"My Name Is Poseidon" by Glenn R. Steiner
I sit here on my throne in the caldera, twenty-five meters below the surface of the sea, on a razor sea ledge made of igneous pumice and black lava. Bubbles stream from my regulator, as I release my breath. I watch them mutely, as they climb and separate, frothing, joining, hurling towards the light above. Each breath comes with some effort at this depth. I remain calm, as I stare into the heart of the volcano.
Three thousand, five hundred years ago, a great force tore apart the island then known as Strongili, the round one, and ripped its heart out. The ancient Minoans, a peaceful and seafaring people, had already left years ago for the safer waters of their home in Crete. They had heard the rumblings that foretold of Strongilis imminent destruction.
They could run but they could not hide.
The subsequent explosion ripped a fifteen kilometer wide section 2000 meters deep, disintegrating the soil, the trees, the houses, the goats, the chickens in a flash of instant fire, and "barbecue" -ing them into outer space. A displaced surge of water, hundreds of meters high and unbelievably wide, grew in speed. It washed outwards accelerating to hundred of kilometers per hour.
Crete stood in its path. The wave is reckoned to have completely engulfed Crete 100 kilometers to the south, passing over her as an afterthought, like a wave over a sand shell, and then sweeping onwards to the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt.
After a time, the waters receded, but not before that colossal wave had carried with it all of the vaunted and ancient Minoan civilization.
I live in a world of silence and measured breath. Each measured breath empties my tank a little further. In the dim blue light, I see the regulator slowly shifting, from 110 to 95 to 85. I remain still.
I measure the passage of time between the beats of my heart.
I am compelled to stare into the abyssal deep.
When seen from my perch, the bottom of the crater does not seem to darken. Rather, it seems as if it is painted in richer and darker shades of blue, finally turning to the bluest of cerulean blues, pure aquatic light.
A slow, soft surge hits, no doubt driven from the forces of the meltemi winds that batter the waters ferociously high above.
Impossibly, I float free of my throne. I am suspended in this cool unnerving universe, like a dust mote caught in a ray of light.
Thin streams of discoloration rise from below. The striations change. They are not the color of pale mud, as they were, but rather now of yellow and mustard.
"My name is Poseidon. I am an old God, and I rule a dying universe. The clever Greeks, those wily seamen, true descendants of Odysseus whom I truly hated, have fished my world clean. Once, the richest of baskets to feed my peoples, little is left."
Hovering, alone in a cold world, there are no fish to keep me company. The walls of the caldera have vegetation, and white sand borne of volcanic origins. Yet, only a few shells remain, and wily small fish, that dart within the vegetation for protection.
The regulator hits fifty, and the time has come to go. I slowly barrel roll, first turning towards the sky and infinite light, and then spinning back towards the infinite deep. Is it my imagination? Is there now a light deep below?
Each breath comes with more difficulty. A small shot of water slips past the imperfect seal between my lips and the regulators black rubber, smacking of sulfur and the smell of rotten eggs. My breathing grows ever quicker, and the only sound that I hear is the beating of my heart: I have tasted the volcano.
I follow the bubbles of white, blue and now increasingly yellow, back to the surface, amidst a disquieting security, my illusions stripped bare deep within the volcano of Santorini.