I woke up feeling like I was still on fire. My skin stung. My throat felt as dry as sand.

I saw blue sky and trees above me. I heard a fountain gurgling, and smelled juniper and cedar and a bunch of other sweet-scented plants. I heard waves, too, gently lapping on a rocky shore. I wondered if I was dead, but I knew better. I’d been to the Land of the Dead, and there was no blue sky.

I tried to sit up. My muscles felt like they were melting.

“Stay still,” a girl’s voice said. “You’re too weak to rise.”

She laid a cool cloth across my forehead. A bronze spoon hovered over me and liquid was dribbled into my mouth. The drink soothed my throat and left a warm chocolaty aftertaste. Nectar of the gods. Then the girl’s face appeared above me.

She had almond eyes and caramel-color hair braided over one shoulder. She was…fifteen? Sixteen? It was hard to tell. She had one of those faces that just seemed timeless. She began singing, and my pain dissolved. She was working magic. I could feel her music sinking into my skin, healing and repairing my brain.

“Who?” I croaked.

“Shhh, brave one,” she said. “Rest and heal. No harm will come to you here. I am Calypso.”


The next time I woke I was in a cave, but as far as caves go, I’d been in a lot worse. The ceiling glittered with different-color crystal formations— white and purple and green, like I was inside one of those cut geodes you see in souvenir shops. I was lying on a comfortable bed with feather pillows and cotton sheets. The cave was divided into sections by white silk curtains. Against one wall stood a large loom and a harp. Against the other wall were shelves neatly stacked with jars of fruit preserves. Dried herbs hung from the ceiling: rosemary, thyme, and a bunch of other stuff. My mother could’ve named them all.

There was a fireplace built into the cave wall, and a pot bubbling over the flames. It smelled great, like beef stew.

I sat up, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in my head. I looked at my arms, sure that they would be hideously scarred, but they seemed fine. A little pinker than usual, but not bad. I was wearing a white cotton T-shirt and cotton drawstring pants that weren’t mine. My feet were bare. In a moment of panic, I wondered what happened to Riptide, but I felt my pocket and there was my pen, right where it always reappeared.

Not only that but the Stygian ice dog whistle was back in my pocket, too. Somehow it had followed me. And that didn’t exactly reassure me.

With difficulty, I stood. The stone floor was freezing under my feet. I turned and found myself staring into a polished bronze mirror.

“Holy Poseidon,” I muttered. I looked as if I’d lost twenty pounds I couldn’t afford to lose. My hair was a rat’s nest. It was singed at the edges like Hephaestus’s beard. If I saw that face on somebody walking down a highway intersection asking for money, I would’ve locked the car doors.

I turned away from the mirror. The cave entrance was to my left. I headed toward the daylight.

The cave opened onto a green meadow. On the left was a grove of cedar trees and on the right a huge flower garden. Four fountains gurgled in the meadow, each shooting water from the pipes of stone satyrs. Straight ahead, the grass sloped down to a rocky beach. The waves of a lake lapped against the stones. I could tell it was a lake because…well, I just could. Fresh water. Not salt. The sun sparkled on the water, and the sky was pure blue. It seemed like a paradise, which immediately made me nervous. You deal with mythological stuff for a few years, you learn that paradises are usually places where you get killed.

The girl with the braided caramel hair, the one who’d called herself Calypso, was standing at the beach, talking to someone. I couldn’t see him very well in the shimmer from the sunlight off the water, but they appeared to be arguing. I tried to remember what I knew about Calypso from the old myths. I’d heard the name before, but…I couldn’t remember. Was she a monster? Did she trap heroes and kill them? But if she was evil, why was I still alive?

I walked toward her slowly because my legs were still stiff. When the grass changed to gravel, I looked down to keep my balance, and when I looked up again, the girl was alone. She wore a white sleeveless Greek dress with a low circular neckline trimmed in gold. She brushed at her eyes like she’d been crying.

“Well,” she said, trying for a smile, “the sleeper finally wakes.”

“Who were you talking to?” My voice sounded like a frog that had spent time in a microwave.

“Oh…just a messenger,” she said. “How do you feel?”

“How long have I been out?”

“Time,” Calypso mused. “Time is always difficult here. I honestly don’t know, Percy.”

“You know my name?”

“You talk in your sleep.”

I blushed. “Yeah. I’ve been…uh, told that before.”

“Yes. Who is Annabeth?”

“Oh, uh. A friend. We were together when—wait, how did I get here? Where am I?”

Calypso reached up and ran her fingers through my mangled hair. I stepped back nervously.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ve just grown used to caring for you. as to how you got here, you fell from the sky. You landed in the water, just there.” She pointed across the beach. “I do not know how you survived. The water seemed to cushion your fall. As to where you are, you are in Ogygia.”

