Blue Smoke in Greece

Blue Smoke in Greece

A Story by Doug Ordunio

Eleftheria meets a woman in a Grecian cave who casts a mysterious spell upon her.


Another handsome young man vanished after making love to her, never to be seen again. It was a sunny Grecian morning, the sort that would have dawned when men and women wore togas and sandals. As Eleftheria awakened, even before her eyes opened, she was confident of the scene that would greet her. The clothes of Yannis were spread over the floor where he had dropped them in breathless excitement the night before. His beautiful star sapphire ring which she had admired was on the nightstand. That would probably be the sole possession she would keep. She gathered up his clothes and put them into a large trash bag. His ring went into the jewelry box atop her dresser.

Eleftheria was a haunting vision but lonely, a woman who possessed a sweet disposition. She was rather delicate, the type of person who would nurse injured animals back to health; her caring knew no bounds. Born of a family that had considerable wealth, she was the last of the family line after the rest had passed on. She preferred to live modestly and up until recently had lived in solitude. Traditionally shy as she progressed through adolescence, her interest in men was something that had grown within her slowly. It was now an aspect of her life pursued with curiosity and a certain obsession.

She met Yannis by chance in the marketplace in Kifissia. He had just poured himself a strong cup of coffee from the briki the waiter had left; Eleftheria was purchasing amphissa olives and happened to be walking by his table. She felt his gaze upon her first. From her point of view, his eventual seduction was a fait accompli. He was visiting from Athens and unknown to people in her small town. His mysterious disappearance would go unnoticed. As the pair talked over a dinner of olives, galotiri cheese and xinomavro wine, Yannis’s sensibility was blinded by her hypnotic intoxicating beauty, her full head of curly dark brunette hair, her long straight nose, and her eyes. Already, he had fallen under her spell. Their lovemaking was leisurely and gentle, underscored by deep passion. Eleftheria had liked Yannis so much that she nearly told him to run away. Yet he was so beautiful that she was unable to warn him.

That night, as they made love, she smiled as he stared intensely. When the pace quickened, her eyes closed since she couldn’t bear to watch what would happen next. Yannis was thrust into spasm; Eleftheria moaned with pleasure. After a moment, she felt his weight lifted from her. He was gone. Remorse flooded over her for a brief moment. Then she descended into a deep sleep.

In the morning over coffee at her breakfast table, she thought of that fateful day, an afternoon of wandering through the coolness of the Dyros Caves in Laconia. As she wandered through the caverns filled with collections of stately and sometimes grotesque stalagmites which resembled a phantasmagorical pipe organ in appearance, she arrived at an inner cavern known as Alepotrypa. She came upon an old woman in a long white embroidered dress, who sat on one of the occasional benches placed for resting purposes

“It’s a wonderful day to be in here out of the summer heat, isn’t it?” said the young girl.

“Very comfortable…I come here occasionally to escape the world’s madness,” said the older one. “Much of the time it feels like home. Who are you, my dear?” said the woman with a voice that shook with age.

“Eleftheria,” she answered.

“My name is Atina,” said the older one. “Where do you reside?”

“Kiffisia,” said the girl.

“A beautiful town,” said Atina. “Do you have a husband or family?”

“No, my family is gone, and I live alone. It has been ten years now,”  she said.“An unfortunate situation for such a beautiful girl,” said Atina. The old woman grew silent, appearing to be in a state of deep thought. When she spoke again, she said to the young woman, “Please, allow me to examine what lies ahead in your life.,

Eleftheria was rather surprised, but she was amused and intrigued. “Please, if you would.,

Atina reached into a large pocket in her dress and drew out a deck of cards with ornate colored backs which she spread out on the bench face-down. “Now, please select a card and hand it to me. Eleftheria did so, and Atina showed her it contained the Greek letter Iota. “Ah, I see you are a very solitary person, isolated, very alone in this world. I will bestow two things upon you. One is freedom unlike what any mortal woman ever knows. The other is a mystery that you will come to know. It is up to you to discover and use wisely. Eleftheria didn,’t believe the woman, however, she decided to allow Atina to play her game.

“Very well,” said the woman, “now I shall make it so.  Then she was silent. The young girl watched and waited. Outside, the sky darkened allowing little light inside the cavern. A bolt of lightning illuminated everything, followed by a clap of thunder as though the mighty god Zeus had made his presence known. This continued for several minutes. It appeared to Eleftheria that Atina had turned back the clock and for a few moments she was transformed from the ancient crone the girl first saw into an attractive young woman. This continued for a time; the lightning grew more intense and the thunder became so loud that Eleftheria had to cover her ears.

