The Fate of Thera

volcano erruptionThe fate of Thera is a sci-fi story about the last moments on the island of Santorini before the eruption of the Santorini volcano and the destruction of civilization on Thera.


“When a destructive force leaves it’s mark for history to uncover, the events and hypothetical resolves can be misleading. In this short sci-fi, the archeological facts to be uncovered in the future would reveal a story of a different nature. We will witness the true events as they happened to two women during a time of human decision.”

Warren Riley[/quote_box_center]

“I’m getting used to this shaking. I hate it though when they happen at night. I can’t sleep properly and then I’m tired in the morning”, Kleoniki commented to her sister.

The morning was bright and warm. The ships, sailing for their destinations, could be seen far below the jagged cliffs on the Aegean Sea Island of Santorini. It was the dawn of another ‘Age’ and the Minoan culture had expanded far and wide. Trade was at an all time high, their navy was the largest in the known world and the Minoan Civilization had a reputation for power and wealth.

The two sisters walked side by side up a steep path towards their destination, the “House of The Ladies” where they would place their bouquets of freshly picked flowers at the site of the fallen Minoan war heroes. Rising almost vertically from their vantage point was the massive volcano they called “Thera”. Four years her junior, Natalia looked at her younger sibling and spoke.

“Have you also noticed, that these rumblings are becoming more frequent? I can sleep through the minor ones, but unlike you Kleoniki, I find they are getting more intense. And that scares me. Papa says it’s only one of the Gods turning over, but I think there is more to it than that. I won’t go against his word, but I know it’s something different and maybe awful.”

“Natalia, Papa told me about the times when the earth shook and rumbled and Mt. Thera spewed fine dust, red hot rock and white and grey smoke. He said it was very frightening, but that was a very long time ago. Even before his time.”

Natalia placed her blossoms of Narcissi and Azalea at the foot of a grave while Kleoniki lifted a clay vase from a marble shelf within the ‘Houses’ vast collection and placed her blossoms of Iris and Amaryllis inside. After careful watering, they silently prayed to the Gods for a safe journey to their fallen soldiers.

The sisters left the open arch of the “House of The Ladies” and proceeded up the steep climb to the ‘Delia Complex’. Here, they would relax and have a short reprieve before commencing their daily ritual to the Libation Goddess ‘Ida’. Kleoniki and Natalia had prepared an offering consisting of milk, butter and olive oil to sate the thirst of their Goddess. The eternal fire and placement of seating was always present as were the utensils for the ritual. The sisters picked out two large ‘sruva’ and without spilling a drop of olive oil, proceeded to empty the contents directly into the sacrificial fire. “Ka-Na-Si”, “May you accept with joy.” said Natalia, with the exquisite voice of a Goddess herself. The butter was next, but before Kleoniki could fill her sruva with the remaining milk, the earth shook violently and split the religious site’s cobblestone path in half.

Rocks began to fall from the surrounding hill sides. Mortared stones that had been used to build houses, halls, complexes and schools crumbled like pebbles and fell hundreds of feet down the steep cliffs to the sea below. Rocks were thrust far into the aqua colored waters after encountering obstructions from the jagged cliffs. Huge sections of white rock separated from one another and slid directly in the abyss of the Aegean Sea. Roads and pathways were opening to crevasses with unsuspecting and terrified citizens falling to their demise within these chasms. Far out to sea, naval officers noticed a slight but recognizable wave traveling toward their vessels. The ships gently rose and just a smoothly, fell back to normalcy. Crew members witnessed rock, debris and human appendages being flung from the cliffs and disappeared into the deep waters below. Something horrific was happening to which Captain’s ordered their ships to turn about and head for shore.

Both sisters waited. There was nothing they could do until the violent shaking stopped. And just as quickly as it started, the swaying ceased. The sisters slowly rose to their feet and brushed off their aegises. Taking stock of what had just transpired, both checked for any sign of scrapes or bruises from falling to the ground or worse, being hit by flying detritus. A few scratches were all either had and a short prayer to the Gods was given.

“Kleoniki, where does Papa keep his fishing boat these days? Is it down at the wharf at Fira?”

“It was there last week and he hasn’t gone fishing since. We had better see that our parents are all right and garner them before more happens. We must also get to the boat. Hurry!”

