A/N: Here is chapter 5! Thank you to everyone who read the last chapter and commented. Enjoy chapter 5!
|Chapter 5-Water cycle|
I STAND AWKWARD, stumbling and gawking at Assan as I try to balance my weight. I want to collapse again, fall to the ground and hope it swallows me whole, but I know it won’t happen. They are many things in the sea that humans should never see…what does he mean? Those plants… the teeth on the petals, what were they? Who is he referring to? What kind of place is this?
Again my mind is flowing with questions. Keeping my mouth open, I take a few steps back from Assan. The feelings of his lips against mine tickle my skin, as I remember the situation I just escaped from. Assan rescued me, kissed me, but my feelings haven’t changed. The longer I’m here, the feelings of anger I have for him grow within me. I was able to breathe underwater, but how was that possible? Did Assan do that?
Images of his toned chest and strong arms encasing me come back to my mind. The kiss between us, and his touch on my skin – I can’t deny that my heart was beating like a hammer against a nail, but he is my kidnapper, someone who is a mystery to me.
I stare at Assan, with my body shaking slightly.
“What do you mean?…What were those plants? What kind of place am I in?” My voice trembles, as I demand an answer to my questions.
Assan’s brows knit together, as his eyes form slits at me. He scowls, looking at me with an intense icy vexation in his blue and sea green eyes.
“It’s as I told you-I warned you, did I not? Escaping is futile.” He glares at me, avoiding my question.
Anger seethes through me. “Why don’t you tell me what you really are? It’s obvious you are not human…” I trail off, bracing myself for his real answer. He filches in the water, and lazily shrugs his shoulders. Does he not want to tell me the truth?”
“I wonder…can you handle it? The truth of what I am?” He arches an eyebrow at me, and smirks. He whips his head back, and his black tresses create a curtain in front of his eyes.
I swallow the gulp in my throat, deciding what is worse. My mother, the human eating water plants or Assan – they’re all bad. My body tenses, and it’s clear that Assan is testing me, but why?
I take a step forward, trying to stand firm, but no matter how much I try, the weight of events feels heavy on me. Hunching my shoulders, I refrain from letting salty tears drip from my eyes.
I part my lips, and my voice squeaks. “If you are going to sleep with me…” my body stiffs, thinking about Assan’s touch and all that he has done to me or will do to me: him forcing himself on me, trapping me in this cave and concealing the truth from me. “you may as well tell me the truth, though I doubt you’ll tell me everything.
He chuckles darkly, before giving me a sly grin. “You’re not wrong, just because I fuck a woman, it means nothing to me. You best remember that.” His words are harsh and cold, as his intense gaze burns into mine.
At that moment I think back to the kiss between us – it didn’t mean anything. Of course it wouldn’t, he is only using me, like mother. The tides are changing.
I grimace, growing even more puzzled about who or what Assan really is. I still can’t fathom why he desires a child, if a woman means nothing to him – he’ll be a terrible father.
I shake my head, lowering my gaze to the miniature pools of water soaking on my feet. Tears spill from my eyes, as I squeeze my slit’s shut. “Just tell me…what are you?” My voice is quiet, but Assan has no problem hearing me as a grunt erupts from his throat in response.
I look back up at him, and he lowers his arms to the sides and sighs heavily. “Even humans tell their tales, answer me, Elena, have you heard the rumors, about creatures in the sea?” His face is stern, and his eyes hold a serious glint.
I shake my head, feeling the rush of adrenaline pumping back through my veins and my heart pounding against my chest. Lucas was the one who told me about creatures in the forest, but never the sea. Still, I don’t believe the rumors.
“I’ve only heard of those on land, but aren’t they…”
“They’re not rumors…I’m afraid they are true, and in your case, that’s bad news.” Assan cuts me off and shrugs. His nonchalant deposition starts to frustrate me.
My mouth is agape, and I’m speechless. Such things don’t exist in this world. Perhaps he is trying to trick me, cause me to go mad, but maybe I already have. “You’re lying,” I attempt to shout, but I quickly retract, covering my mouth. Assan raises an eyebrow at me, probably noticing my strange habit of quieting myself. To my words, he then glares daggers at me, and I feel his firm displeasure hitting me all at once. The water surrounding him starts to ripple rapidly again, as he clenches his jaw in anger.
