|Chapter 7- Water wheel|

Chapter 7: |Water wheel|

Water keeps rumbling, swooshing and splashing around me. The cave is flooding and Assan is fighting the creature that attacked me. Green tentacles lash above the surface of the water, flailing frantically. I flinch, hearing the loud boom of a tentacle smacking the cave wall. The ceiling shakes and rocks start falling from above me. Rain pours down from the skies, mixing in with floods of water splashing against my knees and chest. Breathing heavily, I dart my eyes around the pool of water, looking for Assan. The solid blue eyes I saw never blinked at me before disappearing into the dark depths. The claws I saw, the solid blue eyes – what is Assan? Isn’t he just a merman? A crash of thunder roars in the sky, and within these walls, is a confined storm. The smell and taste of saltwater hits my senses, and I struggle not to swallow the liquid entering my mouth. There is so much water that I can’t tell the difference between the rainwater and saltwater on my lips.

My eyes sweep the area before me, but all I can see is rain from the sky, and green tentacles rising above the water. I hear the sound of death – the creature that attacked me is screaming in pain. Two of its tentacles start heading towards me, but I flatten myself in the water, on the ground, dodging it. Its tentacles still touch me, attaching my body to its suckers.

Where is Assan? What happened to him? I have to free myself!

The suckers stick to me, using the wetness of my dress; slime is against me, I feel icky. Keeping myself flat against the ground, the water rushes towards my face. I will not be able to fight the creature off. It’s trying to raise me off the ground. There is nothing to grab onto and slowly I’m being lifted by the sucker attached to my back. I gasp, taking a breath of air. A high pitched scream then echoes through the collapsing cave; suddenly, I drop. The creature retracts its tentacles and surfaces above the water. My face is wet, hair drenched, and the monsters many eyes stare right at me. As I look at the creature’s eyes, I still feel its desire for me, but I’m no longer drawn to it.

Quickly I jerk my head and see what must be Assan on the creature’s back. It doesn’t look like the Assan I know. All of his skin looks rough – blue and sea-green scales blended together cover his body. It reminds me of his eyes, like his body has taken on those colors but with scales. His fin waves around in the air and solid blue eyes look into mine. He jams his sharp, long claws into the creature’s coarse green skin. It cries out again and crimson ooze leaks from its backside. Trying to save itself, the creature hits Assan with one of its tentacles, but Assan doesn’t flinch. What is going on? How did Assan get all this power? I think to myself, realizing there is more to Assan than I’ll ever know. I hear more rumbling of rocks falling from above me and I roll over.

I turn my gaze back to Assan, seeing the creatures eyes slowly start to close – it’s dying. The water is higher now, and I feel my legs starting to float. Rocks continue to fall from the ceiling – the cave is collapsing in on itself. Water rises above my head. I can no longer think, only my survival instincts take over.

“Elena!” I hear Assan call to me.

Water now encompasses me. Rocks rain from the skies, making it hard for me to see. I try to surface to get air, but my vision is blurry and only darkness is above me. I start swimming, until I see the faintness of light above the water. Quickly I swim upwards and gain air for my lungs. I gasp and then breathe heavily. Looking around I see the cave is flooding. What once was my prison has now become a tomb. Rain falls, thunder crashes.

“Assan!” I twist around in the water. “Where ar-”

Suddenly, I feel an arm wrap around my waist, pulling me under the water. Below the water, I see Assan in front of me. He looks normal again, and his black locks float around his face. He pulls me close to him, pressing his lips to mine in a quick kiss. Gripping me closer, he quickly starts swimming away. Rocks sink in front of us, but Assan dodges them with ease. He moves fluidly, confident in the direction he is going. I can only wonder if this is normal for Assan – swimming through these waters and fighting dangerous sea creatures.

Again, I can breathe underwater but how? How am I breathing underwater? What is happening? Where are we going?

Calm down, we’re leaving this place. Just stay still and don’t move. I quickly look towards Assan. In my mind I just heard his voice. It was a calm voice, a trusting voice, but how?

Assan does not look at me, but stays focused on swimming; he is fast. In the distance, I vaguely can see the passageway from before. Shock and fear hit me like a rock shattering class. I squirm in Assan’s arms. I don’t what to go back there, those plants…What are all these things? The creatures of the sea? Assan squeezes me, pressing me tight against his chest.

With intense speed, he swims towards the tunnel opening. His dark blue fin glides effortlessly through the water, and I can see determination on his face. Adrenaline rushes through me as we get closer to the passageway opening. Then, I feel something grab my ankle harshly. Assan quickly glances back and then narrows his eyes. My ankle is tugged again and fear courses through my veins. I wiggle my leg, trying to shake whatever it is off me. I am afraid to look behind me; I don’t want to know what is trying to kill me now. It yanks again and I feel suckers sticking to my skin. It’s alive!

