Site icon Alexander Hammil

Atlantis Comes

The storms always came from the south, the great storms, the autumn storms. Two teenagers were caught in the caves when they came, children and not-children, bodies awkward and horrifying and disproportionate, who had gone there when the days were longer and brighter to hide from prying eyes. His names was Yuri, her name was Mineh. In the familiar darkness they had clung to each other, fumbled at each other, laughed and apologized and tried again, and in this way passed the days before the storm.

In the caves there were neither day nor night, but the sweet taste of water drawn from the artesian wells that fed the city, the spicy pickles and preserved fruit, the feel of each other. When the thunder shook the mountains Yuri screamed as he had when he was younger and a truck passing by woke him from sleep.

“Hush,” said Mineh, and smoothed his hair. He caught her hand and kissed it once for her laughter and twice for her tears. They made their way to the mouth of the cave and even in the murk of the storm had to squint their eyes nearly shut. They couldn’t look at each other, so they watched the rain pour down on the city and flood the streets, watched the lightnings leap from dome to roof, shook next to each other when the thunder rolled.

“They’ll miss us sure,” said Mineh.

“If they haven’t by now,” replied Yuri, “they never will. What’s a day more? What’s a week?” He looked over at her and blushed to meet her eyes.

The waters filled the city and fled out into the valley around. The lake rose, until the waves closed over the walls, over the domes, drew nearly to the lip of the cavemouth. Mineh and Yuri had long gone back into the labyrinths, and though the thunder rolled, and the water roared they took no notice.

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