Rain traced endless lines down the large viewing windows that looked out across the sodden runway.
Jet engines fired out powerful thrusts that filled the air with a wall of sound.
Alex could smell the powerful fumes of aviation as she looked across the shimmering runway and the planes backing up for take off.
Athens witnessed the heavy storms that had buffeted the Greek mainland before heading towards Santorini and Crete.
Crete felt the full force of the storms with cars washed out to sea and coast roads and clifftop paths lost beneath floodwaters and waves.
Alex turned facing Marko and she smiled wryly.
“Tell me just how long have we been waiting for this flight?”
“About three hours but look on the bright side we have a week on the beach to recover.”
“You seem to be very calm about all this Marko.” Alex noted.
“How many times have you failed to make a flight.” He challenged.
“Never but this is a working holiday the sooner we get there the better.” Alex replied.
“Stop worrying we are getting paid for sitting on a beach every other day some call it research but its happy days relax go with the flow.” Marko answered.
While they talked an announcement boomed out.
“Olympic flight 3030 for Santorini will be boarding from gate thirty three in forty five minutes.”
“Air Olympic apologises for any inconvenience caused by the late arrivals inbound due to the adverse weather conditions.
Please can all passengers for flight 3030 to Santorini head to gate thirty three for boarding.”
Alex looked at Marko who smiled broadly back at her and winked.
“We will soon be riding donkeys down the cliff path and walking in pain at the bottom.”
Arriving late into the resort airport they navigated there way through customs and the airport collected their bags from the luggage carousel and then waited for the hotel minibus to Fira.
Arriving late into the hotel they they were both hungry and decided to check into their rooms and freshen up before venturing into the resort and finding something to eat and drink back at the hotel.
They were soon walking down into the resort looking for a cafe bar.
Alex spotted bright lights down a side street in the distance.
“Look Marko an open cafe bar.” Alex stated.
They entered the cafe bar and both leaned on the imposing counter and watch like hawks the busy staff and customers ahead of them in the queue.
With hungry eyes they looked at the rows of ice cold beers invitingly lined up in the chillers with condensation dripping from them.
” We heading back to the hotel Marko after we have ordered we can relax its late we have an early start in the morning.” Alex enquired.
” Sounds like a plan to me the food looks good and the beers look cold we have had a long day a few beers and a film will be welcome after we get the suitcases sorted.” Replied Marko.
Next morning both were up and out early and exploring the resort.
Santorini looked like it does in the brochures stunning deep blue azure seas frame by dark steep volcanic cliffs topped by white washed buildings like icing on a wedding cake.
Walking down the narrow cobbled streets nearing the cable car station Alex noticed an advert promoting an ancient art exhibition at a local museum.
“Look Marko.” Exclaimed Alex.
Marko picked up a flier and began reading the advert.
” Akrotiri speaks to a new world through its beautiful frescoes reanimating a world trapped by nature and preserved in time.”
Sounds really interesting we can see it on our way out this evening Marko.”
Alex excitedly added.
Both dressed up for their first night away on Santorini first nights away are always exciting.
“Look at you Alex you look almost dateable.”
“You are the hired help remember get your camera and less of your lip.” Answered Alex.
Alex looked towards Marko for a few moments he was a friend but work was work.
Pictures, interviews, and the head of marketing lining up days of endless seminars on telecoms it was going to be q busy week.
“Are we heading for the restaurant overlooking the bay Alex.” Marko enquired.
” Yes we can stroll down to the American Jazz bar for a nightcap
later.” Alex replied smiling.
“We have enough time to take in th exhibition on our way Marko.”
” No problem boss lets get going.” Marko smiled broadly.
Winding illuminated passageways led they to the narrow clifftop pathway that had a sheer drop over a small wall.
They admired the views away in the distance as the varied street lights around the bay shimmered against the dark evening skies.
“How far up is the museum Marko.” Alex asked.
“See the archway at the crest of the hill just behind it the driveway leads to the entrance.” Marko replied.
“We will have about an hour before it closes Marko.” Alex noted.
Moonlight illuminated the early evening sky dancing across the ancient bay formed over 3400 years earlier by the Minoan eruption.
They reached the heavy double doors of the museum and entered.
A receptionist greeted them, she was sat at a desk near the entrance doors.
Brochures and fliers on the museum and Santorini covered the desk.
“Good evening.” the receptionist greeted them brightly.
“Two tickets please.” Alex replied.
“You can either follow the route printed on the tickets or take a random tour of the the museum and exhibition.” Added the receptionist.
Marko looked at Alex and shrugged his shoulders.
