A Perfect Holiday
‘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…’