An eternity of minutes seemed to pass although it was only a few seconds. When she could make out Atina’s form once more, the woman had regained her antique appearance. The young woman could not tell that anything was different.

“What happened?” asked Eleftheria. “I feel just the same.”

“You do not notice now, but many things have changed,” said Atina.

The younger one rose to leave. As she did, the fortune-telling card with Iota on it caught her eye from the ground. She knelt to pick it up. “You dropped this,” she said, but when she looked up, Atina had vanished. She gazed about, feeling that Atina could not have gone far, but the woman was truly gone. The card went into the girl’s pocket as she left the caves; she didn’t understand what had taken place, but it was soon shrugged off as another strange and inexplicable event. She even had a souvenir.

Several days later, in the town’s central marketplace, Eleftheria noticed a young man reading the newspaper. When he removed his glasses to clean them, he was transformed into a young Adonis. She made an excuse to introduce herself and his name turned out to be Menousis. They sat until the early evening, consuming several large cups of coffee. When it appeared that they would part for the evening, Menousis took the lady’s cup.

“Before we part, let me examine the grounds of your coffee. I have always had a talent for this.” She waited for his pronouncement. “Ah, you see all the concentric circles here” She gazed into the tiny cup and saw a series of five circles in the very center. She nodded toward him. “This is a warning to me,” he said quietly. She frowned a bit. “The grounds convey that I should tread very carefully in knowing you. Otherwise I may lose my soul., He paused dramatically and burst into laughter. “This is such silliness.” She began to breathe again laughed with him.
Later in the twilight, she delighted when she undressed with the open window leading to a sumptuous Mediterranean sunset behind her, his eyes wandering over her. “Eleftheria,”
 he began, “your beauty is equal to that of Aphrodite; your breasts are the White Mountains covered in snow; your stomach, flat like the ancient Thracian Plain; your legs bearing gentle slopes like the island of Helena.” Then his lips began, as her sense of arousal escalated. Eleftheria grew so excited that she found she was unable to make similar geographical comparisons.

All she could do was gaze into his eyes as though they were the waters of the Aegean. “Take me, Menousis, take me,” she started to chant repeatedly. Their eyes were locked together in a visual embrace. Eventually, Eleftheria gasped and exuded a lengthy moan.

As they reached their peaks, a very disturbing thing occurred. He said, “Eleftheria!” Then a look of panic spread across his face. Confused, she was speechless. As she gazed up at him he slowly faded from view.

She screamed “Menousis!” but he was gone. Leaping from the bed she examined the room. His clothes were exactly where he left them. She looked all over her small house, but he had mysteriously disappeared. Nearly in a state of shock, her mind spun madly as she attempted to understand what had just taken place. It felt like a hallucination. Step by step, she went over the day again and again up to the point where Menousis departed. It was inexplicable. Doses of ouzo helped to calm her a bit, but Eleftheria didn’t sleep for three days. She told no one of this odd occurrence. After several weeks it began to fade from her mind.

It took another month before she even spoke to another male. This time, it was a boy, barely an adult, named Mikis. She had gone to sunbathe at an isolated beach near Megara. Mikis had happened upon her and they struck up a friendly conversation. Soon they were making love. As it happened with Menousis, Mikis also disappeared just at the peak of the lovemaking, with a difference. This time when he seemed to fade from view, at least in the afternoon sunlight, his body appeared to turn into a subtle haze of blue smoke which vanished between her legs. Eleftheria was becoming convinced that the old woman Atina had truly cast some sort of spell on her. She quickly buried Mikis’s clothes in the sand, and then wandered into the hills hoping she hadn’t been seen.

The next day she returned to the Dyros Caves to see if she could possibly find Atina to help her unravel this state of affairs which seemed to be unfolding in her life. When she arrived in the Alepotrypa cavern, there was no sign of Atina, but she happened upon a guide who was taking a tour of about fifteen people through the area. He was an older mustachioed man who looked rather tired and was resting on the bench where Atina had sat. Eleftheria sat down next to him.

“Excuse me,” she began, “have you seen an older woman here wearing a dress of white lace, very ornate-looking, very fancy.”

“No,” he said, and looked the other way. She began to rise, feeling that she would discover no new information. He reached over to grasp her hand. “Wait, please. I have never seen this person but for the 32 years I have led people through Dyros, many have asked me the same question. Many seek her, but she remains an enigma. It is always in this cavern that they look and at this very bench. I even know her name.”

“Is it Atina?” Eleftheria impulsively asked.

“That is the person, and all those who ask have told me that after they met this Atina, that their lives were forever altered. Some have come back fifteen or twenty times, looking, but as I say, I have never seen her.”