The water around him spins like a whirlpool; his intense gaze is right on me. “Do not ever call me a liar again, or the consequences will be dire,” he says through clenched teeth, as the water forms miniature waves hitting the edge of the rocks.
I shake uncontrollably, realizing I must have hit a nerve. Even as I stand on land, I feel his rage oozing from the water. My breath catches in my throat, as I ponder Assan’s words and his anger. I feel like a child, so small and helpless.
After seeing the intense fear on my face, his gaze softens, and the water becomes still again. I remain silent, unable to understand fully everything happening to me.
“Based on your expression, I take it you understand not to repeat those words again, right?” His tone is sharp as he glares at me and I nod.
Curiosity nags at me and I part my lips and ask, “If what you say is true, then what other creatures live in the water? What are you?” My body trembles waiting for his answer.
Assan gives me a playful grin, “That plant is just one of many things in the sea and I…well, humans have given my kind many names.”
I swallow the gulp in my throat, “What names?” My breath hitches.
“Sea people for one, though I find that one unoriginal and stupid, but I guess for your purposes…I would be considered a merman. That is also a stupid name.” He grunts, but his voice is calm, undisturbed by the information he divulged.
His blue and sea green pupils are upon me, and I’m instantly stunned. Lucas had told me the stories of merman and mermaids, but I didn’t believe them. Even now, while one is before me, I still don’t want to believe it.
I shake my head, absorbing in the information Assan is revealing to me. It’s still hard to believe.
“If you’re a merman, then how…” My voice trails off, as I internally question how Assan will conceive a child with me. None of this makes sense.
Assan’s lips twist into a sly grin, as he leans lazily at the edge of the water.
“You’ll see shortly.” He smirks at me, with overwhelming confidence showing on his features, and I could only wonder if he has done these things with a human before.
As I stand there, soaking in all this information like a washcloth, tears spill from my eyes. The reality hits me – I am never escaping from here.
“…if what you say is true then…” I pause, sobbing.
“Yes,” he answers bluntly.
My legs buckle beneath me, and I drop to the ground, landing on my knees. I am trapped, with no means of escape. Even if I try to free myself, I fail. My current will never let me leave. My boat needs to sink with me as a passenger before I find my freedom.
I remember that day, before, when I tried to change my flow, but mother wouldn’t let me. The cycle continues, and again, I am trapped.
I hadn’t seen my father for what felt like months then. I was lying in bed, when mother barged into my room and forced me awake. My new little brother was crying and wailing, needing attention. I rubbed my eyes, trying to comprehend the noises surrounding me, but mother urged me to get out of bed, quickly. It was usual to hear the sounds of men working in the nearby streets, but something was amiss that day. I heard noises in the house, and my mother’s face was full of a rage I hadn’t seen before.
“Elena, wake up. Pack your bags, we’re leaving, today!” My mother’s voice boomed within my room, almost as if shaking the house. I was confused, and frightened then, but I listened to my mother and packed my clothes the best I could. My wardrobe was plentiful back then, but I wasn’t given enough time to secure all my belongings before the guards entered our three-bedroom, brick-fronted terraced home. Two guards were armed with their rifles, slung across their shoulders. Both were wearing their red coats, with tight white pants and white buttons, buttoned to the top.
“You are aware you must vacate the premise, today, do you understand?” One of the guards asked my mother, keeping the stern expression on his face.
Looking at my mother as she held my little brother, I could tell she was holding back the tears in her eyes. That was the last, and only time I saw my mother cry.
My mother simply nodded her head, and grabbed my little hand and started walking towards the door.
“Mama, where are we going?” I asked her, confused over everything that was happening. I never got a reply from her, and just clutched my bag close to my chest. People were staring at us that day, and men were entering our house, removing the furniture my mother loved. It felt like a thousand eyes burned into mine, with hatred I would only understand when I got older. I lowered my gaze to the cobblestone on the street, not wanting to look at the faces judging me. As we kept walking, I felt another pair of eyes on me, but less judgmental. I looked up, when I saw short black hair, and dark brown eyes staring at me. The girl was younger than me, and she was walking towards the house I used to live in. It was Mika. Carriages passed us, and the stares continued, but my mother kept walking. Eventually we walked to the shadowy, poorer part of town. Bodies laid about, and the disgusting smell of human waste hit my nostrils. I tugged on my mother’s dress, but she ignored me, and my brother’s cries.
