A/N: Thank you to everyone who read, commented and voted on the last chapter. Enjoy Chapter 4!
*waterway – a river, canal, or other route for travel by water.
I STARE DOWN AT the midnight blue water, juggling the choices presented to me. Quickly I flicker my gaze to the circular hole in the ceiling, looking at the beams of light cascading into my rocky cell. The group of rocks… they don’t reach the ceiling, I think to myself. I slowly spin around in a circle, looking, weighing all my possibilities, but there is no other means of escape. He is correct, only the water can transport me to freedom.
Inside, I feel solid, like I am descending to the ground with a weight I want lifted from my shoulders: the responsibilities to my mother and Joe. It’s a heavy burden, and at this moment, I start thinking could this be the reason father left. I shake my head, trying to reduce these thoughts. My father is gone – he is never returning. Realization hits me and I need to act fast. Attempt escape or settle in my prison. I never once thought about being a mother, or having a family. Mother told me to forget about that life, to focus on helping take care of her and Joe, so I complied with her wishes – threw away an impossible dream I could never fathom would ever exist. I crouch down and press my chin to my knees. It’s easier if I stay here. Even if I will lose what I never thought I could have, at least I would see my child before I die.
He could return at any moment, and here I would wait, accepting the fate that found me. For a few seconds, I’m bathed in complete darkness, as the clouds cover my only source of light. I shut my pupils, fighting the tears wanting to spew from my eyes. The faces of my mother, Joseph, Lucas, Mika and Sai enter my mind, as if haunting me. I want to forget, but something deep within me wants to survive, it wants to live or maybe, I have a deep rooted desire not to mirror my father.
I unfurl my body and crawl to the edge of the rocks, staring inside the pool of liquid. If Seidon was here, he would tell me he’ll find a way out, he’ll free us. Giving up was never a path he would accept. I sigh heavily, exhausted and feeling defeated by own indecisiveness. Still looking into the water, I gaze at my reflection. It feels as though a part of my father is staring back at me, and my instant thought is I don’t want to resemble him.
Exhaling, I straighten my backside, standing tall above the water. If I was going to strive for freedom, now is that time. I can’t leave Joe alone with mother, even if she beats me, throws me to brothels, I need to be there for him. With my mind resolute, I grip the fabric of my white dress a few inches below my knees and rip it harshly – using all my strength – until the torn piece of cloth falls onto the damp outcrop. Looking down, I can only wonder if this conquest I am about to embark on is worth the struggle – my feeble attempt to free myself.
Quickly I throw myself into the crisp, turbid liquid; the harsh chill of the water hits me on impact, soaking the remainder of my dress and a sudden chill goes down my spine. Cool wetness engulfs my form, its freezing, like the icy water is leaking through my skin and reaching my bones. Adrenaline pumps through my veins; I’m unable to waste time, and I hope my bodies adjust to the temperature. I surface for air before diving underwater. Soft muffles of water echo in my ears, and my heart thumps against my chest. Luminescence from the moon is faint, but to my surprise – through cloudy vision – I see a pathway in the distance, a tunnel. As I stare at it, I notice the gaping entrance, and an indistinct light within the tunnel’s rocky walls illuminating the path. Though the shine is dim, it’s the only escape route my eyes have found for me. Maybe there is land, or a way out beyond this cavern. Holding my breath, I twirl around, trying to measure the depth of the water. My legs do not touch the bottom, and I barely see beneath me. My vision only captures endless darkness, and I wonder how Assan was able stand perfectly straight in the water. Time is limited, and my lungs begin to burn. Making haste, I kick my legs, reach out my arms, and propel myself towards the hole.
I need to find an air pocket soon. I push forward, gliding seamlessly through the waters depths, using the faint shine from the moon to guide my path. Following the currents to the tunnels entrance, the dim glow from the side walls greets me as I pass into the watery passage. There still air within me, but I feel it fading. I need to increase my speed.
I kick faster, propelling myself forward. Sai taught Lucas and me to swim – he is a good teacher. Under me, faint, tiny spots glow within the murky depths, lighting my path. The small, shimmering dots remind me of a candle’s dim spotlight, flickering softly in one spot, or lightening bugs, glowing together in a sea of darkness. A river of light illuminates against the passage’s walls, waning in and out. In a brief second – in the golden light – I catch a glimpse of seaweed covering the passage walls like grass in a field, it’s surrounding me. I push forward, looking ahead for any air pocket while the subtle touch of something soft caresses my ankle. Ignoring my ankle, I keep swimming, until I feel it again, but this time running up my leg. Now I feel it brushing against my hair, feet, arm, and under my chin. Fear takes me, as miniature lights twinkle through the darkness.
My wrist is captured, and through the pulsing light, I see seaweed in the shape of a snake lunge toward me. The vines enter from every direction, grabbing me where they can. The passageway gets brighter, and the scene before me strikes me with overwhelming fear. The looks of a giant plant open in front of me, with a ball of golden light in the center of its core. Petals containing what appears to be sharp teeth draw my gaze to them. I squirm, and scream, trying to break the monstrous plant’s hold, but it pulls me closer to its ingress. My lungs are burning, and my vision becomes blurry. The taste of salty water dances on my taste buds, dripping into my lungs. In an instant, bright lights surround me as I stare wide-eyed – the same type of plants cover the passage walls, it was a trap all along.
