white bull skull on dark natural background
Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

The Minotaur in His Later Years by Mithran Somasundrum

Sighs when he hears his knees crack

and picks through old, discarded victories.

Thesus's worn skull,

that one Theban guy's shinbone.

He dozes in the afternoons

and hears footsteps

whisper behind the walls.

New would-be assassins,

with their night-sights and tear gas

and smooth plausible faces

and carbon fibre crossbows,

and some need or inadequacy

sharp enough

to carve a Minotaur-shaped

hole in their lives.

The Minotaur stops and peers

down another dark passage.

In his younger days

to his younger self

this tight, constricting labyrinth

was part of his rage.

He stormed every corridor,

wanting more.

But rage is a young man's fuel,

and besides

the labyrinth has grown

around him.

Dead-ends appear

where he expected doorways.

The labyrinth in his memory

cannot be trusted.


turning a corner, expecting

his pallet of straw,

he found a brick wall, and

a young man dressed

in black, carrying

a taser

of all things.

They both shrieked in unison

and then remembering himself

the Minotaur

lowered his head

and charged.

And now he's lost again,

hungry and wanting rest.

While echoing

around him all the while

are other footsteps.


one of those slimy little MBA shits

who wants Minotaur killing

on his CV

to prove he's original

and a risk-taker.

The Minotaur's gone too far

in the wrong direction.

His pallet could be anywhere.

So he hunkers down and sighs and his knees crack

And he thinks again of Thesus,

unspooling a reel of cotton

intentionally too short,

And of Ariadnne,

digging her nails into his back

Oh you beast,

you beast.


the sheer animal truth of him.

It was a great victory

at the time.

Thesus, son of Poseidon,

golden child of Olympus.

Now Olympus

doesn't want him.

Instead he's become a target for middle-management

The means

to an end-of-year bonus.

And so the Minotaur leans

his back up against

a brick wall which,

centuries ago,

to a younger man,

was a door,

and remembers his old foe

and can't help feeling that

between the two of them


had the better of it

after all.


Mithran Somasundrum writes: I was born in Colombo, grew up in London and currently live and work in Bangkok. My short stories have been published in The Sun, Inkwell, Natural Bridge and the Minnesota Review, among others. My first novel will be published in Singapore by Kitaab some time next year.