I glance back. The creature from before is lunging its green tentacles at us. Keeping me against him, Assan dodges the tentacle, but one is still stuck to my leg. I wiggle continuously, trying to shake it off me.

Stop! Assan’s authoritative voice enters my mind again, catching me off guard. I stop and Assan gracefully maneuvers us around, now facing the creature. He unwraps one arm from around my body and opens his palm. All of his fingers are pointing towards the creature. Is he going to use his claws again?

The creature opens its mouth wide, with its sharp teeth circling it, like the giant beak of an octopus. The tentacles come for us again, but Assan is unfazed. His lips twist into a demonic smirk, one that frightens me. He is enjoying this. His eyes flash, and he forms his hand into a fist. I flicker my blurry gaze between Assan and the creature, when I see a spiral of water forming behind the monster. In disbelief, I widened my gaze. The water behind the tentacle monster takes the shape of a fist and quickly grabs it. What the…? All I can do is panic and tell myself this isn’t happening. The tentacle releases its grasp on my leg and tries to fight off what’s now attacking it.

The tentacle monster scared me, but could Assan be the monster I should fear. The demented grin is still on his face, and it only grows bigger as Assan watches the creature struggle for survival.

“Go! Now!” Assan mentally yells at me but I’m too afraid to move. “Go, Elena!”

With a harsh thrust, Assan pushes me away from him, towards the tunnel. I look back at him, but he only glances at me to go. I try to calm myself, but the fear and adrenaline relentlessly pumps through me. The colossal hand made out of water holds the creature at bay. As I twirl around, I see Assan’s sharp gaze on the sea creature. His smile and eyes are wide – he is enjoying this. Unable to handle his expression of bloodlust any longer, I start swimming towards the tunnel. My mouth taste of saltwater, and I fight the urge to swallow. Sounds of rushing water echo in my ears and my heart pumps against my chest. I am exhausted again, my body is tired. I pump my legs, passing through the tunnel when a sharp current drags me along. I try to fight the rush of water but it’s too powerful – my body will be swept away. I quickly glance around, noticing all the plants that attacked me before are dead, something has killed them. Only pieces of vines remain, rushing in the water with me. Ahead of me lays the opening of the tunnel. I can’t think. After everything that has already happened, I don’t want to think about what will come next. In a way, the cave was my sanctuary, shielding me from the horrors of this place Assan has brought me to. It’s destroyed now, and I can’t go back.

I squint my eyes, bracing myself to be blasted from the tunnel. In a quick, smooth motion I feel my body being captured. The familiar arms of Assan encase my body, pushing me against him. Together, we ride the current through the passageway, finally on the other side. Once we make it through, I fully open my eyes, looking through blurry vision at the tunnel. All I can see is blue water mixed with crimson. Soon all of the blue turns red – it has become bloody water.

Assan swims, still holding me close until our bodies brush against undersea rocks. I see a small opening in the rocky walls – it’s an air pocket. We quickly meander through the tunnel, surfacing above the water. I gasp, relieved to being taking in air. I gather my thoughts – they are all over the place. My mind is filled with so many questions, and I need answers. Frantic, I shake my head. Breathing underwater, man-eating plants, merman, mermaids, sea monsters… Assan releases me and stays before me. Our bodies are close as there is not much room in the air pocket. Unlike before, his face is calm now. He looks at me, as if knowing I’m about to speak. With so many worries, fears thoughts and questions, I can’t keep it inside.

“What was that creature? What are you hiding from me? How can I breathe underwater? How were you communicating with me?!” I demand an answer from him, raising my voice. For once, I don’t back down, but he is before me, unfazed by my questions.

His face is stoic. “Is that it, or do you have any more questions?” He growls out through clenched teeth.

Caught off guard by his bored tone, I shake my head hastily – my anger and demand for answers has never bothered him. I wonder, what will make Assan flinch?

He groans. “I hate having to repeat myself but I suppose your encounter with the cryptid wasn’t enough. Maybe now you will believe me about the creatures in the sea. The one with the tentacles is just many of his kind.” He pauses.

cryptid, the man-eating plant? The tentacle monster was male? How does Assan know that?

“And Elena.” I look up at Assan, when I see his serious expression. “Don’t question me for information. I’ll tell you want you need to know, nothing more, do you understand?” His cold multiple color eyes bore into mine, and I wince at his gaze.

