Between the Devil and the Deep 4

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Part 4

Test of Faith

dd4

 

Jake plumbed the murky sea, swimming deeper into the spot where he had seen Sirina go under. Nothing was visible in the storm-black seawater. He plumbed more deeply, extending arms blindly in every direction until his lungs threatened to burst.

He retreated and dove again with all of his senses coming alive. Jake hauled his body ever deeper seeing only blackness until his foot brushed against something which was not rock. He froze at the touch of fingertips to his ankle and falling away.

With a ludicrous mix of terror and relief propelling him, Jake pushed deeper with limbs stretched akimbo until he finally caught the feeble fingertips that attempted to alert him. He tightened his grip on a hand too weak to hold his own and hauled them both upward, drawing a great gasp of air upon surfacing. Sirina did not.

Jake caught sight of the cabin cruiser, and motivated by sheer panic, swam with fury, dragging Sirina’s limp body until he could fling himself into the dingy for leverage. Never letting go, he strengthen his hold, moving his hands to her wrist and arm. Jake braced himself and pulled mightily, hauling Sirina aboard.

On instinct, he threw himself over her tiny, lifeless form, shielding her from rain bulleting down amidst a storm which gave no quarter. Jake moved his face close to hers, listening for the sound of breath as he held his own. Nothing! Wait, Was that a shallow breath?!  Again he steeled himself, waiting and listening. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

He grabbed her shoulders shaking her, “Breathe, Sirina! Breathe!” Then he pressed his lips to hers covering her mouth to breathe life into her lungs, reciting silent instructions and shouting panic with every pause. Tilt head back. Pinch the nose. Deep breath and push into her lungs. “Breath, Sirina!” Head tilted. Pinch nose. Deep breath. Push it into her lungs. “Don’t you give up on me! Breath now, he commanded. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Following several more rounds, he paused to listen again. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Willing her to live, and filled with terror, he administered CPR pumping her chest frantically. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. “Again! Again! Again,” Jake instructed himself aloud and to any god that might listen. Once more, he paused to listen. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Wait! What was that?

Sirina’s diaphragm lurched and she coughed.

Jake lifted her head, rejoicing, as Sirina coughed up the ocean which had nearly killed her.

As the storm died and she had sputtered her last, Jake held her close, whispering, “Inhale the good air. Exhale the bad air,” more for his comfort than hers, stroking her hair all the while and feeling her tired body fill with life.

Finally, he lay Sirina back gently, instructing, “Don’t move a muscle,” as if she could.

Sirina managed an exhausted reply, “No problem.”

Jake had already clambered up the side ladder and turned to her, issuing, “Shhh, be still.”

Jake hurdled the side rail and bolted to the wheelhouse. He hit the button which hauled the dingy and its precious cargo to safety.

Sirina stared into the now calm skies knowing that Poseidon had tested and spared her – this time.
  

 

By Wildfire8470

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©December 03, 2015 – 11:21 PM – All Rights Reserved

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Read it from the beginning!
https://wildfire8470.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/between-the-devil-and-the-deep-1/

 

Tags:  Love and Lust, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Man and Mermaid, Romance, Mythology, Poseidon, WiP

In Case of Emergency

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in-case-of-emergency

 

Dahlia stood in the darkness thinking, worrying her hands, debating her options, and wishing she was still young. Decisions came so easily then but now, she paused laying her forehead against her arm at the window and then finished her thought, now I’m twenty nine. She closed her eyes against stinging tears and swallowed hard.

She couldn’t imagine her life without dance and couldn’t imagine losing Rand either, but this was a choice she had to make. It seemed the only choice and she would have to make it again and again. Dahlia sighed shaking her head when Melinda bounded into the room with hallway light streaming in around her.

“Uh oh,” Melinda said, hitting the light switch.

Again Dahlia closed her eyes asking, “Uh oh. What?”

Melinda sat down at the table digging into her clutch, “Dahlia, you only strike that pose when you’re really upset. What’s up?”

“Nothing,” Dahlia answered.

“Sure. I’m buying that,” Melinda quipped, “You’re standing here in the pitch dark leaning into the window like you want to jump. Sure it’s nothing.”

