Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 121

really wanted that drink. As he rounded a corner the vegetation dropped away on one side. Below him he could see the sea, people swimming in moon silvered waters. This looks like it, he thought, maybe it’s bit of a party scene down there. I’m going to deserve it after this hike. After a hundred yards or so, the bushes sprang back up and so did the noises, sounds of branches snapping and leaves being crushed underfoot. He tried to convince himself that the unusually bright moonlight meant the creatures of the island were going to be especially active, but could not shake the thought that the noises were made by something a lot bigger than a badger. Do they even have badgers in Greece? he asked himself, and picked up his pace. The noises grew louder, as if something was approaching him. He felt a child’s fear, and told himself not to be so stupid, just as a hunched figure burst from the hedge in front of him, rushed across the track, and dived into the bushes on the other side. He had an impression of something manlike, a beard, a naked torso. There was something not right about the legs, though, as if they had been covered in dark fur. And the way they bent at the knees… Jesus, he thought, I don’t have a drink for a few hours and I begin to hallucinate? He picked up his pace, the longing for a drink replaced by a more basic need to get off this track, and find somewhere he could talk to another human being under bright electric lights, and leave the dark and the moon behind. He was out of breath and huffing when he rounded a corner and saw he was standing at the top of a small beach, not much more than a tiny strip of sand, enclosed at either end by cliffs. There was no welcoming tavern, no string of lights, no people. He was alone. Out to sea, he could see the figures in the water he had spied from above. He took a few more steps forward and was about to call to them when he saw a small set of buildings to his left, carved pillars holding a roof over a statue shining white in the moonlight. Going closer, he could see the statue was of a robed woman with an owl perched on her shoulder. At its feet were a few small piles of foodstuffs. Offerings, he thought, and instantly wished he hadn’t. This was getting too PAGE 120 weird to be some kind of alcoholic delusion. He was turning to walk away when something stepped out from behind one of the pillars, the same creature he had seen on the track. As it walked forward into the moonlight, he could see that its legs were indeed furry, ending in hooves instead of feet. Small horns grew on either side of its head, and when it grinned he could see sharp teeth. Some schoolboy part of his memory kicked in and he knew he was looking at a satyr. “But, but you’re not real!” he spluttered. He turned and ran, to find another of the creatures standing across the foot of the path he had come down. He had nowhere to go but towards the sea, where the figures in the water had come closer. He ran down to the water’s edge and began yelling, “Help me! Help me!” He could see that they were all female. Of course they are, a voice in his head told him, the men aren’t allowed out tonight. The leading swimmer stopped and stood waist high in the water several meters from him. Stewart realized that this striking figure was the model for the statue behind him. She was tall, with shining silver skin, not the simple reflection of the moon but from a light burning inside her. He sank to his knees in desperation and confusion. Shaking his head, he saw that the satyrs were close behind him, kneeling on the sand, heads dow