Maelstrom, Part V: Beached

I awoke on a beach somewhere. No, I don’t know all the beaches in the world. Even if I did, I haven’t been in the modern world long enough to get to know them. The sand was warm, and the sun was high. My legs were stretched out behind me. Legs! Oh, thank the gods, I had shifted back at some point. I flopped over onto my back, feeling like a dead fish. I looked down as best I could, hoping beyond hope I wasn’t naked. Modern mortals were such prudes. But no, I was wearing the dress I’d had on when I left Nymphaeum. I needed a change of clothes, a shower, and a situation report desperately. 

I sat up and looked around, noticing there weren’t too many people on the beach. I wondered why. It was a gorgeous day. Some of the best days come after a storm. The storm! What happened? Obviously, the storm had abated, but how long had it lasted? What path had it taken, and where had it made landfall? I needed to know these things. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t cooperating. It took all of my strength just to push myself into a sitting position, but I managed. Taking in my surroundings was more comfortable this way. The beauty of the place instantly struck me.

“Well, if I need to take some time to relax, what better place than this?” I commented softly to myself. I decided to rest here for a while; there was nothing I could do until I could move properly. I couldn’t even call anyone, Mathieu had confiscated my phone. “Wonderful, alone on a tropical island with no way to contact anyone.” I tried my bond with Selene. The ocean and moon were tied in powerful ways, but all I got was static. That could be because it was daytime. Still, I hoped I wasn’t causing her to worry. I hoped I hadn’t been gone too long, and that the storm hadn’t hit California.

Oh, Nisos. I knew I should try to get word to him. How do you tell someone where you are, when even you don’t know? Weary and drained, I fell back onto the sand. I had underestimated how much of a toll this was going to take on me. I should have stayed in Atlantis and healed, but I couldn’t bear it. The city felt empty without Poseidon, and I knew I wouldn’t get any rest. I felt bad for leaving Rommel in a lurch, but he would have never let me go. I couldn’t believe I let a turtle knock me out. I really was weak. 

Sighing, I looked up at the sun as its warm rays cascaded upon me. I had to be somewhere close to Atlantis. There were a few islands near its location. I could also tell that while we were near the equator, we were north of it. So, at least I was in the right hemisphere. I looked over the water and saw reefs, which made me very happy. I’d check them out once I could. 

I overheard a commotion building nearby. I turned my head to see people rushing to me. Their language and the hue of their skin told me I was near, or on, what the mortals called the Polynesian Islands. So, at least I had a starting point. Maybe I could borrow a phone from one of them to call Dion, Selene, or someone.

“Miss, miss, are you ok?” A woman kneeled beside me. She had kind eyes, very matronly. I nodded while trying to sit up again. “Here, let me help.” I nodded again, and she pulled me back into a sitting position. Another woman, younger than the first, leaned behind me and helped prop me up.

“Thank you. Could…could someone tell me where I am?” I asked slowly, making sure I was understood. The looks on the faces in the crowd spoke volumes.

“You weren’t…you weren’t, caught in that storm, were you, dear?” I nodded slowly, and a few of them gasped. “Oh, you poor thing!” I smiled weakly and tried to stand. I really did.

“I was out sailing.” It was a small lie. I couldn’t tell them the truth. “I truly don’t know where I am. I’m sorry.” The ladies helped me stand. I leaned on them heavily. 

“You’re in Guam, young one. You are on the south shore of the island.” 

“I’m surprised you made it across the reefs,” the younger one said as her arm wrapped around my waist. 

“Guam, in the Polynesians, right? Not too far from the Philippines?” They nodded, and I sighed. “How bad was it? Did the storm make landfall anywhere?”

The ladies shook their heads, and I let out a sigh of relief. Thank the gods. “It was the weirdest thing. The storm came out of nowhere a week ago. Then it disappeared the other day, and now you wash ashore this morning.” 

Shock replaced the relief I had begun to feel. A week? I had been missing a week? Dion was going to be frantic. If he even realized I was gone. I knew he had been heading to California for his Grand Master Plan. Would he have noticed time passing? “Erm, is there a telephone I could borrow? I need to call someone to let them know I’m okay.”