Eleftheria thanked him and departed. Now she felt with even greater certainty that her experience with Atina was real. She wondered what kinds of changes had been wrought in the lives of the others who had encountered her.

Eleftheria became more curious about her newly-found ability. She began to experiment.. An older man traveling through Kiffisia was the next lover. His name was Angelos; she invited him over for dinner. Intimacy soon transpired and sure enough, her body absorbed another cloud of blue smoke. She realized that for some reason, her body seemed to be assimilating the life-essences of her lovers. So went Daimon, Elias, Horus, Fotis, Pavlos, Spiros and dozens of other unsuspecting men Eleftheria managed to lure into her body which had developed the emotions of a Venus fly-trap.

Then, she met Teris. He was without a doubt the most beautiful man that Eleftheria had ever met. He was over six feet tall, a tight muscular body, sandy brown hair, and he possessed the most lustrous blue eyes she had ever seen. As they sat in an outdoor restaurant enjoying a cup of coffee, he revealed more unusual things that fascinated her. Teris knew everything about ancient Greek history, Greek literature, and Greek poets from Homer to Odysseus Elytis.

When he recited Constantine Cavafy, she thought she had died and gone to heaven.

“When I went to that house of pleasure I didn’t stay in the front rooms where they celebrate, with some decorum, the accepted modes of love.  I went into the secret rooms and lounged and lay on their beds.”

When Eleftheria came to understand what an amazing man it had been her luck to meet. She was now completely torn. He was extremely attractive; she desired him strongly. Yet she knew that if they made love, she would lose him forever. It was quite a quandary. Since it was their first night together, Teris made his desires known. She made up an excuse, hoping his obvious lust would be placated.

The next day she returned to the Dyros Caves, hoping again that she would encounter Atina. The old woman was nowhere to be found.. She questioned the few people met there; no one recognized the woman described.

Teris, however, was persistent. After a month of her rejections and delays, the situation came to a head.

“Eleftheria, my lovely one,” he said, “how much longer do you want me to wait”

She looked away from him, then continued. “Teris, I am so sorry I have been avoiding you. These last weeks have been difficult because I care for you so much. You are the brightest star in the galaxy, the greatest ocean in my world. I have never met another man like you. There is another problem which keeps us apart.”

“Is it me?” Teris asked. “Whatever the problem is, we shall solve this together. Do not worry.” His voice has a comfortable reassuring tone.

“It is me,” she confided. “I am the problem. I’ve never told any man this, but I’m afraid that if we make love, and believe me, that’s an experience I dearly long to share with you, that I will lose you.” She began to cry and put her head against Teris’s chest. “Every man I have known for the last four years has vanished from my life.”

“I’m not going to vanish,” said Teris. “You mean the world to me. You’re the definition of beauty. I can’t bear to think of us living in this world and being apart.”

“Years ago, I met an old woman, and she made me choose a card from a fortune teller’s deck. It was all crazy. Since then I can make love to any man I desire, but it can only happen once. He vanishes, and I mean literally. Then he is gone.”

So, you think this is some kind of spell?”

“Teris, I don’t know where the future lies. My life is wonderful and horrible at the same time, but you cannot go away. I want you in my life forever.” Emotionally, she was broken.

Teris produced a white handkerchief to wipe her eyes. “My sweet one, let us just spend the night in each others’ arms, without making love. I guarantee I will be here tomorrow for you.” Eleftheria was comforted by the offer of Teris. That night they lay together naked in her bed. He held her tenderly.

When she had fallen asleep, her sleeping mind was wracked by dreams of a powerful thunderstorm that was never-ending. She tried putting her head under the pillow. It was then she found that Teris was gone. Had they made love? Still in the dream, she shook herself awake and found that the sun had just risen. When she sat up, great clouds of sweet-smelling blue smoke began to pour out of her body as though it were a censer.

Now she truly awoke, shaking. She quickly looked about and confirmed her worst fears. Eleftheria was alone. Teris was gone. His clothing was still strewn about the room. Large tears dripped from her eyes and she grasped her arms around her knees, hiding her head. Even the gentle songs of the swallows outside did not calm her. She was more confused than ever.

“Teris?” she inquired to a seemingly empty house. “Teris?” she said louder, her voice quivered.

“What is it, dear Eleftheria?”  he said invisibly.

“Where are you?” she asked.

“Brewing some coffee,” he said. She sighed deeply, feeling momentarily a bit of ease. He appeared in the bedroom doorway with a small tray bearing two demitasse cups and a briki
full of coffee whose odors permeated the air. She could see his early morning erection bobbing beneath the tray. Teris set down the tray, poured her a steaming cup and handed it to her. “Good morning,” he said.

