They were waiting for the man inside the cave, sitting in a circle of three. He had been expecting them, the Fates, the three Greek Goddesses who wove destiny. He had been playing with the woman’s tarot cards earlier, in her secret Temple, and had turned up two. This was the first: the Wheel of Fortune depicting the Moirai, the Goddesses of Fate. Now, they had come to life, and they were here to talk.
“She will be mine again before the weekend is over,” he began.
Kikki Trieste fingered the black-and-gold-crested deck of tarot cards in her lap. She took a deep breath and let the cards roll expertly through her fingers. As she rocked back on the legs of a captain’s chair, she kept her dark eyes on the sparkling azure sea of Santorini dashing against the ancient cliffs of her island. This view from the marble terrace of Hotel Atlantis—her hotel—was the realization of a dream that had endured lifetimes.
Kikki let the deck rest in her palms. Her skin stung with energy. The Fates had picked their card. A chill traveled her spine. She took a deep breath as the card dropped.
Orestes, the Seven of Swords. The ill-fated prince from the cursed House of Atreus, his was one of the most powerful of Greek myths.
Working to steady her trembling hand, Kikki touched the image of Prince Orestes, the dark and dangerous son of King Agamemnon and Queen Clytemnestra. The card depicted Orestes as he slipped stealthily into the palace at Argos. Under the cover of a stormy night, his identity shrouded, Orestes was answering his fate: to commit matricide to avenge his father’s murder.
According to the myth, Orestes, stuck in a karmic chain of fate, had the right to kill his mother. It was an amoral code that Kikki barely understood, much less believed—for it demanded a mind devoid of values and emotion. A mind without soul, far from the nurturing heart and the light of the great and Ancient Goddess that Kikki and the ancient peoples of her island had worshipped.
As Kikki forced herself to hold the card, goose bumps ran from her fingers up the length of her arm, as if a chill breeze had suddenly whipped through the sultry air. It was nearly sunset and over a hundred degrees with humidity almost as high, typical weather for high summer.
The cold came from within her and from the evil spell the Seven of Swords cast on Hotel Atlantis. She dropped the card abruptly. Suddenly, she couldn’t bear to be alone.
She stood and scanned the upper stories of the hotel, two small houses built into the cliff itself.
Like a mirage, the freshly whitewashed buildings seemed to glow from the high cliffs. There was no sign of Cleo Manet, her best friend and spiritual sister. No belly dance music coming from Cleo’s private cliff house. Kikki’s keen psychic antennae couldn’t pick up Cleo anywhere.
New Edition December 2022