Monday, July 8, 2024

“Nature Called” • by Joe Giordano

On the Greek island of Santorini, I sipped white Assyrtiko wine while chatting with a brunette Greek beauty. Our gazes drifted to enjoy the sunset. White stucco villas turned pink as a blazing Sun sank. Finally extinguished by the sea, the azure waves turned blue gray. I sighed. If only I could stay here forever.

Two days earlier, I’d escaped New York’s stress. I hoped to find a love that would break the rut of my existence, cycling between stock trading days and Tinder-enabled one-night stands. Using and being used—could this be all to life?

Suddenly, a sweet and soft song floated in the air.  A woman sang, distant but distinct. Her voice crept into my brain, focusing my consciousness, and drawing me.

“Do you hear that?” I asked.

“Hear what?” my companion responded, not taking her eyes off the horizon.

She sang to me alone. I had to find that woman.

Within a few dreamlike steps, my wine glass slipped from my hand, shattering on the stone.

“Raf, what the hell?”

In my trancelike state I didn’t respond.

The brunette’s voice rose. “Where are you going?”

I continued walking, and she didn’t follow. My heart racing, I weaved toward the sea. All else was dead to me.

For miles, on a moonlit night, I often stumbled. I pursued the sound, eventually finding myself on a beach churned up red by the island’s ancient volcanic explosion. I spied a silhouette seductively reclining near an outcrop where waves smashed against black rocks spraying foam into the air. Although I couldn’t understand the words, her singing held my senses.

Blonde hair draped her naked voluptuousness. I ripped off my clothes as I ran to her. Nearing, she clutched me hungrily and we made love as the incoming surf lapped our feet. All the while, she continued to sing softly. Before dawn, we made love again.

Days blended into nights. I didn’t think of food or drink. Was this the love I sought? Lack of nourishment and the hot sun eventually weakened me, and she took complete control of our lovemaking.

One cool evening, her singing shifted to crying.

The animal heat in me eased, and I became conscious of the roar of surf and the smell of salt spray. I realized that my obsession had blocked everything else.

With difficulty, I raised my head and croaked. “Who are you?”

Her sobbing abated. “Ligeia. Daughter of the river god Archelous.”

With sudden realization, I blurted. “You’re a Siren?”

Tearfully, she nodded.

My head was spinning. “I thought Sirens had the body of birds.”

“Demeter placed her daughter Persephone in my and my sisters’ care. When we couldn’t stop Hades’ abduction, she turned us into bird-like creatures. Typical,” she said in a disgusted tone, “a goddess blaming others for her lack of mothering. My father appealed the injustice to Zeus, and we were restored.”

“Legend said, you committed suicide after Odysseus resisted your song.”

She scoffed. “Greek patriarchy thinking. Being bound to a mast, screaming to be released so he could come to us, didn’t qualify as rejection.”

“Why me?”

“I was attracted by your Tinder profile, and your social media posts announced you’d vacation in Greece.”

I allowed the idea of Sirens surfing on social media to sink in. Still, she looked so vulnerable. “Why are you crying?”

She daubed her face. “I’ve fallen in love with you and don’t want you to die.”

I gulped, focusing on her last word. “What do you mean?”

“You’re wasting away. The skeletons of others before you were taken by the incoming tide.”

My stomach dropped with dread. “You’ll release me?” I asked hopefully.

“I don’t like being cruel. I rather you remain voluntarily.”

I also wanted love, but not with a mythical creature who used men until they were wizened corpses.

My mind whirred like with high fever, and words poured out of my mouth. “I can’t abandon the world. I need to work, play, do stuff.”

Her face turned serious. “I read your thoughts. You despaired at the emptiness of your previous existence.”

New York suddenly seemed more attractive, and I wanted my life back. But, if I tried to run, she’d freeze me with her song.

“What choice do I have?” I asked, as my eyes scanned the beach for something useful.

She said in an ominous tone, “I don’t sense you’re being sincere,”

Desperately, I grabbed seaweed, stuffing it into my ears, then struggled to my feet and began to limp away.

“I guess,” she sighed with resignation, “we can’t change our nature.”

As her singing began, the last thing I remembered was the frightening realization that I’d never leave Santorini.



Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife Jane now live in Texas.

Joe’s stories have appeared in more than one hundred magazines including The Saturday Evening Post and Shenandoah, and can be found in his short story collection, Stories and Places I Remember. His novels include Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, and the Anthony Provati thriller series: Appointment with ISIL, Drone Strike, and The Art of Revenge

Visit Joe’s website at


Richie said...

You certainly had me hooked. Love the idea of mythological beings using social media!

Joe Giordano said...

Thans for reading.