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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1)

Submitted: July 24, 2011

Reads: 96

Comments: 2

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 24, 2011





Fastforward. A week and half—or so, after that weekend trip to the lighthouse and beach. This is the time near when I had almost drowned, but there are some things that I need to explain a bit before I get to that just yet. Hang on. We’ll get there, I promise. And those things start with my relationship with Cam that I wasn’t even sure what to call now—what we were both afraid to call. She had been had been the one to kiss me, and I had stressed to Ben when I had talked to him over the phone a couple days after.

“Well she’s cute,” he had said, “you should go for her…After all she does happen to be your neighbor. How lucky could you get? A girl that ends up being your neighbor and being hot?”

“True,” I told him, pacing around my room, glancing through my window occasionally to look at her own window lit by a glowing lamp somewhere near her bed, “but that’s just it Ben. I’m never that lucky…You know my luck—especially with girls…” My voice trails off into an aggravated groan.

“Yeah, it is pretty bad,” he said dryly.

Hey,” I said pressing a hand against my forehead, “you’re not supposed to agree here, you know.”

“Well, it is the truth.”

“But still,” I said at him, not particularly happy, and I attempted to say something, but I was at a loss for words. “Fine, but I don’t know what to do…Do I ask her out, or something? I’m not used to this sort of…Of um, thing, you know, unlike you, you know.” Ben had had more girlfriends than I could remember or really care about, a whole string of mostly easy girls, but hey, I wasn’t going to tell him who to do date, and who to not—and he told me that one good thing about them, was they put out without regret. And they were hot, but then again Ben wasn’t bad to look at either. That was what he was only after—sex. But for me, that wasn’t it. I wanted something more. And this was the guy I was talking to about relationships, seemed kind of ironic when you thought about it, but who else was I supposed to go to about this sort of thing…Mom? Yeah, right.

“Well, if you want my advice,” he said, after a long pause, “I would suggest that you get to know her better, before committing to anything serious.”

I was shocked. He had actually suggested something helpful; I started to speak, but his answer had kind of thrown me for an unexpected loop. “Well, uh, that does…Um, sound good. I think I’ll try to do that then.”

“Because if you don’t,” he said, “then, you really don’t know what you will get yourself into…I mean do you actually know her? Know her, know her? Granted, I don’t really care about knowing about girls, or the girls I’m with, but I’m just thinking for you—you know. Your best interest. She seems smart, pretty—reserved—just your type. Although…You know what they say about the quiet ones.”

My eyes had narrowed, and I rolled them sighing. Of course he would eventually allude to something sexual. This was Ben after all. “No, I don’t actually.”

I heard him scoffing on the other end of the line, “Well, I’ll just leave that for you to figure out on your own then. Because it’s true. You can take my word on that.”

“Fine, alright—But how do I get to know her better?”

“I don’t know,” Ben said a little snippily at me, “play 20 questions or something…Checkers…Uno, strip poker—”

Ben, seriously—”

“I was being serious, actually—”


“Fine, no strip poker,” he said, and I could imagine him shrugging that Ben shrug of his, “suit yourself but my bet is she would do it, if drunk enough. Anyways though, that’s something you’ll have to figure out on your own…Take her out on a picnic, works with me—But anyways, man, I got to go—Jenni is calling me.”

“Sure,” I said wryly, thinking he just wanted to get far away from girl problems as possible, which I knew was true, by his antsy tone.

“No, really she is,” he told me. Jennifer Caybridge, who went by Jenni, was his most current lean sexy dirty blonde type to add to his very embellished string. We had gone to school with her, and I had heard now she was working at a nearby seafood restaurant. What I remembered of her, she gave off a nice impression, but her size C boobs gave off a better one, Ben had so informed me one night.

“Alright, talk to you later,” I told him.

“Sorry, man, good luck,” he said.

“Thanks, bye.”

“Bye,” he said, and that had ended the conversation.