They ran past Ksesti Street and into the area called ‘Porters Lodge’, where their parents had a house of marble and ebony wood. But the entire Porters House section of the city had collapsed and was now deep within the Aegean Sea, leaving but a rim of rubble. The siblings stood in reverence as they realized, their beloved parents were no more, as were their neighbors and friends.

“Oh ‘Agni’, God of Fire, what wrath have you bestowed upon us? Natalia! We have now been warned. We must get to our father’s boat and leave for one of the other islands. My dearest sister, there is no time to loose.”

With new found energy and a hope for survival, they followed the single lane path down over broken steps and rubble, eventually reaching the wharf where their father’s vessel had been docked.

“Thank the Gods our father’s boat is still here and in one piece.” said Kleoniki.

After setting sail and riding the gentle swells for over an hour, the sisters stowed the boat’s sail and turned on their seats to evaluate the island they had left behind. Grey and white plumes of smoke were being ejected from the volcano’s throat. Lava had begun to slide down from the caldera’s rim threatening to smother and entomb everything in it’s path. Lightening was now quite frequent within the clouds of dust and ejecta with thunder dominating the ear’s perception.

“Natalia! Look! Directly above Mt. Thera. The red hot rock is beginning to rise from the mountain. Let’s get as far away as possible.”

“I agree.” said her sister.

“What is that light directly above the mountain? Do you see that? It looks like a second sun. But it’s too small for a sun.”

“No, you are right. It is a second sun, but rather small. I’ve never seen one like… is it my imagination or is that light getting larger and closer?”

Before Kleoniki or Natalia could answer, the intensity of the light became so bright, the women had to shield their eyes for fear of blindness. The enigma became a ball of fire followed by a pure white contrail. Traveling at an incredible speed, the fireball slammed vertically into the open fissure of Mt Thera. What happened next, would go down in history as the largest and single most destructive explosion since the planet’s creation. But it was not caused by tectonic movement nor magma displacement as theorized. Only two individuals were witness to the truth of the devastation.

Two thirds of Santorini was instantly discharged into the ether. Every living and breathing entity was vaporized. The metric volume of earth and rock ejected by the collision would not be estimated for another three thousand years. The manifested tsunami would circle the earth four and a half times. The demise of the Minoan Civilization was now a reality. Other cultures would suffer and the world as it was known, would never be the same. The two survivors were far enough away from the blast to survive falling debris but did suffer boat damage as the tsunami passed beneath them.

“I don’t know what we are going to do Natalia?”

“We will do what we originally set out to do. We will find another island and get help. If not for our own people, then maybe we can help others.”

“I’m too distraught right now to make any decisions. We have failed our Gods and they have rewarded us with death.”

“Kleoniki, I don’t mean to disagree but that was not a ball of fire we saw. That was some kind of vessel. Did you see those little circular dots on the balls side? They were like our house’s windows. And I know I was not imagining it.”

Kleoniki responded, “I didn’t want to say anything, but I saw them too. Do you think that ‘thing’ destroyed our island and caused all our kindred to die?”

“Yes, but nobody will believe either of us.” responded her sibling.

The sail was raised, the wooden rudder was dropped into the water and the sisters continued their sea voyage. Agreed that their lives would never be the same again, their wishes to have a quiet life was prayed for every waking hour. They would reach a peaceful land with lush vegetation and find themselves men they could cherish, have children and grow old together. These were the aspirations they both wished for, once reaching their unknown destination.

It was the younger of the two who first saw land . “Look Natalia!. There’s land. Oh, thank the Gods. And I see people. There. Fishing boats. Dozens of them. I’ve never seen such modern boats like that.”

“Kleoniki, our dreams have come true. We will now be at peace and enjoy the rest of our lives.”

The siblings were greeted with out stretched arms and taken to a modern facility to wash and be fed. After eating, being refreshed and donning fresh aegis, Natalia asked one of the fishermen, “Where are we and what do you call this place.”

The fisherman having a never ending grin on his tanned face responded with an air of deep respect.

“You two are the first and probably the only survivors of a terrible explosion to the east. We welcome you to stay here and enjoy the fruits of this exotic island. And you asked where you were?” The old fisherman raised his right arm, opened his palm and made a semi-circular motion across the lands facing him. “We call this island, ‘Atlantis’.”

As we have just seen, our two sisters have reached an island of immense future notoriety. Or, so this part of the world will become known. The desired tranquility will be short lived. And, as for the God’s of Santorini? Well, they have not ended their wrath, as the Island of Atlantis shall undoubtedly bear witness.

* By Warren Riley


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