“Toss a coin heads I take the route tails you.” He stated.
Alex threw the coin high into the air they both watched the coin as it span around then landed on the polished black marble floor and rolled under the receptionists desk.
Alex shook her head and smiled trying hard not to laugh.
“Marko you can take the random tour meet back here in an hour OK.”
“Take your time and enjoy the tour Alex.” Marko replied.
“Be careful Marko.” Answered Alex.
He turned and began his random tour walking on he stopped suddenly still in his tracks and mulled her words over.
“Be careful of what?” He asked himself.
Displays led Alex around the atmospheric museum the vivid colours and modern appearance of the frescoes captivated Alex and her senses firing her imagination.
Alex was fascinated by them she had never seen frescoes up close before.
Sacred blue birds perched on the branches of sacred oak trees a goddess dressed in blue robes and two handmaidens dressed in white and yellow sat on a sacred rock.
A scene taken directly from a lost ancient world captured by an unknown artist for millions of eyes to admire for eternity.
No words are needed when you have the work of talented artists filling your mind and vision with rich vibrant colours and life from an ancient world.
Alex felt herself drawn to the figure of the goddess she stared into her large dark almond shaped eyes.
She had red crocuses painted on her cheeks and large dragonfly earrings whilst around her neck was a golden chain of butterflies, honeybees and sacred birds rested on her tanned chest.
She wore a flared bell shaped light blue and saffron dress with blue red and yellow circles around both arms and the hem of the dress and a blue sash belt drawn tightly around the waist.
Her dark almond eyes stared out of the frescoe back at Alex sending shivers through her body.
Hairs suddenly stood up on the back of her neck.
Lights began flashing repeatedly she felt herself spinning around her stomach churned and heaved as she felt herself falling into a dark abyss beneath her.
Her mind was in turmoil as she continued to struggle with the strange feelings overtaking her .
She had stopped falling and she awoke slowly still feeling dazed and tired she stared around and saw a sandy coastline she looked out towards the sea and could make out black sails breaking the horizon.
Figures danced on the sandy shoreline in front of her raising up their hands towards the heavens.
A man approached her wearing a golden mask with three silver doves inlaid on the cheek.
“Mistress your people wait will you speak to them directly or let the spirit within you talk.”
“What is all this some sort of weird cult?” Alex Replied.
She was still unsteady on her feet and was becoming nervous as she looked around the beach.
“Mistress the spirit within you speaks a tongue we do not understand.” The priest stated.
People watched on mesmerised by her words.
Open mouthed the priest stared at Alex.
Crowds gathered around her, chanting and singing hymns, they stared wide eyed as she spoke to them again.
“You’re like the figures from the frescoes I must be dreaming wake up Alex wake up.” She shouted loudly.
Two hand maidens supported her holding her hands gently they guided her to the shoreline and the waves gently lapped over her feet cooling her down as they did so.
Both handmaidens pointed towards the fast approaching oared ships their black sails billowing in the stiff sea breeze that was blowing over the island.
“Paiawon and Rhadys have with your blessings guided our fleets return form campaigning on Sicania your power protected them Mistress.” The handmaiden stated.
Alex listened but had no idea what the handmaidens had told her.
” Sorry… I know you mean me no harm i just wish someone anyone could understand me.”
People filled the shoreline around her but she had never felt so alone than at that moment she was confused what had happened to the world she knew.
More people gathered on the beach and looked towards her waiting expectantly on her words.
Alex had become Britomarpis the Mistress of Animals the deity who thrilled crowds and left them spellbound with her magical powers.
Alex looked around at the lush green landscape of the island that surrounded her It formed a perfect circle like a shield cast on a a lake.
Cone shaped peaks stretched high into the blue cloudless skies above her.
There were no electricity pylons or busy roads or traffic at all on the island only the breaking of the waves onto the shoreline broke the silence.
She watched as a tall figure walked up the beach towards her with purpose preparing herself for the worst.
“Where are you from Mistress?”
He asked staring directly into her eyes.
“Who are you spirit talk to me.” He demanded
Alex smiled at the priest and then pointed towards the sky copying the actions of her seven handmaidens.
She was visibly annoyed with the priest questioning her.
“Mnoitai . you serve me never question what is beyond your comprehension.” She warned.
Closing fast towards the shoreline the fleet of black sailed ships loomed ever larger into view before one by one they beached on th sandy shoreline before the gathered crowds.
Men and women embraced warmly as they danced wildly down the sandy beach and Laughter filled the air as excited voices chatted like birds at sunrise.
