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The Disaster

by Jessica Shaw Huntington 11 months ago in Short Story
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Jessica Shaw Huntington

"I must get to it," I muttered as I saw a faint glint of light across the broken and crumbling streets. The fading sunlight gave an almost peaceful feel to the evening air - almost. Dead bodies scattered the entirety of the city either drowned or crushed. Animals fed on what they could find and the crunching of leaves and splashing of puddles reminded me all too well that peace was just a far-fetched notion now. The scavengers that I scouted out the previous night were here to pick the items from the dead just as the animals found a free meal.

Atlantis was once so beautiful. The lush gardens and bustling happy merchants were gone now. In one fell swoop, a greedy mistake caused the waves to destroy everything, leaving ruined buildings and corpses behind.

It was all because of her ignorance! I seethed silently. My most trusted friend Kina, a priestess like myself, wanted more than what she possessed. We were both abandoned at Poseidon's temple as a baby and we grew up together, knowing everything about each other. The little bit of money that I earned, I saved up to buy a gift for her. On our 15 year mark of being friends, I gifted her a heart shaped locket. She immediately put it on and exclaimed, "I will never take it off! I love it!"

However, after a couple of years, I could see her begin to change. She would steal from the temple. She began sneaking out and I would cover for her. Then one day, she told Poseidon that the Atlanteans were becoming more and more faithless and swore that if he elevated her to a higher standing, then she could return them to the old ways of faithful worship. That was just the beginning of the end.

"Get everything you can find," the leader ground out to the rest of the scavengers, bringing me back reality. "The dead won't need material items in Elysium." The others grunted and began spreading out.

Shit! I quietly snuck behind the crumbling building. After everything that happened, a priestess would be the ultimate prize to these mongrels. They would see it as retribution for the hubris that Kina caused.

After Poseidon granted her the status of queen, power poisoned her. She no longer cared about the populous or the offerings. All she cared about was wanting even more to be handed to her. I tried to stop her, to make her see reason, but she didn't care about anything but the new found wealth and power. Imports stopped, then the merchants came to her, begging her to negotiate for the goods they needed. The pleas fell on deaf ears.

I quietly skirted around the building, trying to get to the gleaming object I saw. Two of the scavengers were pulling jewelry off a drowned corpse. I shook my head. The poor citizens did not deserve this, no one deserved what happened here.

With the loss of trade, came the hunger. The hunger led to angry hunger fueled riots. The citizens wanted the Queen's head. She eventually stopped showing her face to the public. Again, I sought her out I pleaded with her asking her to do something. It was then that I saw that my friend was no longer there. Her eyes were empty and cold.

"They will survive. I am talking to my generals and we are planning an attack on Athens herself. Once we take the city, there will be food and resources that the people may have." She smirked coldly reaching for her locket and running her fingers across it. "If you wish to be a part of the glory, I would greatly approve. If not, then you need to leave."

"Kina you're mad if you think you can defeat Athens! They will destroy us. You have to see that you are destroying everything that Atlantis stands for! This isn't what you promised Poseidon. This isn't what he wants. Poseidon wants peace for his people." I tried to step closer to her, but her guards stopped me.

Dropping her hand she stood, "Medarie, who cares what Poseidon wants. I am sure that the citizens are praying to him for glory. Let him give them what they want and protect them from harm. I have better ambitions. Imagine the amount of power that Atlantis would have over all of Greece."

"You can't double cross a God!" By this time she waved to her guards to remove me from the palace. "I'm sorry Medarie, if you will not support me then, you are just in the way."

I watched her sit back down on her throne with a cold calculating smile while fiddling with the locket just as the doors slammed in my face.

Poseidon had heard everything, and did take it seriously. He created a tsunami and destroyed Atlantis, beginning with the palace. No one stood a chance.

"Almost there," I whispered. I moved silently side stepping rubble and corpses. So many had died. If it wasn't the invading soldiers from Athens, then it was the tsunami that Poseidon sent. To be honest, I couldn't even fault Poseidon. People gave up hope when their queen turned her back on them. She broke her oath to Poseidon'. No amount of praying would have been enough to save Atlantis.

As I came out from behind a fallen statue I stopped in my tracks. There she was. Kina. Her eyes were still open, her face mirroring the horror of the last moments of her life. Her skin was beginning to decay. I knelt down taking her hand in mine. It was cold and stiff. I closed her eyes, then my own and began to pray for her soul to go to Elysium and not Tartarus. Around her neck was the heart-shaped locket that I gave her when we were kids.

"Oh Kina," I whispered. I gathered her in my arms and slowly made my way back to what was left of the temple. I gently cleaned her, removed the necklace and prepared her for burial.

Near the temple was a cemetery. I dug in the mud deep enough to bury Kina. Gently laying her in I said, "May you finally find some peace," and laid two drachmas, one on either eye. By the time she was buried, the sun began rising. I looked around at the carnage and touched the locket. The only thing to do was to leave and try to move on. I closed my eyes feeling the spray of the sea on my face, "Poseidon, please guide me to where I'm needed."

Short Story

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Jessica Shaw Huntington

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