So needless to say, Cam and I had been somewhere between friends and friends with benefits, whatever that really meant. We had continued to kiss me, but not on the lips, yet, and our embraces became more intimate, and lasted longer than they should have. And I could feel words begin to make themselves known within me that should be expressed, in some way about her, about the way I felt—but no moment felt right, and anyways I didn’t know how to get them out at all. So that had been that, with the relationship stuff—that was in itself confusing enough.

Second though, Nate had become sick with the flu—which meant that I had been stuck with twice the work—and I knew that he couldn’t help it. It was the damn flu, and I had that once, and I never wanted it again. You just laid around wishing you could just die, not even having the energy to bathe yourself. But anyhow, his absence did nothing to lessen the load, especially when we were reading to make a longer departure out into the sea for like weeks, but I didn’t know yet if I would going on that, since I was only a deckhand, expendable. But back to Nate being MIA: that also meant I would have to stay longer to make sure the cleanup was completely done, and thoroughly as well. So that night, the night when everything changed—I had been alone. Because no one had expected what actually happened, to actually happen. Because in all reality, it was in one word: unexplainable.

Third thing. The rain. The storms. It had been raining on and off for the last of that week, the rainstorms coming and going in massive deluges, drenching the seaside village in their pounding, splattering wake. And it was one of these storms that had kept me from asking Cam out on a picnic together: the sky had remained a uniform, ugly ponderous gray heavy with unreleased rain, caging the sunlight, and causing the temperatures to be cooler than normal. The day though that I had been out there alone—it had been a Friday—had showed promise of not storming, well in the morning, but that all changed by late evening. I had been sweeping the deck, the other crewmates departed with their goodbyes, when the winds picked up with a shaking, bone-chilling force. My blue translucent poncho slapped against my face relentlessly, and then I could feel the slanted rain being to sting my eyes like slick, slivery darts. Soon, the sweeping became futile as the rain quickly turns into a raging downpour—and I then thought about just leaving. But, before I did that I had to put up the cleaning supplies.

I waded my as careful as I could, trudging through the blasting belts of rain and wind, grimacing to the storage closet. It is downstairs, so I had take the slippery steps, cautious with each step I took clinging onto the railing as the boat rocked back and forth violently. I merely touch the handle bars of the closet as I reach it, and it flings open with a slam from the merciless wind blowing my drenched hair astray, and I have to narrow my eyes, squinting as I cram the broom, mop, and bucket into its confines with a couple of others things, before I grunt, pulling, and lock it shut, securing the padlock with a shake. Common sense tells me to get the hell out of there as quickly, and safely as possible, so that’s exactly what I do.

I go as best as I can up the steep stairway, holding an arm up in vain attempts to block the windy rain as much as possible from slapping against my flushed, tingling face. As soon as I make it to the top, I stop instantly listening: had that been—a scream? Maybe it had been the wind…Who could tell in this weather? It had been a strange sound though…I shake my head, after a swift look-around not seeing anything, I head onward toward the bow of the boat. The waves have grown considerably in size and are crashing into the hull with such a force it’s nearly impossible to stay on a level path. Twice, I lose footing and stumble, but keep going—but it’s when I nearly get to the pier, when such a great sized wave hits the boat that the sheer tilt causes me to lose all ground, and I’m sent beyond my will tumbling; my back crunches into the hard metal railing and I cry out in pain, tears stinging my eyes, and then I realize I’m shouting as I’m falling through, and suddenly weightless.

My mouth is open in absolute shock, when I feel my back slam into the chilling waves, and I suck in air, coughing, spluttering, and flailing my arms around in the sea terrified. My feet don’t even reach the bottom; they’re drifting into uncertain depths. The seawater rushes around my gaping mouth, as I try shout out help, but I know in the back of my mind it’s useless—there’s no one here to hear me, and in this awful weather see me for that matter. My head’s bobbing in the water, and I gasp for air, attempting to latch on the bottom, to some solid purchase, but I feel something has tangled itself about my legs impeding movement, and to my panic, I realize it’s pulling me down at an alarming rate. Oh shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. All of the curses I know flood through my head, as the chaos ensues, and I’m fully dragged into the ocean, the surface a dark taunting glimmer above me, and then it’s gone, plunged in absolute darkness—and I struggle with whatever has clasped itself around my leg, and when my hands touch it, I feel it’s some type of course wire interwoven about what feels like heavy entanglement of underwater brambles. My face stresses in pain, as I feel my chest swell, burning for air, my eyes wrenched shut, my hands now clutched around my throat—gagging—my head is swirling, and I feel a strange darkness taking me.