Dahlia pulled herself upright and went to sit across from her, “I’m old, Melinda. How did this happen? I was eighteen just last week,” Dahlia said, hanging her head in her hands.

“I know but don’t think about it now. You won’t get cut. You’ve got at least a year before you have to worry about that.”

There’s more,” Dahlia whispered, “It’s Rand.”

“Mr. crazy-hot body?”

Dahlia smiled half-heartedly, “Yeah, that’s him.”

“So what is he on your last nerve about,” Melinda asked, laughing, “I’d be happy to take him off your hands!”

“We made love last night and,” her voice trailed off as she thought back.

“And,” Melinda snapped anxiously.

“And he accused me, Melinda. I’m guilty. Oh god, I’m guilty as hell! He said I wasn’t there,” Dahlia stopped short and got up to pour a drink.

“Not there? How the hell do you make love and not be there? Oh! You mean, not present?”

“Bingo,” she answered, pulling two glasses from the cupboard, “And it’s the awful truth. From the moment he asked me out, I’ve Grand jeté with every breath. One minute, I was building to orgasmic crescendo, blissfully lost in his touch, his kiss setting me on fire, and a minute later he asked, ‘Where are you, Dahlia? Where did you go?’ That’s when I realized it.”

“Realized what,” Melinda voiced her confusion, “I Grand jeté into every open door when I’m in love. Hell, that’s how I know when I’m in love!”

“Yea? And do you get lost in thinking about how the turn of your ankle was slightly off just as you’re writhing beneath him about to climax?”

“No way,” Melinda cringed.

“Way,” Dahlia placed filled glasses on the table and poured rum into each without measurement.

“You just got distracted,” Melinda offered, “He doesn’t know how hard it is for dancers. Did you tell him this could be your last year?”

Dahlia rolled her eyes at Melinda, “Yeah right. He’ll understand. He’s an architect, for crying out loud.”

“Do you love him, Dahlia? Is he absolutely the one,” Melinda swallowed hard, not expecting the amount of rum she got, “I mean, maybe he’s not worth all this?”

Dahlia sat her drink down and glued her eyes to the floor answering, “He is and he’s leaving next month.”

“Oh. Oh! He asked you to.”

Dahlia put a hand up, “Stop! Don’t say it!”

Melinda was ecstatic and crushed for Dahlia; even though it would be the break Melinda was hoping for.

Dahlia couldn’t speak. This was worse than being torn between two lovers. Dance was her life. She took a long draught and whispered, “Yes, he did.”

“And you’re?”

“I don’t know,” Dahlia cried, “I don’t know what to do! I only have a year left in dance but Rand said he’s never coming back. I asked him to wait but he needs to feel more important than anything else. He won’t wait! When he’s gone, he’s really gone,” Dahlia poured her heart out.

Finally, Melinda extracted a teabag from her velvet clutch and held it up to the light explaining, “It was a gag gift at a party I just came from.”

“Melinda!” Dahlia was shocked at her but curious, “What’s in it?”

“Pills,” Melinda replied.

“Duh! What kind of pills?”

Melinda paused, grappling for the right words and finally blurted, “The answer to your problems, Russian Roulette pills.”

“Melinda, what are you talking about?”

“Grand jeté into the grave,” Melinda whispered, testing Dahlia’s mettle, “In case of emergency, make tea.”

Dahlia descended into a fit of giggles and Melinda couldn’t help but join her. Melinda filled the teapot with water and Dahlia put the kettle on the stove. The two embraced happily and Dahlia laughed, “Okay, you’ve made your point!”

“Good! I was half worried you would do it,” Melinda grinned patting Dahlia on the back.

“It’s not a fate worse than death, but it is in a way.”

“Oh yes,” Melinda laughed, “I’d sooner die than marry Mr. crazy-hot-body! Geezzee! Drama! Drama! Drama!”

 

 

 

 

 

By Wildfire8470

 

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© September 19, 2016 – 04:44 AM – All Rights Reserved

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Between the Devil and the Deep, Part 3

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Between the Devil and the Deep

Part 3

 

sirena-3

(Photo (c) kiaarax

The axe fell and Jake was extremely fortunate though suffering a good deal of survivor’s guilt. He saw three good friends let go along with many less tenured personnel at Carson & Rand, but he had been promoted to fill a new slot at the company.

