Monday, November 23, 2020

The Sea Hag -Chapter Five-

 

Michael



“No, don’t…” I called as I heard footsteps sprint away, splash through the water and disappear. Exactly the same as the ones before. “...worry about it,” I finished with a sigh. 

So, she was the seaweed person from before. I’d had a suspicion, but didn't want to accuse her. She seemed skittish and more than a little strange. She most definitely was not a local; I had lived in this sleepy coastal town my whole life, barring boarding school and college, and someone as odd as her would have definitely stood out. 

And what was with the seaweed earlier? Was she a homeless nut? A castaway? I had known men who had spent too much time alone at sea and there was a bit of that feel about her; like she wasn’t used to human interaction.

She seemed sweet enough, though. Swimming all the way out there and back just to get some blind schmuck’s old surfboard. If it was as far out as I thought, she was going to be a while coming back. I stood and stretched, checking for any unnoticed wounds. My head throbbed terribly and my mouth was a desert. I needed water, and soon.

I knew that my camp was near the north side of the beach, and I had been heading south when I wiped out. If I just started walking, keeping the sound of the waves on my left I should get close enough to hear the beeping of the little BeeperBox next to my duffel. The duffle that contained several large bottles of water.

Wondering how mad Sirena might be if I just took off, I didn’t hear the huffing, sand shuffling sound that crept up behind me until it let out a loud yelping bark that sent me shouting into the air. Sheer startled fright had me stumbling and scrambling in the sand on all fours. It barked again, short vocalizations, loud and rhythmic. And familiar. The hell was a sea lion doing here? I crab-walked backwards, away from the sound of its bark and shifting bulk in the sand.

“Nice sea lion,” I said hopefully as I backed away.

“Hey!” came Sirena’s voice from the direction of the surf and growing closer as she shouted angrily. “No, Little Brother! Bad! Michael is a friend! You leave him alone!”

The sea lion stopped advancing and made a noise that somehow sounded chagrined as her footsteps crunched through the sand and I heard the particular hollow thump of my surfboard being dropped.

“I am so sorry about him. I didn’t even think-” she paused and I felt her crouch down beside me, her shadow making cool shade over my face. “Are you alright? He didn’t hurt you did he? I didn’t think he would attack a  human, but I only just met him. I think he may have been a pet.”

She babbled under stress, which was adorable as well as being a nice change from her close-mouthed reticence earlier, if a little hard to follow.

I felt my eyebrow quirk up and I turned my face up to hers so she would see my skepticism. Since going blind I have worked hard to maintain my facial expressions. It’s something that one can easily forget about doing when there is no reciprocation. This means that almost all of my facial expressions have to be conscious, calculated choices. “‘Little Brother’?” I queried, a tad breathless, “You have a pet sea lion?”

“He’s not a pet,” she said, her voice becoming heated. Interesting. “I said he was a pet. Probably.”

Curiouser and curiouser. 

I fought to quell my relentlessly inquisitive nature for the second time that hour. She was under no obligation to explain herself to me. I owed her my life, the least I could do was refrain from prying into her personal affairs. For now. I made my face one of gracious acceptance and nodded as I held out a hand, “Fair enough. Help a guy up?”

I was hoping she would grasp my hand like a normal person would and I could get a feel for whatever it was she was trying to hide from me when we shook hands before. A taut, hairless forearm slid beneath my hand instead and I cursed inwardly while smirking outwardly at her cleverness. She pulled me to my feet with surprising strength and steadiness. I pretended to overbalance and stumble into her, desperate to know anything more about this mysterious creature.

She was a few inches shorter than me, her skin was incredibly smooth and hairless, like nothing I had ever felt. My hand grazed a small, round breast, and some kind of scars or wounds running parallel to her ribs. I was just grazing the swell of her narrow hips when she pulled back with a hiss. She didn’t pull her arm from beneath my right hand, but her body was now out of reach of my questing left. I hoped she wasn’t too offended; but I now had some answers and a whole host of more questions about who, or what, she was.

“Sorry,” I said, rubbing my head and not entirely faking the sheepishness of my grin. I released her arm and held up my hands in a gesture of surrender.

She said nothing for a long moment and I dropped my hands to listen intently for her over the wind and the surf.

“You did that on purpose,” her tone held no accusation. It was mostly flat with a hint of...admiration? My head cocked like a confused dog. “Clever,” was all she said before moving slightly away. I heard two sharp raps on the surfboard and turned toward the sound. 

“I’ve got your board,” she said simply. “Would you like to go back to your nest now?”

I nearly snorted when she called it a nest but managed to keep my features schooled to neutrality. “Yes, thank you, that would be great. I really need some water. You must be pretty parched yourself, after that swim,” I hedged, “Or have you been holding out on me this whole time?” I flashed her my best smile, the one I’m told breaks hearts, to take any hint of accusation out of the question.

She padded up to me and the back of her left hand brushed the back of my right. “No to both questions,” her voice was soft and a little breathy. She stood still as I ran the backs of my fingers lightly up her forearm to just past the elbow and hooked two fingers in the crook there. Her skin had the strangest, most wonderful texture. I couldn’t get enough of it beneath my fingers. I lightly and lazily stroked my thumb over the back of her arm and I could feel her breath coming fast and shallow through the contact. I realized that my own breath was coming at a similar pace and I was suffused with a feeling of extreme giddyness. 

It was probably the head trauma, but her nearness was having the most unaccountable effect on my nervous system. 

Ignoring my racing heart, I inclined my head and gave the arm I held the slightest of nudges forward saying, “Ready when you are, Sirena.”


4 comments:

  1. Nice! I love how the relationship between Michael and Sirena is developing! Can’t wait for more!

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  2. Woah, Michael's getting a little handsy on those fake falls. Not that I think Sierena minds ;) Can't wait to read more!

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  3. Ooh, so good! It’s getting hot between those two. Loved when Michael tried to “see” her. Also I liked the bit with the “nest”. Makes sense for her I guess.

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  4. Thank you - they are great together!

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