The Mountains of Milos
Caleb Berbatov was not an easy man to be nice to. He was too hard, too exacting. His manner was direct to the point of abruptness. It wasn’t that you were afraid to offend him. I don’t think anyone could. It was that he was so direct, so to the point, so exacting that he would force you to be just as focussed. A straight answer to a straight question, that was all you could expect.
But Kelly had to befriend him. If she couldn’t then she had no chance of getting off this island. She moved towards his table.
‘”If I could just escape, for a few hours, the gaping chasm of my imagination, then I would achieve great things” or so the poet said’
‘What poet?’ Asked Caleb.
‘Oh I forget…some Englishman’
‘My dear friend of course I am, being drunk is a great relief from life, and I believe that relief is the greatest pleasure. Of course if that’s true then most of our best times are spent on the toilet. Hello there young lady, do you wish to speak to me?’
‘No’ Kelly answered ‘with Caleb’
‘Oh I see’ Caleb’s companion rose from the table and walked away ‘I will find some other retched soul to enlighten then, goodnight’
‘Caleb, how are you?’ she opened with cautiously. She smiled, but in a friendly way only. If he thought she was coming on to him this could end badly.
Caleb smiled without showing his teeth ‘Fine’ his accent was thick but his English was good. On the few occasions they had spoken before, Kelly had been struck by the mans obvious education. He spoke English and Greek with apparent ease. She had never heard him speak his native language, nor for that matter did she even know what that was. Eastern European would be her guess, but none of the gossipers on the island had ever seemed to know where Caleb was from, or anything else about him. Except that he owned his boat and had been onMilosfor six months or so. ‘and you?’ he asked after a lengthy pause.
‘Oh I’m not so good. Maybe you heard?’ His eyes slowly rose to meet Kelly’s and he looked solemnly at her for a moment.
‘Yes, your boyfriend. I heard, I am sorry’ He looked back at his beer. He wasn’t the least uncomfortable in the silence that followed.
‘Not sorry for him I hope’ she said ‘that bastard just got what he paid for. You deal with villains you buy trouble.’
Caleb smiled again at this, looking up at Kelly a second time, was he re appraising? She hoped so. ‘Will he be ok?
‘I think he will recover eventually….if he is allowed that is.’ She worried that she had pushed too far. Got too deep into it too soon. Blast his calmness she thought. When someone appears not to care it is so easy to get careless, say too much.
‘I see. I feared that was how things were.’ Caleb’s eyes drifted over Kelly’s shoulder looking away from the bar and over to the front doors.
‘Now I just want to get out of here anyway. I’m not hanging around to play the doting nursemaid to that fool…….’ Kelly trailed off as she noticed the man shift his position on the stool, straightened and tensed.
‘There you are Kelly’ a voice said from behind her, we’ve been looking for you.’ As she turned an arm came around her neck and lifted her to her feet. ‘You’re coming with us’.
In a flash of movement Caleb jabbed out his left hand and caught the would be assailant square in the throat. He dropped his arm from around the girl’s neck and staggered backwards, choking. Caleb stood and moved between Kelly, who now spun around, and her attackers. There were two of them, both Greek, dark, twenty-ish, dressed in jeans and loose shirts. The choking man had sat himself on the floor beneath the bar, rubbing his hand around his throat. His friend was still not entirely sure what was happening when Caleb jumped at him and swung a tight right hand punch to his face. The slap of fist on nose made the whole bar wince as the boy fell clutching a bleeding face.
‘You have somewhere safe to go?’ Caleb asked. He was breathing hard but he spoke slowly, glancing over his shoulder at Kelly before turning back to face the two downed men.
‘No, I don’t’
‘Then I suppose you will come with me.’
They ran from the bar, away from the acrid smell of smoke and out into the fresh sea air.
‘I didn’t think they would come so soon’ Kelly said as they hurried along.
‘In these situations it is safest to assume you have no time’ .Caleb said.
They moved along the harbour, past the peaceful couples and the old ladies, mysteriously sitting on benches so late at night.
‘We will go to my boat’ they ran on.
Once they boarded the sturdy boat, one small cabin above the engine and below the main wheel, Caleb began to untie the mooring lines.
A car screeched to a halt at the end of the boarding pier and Kelly saw three men getting out, leaving the lights on and the doors open. They began running immediately towards Caleb’s boat.
Caleb jumped up to the pilot seat and started the engine.
‘Stop, you bitch’ the men were nearly upon them shouting and waving their arms. As the boat pulled away Kelly screamed seconds before a shot rang out. The bullet hit the wooden panelling around Caleb. There were cries from the harbour as the public, the great mass of witnesses along the sea front turned to watch the fascinating spectacle.
Another shot was fired, and another. One hit the side of the boat, the other flew overhead. The boat was pulling quickly away.
Kelly had ducked down below the seats in the back. She had her hands to her head. She heard swearing from the gunmen and shouts from the road.
They grew quieter and eventually she looked up. Caleb was at the helm, looking straight out to sea, not glancing back. They were a hundred yards from the town now and looking over the wooden sides of the boat she could see her pursuers moving back to their car.
‘I think we had a lucky escape’ Caleb said. Kelly said nothing; she watched the harbour shrink slowly away. ‘Now I believe you are mine.’
Published on writebuzz®:
> Stories & Scripts