The green glow on the horizon warned me something was off. Things had been…different since Dorian had blown through. The roof repairs were finished on schedule, and we successfully housed several individuals and families needing help. Zeus’ call to Poseiden answered some questions I’d had about the hurricane and felt no hard feelings. With the rebuilding, my idea for a party fizzled, and the gods’ lackluster response hurt. I admitted that. But if they didn’t want to enjoy the beauty of Par Impar and my Carribean isle, then I’d simply remain here. Perhaps my plans for expansion could go elsewhere, rather than a planned trip to the Olympus Administration building.
I trailed my fingers in the water, smiling as the koi came to the surface in search of food. I’d fed them earlier, but hungry as they were, they still looked for more. “Later, my beauties. Later.”
I stood up and went to the ocean’s edge, to the private bit of sand that I claimed as my own. I might have dismissed my concern over the green glow as part of my unsettled thoughts over my place in the pantheon. But this was more.
A low moaning filled the wind. Instantly, I sent my thoughts over Par Impar. Gambling continued on the main floor. Refugees tried to make new lives for themselves. A few ventured to the beaches, and the tiki bar did good business. On land, it seemed, everything appeared to be okay. I sensed Minerva working late in her office, trying to see if some of the extra food and equipment I’d purchased before the storm for the gods’ party could be sent to a relief agency, or barring that, returned. I appreciated her, more than she knew.
I slipped off my sandals and stepped into the ocean, letting the waves wash over my ankles. Normally, the water soothed me, and maybe it was the recent hurricane that still shook my soul, or maybe everything else swirling around in my mind, because tonight it didn’t. Instead, the green tint slid over my skin like some kind of bioluminescent invertebrate, and when the tide receded I felt…dirty.
Something stirred in the water. Something old and dark and dangerous, like out of a tale. Every once in a while, a guest would ask me about Davey Jones or the Kraken. I knew better than to dismiss the old legends. I also laughed it off with them, told them it was something from a script writer’s imagination. Don’t we all like to think there are huge unknown creatures lurking in the dark? Movies were made about it, and prehistoric beasts like the megalodon fascinated young and old alike. Perhaps tonight’s strange color to the ocean simply was some natural phenomena or one of the gods having fun.
The wind moaned with pain and retribution. Oh, I knew the feeling, had them both curled deep in my gut like a snake ready to strike. I tightened my hand into a fist. I’d been generous with my luck toward some; I refused to do so any more. They turned their backs on me in my hour of need because I didn’t stay in Athens and play their games. I pressed my fist to my chest. My eyes stung, though I refused to cry. Not over them. Not anymore.
I took a deep breath and stepped back from the water. A green, ghostly tendril reached for me, though I dismissed it as a trick of light. I slipped on my shoes, then strode halfway across the beach. One more walk through Par Impar before turning in for the night.
Except, I couldn’t resist one final look at the ocean for this evening. And there, rising from the waves, were the forms of skeletons, rags hanging off of them, mouths open in a ghastly silent scream. I pressed my hand to my mouth, not wanting to scream back at them, then turned and fled for the building. When I risked one more look back at the ocean, they were gone.
I still shook by the time I reached my office. “I’ll finish these up. You’ve worked long enough today,” I said to Minerva as I pulled out the chair behind my desk.
“You’re back tonight? I thought you were going to relax.” She glanced at me and must have read my still-startled expression. “What happened?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen anything like it.” I took a deep breath, then pulled a bottle of sparkling water out of the mini refrigerator next to my desk. I drank several swallows before continuing. “Remember how I said it felt as if Dorian had stirred up something? Like something dark had come up from the ocean?”
“I swear I saw pirate ghosts.” I laughed a bit, just to cover up my own foolishness. I knew the history of these islands, probably better than the historians did, given Lady Luck’s role in helping pirates, or not helping, as the mood moved her. And I was fickle in those days. “The ocean is glowing green, and it’s not an algae bloom or anything natural. I swear one tried to grab me.”
“Oh.” She sounded equal parts horrified and excited.
“Don’t go to the ocean,” I ordered.
“Minerva, please. After everything that’s happened, I don’t think I could take it if I lost you.” Raw and frustrated by the entire situation, I spoke my feelings. “You’re my right-hand. I can’t run Par Impar without you.”
“Oh.” This time she spoke with understanding, as if she hadn’t realized that I’d held her in such high esteem.
“Yeah. Let’s not do anything foolish. Though it might be good to quietly let people know they should come in from the beach tonight.” I picked up the phone to call the on-duty supervisor of the ground crew to make sure we didn’t have any employees out just as the screams started.
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