I am bided. Legs, wrist and waist are being grabbed from all sides. I will be ripped apart, all because I wanted freedom, because I wanted to fight against my current. Struggling for air, I twist, maneuvering myself but my efforts are in vain. I stare into the distance, seeing the end of the passageway, an exit to freedom just beyond the line of plants. Shimmering, bright golden-cobalt eyes like stars in the sky meet my gaze; the face of what looks like a young woman greets mine. I squirm again. Throbbing pains runs through my body, from my legs, wrist and waist. I jerk; my throat is tight, like a noose around my neck and my heart drums in my ears. Slowly, I convulse. Is this it?
Closing my eyes, I brace for death. My body filches, grasping for air until I feel lips against mine and a tongue parting my entrance. Relief washes through me, as air flows into my lungs. Snapping my eyes open, raven locks float before my sight. Assan presses his body against me, with his arms warped around my waist. I dart my eyes from left to right, seeing water swirling around us. Vines lurch to grab us, but water spirals around us like a world pool, keeping the enemy plants at bay. My heart beats against my chest, as Assan keeps his lips on mine, providing me with his breath of life. Though it’s my first kiss, something I should be able to enjoy – I can’t. I always imagined a nobleman, powerful, lusting after me with his decrepit skin. I suppose this is better. He then breaks the kiss, looking into my eyes and shaking his head. The disappointment is evident in his eyes. He raises a finger to me, wiggling it in a disapproving manner. It reminds me of a parent scolding a child. Thank you for that… A twisted smile forms on his lips, as he pulls me into his embrace. I can feel the strength in his grasp, keeping me close. Irony hits me, as I’m in my future murder’s arms, even if it’s just for this moment, I feel protected. Somehow, I’m able to breath underwater, I am shocked.
All the surrounding plants shine brightly at their golden cores, but Assan doesn’t fear them. The sharp teeth attached to their petals’ a line the wall. If the plants were animals, I’d say they are hungering to feast on me. Water stays swirled around us, and all incoming vines are destroyed by what I assume is Assan’s power. His motions in the water are fluidly, like he is one with the liquid that submerges him. I try to squirm around, to see beneath me, but Assan grips me tightly, holding me in place. He points to the entrance – back to my prison. Maneuvering quickly, I’m almost blinded by the bright lights, but a few diminish as the swirling water rips the plants to shreds.
Keeping me pressed against his chest, Assan swims quickly. He is faster than Seidon – he was right. How does he move so fast and why can I breathe underwater? Questions and thoughts clog my mind, sending me into a dizzy whirl. Soon, my lungs burn again, and we escape the passageway.
Assan raises me above the water, I gasp for air, feeling relief. I cough, kick, and propel myself towards land, exiting the water. Chill droplets of liquid drip from my body, as I cough up salty water. My taste buds are terrible, and I fight back bile from my throat.
I hurl water from my lungs, as I breathe heavily. What were those plants, and how can this be happening to me? What is Assan? Lucas was always reading, and at this moment I remembered a plant he told me about – a carnivorus plant. I cannot distinctly remember, but he told me the plants only grew on land, and they were tiny. None of this was making sense to me – it was like I’d already died, and went to hell before my mother did.
I hear a loud growl behind me, it sounds like Assan.
“I told you, didn’t I? Not to escape, maybe now you will heed my warnings.” His voice was filled with anger and scorn for my actions.
I ignore his words as I continue to cough up salt water. I am frightened, before I believed I had a chance, that death wasn’t the only thing awaiting me, but I was wrong. Shivering, I crawl around to face Assan. He isn’t human, what is he? Shaking, I crawl backwards on all fours keeping him in my sight. I have nowhere to run – why do I even try to hide?
Assan sighs heavily, and then stares at me right in the eyes. I’m still shaking, trembling not only from the cold but also from fear. Whatever is before me isn’t human, my eyes didn’t deceive me.
“I suppose you know now,” he pauses, folding his arms against his chest, “why I can’t leave the water. It’s truly a shame; there are so many fun things to be had on land.”
He smirks at me, that devilishly grin I’m starting to loath. My firm gaze stays on him. His eyes shine in the beams of light, cascading down from the ceiling.
I part my lips and ask, “What are you?”
My question is simple; I want answers, to know what Assan truly is.
He shakes his head mockingly, as if he is making fun of my distress. Suddenly he stops, and his piercing gaze bores into mine. His eyes shimmer, taking me captive.
“Elena, they are many things in the sea that humans should never see, and I am one of them.” His lips tug into a demented smile, as if this truthful revelation doesn’t faze him.
Hello, everyone! I hoped you all liked this action-packed chapter, and it looks like Assan has some powers of some sort hmmm…or does he? Oh! What about the golden eyes Elena saw? What could that have been? Another merperson, perhaps? Those underwater plants were creepy, right? I wonder what else is down there? What will happen next between Elena and Assan? That last line though, what could Assan be talking about? I know there wasn’t much dialogue this chapter, but I wanted to explore some of the underwater stuff. Besides, what kind of story would this be if Elena didn’t go swimming around ^_~
Please vote and review! I hoped you liked it.