“Answer me.” His voice is deep and I am stunned.

“Yes,” I mumble, wanting to lash out at him.

“As for breathing underwater, you haven’t figured it out yet?” He keeps his cold eyes on me, as if I irritate him – the feeling is mutual. I think back to the kisses between us. My mind is so filled with questions and fears that our intimate encounters do not stay with me. I know all of his affection isn’t real, but his kiss must be breathing air into my lungs.

“It was you, wasn’t it?” I swallow the gulp in my throat. “Do you have…” I pause, thinking about how Assan was able to control the water just a few minutes ago.

Assan sighs irritably. “Yes, Elena, I have powers. I didn’t think you would be so slow,” he groans and my face goes red in anger. I want to retort him, shout, but in such an enclosed space, Assan has the advantage. I don’t know what he will do if I yell back at him. I try to keep calm, while digesting everything that has happened.

“I guess it can’t be helped, you are only human after all.”

At this point I am furious, but I know what Assan can do to me if I speak out of turn – it will be worse than what my mother has done to me. Though, I’m still puzzled about the communication.

I part my lips and ask, “The way you communicated with me, was that . . . Also your power?”

Assan raises an eyebrow at me. “Yes, Elena.” His answer is blunt.

My first encounter with the cryptid comes back to me. He didn’t speak to me through my mind then.

“Why didn’t you use your power, before? When I -”

“Because it wasn’t necessary,” he cuts me off. He stared at me with his dual color eyes. “When I saw you with the cryptid, I was surprised you actually tried to escape. Foolish human.” He chuckles darkly.

At this point, I really wish I could hit him. A good slapping would do.

“My only goal at that time was to save you; communication was not needed between us in the water. The threat was minimal,” he answers coolly, like the plants are not even worth mentioning. At least he is confident. “When I share my power with you, the connection between us is only temporary, as well as your ability to breathe underwater. Unless I project my thoughts to yours, I will not be able to know what you are thinking.” At least I can take comfort in that. He doesn’t need to know my crave dislike for him.

I press both hands to my chest, ruminating over his explanation. My chest tightens, thinking about the kisses between us. A question hits me – it hurts me. I lower my gaze, looking into the dark blue liquid surrounding me. “Is kissing the only way to share this power of yours?” I hate asking, I hate the way he touches me, the way his lips touch mine and how his muscular chest brushes against my skin. I don’t want his touch, his fake affection. I am a loner, worthless – I need to feel that way.

I wait for his reply, but the air pocket is silent. Maybe he doesn’t want to answer me. Only the rhythm of rustling water echoes across the rocky walls and the air is tight. I feel like I can’t breathe.

“No.” He finally answers; his voice is stem, laced with no emotion. My heart aches, but I don’t know why. I look up at him. My eyes show pain. They can’t show it. I must hide it. I don’t want to feel protected; I am not protected.

My voice trembles. “Then why do you-”

“Soon I will fuck you,” he says bluntly, in a harsh voice. ” I might as well taste you, Elena. Don’t get it twisted.”

I am frozen. Of course, I was foolish for thinking anything more. I was raised almost all my life to be treated this way by a man. It hurts more than I thought. He is teasing me with my own emotions for his own pleasure – nothing more, nothing less. Life isn’t kind, and drowning is the first step to sinking – I am drowning.

“I understand, fully now.” I try to hold back my tears. I am foolish, Assan was right.

“Good.” He smiles slyly at me – probably thinking lustful thoughts – and then turns his gaze to the rocks. “Still . . .how did they find you,” Assan mumbles quietly.

I look at him in surprise. How did they find me? Who are they? The brown haired woman? Looking at him I can see agitation on his features. Whoever the woman was, I was hoping she’d helped me escape, but then her words repeat in my mind. Her Majesty…he has started? What has started? Who is her Majesty? I lower my gaze to the water, wondering if I should tell Assan what I saw. I don’t trust him – in fact, I feel more hate for him- he wants to kill me, but this is the second time he has saved my life.Assan said he wouldn’t replace me, but does he only want to bed me that badly…if I am going to die . . . why would he protect me so much? ugh…I wish I knew what he needed a child for?

Assan keeps thinking to himself. His facial expression tells me he is annoyed, thinking deeply about the creature that attacked us. Still, I don’t trust him, but my feelings are so conflicted. Before this, everything was simple. Become a prostitute, make money, and take care of my family. Now things have changed, the cave is gone and I’m only left in this murky water with Assan. Will telling Assan what I saw matter anymore? The cave is gone – the brown-haired woman will not return there.

