‘Don’t be like that!’ I shout at the receding tail-lights of our hired car.

I was hoping for a perfect holiday, with the blues of sea and sky stunningly merging on this late October on the sunny shores of Crete, but no… she always has to be right and ruin everything. Obviously, it’s my fault for not giving in. That’s why I am alone in the dark on this isolated road in the middle of nowhere!

It’s a long way back to the resort but my anger dissipates as I look at the myriad of stars twinkling in the velvet-black sky. Perhaps someone will come along and I can hitch a ride. However, no sounds of cars reach me while walking but, as I strain my ears, I hear music instead.

I follow the thrilling harmony of tsouras, baglamas, lyres, drums and see light. There are people in the clearing among the olives, around the bonfire. The music doesn’t stop when they see me. I guess it’s a kind of festival, a celebration. They value guests here, they’ll help me.

The man who addresses me is bearded and burly. ‘Welcome, phile, drink with us!’

The raki starts flowing. It’s strong but a balm to my bruised ego. I look around at the striking women surrounding me, their eyes heavy with kohl. Maybe, they went a bit too far with the Goth-looking arrays they wear but I like it. They seem to be taking it in turns to sit by me, to fill my glass, stroking my hands, my hair.

I watch them dancing, wilder and wilder, howling in a strange choir. Their nails and teeth gleam in the light. Maybe it is my drunkenness but they seem to become longer and sharper by the second. The music tempo changes, it’s strident now, the women’s howling is deafening and I feel the cold prickling of fear sneaking down my back.

I try to stand up but it’s no use.

The man’s voice is low and urgent. ‘You’re our guest, xeno – we’ll give you an advantage, start running now…’

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Greene, thank you for introducing me to Crete, a Greek island that I would love to visit. Intriguing story. Our parents were right in their advice, “Don’t talk to strangers!” You have inspired me to write another scary story!

Lola Mestas
Lola Mestas(@lola-mestas)
1 month ago

Your setting descriptions are wonderful. You’ve really brought this group of witches(?) to life!

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Heather Chrzanowski
Heather Chrzanowski(@heather-chrzanowski)
1 month ago

Well this was a perfectly creepy tale! A man, left by an angry woman on the side of the road at night! What an awesome beginning to a sinister story! Loved it! And the ending…chilling!

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 month ago

I went from feeling fearful for your protagonist alone and far from safety to relief that they had come across a seemingly kind and friendly gathering. Then came para. 7! The scariest part for me was that your protagonist wasn’t able to move. I can think of nothing more chilling than having no control over your fate. Excellent story, Greene, I’m still shivering!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

I am shivering. I can’t imagine how your protagonist struggled to survive. But all his struggle is no use. So he needs to accept his fate. Your story brings back memories of the old tale that my grandparents told us, when they were alive. Nicely done.

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Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
28 days ago

What a great story, from a part of the world very unfamiliar to me. How lucky you are to travel there every year, and how lucky we are to share these experiences through your writing. Thank you!

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Susan Giles
Susan Giles(@susan-giles)
21 days ago

Good descriptions throughout. I especially liked the use of the appellations “phile” versus “xeno”.

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