 

It was no secret that two positions, now vacated, were conglomerated into one and retitled. One man to do two jobs would ease the burden on the company and would certainly make or break the man appointed to do it.

 

Carson knew Jake was the man for the job. Jake can do this with his eyes closed. He’s been covering for those slackers all year, he thought, recalling that he had hand-picked him from throngs of applicants two years ago.

 

In him, Carson saw a ‘mover and a shaker’, a younger replica of himself. Yes sir, he congratulated himself, Jake will fill the void at a lesser salary and it will still be a hefty raise to him.

 

Jake swallowed hard watching his friends empty their desks and clear out office spaces that he would soon occupy. They said civil goodbyes as he looked slightly past them unable to meet their eyes. He knew it could just as easily be him vacating the premises and he could barely breathe as they filed past him to the door. It was promotion served with a roundhouse punch, upward mobility delivered with complimentary uppercut. 

 

Emotionally and mentally Jake was beaten black and blue. Though relieved he had been spared, he was crestfallen knowing his promotion came at the expense of coworkers whom he liked and respected. My life is a roller-coaster from hell, he thought, scowling out the window.

 

Following grueling weeks of adjustment and weeks of long hours, Jake assuaged his guilt with the purchase of a shiny, new cabin cruiser which he named The Siren. When the load at work finally lightened he took three weeks of leave.

 

Every evening he sailed the sea headed for the same place; the place where she had appeared and everything had changed. He dropped anchor close enough to see the beach where he had met Sirena, or had a momentary breakdown, he reminded himself.

 

This time Jake stayed out all weekend telling himself he had earned a break after the office cutbacks and accompanying anxieties. But while at sea his eyes were constantly scanning, always searching for red hair sparking in the sunlight or anything resembling the mermaid he recalled. Sirena still filled his thoughts and he couldn’t let her go. He still felt unsettled in a way that would give him no peace.

 

Maybe I just need confirmation that she wasn’t real. Maybe that’s closure, he thought, but then tacked on, and maybe I’m fishing for the one that got away. He scratched his chin in consternation, continuing, either way I’ll have a tall fish-tale bigger than the rest, and scowled into the horizon knowing how unlikely it was that he would ever breathe a word of it.

 

Jake cruised several miles out into deeper water, noted dark clouds building in the evening sky, and took it as a personal challenge. He checked the portal weather station and turned the transistor radio on to hear reports of thunderheads and storms throughout the coming night. “Good,” he mumbled, “It suits my foul mood just fine.”

 

Sirena clung to large rocks which balanced precariously atop a sandbar. She could do nothing but hang on for her life and wait, while the driving rain pummeled and stung her flesh. Deafening thunder punctuated by blue-white lightning bolts split the ink-black sky around her. She had never seen her home from this perspective before. She’d never felt threatened by her own world until now.

 

She renewed her tentative grip on slippery rocks and vented her anger trying to best the thunder, she screamed, “I get it! You’re messing with me. Right?” Forgetting herself, she flung her fist into the air and went under again. Scrambling to surface, Sirena realized she could barely swim without her fishtail.

 

She fought to gain ground, pulling her shoulders and torso onto the rocks, angling for a safer position and yelling spitefully, “You’re punishing me for changing the natural order! Right? I thought we had a deal, Poseidon!” Another bolt plunged into murky depths as if in answer, while she watched another enormous wave building.

 

“Rhea should have kicked your ass to kingdom come the first time you ever threw a fit!” Sirena screamed her rage and terror into the driving wind and rain that battered her aching, exhausted body. With too little fight left she tightened her fists and filled her lungs for the next wave.

 

More torrents beat her down threatening to drown, but she wasn’t going to die without driving her point home. With a burst of energy born of anguished rage, she unleashed personal umbrage that matched her fiery hair illuminated in staccato, electric-blue flashes, “You traitor,” she wailed, unleashing hell’s fury, “I said I wanted to try being human! You call this a try? You’re a welcher and a traitor, Poseidon!”