This is it, I think. I’m going to die. I’m going to drown here. The images of my mother, and Josie run through my mind—I see Ben, Cam, Nate—so many people. I think about my life. I’m going to die. The thought is unending. I don’t want to die. No! NO! My chest feels as is about to explode, and it’s then when both my arms go limp, floating—I hear the most otherworldly voice distorted with a rippling echo—It’s singing. Singing! A woman’s voice. So pure. Heavenly. Unbelievable. I feel then instantaneously at peace like I had entered a calming dream of floating within a clear sea staring up at a cloudless blue sky. Am I dead? I think. Did I die? Is this how it feels to be dead? Am I in heaven? Is that the sound of an angel?

The melody of the singing I feel enwrap around me, like a swirling enlivening ribbon: intoxicating, and filling me with such life, it’s like I’m soaring breathlessly—and that’s when my eyes snap open, and I feel, distinctly feel hands closing around my body, and lifting me upward, my legs dangling, I see bubbles drift from my face, and in no time, my head breaks through the surface and into cold wailing air; I’m gasping, face flushed. I swirl around, looking for the person who saved me, but at first I see nothing—nothing but the ravaging blackness, blotting out even the starlight, and I’m trying to call out to them, but all I’m spouting out is unintelligible, until I see it—a slight shadow, a figure in the distance; in the faint pier’s lights, shrouded by the swallowing veil of rain, I see the outline of a young woman’s head, her long dark hair, glinting eyes turn toward me, and then instantly vanish, once I look for them again. Had I imagined her? No. I had felt her hands…around me…But all I can possibly think about now is getting out of the seawater.

“Hey!” I call out into the dark vastness, struggling to swim toward where she had been, “hey!” But it’s no use. Whoever it had been is gone. Somehow disappeared back into the torrent of an ocean…

“Is anyone out there!!?” I hear a deep voice echo, and I blink, sucking in air, and turn around, shouting out. Barely, can I see a distant tall figure standing at the pier calling out to me, and wave out as best as I can. Crying out, I hear that whoever it is tells me to try to swim closer, and I do my best. Pushing through the powerful undertow takes all of my strength left, but I manage, scooping back the waves with my hands, and when I reach the pier, its looming shadowy form stretching out, I collide into it, and wince, throwing up a hand. I see a glint of the whites of eyes, and then them staring down at me gleaming; I see a muscled arm outstretch down to mine and a hand pull about mine: suddenly, and unprepared, I’m lifted straight up. There’s only one person I know who could have the strength to do this: Ty’Mier Jackson. And when I heard him speak as I was carefully brought onto the wooden dock, that’s exactly who it is, and I see him staring down at me with those unmistakable eyes.

Ty’Mier is a crewman of another ship at this pier, the North Pointier—a red hulking vessel nearby ours, and I happened to see him on occasional, and he would smile at me, and we’d say hello to each other. But that though still didn’t keep his appearance from being slightly intimidating: he’s a tall, incredibly muscular man with brooding black eyes. His dark skin melted into the night, and I can hear him ask me if I’m okay, as I’m coughing out my guts, spewing up water, my throat burning like blistering fire. The dim world around me is out of focus, swirling, and my head’s light as air. I turn over, retching until I’m dry-gagging, no longer having anything to cough up, but it feels as if my lungs are set afire. I clutch at my stomach, nauseous, bracing myself with the other arm bent against the walkway. I feel his breathing against me, I realize he’s kneeling down, looking me over curiously.

“I’m—” but that’s all I can get out before I’m spluttering again, and I try to sit up, swallowing. My breathing is heavy, and I’m shivering, the cold wind blowing against my damp hair plastered against my forehead, and drenched clothes. “I—I—think I can get up now.”