“But you’re not okay. We need to get you to the hospital to get you checked out.” One of them said as we made our way off the beach, my legs barely moving. “But yes, we have a phone you may use.” The younger one held out a phone, older than the model I’d left at Nymphaeum, and my fingers dialed Dionysos before I’d realized it.

“Your call is being forwarded…” I heard an automated message come through and wondered to whom I would be forwarded.

“Hello, this is Luis speaking.”

“Luis! Perfect.” I practically started crying. “My name is Amphitrite. I’m a friend of Dion’s.” I choked a little and plowed on. “Is Dion around?”

“Ah, Lady Amphitrite! Dionysos will be quite pleased to hear you are safe. He’s in an extremely important meeting at the moment. As soon as he is free, I will inform him. He has been worried, my lady, I am not afraid to admit that for him.”

I felt myself blushing, but knew I needed to get Luis as much information as I could. “I washed ashore in Guam, on the southern shore. Near,” I looked at the ladies who mouthed a word, “Inarajan. I have nothing with me and no strength either to get home. I think I’m bound here for a little while. Will you please tell him I’m all right?”

“Of course, Lady Amphitrite. I know it will put part of his mind to rest.” 

“And Luis,” I heard him pause, “thank you for answering.” We ended the call, and I passed the phone back. “Thank you. Whatever the charge is, once I get home, I will make sure you are well taken care of.”

The ladies led me to a car and loaded me in the back. I should’ve been worried or even scared, given that at the moment, I was as weak as a mortal. My body was non-responsive. The only thing I could hope for was some time to reflect on what had happened and to find a way home. I would stop at Nymphaeum first, to collect my stuff. Then I’d spend some time with Dion, if he wanted me to. I never knew with him.

We drove down a road I saw identified as Highway 4, making our way north to Inarajan. We pulled into the driveway of a house near the beach. The women helped me out of the car, and welcomed me inside. I had been quietly processing all that had taken place in a very short amount of time. I hoped they knew I hadn’t been trying to ignore them. Certainly, my feelings were at the forefront of my thoughts. I had admitted to myself I had strong feelings for Dionysos, very strong. I also knew they hadn’t appeared out of thin air.

I’d always wondered what would have happened if Poseidon hadn’t come to Naxos for Dionysos and Ariadne’s wedding. What if Dion had never found her there? I’d felt an attraction to him even back then, but my feelings for Poseidon had swept me like the tide, and I’d known my future lay with him. “Miss…” a voice brought me out of my reverie, and I was reminded where I was. 

“Yes. I’m sorry,” I replied as they set me down on the couch. It wasn’t the most comfortable, but it would do. I hoped Luis reached Dion, and someone could help. Otherwise, I didn’t know how long I would be healing on this gorgeous island. Looking out the window, I watched the sea, calming after a storm that could have caused massive destruction. It hadn’t, and that thought gave me hope for the future.

Published by Natalie Bartley

I am a 33-year-old Adult Fantasy author in Oshawa, Ontario. I hope one day to open her own Pagan store with her partner. I have been writing for most of my life but have only recently (in the last year) started putting those stories out to the world. My faith as a polytheistic witch leads me to many different storylines that involve the gods around her. My first book, Love and Pain in Zion, was a labour of love and heartbreak, and it took me many years to complete it. I live with my partner and step-son in Oshawa and is also completing my clergy status with the Correllian Nativist Tradition. My husband and I are planning on opening up a New Age/Metaphysical store, where I am running the storefront and he is running the services in the back. Since he is already a licensed interfaith minister and can perform weddings in Ontario, and a Reiki master, we can start offering services soon. I am enrolled in Witch School International as a seminary school of the Correllian Nativist Tradition. I have mostly completed my First Degree clergy status, and am almost finished my Second Degree. Brian and I run a local temple (Temple of the Night) which is a part of the Correllian Nativist Tradition. We are currently the only temple with full temple status in Canada. If you want to help fuel my writing, consider donating to my Ko-fi! https://ko-fi.com/nataliebartley

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