its ecstasy was horrible

Benjamin asked me to play him an audiobook this afternoon. Which one? “One with monsters.” I played him Geraldine McCaughrean’s Odysseus, but my favorite of her monsters is this one, from a chapter in Perseus called "Love at First Sight":

At the sight of the monster watching her from among the waves, Andromeda fainted. The beast was transfixed; the answer to its longings was suddenly there. It had been formed and made to hunger after Andromeda. As Poseidon took a piece of alligator, a shred of shark, a morsel of whale, a section of moray eel, and molded his ravenous vengeful monster, he poured into its sea-cold blood all the heat he had felt for Medusa, all the hunger he still felt for beauty, all the violence he normally reserved for causing tidal waves and earthquakes. So the monster thought and dreamed and pictured and bayed for Andromeda. And when it found her staked out as a gift, its ecstasy was horrible to see. It leaped and pranced in the sea, and its tongue lolled out through its thousands of teeth. Its nostrils were full of her sweet smell. It scraped its clawed fins on the shallowing seabed and stretched out its neck… (pp. 79–80)


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