. But there’s one more crucial thing you must understand:
This story started long ago, when the wrong that haunts me was committed and the deed left unpunished. When a spoiled and selfish young prince picked up a knife and decided that it was his gods-given right to plunge the blade deep into someone’s back.
That someone was me.