“Okay, let me help you up,” he says, his bottomless voice, raspy, but comforting. And so he does, but actually, I hardly even have to try and stand up; he effortlessly lifts me to my feet, clutching at my chest still coughing, and shivering. Now, I see another dark form headed for us, outlined in the dusky pier’s light, but I hear her really before I can get a better look—

“Mier! I’m coming, found a towel,” I hear Mabs hollering out of breath as she finally reaches us, of what I can see in the dimness: she’s all flustered face, huffing and puffing, and when she sees that I’m apparently alive, her face breaks out into relief.

“Aaron!” she goes on, embracing me, pulling me close to her…um, big bosom, not even caring about me being as drenched as I am at the moment. “You’re alright, you’re alright…Thank goodness…I thought—thought that you were surely—” She sucks a giant gulp of air, and decides better to not discuss that outcome, and looks me over taken aback, as we separate. “You’re trembling—Here hun, take this towel around you like this, okay—” She fixes the warm dry cloth around me, and with shaking fingers I hold onto it close to my frigid body. “There, there,” she says, patting my sides gingerly, with a growing smile, “let’s get you out of the cold…And go inside; I’ve already got a cup of warm soup going, and we can call your mother…You need to get out of those wet clothes, before you get sick.”

All I can do is nod, and she asks me if I can walk okay, and I nod again; then we’re off, she whisks me away to the Nest, its faint lights glimmering from beyond, and I barely noticed Ty’Mier following us from behind.

Wonderful warming steam drifts from the small bowl of hot noodle soup I had nearly consumed, held between my cupped hands as I sat the cornered wooden bar, my hands’ shaking having ceased for the most part. My teeth occasionally chattered, but that is all now, thankfully. I was mostly dry now, except for the icky saltwater residue clinging to my body, and my dark hair being plastered to my forehead. I decided I would take another shower when I got home.

I was wearing new clothes, faded red shirt and jeans, that my Mom had brought when she arrived with Josie, once I had called her and explained to her what happened: I used one of the upstairs stay-rooms’ shower, and threw them on: but they aren’t here anymore. Josie had a bedtime to stick to, but I had to tell them that I was okay repeatedly and would return home shortly; Mom had said she would be waiting up for me. She had been a complete nervous wreck, but hadn’t really yelled at me like I excepted she would; she only hugged me for the longest time, glad that was safe, and okay. I had given a broken smile, and told her that I was glad too. She had no idea how close it had been…If it hadn’t been for that girl, whoever she was…I’d be dead. I hadn’t imagined her. I could see her still in my head; although what I remember is shrouded by the rainstorm and darkness…But I remember that glint of her eyes…Echoes of her otherworldly singing beneath the water; but maybe that had been the part I really had imagined. Because that is really…impossible.

“You okay, hun?” I hear Mab’s voice bring me out of my strange world of thought. “Awfully quiet.”

I blink rapidly, and shake my head. “Oh, sorry,” I say, “just was thinking.”

I can see her looking at me, her rosy complexion, curious green-tinted eyes, staring deep within me, as she smirks wiping the inside out of a dirty glass, causing a soft squeak here and there. She knows. I don’t know how she knows that I’m not telling them everything, that I just didn’t fall off the boat, and happen to not drown in that terrible storm…But in the awkward silence, I can tell. She does. I swallow.

But the smirk only turns into a non-suspecting smile, and she replaces the glass where it belongs onto the overhanging bartending rack, where other glasses glittering in the flickering candlelight suspend silently in the shadows. She dusts her hands off, and asks, “All done?”

I incline my head wordlessly, and she takes the emptied bowl from me and disappears momentarily. The silence is killing me, strangling my throat mercilessly. All the pounding thoughts in my head of tonight, my reason tell me specifically not to tell her, but…I…I…I feel that I should. That somehow, crazily enough she might understand, and not consider me insane. When she reappears, her gaze exhausted, it all splutters out before I can help it:

“There was a girl,” I say, and swallow again hesitantly.

