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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Between the Devil and the Deep, Part 1

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Part 1:  Sirina

 

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

© sergephoto

 

He spent the afternoon on the beach walking in the surf and trying to clear his mind. Layoffs were imminent and he couldn’t afford to get the axe now. Jake was a benevolent man and caring for his family came to him as naturally as breathing. Still, he was just a man with just a little bit of ‘the devil may care’ in him.

He turned to walk the half mile back to his car when something made him stop and look back. Jake stared into the distance trying to discern what it was.

A sound? No, more like something haunting me that’s trying to breach the surface.

He started back toward the car when it happened again. Jake looked to the heavens, saying aloud, “You’re messing with me, right? This is punishment for taking more than one wife?”

Jake regrouped long enough to wonder how he would appear to anyone that might be watching; standing here alone, imploring the gods, tossing his arms up and speaking to no one there. He shook his head laughing at himself thinking, It’s stress. It’s always stress. That’s what drives rational men mad.

Again the feeling interrupted his thoughts. It was something akin to a gentle tugging at his heart, which made him turn fully to look over his shoulder. Then he saw her.

No shit! No way!

Jake stood transfixed, mesmerized at the sight of her and unable to think. He forced his focused enough to believe he wasn’t imagining her, but didn’t dare move suddenly for fear of frightening her away.

Sirena propped herself on the shore drying her gossamer locks in the evening sunset. Her fiery hair tumbled carelessly down her back as she breathed in the salt-sea air, the vast ocean, and the long expanse of deserted beach. She loved everything about her life; carefree days, full moon nights, warm sunset evenings and wide open spaces; everything that was her freedom.

Only half believing his eyes, Jake made his way down the beach, approaching her with caution, while trying to make sense of the scene before him. The beach had been deserted all evening, not another soul around yet, suddenly, there was a half-naked beauty stretching lazily in the spot where he’d stood fifteen minutes ago.

But it’s more than that, He thought. It’s as if she radiates all the goodness in the world; like she’s emanating the purity of, love.

Jake would have sworn he’d been sluicing through a desert and she was a mirage.  He was close enough to touch her shoulder but she showed no modesty, nothing that spoke of shame or covering herself in his presence. She sat at water’s edge, playfully dangling her legs in the waves as he stood stock-still searching for an opening line.

“Good evening.”

He raked his hand through tousled hair wondering if she had actually spoken.

Did I imagine it? She’s not real. I’m not real. None of this is real! Jake scolded himself; I’m probably in the car having some freaky, stressed-out, highway hypnosis or something.

“Isn’t it customarily polite to speak when spoken to?”

Her back was still to him but this time Jake was sure.

“I’m sorry, miss, I didn’t… ah, hello,” He offered, moving to sit beside her, “I’m,”

Sirena turned eyes to him and he tripped over his tongue, “Stunned,” He finished.

“You’re stunned? That’s your name,” She teased.

“Jake,” He corrected, offering his hand, “I’m sorry, I guess I am a little…” Jake stopped, still unable to tear his eyes from hers, “How, What, Where the devil did you come from,” He asked, still disbelieving his own eyes.

“I’m Sirena. Good to meet you too.”

Did she say that? I’m starting right at her and I don’t know if her lips moved.

“The pleasure is all mine,” He returned, “How did I not see you sooner,” He asked, “I’ve been here all evening.”

“I’m sure you have many burdens and I was pretty far out,” She answered, watching him scan the sea for a boat or diving gear.

“Where are you from Sirena?”

“Oh, you know,” she evaded, “I’m a child of the world.”

“I guess you’ve traveled a lot,” He asked, attempting small talk.

“You could say that,” She replied with a nonchalant shrug as she sensed the change of tide even before she felt it.

Jake knew he was already head over heart in love with her but knew, as well, that all of this was just too surreal.

“It’s getting late,” Sirena whispered, not quite realizing why that fact made her feel melancholy, “I have to go soon.”

“No wait,” He plead urgently, “Can I see you again?”

Sirena couldn’t fathom why she was drawn to Jake, or to anything that could jeopardize the life she had now.

