She fell into a deep sleep. She woke up at midnight, thirsty. Her body was aching. There was a lot of noise, music, yelling and laughing. As always, the clan was eating and drinking the night away in the restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs with the fruits of their ill-gained spoils. They were in the habit of going out constantly; not once did they wish to stay indoors or to face up to the problems surrounding them. Money blinded them, gave them confidence and an appetite for senseless living. They kept their bodies draped in designer clothes and their faces hidden behind expensive masks to bury their fears of cancer, unsafe roads, rats, drought and all the demands of modern life. Panorea could sleep no more. She knew where to find Kalosinatos, by the Sea, at their usual beach. Limping, and in tears, she set off to find her friends.
Kalosinatos was also exhausted. When he’d finished he took off his golden slippers. He couldn’t find his old black ones anywhere. His bosses had most probably thrown them away. They’d decided he was not presentable enough in his worn-out old black shoes. He decided to go barefoot.He found Panorea lying by the Sea. It was dark, the moonlight faint, the stars too high in the sky to give any light.
The Sea and Panorea were consoling each other, as usual. “Come and sit next to me”, Panorea called to Kalosinatos.“Take me in your arms. I’m thirsty and in pain. Oh, look at the seaweed, how it embraces my worn-out feet.”“The sewage smells so badly”, Kalosinatos cried out, in disgust.“It’s not my fault”, the Sea protested. “Tons of raw sewage, chemicals, rubbish are thrown into my arms all the time.” “Everywhere it’s the same. Please sit with me”, Panorea insisted. “I am here, near both of you”. “I’m sick. I think I could finally be dying. My whole body is disintegrating. I need water, fresh water, water that doesn’t turn my insides into rock. My hair is falling out. They’ve made such fortunes and yet they haven’t made provision for water supplies, for their well being, for the future of their children, let alone for caring for us. I’m thirsty, thirsty, so thirsty, Kolosinate, do something, Holy Man. I need a doctor, a hospital.”“Panorea, you know that isn’t possible. The hospital collapsed years ago. I can’t do anything. My strength and powers are exhausted. I’m finished, too, Panorea.”“Please stop crying Panorea. As long as we stick together, perhaps there’s a future,” the Sea gasped. “Even the members of the clan are not well. They’re sick. They’re rotting. Can’t you see? In spite of all the money they have, they’re sick in mind and in body. They take drugs to alter their moods.
Nobody cares about anything. They don’t seem to care that when they fall sick they have to travel long distances to find medical care. They die on the way, far from their own beds, in hotel rooms, in the presence of their despairing relatives. Of course they then beg me, day and night, to cure them by magic, using miraculous cures. They’ve forgotten, or most probably they never understood, why I am here. I did not come here to practise medicine, or to liberate them from slavery, or to satisfy all their whims. I came here to teach love, tolerance, hard and honest work, respect and dignity. What have they done?” Kalosinatos’s voice was sad. His eyes were sorrowful. His voice was hoarse.Suddenly the Sea roared.Panorea grabbed Kalosinatos. She trembled.A mighty wind whipped through the land. Mice that had gathered round and had been gently licking Panorea’s tears ran away in panic. Petrified stray dogs looked towards the dark shadow of the mountains opposite.Enormous mosquitoes were now flying above them. Their faces resembled those of humans. On their heads they had gold wreaths. Thick hair covered their bodies, and they had lions’ teeth. Human blood was dripping from their mouths.The wind was blowing from all directions. The Sea became wild.“I’ve also had enough. We must save ourselves,” the Sea screamed, retreating rapidly from the shore and from her friends, and rushing away towards the far horizon.The dogs barked. The mice ran and hid under mountains of rubbish.Stars started falling from the sky. The earth shook.Those among the young and old who were asleep at home awoke in horror. The rest of the clan, who were passing away the night having fun, abandoned their amusements and ran towards the shore.“Panorea, what’s going on?” they shouted.“I’m thirsty! Water, water!”“Well, that’s not a reason for an earthquake. Calm down, come and drink a bottle of water.”The roaring intensified.The people couldn’t hear each other speak.The moon vanished. Suddenly the sea changed direction. She turned back towards the shore. Although it was dark, She could be seen charging towards them. A bright beam emanating from Kalosinatos’ palm lit up the waves and the horizon, and broke the darkness of the night.“Kalosinate, the sea is coming towards us. We’ll be drowned. Do something!” they all screamed.
A second earthquake shook the land. Mountains split in the middle. Houses collapsed. Chunks of cement, bricks, and iron bars fell on the heaps of rubbish scattered all around. The clan-members were yelling. They saw the swimming pools bursting. The water was pouring down towards the sea, taking with it dead cats, drowned rats, plastic and cars.“Panorea, Kalosinate, Eternal Beings, save us!”Twelve-feet-high waves were chasing in, one after another. Thunder and lightning were followed by a hailstorm. Hail stones as big as rocks were landing everywhere, hitting everything.The shore where Panorea and Kalosinatos were sitting broke away from the land. The great chasm thus created sucked in whatever was nearby. Panorea and Kalosinatos were nowhere to be seen.The men in charge of the supermarket where Kalosinatos was forced to sell his wares were running away in despair, only to fall headlong into the chasm, still holding their huge bags full of money. The Sea swallowed up whatever managed to escape the widening chasm. The turmoil had brought the birds out of their nests; they were flying in crazed circles above the devastated land. Following the mysterious light, they saw a single majestic white wave travelling out to sea at an amazing speed, leaving all the devastation behind. The birds suddenly saw Panorea and Kalosinatos lying peacefully upon the wave. They were holding hands. They, in turn, saw the birds and smiled.“Come and join us!” they called. The birds hovered above them a little and then sat on Panoreas’ lap. She stroked them gently and they grasped her torn skirt for safety.The tempest lasted until daybreak.Nobody could have predicted such a disaster in the Mediterranean. At dawn the Sun appeared, pinkish, warm, timid. He emerged from behind the grey mountains and looked around for Panorea. A rainbow had appeared. The Sea was now calm and had returned to her usual seductive shades of blue.The Sun couldn’t see Panorea or Kalosinators anywhere.“As soon as I warm the place they will come.”
He looked closely at the land, and saw ruins everywhere. Broken fridges, burnt-out cars, iron pipes, great chunks of cement and wrecked and capsized boats were scattered all around.There was not a living soul to be seen.Then the faint bleating of sheep was heard in the distance, mixed with the gentle cries of babies.“Any minute now they’ll turn up. They must have gone somewhere, but they always come back”, said the Sun to himself, with a knowing smile.
© Maria Strani-Potts, 09/07/2008