“I saw someone…s…”

Assan turns his gaze back towards me, looking at me suspiciously. I purse my lips, not knowing if I should continue speech.

Assan narrows his eyes. “You saw what, Elena.” His voice is cold as ice, deep and demanding.

Fear courses through my entire being. I shake in the water, retreating inward and slowly swim away from him. The limited air in the air pocket becomes intense. The water circling Assan starts to bubble around him and his intense glare is on me. As he swims closer to me, I move back from him, until I’m blocked by the rocky wall behind me.

I am afraid. He towers over me. His jet black bangs hover over his eyes, and his wet, firm skin is pushed against my hands. In a brief second, I can see subtle gills on each side of his neck. My fingertips are touching the muscles on his chest – so strong, and powerful.

His eyes are half-lidded and cold, like he knows I’m hiding something. I shake, lowering my gaze to the water around me, but Assan quickly grips my chin, forcing me to look at him. My sight is focused on him, and I am drawn into those mismatched color eyes. Up Close, his face is just like what I saw before, handsome.

“Tell me what you saw!” He demands. The water continues to bubble, like a pot of boiling water. His lips twist into a frown and his brows knit together. “Elena, you know what I am capable of, and I already told you I don’t like liars.”

“I…”

“What did you see?!” He shouts at me, gripping my chin tighter.

“A woman with brown hair! She was watching me!” I confess, nearly shouting the answer as I close my eyes. With my eyes closed, I slowly feel Assan release his hold on my chin. I hear the sound of rustling water and the boiling noises have stopped.

In fear, I snap my eyes open when I see Assan looking at me wide-eyed, mouth agape, with an expression of fear I never thought I would see on him.

My back is still against the wall, and I can feel the jagged rocks piercing into my skin.

Assan’s face changes to one of anger. His brows crease together, his eyes go cold, and he grabs me by the shoulders, tightening his grip on me.

“Why didn’t you tell me before?!” He yells at me, and I feel small claws digging into my skin. I wince from the pain, feeling blood leaking out of me. I try to move, fight back but Assan keeps me in place. His intense gaze locks on mine and I can’t take it anymore. Anger boils through me – a rage I usually hide away in fear of someone hurting me; hitting me, slapping me or yelling at me.

I lift my arms, despite Assan’s tight grip on my shoulders.

“I didn’t ask for this! All I wanted to do was protect my little brother! I was just going to sell myself, but Seidon he…” I pause, thinking of Seidon, as the tears start flowing from my eyes. As I lower my gaze, I feel Assan release me and hear water splashing about. Seidon, I miss you…

The air pocket is silent, with only the sound of rustling water echoing through the small hole.

“Seidon, so, is that his name?” Assan’s calm voice breaks through the silence, like he is suddenly curious about Sai.

I shift my gaze to him, seeing his calm face and uninterested eyes. My lips form a thin line; I don’t speak.

“The man who you were with at the waterfall and the one who tried to save you, his name is Seidon?” He asks again.

With my lowered eyes, I answer, “yes . . .”

The air pocket is quiet again, and I hear swooshes of water.

“We have to leave here, come, Elena.”

I shift my sight to Assan. His board back is now facing me. Saturated black locks of hair rest upon his shoulders. I don’t move, I will not move.

“I said come!” He quickly spins around, narrowing his eyes to me. I flinch, keeping my lips pursed together. Assan keeps his narrowed eyes on me. I squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head.

“I don’t have patients for your foolishness. I am running out of time!” His words ring in my ear. Time, running out of what time? Waiting for me? Is another creature going to come attack us?

Pressing myself against the rocky wall, I stay firm.

Assan stares at me, and then his lips twist into a devious grin. What is he going to do to me? My heart beats in my chest and my blood pumps in my ears.

“What will you do, Elena?” He taunts me and starts swimming closer to me. I regret my actions – I have enraged the beast. Images of the other Assan – full of scales – haunts my mind. He is going to hurt me.

I swallow saliva building up in my mouth.

“There is no place for you here. You have seen the monsters of the sea. At least with me, I offer you a reasonable death, but the creature before, that hungered for you, is just one of many,” he taunts me some more. His eyes flash solid blue; his smile widens.

I tremble, glancing at the water to see if it bubbles. It doesn’t, maybe he isn’t that mad.

“I’ll find a way . . .” My voice squeaks out like a fool. I am a fool.

Assan chuckles, like a nobleman making fun of the poor. His eyes flash solid blue again. “Not all of them will try to eat you,” he tilts his head, looking intensely into my eyes. “Some of the males will want to fill your belly with their seed.”

My mouth drops and my heart won’t stop beating from fear.