She pronounced it like oh-jee-jee-ah.

“Is that near Mount St. Helens?” I asked, because my geography is pretty terrible.

Calypso laughed. It was a small restrained laugh, like she found me really funny but didn’t want to embarrass me. She was cute when she laughed.

“It isn’t near anything, brave one,” she said. “Ogygia is my phantom island. It exists by itself, anywhere and nowhere. You can heal here in safety. Never fear.”

“But my friends—”

“Annabeth,” she said. “And Grover and Tyson?”

“Yes!” I said. “I have to get back to them. They’re in danger.

She touched my face, and I didn’t back away this time. “Rest first. You are no good to your friends until you heal.”

As soon as she said it, I realized how tired I was. “You’re not…you’re not an evil sorceress, are you?”

She smiled coyly. “Why would you think that?”

“Well, I met Circe once, and she had a pretty nice island, too. Except she liked to turn men into guinea pigs.”

Calypso gave me that laugh again. “I promise I will not turn you into a guinea pig.”

“Or anything else?”

“I am no evil sorceress,” Calypso said. “And I am not your enemy, brave one. Now rest. Your eyes are already closing.”

She was right. My knees buckled, and I would’ve landed face-first in the gravel if Calypso hadn’t caught me. Her hair smelled like cinnamon. She was very strong, or maybe I was just really weak and thin. She walked me back to a cushioned bench by the fountain and helped me lie down.

“Rest,” she ordered. And I fell asleep to the sound of the fountains and the smell of cinnamon and juniper.


The next time I woke it was night, but I wasn’t sure if it was the same night or many nights later. I was in the bed in the cave, but I rose and wrapped a robe around myself and padded outside. The stars were brilliant—thousands of them, like you only see way out in the country. I could make out all the constellations Annabeth had taught me: Capricorn, Pegasus, Sagittarius. And there, near the southern horizon, was a new constellation: the Huntress, a tribute to a friend of ours who had died last winter.

“Percy, what do you see?”

I brought my eyes back to earth. However amazing the stars were, Calypso was twice as brilliant. I mean, I’ve seen the goddess of love herself, Aphrodite, and I would never say this out loud or she’d blast me to ashes, but for my money, Calypso was a lot more beautiful, because she just seemed so natural, like she wasn’t trying to be beautiful and didn’t even care about that. She just was. With her braided hair and white dress, she seemed to glow in the moonlight. She was holding a tiny plant in her hands. Its flowers were silver and delicate.

“I was just looking at…” I found myself staring at her face. “Uh…I forgot.”

She laughed gently. “Well, as long as you’re up, you can help me plant these.”

She handed me a plant, which had a clump of dirt and roots at the base. The flowers glowed as I held them. Calypso picked up her gardening spade and directed me to the edge of the garden, where she began to dig.

“That’s moonlace,” Calypso explained. “It can only be planted at night.”

I watched the silvery light flicker around the petals. “What does it do?”

“Do?” Calypso mused. “It doesn’t really do anything, I suppose. It lives, it gives light, it provides beauty. Does it have to do anything else?”

“I suppose not,” I said.

She took the plant, and our hands met. Her fingers were warm. She planted the moonlace and stepped back, surveying her work. “I love my garden.”

“It’s awesome,” I agreed. I mean, I wasn’t exactly a gardening type, but Calypso had arbors covered with six different colors of roses, lattices filled with honeysuckle, rows of grapevines bursting with red and purple grapes that would’ve made Dionysus sit up and beg.

“Back home,” I said, “my mom always wanted a garden.”

“Why did she not plant one?”

“Well, we live in Manhattan. In an apartment.”

“Manhattan? Apartment?”

I stared at her. “You don’t know what I’m talking about, do you?”

“I fear not. I haven’t left Ogygia in…a long time.”

“Well, Manhattan’s a big city, with not much gardening space.”

Calypso frowned. “That is sad. Hermes visits from time to time. He tells me the world outside has changed greatly. I did not realize it had changed so much you cannot have gardens.”

“Why haven’t you left your island?”

She looked down. “It is my punishment.”

“Why? What did you do?”

“I? Nothing. But I’m afraid my father did a great deal. His name is Atlas.”

The name sent a shiver down my back. I’d met the Titan Atlas last winter, and it had not been a happy time. He’d tried to kill pretty much everyone I care about.

“Still,” I said hesitantly, “it’s not fair to punish you for what your father’s done. I knew another daughter of Atlas. Her name was Zoë. She was one of the bravest people I’ve ever met.”

Calypso studied me for a long time. Her eyes were sad.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Are—are you healed yet, my brave one? Do you think you’ll be ready to leave soon?”

“What? I asked. “I don’t know.” I moved my legs. They were still stiff. I was already getting dizzy from standing up so long. “You want me to go?”