Alexia should’ve been dead as one cannot survive while being chained to a sculpture of the deity the farmers wanted to please.
Alexia should have been dead. It is basic science that a seventeen-year-old girl cannot survive being tossed into the ocean while chained to a “stupid boulder.”
Okay, so it’s not a stupid boulder, Alexia reasoned as she tried to wiggle free from the marble sculpture of Poseidon’s head.
Alexia’s real anger was at the oracle, who said the sacrifice was required to please the gods if the farmers wanted a successful harvest. Alexia had insisted the framers had used too many chemicals and polluted the soil. The city depended on the farms, and she volunteered to assist in their production. She had developed a new farming method where plants could grow vertically, saving space, and did not require soil.
Now Alexia was sinking to the bottom of the ocean for her blasphemy. In hindsight, she could see the signs of their superstitious nature. Alexia wished she paid better attention to her religious studies. The failure of not metaphorically building a bridge of understanding weighted her down, along with the rock. She did know the head she was attached to was the god of the seas, but the farmers worshipped him as a god of agriculture. It made no sense to her.
The only other question bigger on her mind was how she was breathing underwater. She was mesmerized at first; however, as she sank, her enthrallment was replaced by rage.
“That’s a nice sculpture there.”
Alexia turned to the voice, which put her off-balance as the sound was in her head, but she could associate a location with it. Swimming beside her was a merman twice her size with pristine muscles, almost god-like–if she had believed in the gods. His fluorescent blue tail swished back and forth to keep pace with Alexia’s descent.
“Who are you?” Alexia asked in her head.
“Can’t you tell from your sculpture? You know what, it’s not an accurate depiction of me.”
“That’s one name for me. Yes, let’s use that name.”
“Poseidon, huh?” Alexia responded with a hint of disbelief. “Think you can free me?”
“Under one condition.”
“You destroy those that did this to you.”
Alexia smiled. “It would be my pleasure.”
With a snap of his wrist, a golden trident burst to life in his hand. He slashed the chains that bound Alexia. The statue drifted downward while Alexia remained stationary.
“Take this,” Poseidon kindly offered as he handed her his weapon.
The moment Alexia took hold of the trident, its glow engulfed her body and shot her upward, into the sky. She landed back on the cliff on the flying island, where the farmers sacrificed her.
Everyone was in the middle of their celebrations when Alexia made her splashy entrance. The music stopped, and all eyes–including the oracle–where on Alexia. Alexia pointed the trident at the party, and from the ocean, a fist of waves slammed into the crowd.
Off in the distance on a hill, Poseidon stood on his legs, watching the seaweeds tangle themselves around the people and drag them to their watery grave. A man with similar stature and physique, but with an impeccable white suit, walked up beside him.
“I wouldn’t have expected such retribution from you, bother.”
“The Atlanteans’ arrogance grows. Either they are too devoted to their sciences, or they worship us incorrectly, thus causing us to change. Are you not worried, Zeus?”
“I am concerned, but I am also fascinated. The interplanetary travel they’re developing will take us to new worlds.”
“If their belief in us holds.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll remind them.”
This week’s short story was inspired by the following writing prompt: “The local humans are having trouble getting their crops to grow so they decide to sacrifice a young girl to their god, by tying her to a heavy rock and throwing it into the sea. She is found by you, a powerful ocean deity…who is displeased by their cruelty.”
Thank you to Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle for creating such beautiful cover art for the story.