Quest for Atlantis: Seas of Atlantis (Part One)

Posted: July 1, 2016 by J.A. Prentice in Serial Stories
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Part One: Seas of Atlantis

It was at the airstrip – a tiny, crumbling little place – that I met the others. They were waiting for me.

One of them – a tanned, handsome local – looked around as I walked over to them, consulting a little notebook. He looked very perplexed as I stopped in front of him and stretched out my hand.

“You must be Demetrios Zabat,” I said.

“I… am,” Demetrios replied. He looked at me. “Are you Kavanaugh’s servant?”

I tried not to show my irritation. It was very difficult, but it wouldn’t do to offend my guide.

“I am Kavanaugh,” I said. “Celeste Kavanaugh.”

The horrified look of realization on his face was almost worth the irritating question he’d asked. The idea of having insulted his employer turned the blood in his veins to ice.

“My apologies,” he said.

If he’d stopped there, it would have been fine. But he didn’t.

“I didn’t expect my employer to be a woman,” he continued. “And certainly not a…”

“A what?”

“Not one of your… complexion,” he finished.

At least he had the good sense to be embarrassed at saying it. I decided to say nothing. It wasn’t worth any further commotion.

Demetrios introduced the other two: Professor Megalos, our translator and antiques expert and Stamatios, the boatman. Neither of them said anything that made me want to punch the teeth from their jaws.

“We start first thing tomorrow,” I said. “And then we make history.”

The looks on their faces told me everything. They weren’t here because they believed in me. They were just looking to make some money off a girl’s wild dream and go home. Not for a moment did they think we’d find it.

But I’d show them. I’d show everyone.

***

The seas were as Homer described them when we set out from the coast in our little motorboat – wine-dark. The spray of sea foam churned up around our prow and I could smell the salt in the air. I breathed it in and it tasted of adventure.

I gave directions from the map, calling out every once in a while to correct our course. For hours, we moved through the water. Megalos sat in the back, making no conversation at all. He had his little book that he never looked up from. Stamatios kept muttering about ill winds and foul weather coming. At the time, I just ignored him.

It was only Demetrios who really tried to talk to me. He told me most of his life story and I told him a little of mine. Truthfully, I wasn’t really listening. My mind was already in Atlantis, diving in the murky deep.

We came to a stop at the coordinates on the map.

“This is it,” I said.

“I don’t see any island,” Stamatios said. “Just water. Lots of water.”

I rolled my eyes.

“They say Atlantis sank beneath the waves,” I replied. “I don’t expect to find much on the surface. Demetrios, are you ready?”

Demetrios nodded. “I don’t know how far down we’ll be able to go. The seas here should be extremely deep…”

“Not if there was an island,” I replied.

He didn’t answer. I knew he didn’t expect us to find anything but a few fish.

“Let’s go,” I said.

It took us a few minutes to put the clunky diving gear on. It was like wearing a suit of medieval armour. The clunky helmet slid over me and I saw everything through a filter. The world around me was separated by metal and glass. The air I was breathing was from a tank. I lived in a bubble of metal and glass.

“Be fast,” Stamatios said. “The storm is coming.”

I nodded. “We will be.”

Fastened to the ship by long, thick ropes, Demetrios and I dived into the deep.

It was like entering another world, a world where light and shadow acted differently. Everything was twisted and distorted, rippling with the waves above. Shafts of sunlight shone down for a little, but beyond that was just blackness.

That was what the lights on the suit were for: little beams of dim yellow. They’d be my only guides as we plunged towards the sea floor.

I swam down, always down, passing out of the sunlight. And as I went through the dark, sinking into the abyss, my spirits went into a dark abyss of their own.

I could see nothing. No island. No treasure. No ruins. Just the lights of Demetrios’s suit, shining in the shadows.

Perhaps it was only a fantasy. Perhaps it was only a foolish girl’s dream, a dream of a world of adventure that never really was. Perhaps I had been an idiot.

But then I saw it: the ocean floor, far closer than it should have been. Rocks and sand shone in the light of my suit.

There was something else as well: shattered pottery and broken bricks. Bronze blades and helmets, attacked by the ages and the sea, glistened alongside crude, ancient coins.

I could see Demetrios’s face. He was astonished.

This was real. Not quite an island, but something tangible.

There had been something here.

We descended, grabbing as much as we could. It seemed almost endless. Ever time the sands shifted, a new treasure was unearthed.

After a while, Demetrios signaled to me. Our air was running out and we needed to ascend. I gave him a thumbs up and made ready to tug on the rope.

And then something caught my eye, shining just beneath the sands. I swam over to it. I could see Demetrios waving frantically, but I ignored him. The light called to me.

I reached down into the sands of the ocean floor and drew it out. The grains fell away and I saw it for what it was.

It was a crystal ball, polished smoother than glass. Within, a light shone: bright, orange, like a flickering flame.

I wondered what it was: a naturally occurring mineral? The work of some master craftsman, his skills long forgotten?

I stared into it, gazing into the fire.

For a moment, it seemed as if the fire gazed back.

Then I felt strong arms wrap around me. It was Demetrios, pulling me up. I gripped the crystal tight, making sure not to lose it.

As we ascended, the flame grew brighter and brighter. The dark seas fell away, replaced by sunlight and the shadow of the boat.

We climbed aboard and pulled off our helmets. Demetrios glared at me. I could tell he was about to admonish me, call me an idiot, ask what I was thinking.

But then his face changed.

“The storm,” Stamatios said. “I told you.”

I looked and saw it: a whirl of wind and lightning and fury. It was so close and so large. I was lost in the immensity of it.

It roared like a lion and pounced upon us. I remember the shouts and the cry of thunder, but nothing more. All was black clouds and blazing lightning.

We were lost in the fury of the storm.

To be continued…

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Comments
  1. mandibelle16 says:

    Great story. Exciting. Anxious to read the next part.

    Liked by 1 person

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