Encounter at Muxnar

mdina, malta

Street in Mdina, Malta – © Google 2014

Emily Becker followed the old Maltese man down a little-known side street into a shop. The walled city had existed since the Bronze Age, but the young archeology student was visiting because of her passion for the Apostle Paul. The Apostle’s history was tied to Malta, though not to this small city.

Inside, the man excitedly displayed what looked like a mirror, except the glass was black instead of reflective.

“So what’s this?” She was suddenly aware she was alone with a stranger and her tour guide didn’t know where she was.

“You see Shaul. Look deep.” He used the Apostle’s Hebrew name.

Emily drew closer to the mirror.

“Touch.”

She held up her hand, and it was as if the mirror reached out and grabbed her.

Emily turned and she was standing near Muxnar Reef in a rainstorm. Strangely dressed men were struggling to make shore including a middle-aged Jewish man.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google street maps image and location as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 147.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Mdina, Malta. Of course for perspective, I looked up the city’s history as well as the general background on Malta. If I had a bucket list of places I wanted to visit, Malta would be on it.

Someone commented on this story that the concept of a dark mirror leading to other places and times might make an interesting series. As I was pondering the Pegman challenge this morning, I thought that it would be interesting if the magic of the dark mirror randomly appeared in different places across the world.

In this case, an old shopkeeper in Malta happens, for a time, to acquire a mirror possessed by the dark magic and realizes its potential. Perhaps the mirror supplies a destination depending on the user’s desires. In her fantasies, Emily has always wanted to meet the Apostle Paul. According to this researcher, the most likely site of Paul’s shipwreck on Malta as recorded in the Book of Acts, chapters 27 and 28, is “just outside St Thomas’ Bay, near a dangerous sandbar called the Muxnar Reef.”

I had wanted to write a longer tale, but 150 words only goes so far. Now we’ll never know what happens to Emily next.

Oh, Malta has two official languages, one being Maltese, which is a semitic language, and the other being English, so Emily would be able to communicate with the shopkeeper. Talking to the Jewish apostle, his fellow captives, and ancient Roman soldiers might be another story, however.

To read other tales based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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The Woman from Ogygia

gleneagles bar

Photo credit: MorgueFile 14228002011gx95

Gilberto Curry wandered into Gleneagles Bar, probably one of the more famous landmarks on Gozo, and sat at the nearest vacant table. He’d become bored with nearby Malta the minute he entered the airport gift shop and saw endless replicas of the cinema’s “Maltese Falcon.”

Sipping on his second beer of the day, he was surprised when a very beautiful and very drunk young woman sat in the chair opposite him.

“I hate every single one of you men.”

“Then why are you sitting with me?” No doubt her husband cheated on her or her boyfriend just came out as gay.

“You’re always running off, even when captured, the gods make you let them go back to their wives…uh wife. He only had one.”

“Well, if he was married…”

“I had twins by him. Think he ever came to visit, pay child support? Oh no. Bleeping Zeus wouldn’t have it.”

“Zeus? Who was your intended?” Gilberto was still sober enough to be curious.

“Odysseus. Seven years together and he never came back.”

“Lady, you must be really drunk if you think…”

“Calypso. I’m Calypso. Want to see my island? Maybe you could stay a year or two.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018: Week #12 challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

I was able to make out the name Gleneagles Bar in the photo and found out it’s located on the island of Gozo which is the second largest island in the Malta archipelago (the first largest being Malta).

Gozo is associated with the island of Ogygia, home to the mythological nymph Calypso. She is said to have kidnapped the Greek hero Odysseus as recorded in Homer’s “Odyssey” and then held him against his will for seven years (some sources say five) because of her love of him. They eventually had sex and there are other legends stating she had either one or two children by him.

Eventually, Zeus made Calypso let Odysseus go so he could return to his wife, and the whole tale sounded worthy of the most schmaltzy country and western song. So I imaged an inconsolable Calypso still pining for her lost love (who she’s never seen or heard from ever since), drowning her sorrows in a bar on the 21st century version of her island while trying to pick up any man who will listen to her tale of woe.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.