She gives me an odd look, turning her head to the side slightly, and repeats, “A girl?”

I nod at this, and say, “Yes, in the water…She saved me…I would have died if she hadn’t. I—I felt her arms around me, lift me up, and then…When I was above the water for those few seconds I saw her…Saw her. She was looking directly at me…But I happened to look away only for moment…But when I turned back, swimming, she was gone…”

Mabs only stares at me, her eyes enlarging, but she said nothing; and, I couldn’t really detect what reaction her face held. It is though, inscrutable. When she speaks though to break the absolute silence—there’s no one else here, only me and Mabs—I can hear a cautious waver in her voice. “Are you sure of this?”

I look at her in disbelief. “You believe me?” I say instead, in a state of shock.

She sighs, and turns her gaze from me, toward the front doorway of the tavern. “I’ve been here all my life, Aaron,” she says quietly, almost in a whisper, a new distant quality in her voice, that’s hard to place. “And you wouldn’t believe of all the tales I’ve heard from seamen that come in and out of our doors…Some not so different from yours…But are you absolutely sure of this?” The question this time is for me to answer seriously.

“Yes, absolutely,” I say agreeing.

Her wrinkled brow knits, as a pensive expression takes her features. “Then I would suggest, Aaron to do your best to try and forget it…These kinds of things could drive you mad, if you think about them too much.”

“But, but,” I say, my voice quickening, “I want to know why she was there…Who she is…How she saved me…And I heard…You’re going to think me crazy…But singing. Distinct, beautiful singing…Unlike anything I’ve ever heard of in my life—”

“Aaron,” she tries to intervene.

“But Mabs—I thought you believed me?”

“I do!—I do believe you, Aaron, but listen to me,” she says stepping closer to me, speaking with her arms animated, waving about. “You can’t go around mouthing off that story to every person you see…Then people will end up thinking you knocked your head on that boat, and went loony…”

“But I’m not!” I say, more heatedly than I meant, rising to my feet. “I saw her! I SAW her. I FELT her hands. I wouldn’t be here now…if she hadn’t saved me.”

Mabs groans, and simply shakes her head. A long pause rolls between us, and my vision strays from the small square tables with high-back chairs and lanterns placed in the center, but all of them are unlit, to the wooden walls embellished with old nautical memorabilia, and portraits of the established families here, and photographs of local sailors holding up their prize catch, giant fish, and there are pictures of boats, all kinds, different photographs of the pier at sunset—so much…But when she speaks again, I turn to look at her.

“There are stories,” Mabs says, “of the sea spirits…That are well known here by many a sailor…But Aaron, those I just stories…To be told to children, and to other seamen.”

“How do you know? You weren’t there! You didn’t feel what I felt!”

“Aaron—Aaron calm down,” Mabs says with a louder, firmer voice, but not unkind.

I groan, my face already flushed with sudden, boiling anger; I press a hand against my forehead and sigh out of exasperation. “Sorry,” I say softly, my eyes buried into the old, wooden flooring. Then I look up to her, staring with a broken brow at me, a line creased into her mouth. “I shouldn’t have shouted…Thank you, Mabs. For everything.” After all, she had been the one who heard my shouting, and went to get help—that help being Mier.

The tight line set into her jaw spreads up into a comforting smile, and she tells me, “It’s okay—Aaron; I think it best though to go ahead and start heading back home before it gets too late. And get as much good rest as you can hun. We don’t to keep your mother worrying; she has enough on her already. Be safe.”

“Okay, I will, thanks,” I reply, and as I begin to turn away to the door, a sudden thought stops me in my tracks. Glancing at her I ask, “You won’t tell anyone…About what I told you?”

She shakes her head in disapproval. “Not a soul, Aaron. Now, go on. I got to close this place up.” She offers one last reassuring smile, and that’s when I make for the door, open it, and step into the pitch darkness headed home, my head not saved from drowning of endless, tormenting thought, and absolute wonder. I know one thing though. I am going to find out myself who that girl is—if it takes everything within me to do so.

She is real. Because I know if she isn’t—I’d be dead.

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