I stopped to look around, gaping at the area around us. The sky seemed darker here, covered by the smoke from the factories in the distance. It was harder to breathe, and I was scared. Men with faces covered in grime followed me with their gazes, and I quickly ran back to my mother.
We walked into a dank alleyway, and stopped in front of a small, crumbling terraced home. My brother was still crying in my mother’s arms, when she started rocking him, soothing him with her voice.
“This is our new home. Now get inside,” my mother ordered and I followed without question, mostly because I was afraid of the outside.
After we settled and I grew accustomed to my new lodgings, my mother came into the small bedroom I shared with Joe. Her lips were a brighter shade of red, and she was wearing a puffy, pink dress that was open at the top. Life most of her dresses, it was elaborate, but I could not understand why she was wearing it.
“Elena, put this on,” she said, handing me a powdered brush. I looked at my mother perplexed, wondering why I needed this.
“What’s this for?” I asked curiously.
My mother smiled at me, giving me her sweetest grin. “You’re coming to work with me tonight, come then, you’ll enjoy it.” She urged the powered brush into my hand and started powdering my face against my will.
I knew my mother never smiled at me in such a way, and it scared me. I stepped back from her, shaking my head. “I don’t want to go, please, don’t make me,” I pleaded and tears pooled at the base of my eyes.
My mother groaned, “Stop acting like a child, look around you, Elena. It’s just the three us now, and you need to work. You’re young, and there is a certain clientele that will enjoy your company.” She smiled at me. Her grin was wicked, sending me into blood-curdling fear. I stepped back from her, bumping into the wall.
“Stop this now. If you continue acting this way, no client will want you.” She stepped before me, bent down, and used her finger to wipe the tears from my face.
“Please, I don’t want to go.” I sobbed, hoping my mother would listen to me.
“Shhh…it will be alright. I’ll make you look pretty tonight, and you’ll look just like me.” My mother took the powdered brush from my hand, and dabbed it on my face. “My beautiful Elena, with us both working, we’ll be part of the upper class again. A smile tugged at her lips, until she heard the sound of Joe crying from the floor. She groaned, and turned towards the blanket.
“What am I going to do with you? That father of yours, he should pay me the money he owes me, one day he’ll pay.” She sighed, “Someone will need to watch you.” She ran her finger down Joe’s bright white face, and then turned towards me and sighed heavily.
Joe saved me, by delaying my mother’s plans, and now I am abandoning him. I am trapped in this cave, with no escape. I feel as though I’ve become my father.
A sharp stone hits my leg, and I hear something splash and twitch next to me. I look over, seeing two fish flinching about and two stones next them – flint and marcasite. I shift my gaze to Assan, who is looking at me from over his shoulder, as he stays in the water.
“Eat,” he says bluntly. “I’ll check on you later. He turns away from me, and all I can see is his backside and soaked black locks. “I hope you have learned your lesson, Elena. It would be troublesome for me if you die before I get want I need from you,” he sighs, “foolishness doesn’t look good on a human, beside, the plants that tried to eat you weren’t even the worst in the sea.” His voice was cryptic, and I can only imagine what other creatures live in those murky waters.
I don’t reply to him and instead lower my gaze to the ground, looking lost in a sea of darkness. The soft sound of water splashes about and I can tell Assan has not left yet.
“I’m still in disbelief you actually tried to escape, I thought you wanted death, unless, you were attempting to speed up the process.” His voice is soft, but still held a playful tone.
I flicker my gaze downward, refusing to look at him. I am drowning in my own sadness, and every moment I hear his voice it consumes me more, like a wild fire destroying everything in its path.
“…there is someone…I don’t want to be like, so I tried to change my mind, but it was for nothing.”
For a second, the cave becomes silent, and there is a pause between us.
