When death came to save him

When Lee awoke he had no idea where he was or how he’d got there.

His head….hurt. His right arm….hurt. His right leg hurt really badly. He couldn’t see out of one eye.

He tried to stand up but couldn’t , sharp rocks were digging into him from below and the heat dissolved his resolve like dry acid.

He groaned and through his good eye saw an olive branch above him framed by a sky which was the deep intense blue of the Mediterranean. The sun was in the middle of it, burning a hole into his forehead.

The knot of his Adam’s apple felt like wire wool in his throat and the floaters in his eyes circled like vultures.

With enormous effort he managed to raise his bloodied, burning shoulder and rest on his good arm. When the blue and the blinding white and the dull green colours had stopped spinning he was able to look in front of him and see a barren landscape with windmills in the distance. In the foreground stood a dark figure bearing a scythe. It was not a scarecrow.

“Death!” Lee whispered through the wire wool.

Death reached forward and bestowed upon Lee the strength to stand then turned and motioned for Lee to follow upon what he presumed was his “final journey”. Together they crossed the stony field, stumbling ever upwards towards the sky. Death placed Lee’s hand upon the scythe to steady him and pointed at the horizon. Lee was at peace, soon to be delivered from this life of sin and pain.

At last, after a lifetime of rocks that cut his flip-flopped feet, Death led Lee to his final resting place. The shaded hut from which none returned. He sat upon on a stool and he ate a last meal of cheese, bread, olives and honey whilst drinking delicious water from a pouch of hide.

Then slowly, as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Lee’s feverish visions began to relent and he realised that Death bore the form of an ageing Greek Shepherd with bad teeth. His scythe was now a crook with a nobbly end. Most prosaically of all, the thought began to occur to Lee that he wasn’t actually dead. In fact he was beginning to feel a bit better.

Death pointed at himself and said “Antonis” and smiled a yellow smile. “Antonis” said Lee. Lee then pointed to himself and said “Lee”. “Lee” repeated Antonis.

Antonis ripped a part of his own shirt and tied it over Lee’s wound and made a present of his second best crook and water canteen. After a few minutes further recuperation they walked to a path and Antonis pointed Lee towards a well-worn path from which he could see Mykonos Town a kilometre down the hill.

Lee hugged Antonis like a brother and limped away.

Then he returned slowly to his hotel where his friends were still sleeping off the effects of last night’s even wilder than usual party.

Lee has never returned to Mykonos since, but he keeps the crook and the water canteen as both a souvenir and a reminder of the day that Death came to save him.