The turn of the tide is a warning. The pull of the moon is trying to lure me out of this, this… this!

“Sirena, please. I must see you again,” He pressed.

“Do you believe in mermaids, Jake,” She probed.

“What?”

“Do you,” She demanded point blank.

“Okay, yes. Sure. Can I see you tomorrow?”

Sirena slipped into the water saying, “Meet me tomorrow at sunset.”

“Okay,” He smiled, tentatively relieved, “I’ll be here. Wait! Why did you ask about mermaids?”

She smiled up at him and stated matter-of-factly, “Because I’m about to test your meddle.”

With that she ducked below the surface and the last thing Jake saw was a fishtail that slapped the ocean powering her departure.

 

 

By Wildfire8470

Wildfire8470

 

Between the Devil and the Deep, Part 2 –>

 

© December 03, 2015 – 11:21 PM – All Rights Reserved
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Emmaline’s Story 13

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Emmaline’s Story – On the Inside

Chapter 13

Small Disasters

 

 

From psych guy’s office I wandered to the porch and, took a seat. I turned to the girls, talking boisterously, and I touched Danica’s finger, saying, “Tonight. Right?”

 

She nodded and I strolled out to the fence. No longer feeling apprehension and terror, I wondered if things really can change. God knows I’ve had ample evidence to the contrary.

 

Immediately, I dismissed the thought as I contemplated the change in Maya. She seemed so clean, so clear-headed, as though her twisted mind had been unknotted. She even walked differently, with assurance of self and shoulders squared.

 

Then I realized what I was thinking. No shit! I’m envious? I envy her? Holy cow pies!

 

I felt startled and shaken to the depths of me, when I saw Danica cresting the hill searching. This time I got up to close the gap. Meeting her half way down, I asked her about my prior conclusion, suggesting, “Sis, I know I said we should only talk at night, but, if it’s okay with you, I’d like us to talk whenever the coast is clear.

 

“Yes! Yay,” she smiled.

 

I locked our fingers and we headed back. Upon reaching the porch we all sat talking about the crappy food, and lousy mattresses atop makeshift, metal bedframes, and I made it a point to pay special attention to Helen.

 

We had staggered our meetings and I was sure there were times when she must have felt left out. She didn’t get to share a room with us and she had to eat the crappiest, sugarless foods while watching us receive the semi-normal foods, but I had a surprise up my sleeve. I touched her finger and asked, “Bathroom at two a.m. break?”

 

Having listened in, Danica and Marie broke into huge smiles. Marie asked, “Is it time? You have,” and quickly lowered her voice, “the tools?”

 

I nodded, saying, “I think so. I’ll show them to Helen tonight. You’ll know if they will work. Right?”

 

“Yea! You bet ya,” she exclaimed.

 

We were filled with glee and hiding it in silence when I turned to find goon standing against the door, holding it slightly ajar. It was too obvious she was spying. At this point, silence was the kiss of death, so I hid my arm in front of me and pointed back at goon, making an ugly frown.

 

Marie took the cue, “Helen, your hair is so silky. How do you keep it like that?”

 

Helen glanced quickly at goon and replied, “Well I don’t have the usual tools here, but I tend to stick with shampoo that has,” she stopped short not knowing the scientific words for the products and finished, “softening agents in them and I use a detangler. Oh and never brush wet hair,” she cautioned.

 

With my back to the door I grinned at them, knowing they had just saved us some unneeded grief.

 

“I’ll look up the softening agents for you,” Helen continued, “as soon as possible.”

 

I saw Marie and Helen relax and looked back to see that goon had gone on her way. I dragged the back of my hand over my forehead, saying, “Whew! That was close!”

 

All the girls mumbled that goon was onto us. I didn’t want to scare them, but it was an inescapable fact.

 

“Yes, I know,” I warned, “We have to be more cautious from now on.”

 

“Are you sure this is wise,” Helen asked.

 

I smiled snickering, “Of course not, but what other fun do we have here, unless you really enjoy broken crayons and ancient crossword puzzles?”

