Author's notes: I'd like to thank Gemini and Brate for beta'ing this snippet for me. Your work, as always, made this short story soooo much better. :-)
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I watch from a distance as the glimmering liquid shifts and flows, bubbling at its edges as it madly rushes into the sand. It pulls away slowly, dragging sand and shells back into its watery depths. The sound the water makes...it used to be so calming...so soothing in its simple melody, flowing, moving...being.
Now…now the song is lost to me, has been for a long time. Water no longer represents safety, security…peace. Its once beautiful façade has broken, shattered beyond repair. It now represents pain, misery…darkness.
I realize I didn’t drown in the sea…it’s not the sea’s fault I no longer enjoy trips to the beach, the feel of warm sun on my tanning skin as I run through the fine spray laughing like a young child. I know that my innocence was taken from me in a murky fountain, by a woman…a cold-hearted feline…a killer.
That name…Alex. Those four letters combine to make a name so hated, so feared, I never speak it aloud. To do so would be a sin. At least that’s how I feel. To think about her reminds me of how I failed…how I failed him…and myself.
I lift my heavy head and stare out to the water, watching him as he walks along the shore. He battles in his own way, I know. Perhaps that’s why I act like it never happened. Why I pretend it was a mere blip on the radar of life, who knows. I don’t want to cause him anymore pain.
That’s not right, I DO know why. Nothing has been the same since that day at the fountain, when water took away everything that meant anything to me. But it’s my fault, so how can I complain? If I hadn’t been what I am, she never would have come. And our ‘bond’ would have been safe. Instead it lies broken, tattered, and in pieces.
I don’t know what to do with the pieces, or how to fit them back together in a way that makes sense. So instead I’ve let the pieces lie for now, a sad reminder of a past long gone.
He looks up at me now and waves. He’s almost done. He has to do this, be near the water like this. He claims it’s so he can “process” all that happened. But I think it’s so he won’t succumb to his fear…like I have. He won’t let her win. I admire that resolve greatly, but cannot find the strength to feel that way myself. But I appear strong for him; it’s the least I can do, after all that’s happened.
He’s walking towards me now, a slight frown on his face. He’s reading me again, checking to see if I’m all right. I quickly close off my thoughts and stand, my mask in place as I reach out and grasp his shoulder, giving it a light squeeze.
“You ready to go?” I ask. I hope my voice sounds steady…I think it does.
His blues eyes bore into mine for a moment then he smiles gently, leaving me to my peace for now. I am grateful for this small reprieve from his probing. Although I know it won’t last for long.
“Yeah, I’m ready. Let’s hit the road.”
And we walk away, the water’s gentle melody, singing our haunting refrain.
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