The Eyes of Argus Open for Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. (June 18, 2022.)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: A day late with this, and I’m dipping here into my love of Mythology. And I have been around peacocks.

Argus Panoptes

by Jeff Baker

I served Queen Hera.

For her I spied, kept information and protected the transformed Io who was really the lover of her faithless husband Zeus. He had transformed her into a cow so Hera would not suspect another woman. But Hera knew; I had told her.

I am Argus Panoptes, “Argus the All-Seeing” or “Argus Many-Eyes.” And I did have many eyes. I was a Titan. I was mighty. And none could catch me by surprise.

Even when I slept, some of my eyes remained open.

But there was one stealthier than my sight. Hermes. Lord of swiftness and of travelers. He who could travel between Earth and the Underworld of the Dead.

He also practiced magic.

One day when I was guarding Io, Hermes passed by, I believed on one of his many missions.

I did not know his mission involved me.

Hermes called upon the power of slumber, made the sunlight drowsily warm, made the grassy ground look comfortable and inviting and before I realized it all of my eyes were closed and I was asleep.

An instant later, I was dead.

It was, of course, Hermes who escorted me to the Underworld, and he explained and apologized for what had just happened. But at the gate to Elysian Fields, there was a message for the Messenger. Hera wanted me, and I felt myself vanishing.

So, now my eyes and I still exist. I am on the feathers of the decorative bird, the Peacock. And I could still see wherever the peacocks were, I was, still spying for Queen Hera. Not a bad afterlife at all. The Peacock was Hera’s bird, her emblem and through me it became her avatar.

Now Hera and the other Gods are gone, ascended to what realm I do not know but I remain, witnessing the endless parade of life on this world. And wherever a peacock is, there I and my eyes are.

The peacock’s cry is a howl, but beneath it if you listen closely, you can hear my laughter.

Be seeing you!


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