The shine from the sun beams down on me, warming my skin and drying my tears. It is the only light and warmth I have in this cave. The only exit left that could bring me to freedom, but it’s out my reach, like always.
“Then, Elena, both of us have something in common. There is someone we don’t wish to resemble.” Shocked by his words, I shift my gaze to stare at Assan. His back was still facing me, but his voice was soft, hinting with a sadness I could relate to.
“Now eat,” he says, with a harsh tone lacing his voice and swims away. His scaly, blue fin splashes above the water and I am speechless. He really is a merman…
Reluctantly, I pick up both stones with my shaking hands, as the tears spew from my eyes again. Beating the rocks together, I hope to create a spark soon, so I can at least satisfy this hungry my body feels.
The fish continuing twitching next to me, until they both come to a halt – their battle is over, at least they’ve found peace.
It is quiet in the cave now, and only the soothing sounds of dripping water create music for my ears. My dress is a mess, ripped at the bottom and becoming tattered at the hem. Once I get the rocks to spark, I gather dried seaweed and pick up the piece of cloth ripped from my gown. I burn parts of it, and cook the fish where the sun is the brightest. The spot is dry and warm, unlike other sections of the cave. The fish is cooked, but inside I have no desire to eat. Why eat when I will be killed soon? As I eat pieces of my fish, a part of me is glad I know how to cook – without it, Joe and I would have starved a thousand times over, since my mother only knows how to make stew and spread her legs.
I toss the bones and hope rain comes soon for drinking water. My eyes are puffy, and most likely scarlet from all of my sobbing. I press my body against the rocky wall, closing my eyes. I wrap my arms around my form, using my own body heat for comfort. My mind drifts, as the image of a bright, green field comes into my head. I’m running, with Seidon following behind me as his blonde hair blows in the wind. He is trying to catch up to me, but at least on land I can outrun him, but eventually he catches me and wraps his arms around me. I don’t know why I’m thinking of him – I’ll never see him again.
My eyes are closed, as sleep finally captures me.
I STIR MY BODY. A chill breeze blows across my face. Groggily I open my eyes, seeing the full shape of the moon above me, and beams of light shimmering through the opening in the ceiling. My body feels heavy, weak, and numb. Rubbing my eyes I wonder how long I was in slumber land. Days and time are lost on me. Staying still, I stare at the shadowy sky, watching the clouds advance towards the moon. My body feels like it’s been sleeping for days.
I wince as I sit up, feeling the sluggishness in my muscles. As I prop myself up with my elbows, I sweep my surroundings, and my horrific prison is back in view. I sigh heavily, mentally exhausted over the truth about Assan. He said his kind, so there has to be more like him, but where?
I push myself to stand, and I feel weak, like a newborn kitten. The air is cool – not much has changed since I slept. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice half of a giant clam shell sitting at the edge of the water. Looking inside, I see it’s empty. I can use this to gather water. Did Assan bring this for me? As I stare at the shell, I hear a splash come from the pool before me. Quickly I turn my head, noticing a figure in the corner of the water.
I stare intently, seeing blue-golden eyes looking straight at me – like the pair I saw before. I’m shocked by the face I see. It seems to be the same young woman. Her face is round, and her eyes sparkle like Assan’s, but unlike his, I am not drawn into them. Brunette hair sways in the water and stops at her shoulders, but doesn’t stick to her flesh. She looks as though she is part of the noble class – a woman I could never be.
She must be like Assan. Is she the one from before? Maybe she’ll help me. I take a few steps forward when she retracts away.
“He has already started. I must inform her majesty. War is coming.” Quickly she swims away, and a green, scaly tail splashes above the water. I run to the edge of the pool, hoping she’ll hear me out but she is gone.
“Her Majesty. War is coming…he has already started…” I pause, and close my lips. What else is Assan keeping from me, and does he know that woman who was watching me.
A/N: I hope you all liked this chapter, and learning more about Elena’s past. It looks like she finally learned about Assan and I wonder what will happen between the two next. Hmmm…Oh! Who was the blue-golden eyed woman?? What war could she speaking of? and who could this her majesty be? For all those who missed it, Mika moved into Elena’s old house. I wonder how they became friends??