Alex watched as two powerfully built tall figures walking towards her purposefully.
As both neared they lowered their eyes towards the floor and removed their helmets.
“Britomarpis you look beautiful as always Kydonians loss is our gain.”
Alex could understand every word they had spoken?
Paiawon looked at Alex and smiled.
“Sister we have good news our hoped for alliance with Sicania is secured but at a price.”
Alex could not take her eyes off the warrior stood beside her brother.
He walked slowly towards her and before stopping in front of Alex.
Leaning forwards he whispered
“Britomarpis you’re free cast the seal of Poseidon into the sea he now as Minos and Aeacus for company in the underworld Mistress wears the seals of both Phaistos and Kydonia rule beside me claim your birthright.”
Rhadys your father will soon be here and he will need your support his loss is far greater than the campaigns rewards.”
Alex walked slowly over towards the headland she stopped on the edge and wrapped the seal of Poseidon in a piece of old fishing net she found.
She then cast the seal into the sea below from the cliffs edge.
“Alex… Alex… Alex… ” she could hear a voice calling her name repeatedly.
” Alex are you OK? Marko asked
“Let me go back please life is sacred there please let me go back.” She rambled.
Her voice faltered as she slipped away again she now lay motionless on the museum floor her shoulder length black hair blending with the black polished marble floor beneath,
It was quiet the only noise breaking the silence came from Marko as he cradled Alex in his arms tears running down his cheek.
“Please don’t go stay with me Alex stay with me.” Marko whispered.
Alex could hear the sea gently lapping against the shoreline Rhadys held her hand gently and talked to her slowly.
“Release the spirit Britomarpis be yourself once more.” Replied Rhadys.
“Poseidon as no control over you now the gods cannot control or hold spirit Britomarpis they envy its power.” Stated Rhadys.
Britomarpis blinked three times then sighed as she breathed out and closed her eyes.
Alex lay motionless on the museum floor as the paramedics scrambled into the museum.
Marko felt a mixture of both guilt and relief as the paramedics began to revive Alex.
” Are you her husband? Enquired the paramedic.
N..N NO Marko stuttered.
“We are friends we work together.”
“What are you called sir.” Asked the parmedic.
“What is your friends name sir.”
“Alex.” Replied Marko.
“Alex… Alex can you hear me you have had a fall were just checking you out and will put you on oxygen to help you with your breathing and recovery were going to slip the mask over your nose now its ok there is nothing to worry about Alex.” The paramedic stated.
“Does she have a history of blackouts or as she complained of ever feeling lightheaded .” The paramedic questioned Marko.
“No I can’t remember her having a day off ill in the four years I have worked with her.” Replied Marko.
“It could be an andrenaline inrush as overloaded her causing her to feel over anxious and lightheaded leading to her passing out. Stated the paramedic.
Once we stabilize her breathing she will be fine.” Stated the paramedic.
Marko caught sight of a small butterfly its wings gently caressed the air as circled very gracefully above Alex.
She moved and opened her eyes slowly before looking around the room she looked confused and startled as she studied the people surrounding her.
” Alex can you hear me? Asked the paramedic.
She stared right through him before speaking.
” Santi ke -ke me-na pa – I to.”
“What is the language she is speaking.!” Asked the paramedic.
” She speaks English and Italian but I have no idea what language she just used.” Marko stated.
” Alex are you OK? Marko asked as he stared into her eyes.
“Pa -Ji -Wo.” She replied.
She stared at the frescoes behind Marko on th wall and smiled as she studied them.
They held scenes she had known she was a young girl displayed in the temples of Phaistos, Akrotiri and Kydonia covered the wall.
She looked at the blue butterfly circling her and she knew that Rhadys was right spirit was far stronger than the gods.
She stared at Marko smiled and then closed her eyes when she awoke Rhadys was stood beside her.
“Your spirit as returned Britomarpis Poseidon no longer controls your life or feelings you deserve to be free from service we deserve to be as one” Replied Rhadys.
Marko listened as the paramedics spoke to their colleagues before giving Alex the all clear.
They checked her reflexes and her vision as she sat up slowly.
Alex felt sheepish about all the attention and fuss created as the paramedics carried on checking her blood pressure and heart rate.
“You know how to shake a museum up and me.” Marko whispered in her ear.
Alex smiled back at Marko.
” Relax Marko we will be on the beach tomorrow thanks for staying with me.”
” You know after today we could become more than work colleagues Alex.”
“This new Marko is interesting.”
“Is that a yes to my question Alex? Asked Marko.
Alex nodded her head smiling broadly as they both embraced each other warmly.