“The males will capture you, keep you alive until they need you, and then you will undergo bloodcurdling pain when injected with their offspring.”

My body and fingers tremble. I can’t stop moving, I am deadly afraid. In this moment, I don’t know what is scarier – Assan or the words that escape from his lips. He is right in front of me, looking directly into my eyes. He lifts his slender, pale finger to my chin, and traces my jawline.

A sadistic smile tugs at the corners of his lips. “Once the children are ready, they will burst from your body, ripping you apart.” As he removes the finger from my face, his smile turns into a deep frown. He retreats from me, swimming backwards. My face goes pale. Once the children . . . how many would be in my body? How is all of this happening to me? Will Assan do the same thing to me? He said he needed a child, but what if it’s many . . . Feeling overwhelmed, my body starts to feel faint. I can’t breathe; everything around me starts to spin.

Assan turns his back to me, “Now, we must go. Enough time has been wasted.” He pauses. “Unless you want an agonizing death with no mercy, stay here.” His voice is cold.

I stare at the blue liquid when I see small yellow fish swimming around me. Faint tears fall from my eyes and I start moving towards Assan – I cannot win, he will always beat me. Lost in thought, I bump into him. I look up at him, when I see him gazing down at me. His expression holds no sympathy for me.

Using his hands, he grips my shoulders. The fight is gone from me; I am too broken to fight him.

“Stay still, and close your eyes,” he orders calmly. I close my empty looking pupils, when I feel Assan’s lips against mine. This kiss is different than the others, it’s gentle, and unlike before, it feels like he is taking my breath away. My heart can’t beat, I can’t react. This kiss is a lie; he gripping my back, pulling me closer to him is a lie. I am his play thing. My mother should be proud, now all she needs is her gold, and maybe I would be free from this responsibility. Assan takes complete control of my lips, moving his tongue inside my hot mouth. Quickly I snap my eyes open, but before I can view him, he dunks us into the cool water. His touch on my body makes my skin crawl. The fact that Assan can easily kiss me and caress me, makes me think of possible actions he could have done before. For a second, I wonder if he has had intercourse with mermaid – the brunette woman comes to mind – or perhaps, a human female.

With my eyes now open, I can see underwater with complete clarity. The coral I’ve read and seen images of in Lucas’s books is all around me. Schools of fish swim together, never diverging from one another. Other sea creatures swim around us. Some watch us, as if they know Assan. Assan swims fast; his speed is not human, but of course it wouldn’t be.

Rows of seaweed float in the water and more schools of fish swim around us, encircling us. It’s as if they are swimming along with Assan, using his speed to travel the sea. Rocks with bursting colors of coral attached to them sway in the water. In my ears the rumbling of water echoes through them. The scene is absolute beauty, and for the first time since being brought here, my mind is relaxed, drinking in the splendor of the undersea world. For a second, I feel eyes on me when I glance up at Assan, but he quickly shifts his gaze, looking into the distance.

Close your eyes until I tell you to open them, he tells me through our strange mind connection.

I do as he says and close my eyes. For me to be able to see so clearly, Assan must have shared more power with me. I suppose the deep kiss served a purpose. I feel the rush of speed as we move. Not even when Seidon held me in the water did I ever move this fast.

I want to look around and see more of the beauty of sea, but I don’t risk angering Assan. Suddenly, we come to a complete halt.

Now, open your eyes, Elena. Feeling the rush of adrenaline, I slowly open my eyes. The sight before me leaves me wordless. I am stunned. Merman of all body types swim around. Their tails are a variety of colors: solid colors, blended colors, they are all different.

A few merman swim in front of us, but then stop, looking wide-eyed at Assan. Looking past them, I see what resembles a castle in the distance. This castle is different; it isn’t made of stone but of rock. It extends above the water, attached to the ocean wall.

I hate coming here, but I have no choice. Welcome to my home, Elena.

A/N: Hey everyone! Did you enjoy this chapter? I hope you did, as it marks the end of part 1^^ I can’t believe I made it this far!! Thanks for the support everyone, it means so much to me! Assan is powerful, right? I hope I wrote the fight scene well, but I may have to go back and edit it. More questions this chapter and we got to see more of Elena’s and Assan’s personalities. Who do you think the brown haired woman is? Why do you think Assan worried so much when he found out? What do you think of Assan’s powers? Did the male creatures of the sea scare you? They do have a name and you’ll find out what it is later. Where do you think Elena and Assan are now? Will Elena ever see freedom again? So many questions! I hope you all keep reading.

Please review and vote!! Oh! The chapters will probably be lon

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