 

All three grimaced and grumbled about how little was made available to do.

 

“That reminds me, I haven’t written any lousy prose for big B lately,” I said, lost in thought.

 

Everyone leaned in to touch my finger and Helen laughed,”Let’s all remember to bow and give thanks to the television gods for access to a TV!”

 

“I guess you guys are as bored as I am,” I said.

 

“Well yea, that,” Marie hinted, “and you haven’t breathed a word about psych guy.”

 

I turned to my opposite side knowing Danica hadn’t even told the girls and gave her a thankful wink.

 

“Okay. I’ll say what I’m able to tonight but use extra caution. Okay?”

 

They nodded affirmatively and we filed inside for dinner.

 

I stared at the slab of turkey breast on my plate, recently frozen and thawed to eat, with think globs of gravy on top of sliced bread. Trying not to wretch, I considered Helen. I was certain the meal must look like heaven to her, so I dug in vigorously, cut off a huge helping and shoveled it into my mouth.

 

Before I could bite down, I tasted a dreadful and unmistakable tang. My effort became an immediate small disaster. Fisting a napkin, I spit out the mouthful and turned my meal over to expose large, moldy spots on the bread and I turned at least five shades of green.

 

“What is it,” Marie asked, chewing hungrily.

 

“I’m allergic to mold,” I whispered, cupping my hand around my mouth to hide my dismay from Helen.

 

Marie leaned over to inspect my overturned meal, sputtering, “Oh! Ewww!”

 

Without hesitation, she flipped her own to check and with that, all attempts to hide disgust were lost.

 

“Mine’s fine,” she said, slicing it to give me half.

 

I thanked her kindly and asked her to take it back explaining that I’d lost my appetite.

 

“Okay, but I’ll sneak the cookies back to our room for you. If you’re hungry, you can munch then,” she whispered.

 

“Thanks,” I offered, as goon made her way behind me.

 

Hmmm, she’s getting sneaky. She’s definitely onto us or, at least, me.

 

“You hardly touched your meal,” she said cunningly.

 

I tried to think of something she couldn’t argue with but drew a blank. Instead, I bit my tongue.

 

Goon heaved a sigh and rounded the table finishing dinner rounds. Helen shot a worried look at me and whispered, “She knows something’s up.”

 

“Agreed,” I conspired, “Like I said, extra caution from now on.”

 

I reached beneath the table in a way that was only perceptible to us. Three fingers touched mine and I looked around before saying, “Meeting tonight after two a.m. rounds. Helen, meet me in the bathroom a few minutes after you hear me open my door. Okay?”

 

“Sure thing,” she answered, tossing me a relieved smile.

 

Sometimes I wonder if the girls trust me a little too much, I worried.

 

“If goon and B come back early, it’s off tonight,” I added for safe measure.

 

“Got it,” Helen whispered, under her breath.

 

Afterwards, I reached next to me and coiled my finger through Danica’s to let her know we would talk privately after our meeting. She sent me a knowing glance and got up to empty her tray.

 

When goon called lights out for the night I tiptoed to Danica to explain that I would be slightly late for our talk.

 

“How come,” she asked with a worried frown.

 

I’d finally remembered a website I loved and fudged, “I just have something to do.”

 

“Want some help,” she queried.

 

“Nah, I’ll tell you about it later. Get some rest.”

 

At two a.m. rounds, I waited until the coast was clear and went straight to the computer to look up netdisaster.com.

 

I downloaded an application which would attack a computer in a variety of ways and wondered which one to choose. Cows pooping on the screen?

 

I tried it but it didn’t send the right message. Nuke the monitor!

 

I downloaded Desktop NetDisaster and installed the software to make missiles nuke the computer screen, giving the appearance that all records had been infected or hacked as bombs exploded on the monitor, complete with sound effects.

 

I set up the effect on all the office computers smiling wickedly at my handiwork, and then scooted back to the room, extracted my list, and crossed off ‘helplessness.’

 

 

 

By Wildfire8470

Wildfire8470

 

 

 

 

 

 

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