“Mmmm,” she said before taking a sip, but she immediately put the cup on the nightstand. Feeling more desire than ever, Eleftheria began to caress his obvious sign of arousal.

“A bit braver this morning?” he asked.

“Teris, I love you,” she said, fearing what was about to happen.

“Then let us give in to our impulses,” he spoke as she pushed him back on the bed, causing him to spill his coffee all over the white sheets. Eleftheria didn’t care because she was hungry; there was only one thing that would sate this need. Their foreplay was long and slow. Both had never been driven to such heights. When neither could take it any longer, she leaped on top of him. As his back arched, his passionate thrusts rose to meet her, their spirits seemed to have risen heavenwards. The final explosion was accompanied by her collapse forward over him so she could watch between her legs to observe the ending. Miraculously the moment was not accompanied by his dematerialization. When Eleftheria discovered this, her body squeezed and hugged him harder. Teris smiled up at her. “Lie down my sweet. Let me find you a replacement for your spilled cup. She nodded, and Teris disappeared into the kitchen.

When he appeared in the bedroom again, he beckoned to her. “Come, let us look at the beginning of this new day.” She rose from the bed, flushed with the glow of love, and followed him out onto the veranda. Her house was situated at the highest point in the city; although they were naked, they could look down and remain unseen by anyone but the gods. It was very much like Adam and Eve discovering Eden.

When Eleftheria saw that the deck was still wet, she remarked, “There really was a storm last night.”

“Indeed,” said Teris, “one of the strongest storms I’ve ever seen. It was as if the gods themselves made the storm. It didn’t even bother you. You slept last night as though you were dead.”

“I dreamed of a storm. It was terrifying.” The pair embraced lovingly and looked down toward the southwest where they could see a number of sailboats that had embarked on journeys into the Sea of Crete. “I would like to do that sometime,” she said.

“We can,” Teris responded. “I’m a modern-day Jason, and my boat is the Argo

“You really do like Greek mythology, don’t you?”

“It’s our history, our heritage,” he said. “I’ll teach you.

“I’m an excellent student,” she said. Out of the corner of her vision she observed a fluttering. A bird quickly flew into her bedroom through the opened door. The superstition about birds within a house being bad omens flashed through her mind. “Oh no, a bird,” she said, as she rushed back inside followed by Teris.

When they entered the room, they observed a small owl on the top of Eleftheria’s dresser. “I’ll take care of him,” said Teris.

“Please get him out,” she said with a worried tone.

“Bubo,” he said. Without moving its body, the owl’s head swiveled in Teris’s direction, regarding him with a look which seemed to denote intelligence. “Come, Bubo, you must leave,” he continued. The bird’s head turned away, facing a picture of Eleftheria with her parents, taken when she was a child. With its beak it reached to grasp Atina’s fortune telling card that had been wedged into the picture frame. Then it flew away.

“Oh no! Now my souvenir of Atina is gone!” she said with an unhappy expression.

“Who is Atina?” he asked.

“The old woman who told my fortune years ago,” she said. “I’ll tell you about it sometime. Why did you call the bird Bubo?”

“He was the magical owl owned by the goddess Athena,” said Teris. At the mention of that name, a light of understanding illuminated over her head. All the pieces in the puzzle of her life began to fit together, the completion of a grand and elegant circle. Eleftheria smiled broadly and hugged Teris, delighting in the human warmth she found within him, knowing that any mysteries in her future might be determined by the gods.


© 2010 Doug Ordunio

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Posted 8 Years Ago

I have always loved Greek mythology stories and this was stunning,I usually tire of stories quickly, but I was riveted! You built Eleftheria so well, her beauty, loneliness and trapped life of disappearing men ......until the one arrives with his own wonders, fantastic, all the Greek culture steeped in your story, and of course Bubo, the owl, with his wisdom.........and a perfect end for the beautiful woman so plagued by the spell, excellent, and one I shall carry in my mind today :)

Posted 9 Years Ago

That was really beautiful. I think a bit more detail could be put in but its was still wonderful. All of the references to greek mythology were perfect, And the conclusion gave it the nice air of a simple modern miracle.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on October 24, 2010
Last Updated on October 25, 2010
Tags: greece, mythology, erotica, men, women, sex, haunting, mystery
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Doug Ordunio
Doug Ordunio

Tujunga, CA

I have been writing for a little while-- Please read and you might be entertained. Please don't send me tons of read requests. If you must send one, make sure it's your best stuff. From me, you will.. more..