The New Generation of Classic Short Stories

Vol. 16, No. 1

Cretan Love Song, 1600 b.c.

by Jim Shepard

Imagine you're part of the Minoan civilization, just hanging out with your effete painted face down by the water's edge on the north shore of Crete, circa 1600 b.c. Biting flies knit the breeze around your head. Wavelets slap discreetly ashore. When the volcanic island of Thera detonates seventy miles to the north, the concussion, even where you're standing, knocks passing waterfowl out of the air. Oxen are jolted to their knees.
     Back where Thera used to be, more than thirty-five cubic miles of dense rock equivalent have been blown out of the water and up into the troposphere. That's all of Manhattan and the bedrock beneath it concussing upward thirty thousand feet. It's as if something has convulsed the horizon and churned the bowl of the sky above. What you're looking at no one in recorded history has ever seen, before or since.

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