He crossed the Aegean Sea on a powerful trireme with fifty slaves rowing nonstop on both sides of the vessel. The oracle warned him of the absolute certainty of his failure. He sailed anyway.
“There is no cure. Not all the gold in the world can put a stop to it.”
He did not take the oracle’s words to heart. Instead, he spoke to other mystics and seers. He poured libations in honor of a handful of gods in the hopes of arriving at a solution. None came. Until finally a tradesman specializing in rare medicament told him about a mystic woman in a secluded island across the sea.
The tradesman spoke in hushed tones, afraid that someone else might hear him.
He drank the tradesman’s words like fragrant, Bibline wine. Imbibing the new knowledge, he had a majestic trireme built for one mission alone: to reach the island of Sarpedon the quickest.
The trireme launched itself against powerful headwinds on that fateful day. Certain gods had heard of the quest and decided to play tricks on the gigantic, 50-slave trireme.
The sky rumbled as water surged in hurricane intensity from the depths of the ocean. Seven times the vessel nearly capsized. Half of the slaves drowned – others disappeared, carried away by clawed and finned beasts from the deepest parts of the sea.
When the vessel finally anchored in Sarpedon, the man was already feverish. He disembarked and sought a cave, any cave near the beach. He found a tiny one that smelled of rotting fish and the sea.
He slept like a dead man.
In his dream, he stood in front of a formless darkness. Earsplitting hisses echoed throughout the cave. There was no fire. For the first time in a long while he felt afraid.
The formless darkness spoke first.
“How dare you come to my home, Midas.”
Midas showed her his right hand.
“The disease is spreading, Medusa. I can no longer breathe right. I no longer eat. I can only taste wine. Food will not fit into my throat, now solid gold. I am starving with all the gold I can ever want with no way to enjoy my riches.”
The hissing increased. Midas tasted anger in the damp air.
“What is it to me, Midas.”
Midas wore his glove again.
“I want you to end it. However way. The seers say I will not die.”
The remaining crew of the ship waited and waited until many succumbed to thirst and starvation. A violent storm pulled the trireme back to sea and smashed it on the jagged rocks below the water. The prow cracked and the oar banks split, allowing ocean water to pull the vessel deeper, until it was no more.
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