No Sharks in the Med and Other Stories

No Sharks in the Med and Other Stories by Brian Lumley Read Free Book Online

Book: No Sharks in the Med and Other Stories by Brian Lumley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brian Lumley
Tags: Science-Fiction, Horror, Short Stories, Lovecraft, dark fiction, Brian Lumley
that old bus; come to think of it, I could possibly make someone’s name, for anywhere else in the world this beauty would have been off the road in the late sixties! Inside—it was a shrine, of course. The Greek sort, with good-luck charms, pictures of the saints, photos of Mum and Dad, and icon-like miniatures in silver frames, hanging and jangling everywhere. And even enough room for the driver to see through his windscreen.
    “Nichos,” he introduced himself, grave-faced, trying to loosen my arm in its socket with his handshake where he reached back from the driver’s seat. And to Julie, seated beside him up front: “Nick!” and he took her hand and bowed his head to kiss it. Fine, except we were already mobile and leaving the town, and holiday makers and villagers alike scattering like clucking hens in all directions in our heavy blue exhaust smoke.
    Nichos was maybe fifty, hard to tell: bright brown eyes, hair greying, upward-turned moustache, skin brown as old leather. His nicotine-stained teeth and ouzo breath were pretty standard. “A fine old car,” I opined, as he jarred us mercilessly on non-existent suspension down the patchy, pot-holed tarmacadam street.
    “Eh?” He raised an eyebrow.
    “The car,” I answered. “She goes, er, well!”
    “Very well, thank you. The car,” he apparently agreed.
    “Maybe he doesn’t speak it too well, darling.” Julie was straight-faced.
    “Speaks it,” Nichos agreed with a nod. Then, registering understanding: “Ah— speak it! I am speaking it, yes, and slowly. Very slooowly ! Then is understanding. Good morning, good evening, welcome to my house—exactly! I am in Athens. Three years. Speaks it much, in Athens.”
    “Great!” I enthused, without malice. After all, I couldn’t speak any Greek.
    “You stay at Villas Dimitrios, yes?” He was just passing the time; of course we were staying there; he’d been paid to take us there, hadn’t he? And yet at the same time, I’d picked up a note of genuine enquiry, even something of concern in his voice, as if our choice surprised or dismayed him.
    “Is it a nice place?” Julie asked.
    “Nice?” he repeated her. “Beautiful!” He blew a kiss. “Beautiful sea—for swim, beautiful !” Then he shrugged, said: “All Makelos same. But Dimitrios water—water for drink—him not so good. You drinking? OK—you drink Coke. You drink beer. Drinking water in bottle. Drinking wine—very cheap! Not drinking water. Is big hole in Dimitrios. Deep, er—well? Yes? Water in well bad. All around Dimitrios bad. Good for olives, lemons, no good for the people.”
    We just about made sense of everything he said, which wasn’t quite as easy as I’ve made it sound here. As for the water situation: that was standard, too. We never drank the local water anyway. “So it’s a beautiful place,” I said. “Good.”
    Again he glanced at me over his shoulder, offered another shrug. “Er, beautiful, yes.” He didn’t seem very sure about it now. The Greeks are notoriously vague.
    We were out of Makelos, heading south round the central plateau, kicking up the dust of a narrow road where it had been cut through steep, seaward-sloping strata of yellow-banded, dazzling white rock to run parallel with the sea on our left. We were maybe thirty or forty feet above sea level, and down there through bights in the shallow sea cliffs, we were allowed tantalizing glimpses of white pebble beaches scalloping an ocean flat as a mill-pond. The fishing would be good. Nothing like the south coast of England (no Dover sole basking on a muddy bottom here), but that made it more of a challenge. You had to be good to shoot fish here!
    I took out a small paper parcel from my pocket and unwrapped it: a pair of gleaming trident spearheads purchased in Athens. With luck these heads should fit my spears. Nichos turned his head. “You like to fish? I catch plenty! Big fisherman!” Then that look was back on his face. “You fish in Dimitrios? No

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