Hello! and welcome to my newest short story. This one is a historical fiction as prompted by Jen over at The Frozen Mind. I did some traveling around Crete in October last year, The history of how the islands people rallied together, to rebel against the invasion of Crete, is incredible and inspiring, and so sad. It’s a mix of stories and places I have been over the years, and slightly inspired by Ouradour-Sur-Glane as well as the Cretan stories of World War 2 from the Battle of Crete.
Selene readied the sniper rifle she and her father, a priest at the local church, had just stolen from the town museum. The sun burned down on her back, soaking into her tussled brown hair, her small brown eyes lined up the target.
“Can you see him Selene?” Her father looked over from his rifle, they were both lying, bellies to the ground, covered by the branches from the olive trees. She focused more, not one of her muscles made a movement as she line the shot up.
“I’ve got him Papa.” A crack rang out through the olive grove, followed by a second crack from her father’s rifle; two paratroopers fell from the sky.
“Good girl.” Her father patted her back, Selene smiled to herself as she lined the second shot, and fired.
A couple of shots were fired back; the paratroopers has realised what was happening, the noise of gunfire rang out across the hill,
“It’s time to move Selene, stay low.” Her father motioned with his hand, moving back down the hill, staying as close to the ground as he could,
“Quick, quick, there coming!” He hissed under his breath, moving faster now.
The undergrowth scratched at her ankles as she ran, following her father, as fast as her legs would take her; the heavy scent of olives mixed with the gunpowder from her rifle, increasing her nerves. It made her throat hurt, she struggled to keep up with her father. Each beat of her heart pumping, banging, in her chest; she could hear it in her ears, and feel it in her body.
They made it back to the village, fast, but they were being approached from behind, the whole town was armed, they weren’t ready to go down without a fight. Even her friend Mykonos’s Grandfather, who was a wrinkled man well into his eighties, had just appear from over the hill, after bashing a paratrooper unconscious with his walking stick. He was laughing manically, waving the stick above his head, in a display of bravado, he made a haste escape down the hill after shots started to fire closer.
“Ok Selene, you and Mykonos need to go to the hiding place,” Her father started, but her attention was with the nearing blasts from over the hill; eyes wide with fear as she panted to catch her breath. “Selene, do you remember where to go?” Her eyes turned to face him,
“Yes Papa.” She mumbled, looking over at her grubby friend Mykonos, he was not much older than her, his brown hair a mess, covered with dust; his olive skin was masked by beige mud and his eyes were turned to the ground, lines were etched through dust on his cheeks; his grandfather patted his head, and smiled widely at Selene’s father.
“Right, go, now to where we said, to the cave with your mother and the others.” He said, trying to hide the panic on his face.
Selene wanted to cry, she didn’t want to leave him, but she didn’t want him to be upset with her. She turned and grabbed Mykonos’s hand; they ran down the dust covered path from the town.
After traveling about a kilometre, a split path stood in their way, a small barley visible dirt track ran up into the hills; Selene turned to continue up the dirt track, Mykonos stopped her,
“It’s this way Selene!” He pulled her down back off the track, grasping her arm. She snapped her head round and furrowed her brows at him,
“No, it’s this way!” She yanked his arm back, crossing her arms.
“You go that way if you want!” Mykonos shouted at her, he pulled his hand out of her grasp, “But your wrong” he shrugged and started walking down the other path.
“At least I’m not a cry baby!” Selene yelled after him, her voice echoed as she continued up the dirt track, ignoring him.
“Selene!” He cupped his mouth to shout at her, but she didn’t turn around, “It’s the wrong way!” Still ignoring him Selene continued. “I’ll get told off if you don’t come” He started walking back in desperation knowing, he would get a scolding if she wasn’t with him when he got to the cave.
Selene was fast, she looked around to see Mykonos chasing her, and she made a thin grin, knowing he would have to follow her. She started running up the track, only to be chased faster by an exasperated Mykonos; reaching the top of the olive tree covered hill, they arrived at a covered area of bracing pine trees. Selene turned around, Mykonos was slow, huffing and puffing his way up the hill. A small cave sat in the crease of the hill, Selene had come here many times playing, it wasn’t an obvious cave but if you knew where to look, it was easy to find; she was sure this was the one her father had meant.
Crack, Selene looked down to see if she had stood on a twig, but the cracks turned into bangs and continued, chills shot through her as she realised what the noise was. They both stood as if petrified, casting their eyes down to the town, the bells rang out and shouts could be heard all across the town. The two children stood in silence until the last shot fired. Neither realised but tears wet their cheeks,
“Selene?” Mykonos asked moving towards her as she held her head low, her hair covering her face. He placed a hand on her shoulder, turning around he took a glance around. “Where is the cave?” his eyes scanned the environment, Selene, limp, moved her arm to point towards the cave.
“There.” She uttered under her breath, still looking at the ground, “But I don’t think it’s the right one.” Tears ran down her face, she turned away from Mykonos.
“Selene…” Mykonos trailed off, “This isn’t the cave!” He started to panic looking over his shoulder, “We need to get back to the…” but as he turned around again to look down into the valley, a troop of soldiers was marching down the main path from the town, heading towards the other cave.
Selene grabbed his hand and pulled him into the crevice, hoping they weren’t noticed.
“It’s just us isn’t it?” his eyes wide with shock, they were alone now.