 

Sirena hurled the insult into the torrential night with her voice breaking as rage gave way to throes of impotent sobs, “You make me human and drop me into certain death? That’s it? No warning? Why are you doing this to me,” she demanded, sputtering, coughing up seawater, and facing imminent death, yet raising her fist defiantly.

 

Again, the merciless night saw her hysteria, shrieking and weeping soul-wrenching tears, yet offered no reprieve. Now lost in the virulence of utter madness, Sirena didn’t see the last wave that tore her from the rocks, slammed her back into them and knocked her unconscious. She slipped below the surface, a tiny speck in the vast, violent ocean, knowing that she would die completely unnoticed; utterly alone.

 

Jake heard distinct cries of distress and knew her in an instant. He grabbed the torch in time to see her red hair flashing in white-hot, jagged electric, and shaking her tiny fist in determined resignation even as she went under, time and again. He ran to starboard and leapt astern, with his mind racing, I knew you were real! I knew it! Jake dropped the torch and dove overboard, yelling, “Hang on, Sirena! I’m coming!”

 

By Wildfire8470

Wildfire8470

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between the Devil and the Deep, Part 1 —>

<—Between the Devil and the Deep, Part 4 

 

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Between the Devil and the Deep, Part 2

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Jake's Insanity

Insanity © Genius Editorial Project

 

He stood on the shore, scanning the rolling waves and hoping to catch sight of her, even as he began to unravel. With both hands gripping the sides of his head, a tortured scream was wrenched from deep in his gut, echoing from sea to sky and back to him.

 

“No! No! No! No! Noooooooo! This isn’t happening! What the fuck is happening to me? Fucking hell!”

 

With his knees giving way Jake slid limply to the ground having no clue where to turn now. Night descended while he sat, butt in the cool sand, reviewing the day and trying to determine exactly where he’d slipping off the beam.

 

Okay, He thought determinedly, so layoffs are more traumatic than I’d realized. So what? I’ll find another job. A better job! Yea! And make more money than I do now! It’s a momentary mental break, just a minor, little psychotic, He winced at the word, break. He continued coaching himself. That’s all. My mind just created a powerful diversion; an escape, of sorts. What man can resist a siren? Yea, it’s a delusion, that’s all. I’m okay now. I’m fine.

 

But Jake was acutely aware that he wasn’t fine.

 

Mermaid, he snickered at himself. You’ve read too many tales of man versus sea, old boy!

 

He effectively talked himself down from the proverbial ledge when his thoughts turned to Katherine. She never failed to warm his heart and he took immense comfort in her nurturance. Jake had chosen his first wife wisely and longed to go to her now.

 

He could almost feel his head in her lap while she ran delicate fingers through his hair, whispering, “Shhh quiet your mind, love. Don’t think any more tonight. Close your eyes and I’ll sooth you to sleep.”

 

He rested elbows on knees still gripping his head, as though it may explode, thinking, I can’t let her see me like this. For crying out loud, get it together man! You have real responsibilities to handle!

 

Then Myra’s face came to mind. She was such a joy to be with and a smile never failed to kiss his lips at the thought of her. She was the woman he shared his dreams and ambitions with, the wife who seemed to think he could do no wrong. Myra always looked at him reflecting all that he wished to see in himself. Nothing was too silly or far-fetched. No topic was off limits. He imagined the amusement in her eyes if she could see him now, knowing that regardless, he may never speak of this day to anyone.

 

Jake released his head and stood to swipe the sand from his rumpled clothing and all traces of delusion from his face. He ran his hands over jeans and tan skin ensuring that he was entirely put together. Pausing for a brief moment, he looked out at the constantly rolling waves, whispering to himself, “I’m okay. I’m a lucky man. If the price of having too much love is a momentary lapse, I’ll count myself very lucky indeed,” He comforted himself.

 

Jake turned homeward feeling as though he were trudging through wet cement, but forced his feet to turn back saying , “Goodbye, my beautiful Sirena. Perhaps we will meet again someday.”

 

Sirena floated silently in the ocean, hidden in breakers with tears in her eyes, watching him disappear into the night.

 

 

By Wildfire8470

Wildfire8470

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between the Devil and the Deep, Part 3 —>

 

 

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