Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friday Fiction for February 12, 2010

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Yvonne, over on My Back Door. Look there for her touching love story, and for MckLinky to take you to more great fiction.

I’m pleased to post Part 3 of “Reef, Her Madness” this week, and my plan is to have Part 4 uploaded and scheduled to post next week, when we’ll be on our way to our own tropical island vacation. If you’re visiting the story for the first time, you’ll probably want to catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 first, before getting to this week’s revelations and action.

Reef, Her Madness

Part 3

By Rick Higginson

Teresa was on the beach waiting when he crawled towards the water the following morning.

“So, are things any better at your bungalow today?” he asked.

“Not really,” she said. “Jenny isn’t speaking to either me or her boyfriend now, and she keeps shooting me these looks like it’s somehow my fault.”

“Her loss, then, if she wants to spend the kind of money a resort like this costs, just to waste her time sulking. I, on the other hand, came here to enjoy warm, clear water, and a change of scenery, so that’s my plan for the day.”

“Would you mind if I tagged along?”

“It depends; are you just interested in tagging along because I’m one of the Pod?”

“Well, that is why I took your picture yesterday, but I’m more interested in tagging along because – unlike Jenny and her boyfriend – you’re actually doing something out here. You’re not afraid to go out farther than the shallow reefs, and you make me want to be as at home in the water as you are. I mean, I’m a lot better in that regard than most people, but you – you were literally born for swimming.”

“No, the swimming was secondary. All of us, myself included, were born to prove that Dr. Marcel could change fundamental characteristics of the human body predictably and repeatedly.” He stared off towards the ocean. “He never did tell us what he planned for us after he’d proven his point.”

“Does it really matter now what he’d planned?”

He snorted. “Well, to at least one person, it seems to. That’s a big reason why I’m here, instead of celebrating my twenty-fifth birthday at home. I’m just not into sticking to Dr. Marcel’s last-known plan for my life.”

“What plan was that?”

“We were supposed to be a breeding population. The ultimate proof of his concept would be that the changes he forced into our genetics would be passed along to our offspring, hence demonstrating that he could design away the potential for various diseases from the human body. There are four of us turning twenty-five this spring – myself, Robert, Francine, and Annette. Robert and Francine have been something of a couple for several years, so Annette is determined that means I’m supposed to be with her.”

“I take it you don’t love her.”

“Yes, I do, but pretty much the same way I love anyone else in the Pod. She’s Eva’s youngest sister, though, and while Eva has mellowed some as she’s gotten older, Annette has only gotten more serious and headstrong. I can’t imagine being her boyfriend or mate or husband or whatever kind of arrangement she wants to have, let alone considering the thought of raising children with her.”

“Did you tell her that?”

He laughed. “She’s Eva’s sister, and is convinced that if we do not argue with Eva, then the same rule should apply to her. She’s decided that Dr. Marcel’s plan was that I should be with either her or Francine, and since Francine is already taken, that leaves her. She doesn’t want to wait much longer to start trying to have children.”

“It sounds a lot like the way Daddy had my life planned. I was supposed to graduate High School and then marry a decent guy who could provide for me so that I could stay home and pop out a couple of grandchildren. When I went to college, he hoped I’d meet an up and coming professional there, and get back on track for his plans, but I just don’t see myself as the happy housewife.”

“I guess we’re both big disappointments.”

“Yeah, Daddy keeps asking when I’m going to grow up and settle down.”

“Funny – Annette was asking the same question about me. Why do people assume if you don’t conform to their plans, you’re being immature?”

“I’m still trying to figure out what’s so bad about being immature.” She kicked off her sandals and dropped her towel. “Race you to the water,” she said, and took off running.

He crawled through the sand as fast as he could, which was nowhere near as quick as her legs carried her. By the time he covered the distance to the lagoon, she was already a short ways out, and had her fins, mask, and snorkel in place.

Slipping into the brine, he wiggled forward until the water was deep enough to swim, and then skimmed the bottom to catch up with her. He swung wide, approaching from behind her left side, and as he drew close he kicked hard for the surface. Leaving the water at a steep angle, he rolled slightly to one side and landed flat right beside her with a huge splash.

She coughed through her snorkel, and turned upright to bring her head out of the water. “What are you trying to do, drown me?”

He grinned. “No, if I was trying to drown you, I’d have grabbed your arms and shown you just how long I can stay under without breathing. I just thought since you enjoyed demonstrating your speed on land, I should give you a little demonstration of my speed in the water.”

“By catching up to me and splashing me?”

“No, by jumping and splashing you, though that was an easy jump. I don’t think I went more than about five or six feet up on that one.”

“Five or six feet is an easy jump?”

“I’ve done a lot higher. I could do a five foot jump carrying you along.”

“I swim fast, and I can’t manage so much as a one foot jump. Even with your tail, I can’t imagine you getting that much speed and power.”

“Fine; put your arms around my neck, and when I tell you, be ready to hold your breath.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Hold on and find out.”

She gave him first a doubtful look, which transformed into a daring smile. “You’re on.” She wrapped her arms loosely about his neck, and clasped her hands together.

He reached around her back and gripped both wrists with the opposite hand. “Hold that breath,” he said, and when she complied, he flipped backward.

The descent was an easy, slow pace, drawing her farther from shore and into the deeper water. Her eyes through the mask showed that, so far, she wasn’t impressed. You don’t waste speed on the dive, when it’s the launch that’s important.

Those blue eyes, though, so close in front of his face, made him think of all the times the Pod had danced in the Family Room pool. Why did I never notice anyone else’s eyes when they were this close to me before? Is it just the tropical water, or is she really that much warmer than anyone else I’ve embraced?

Concern appeared in her expression as some air escaped her lips. She can’t stay down too much longer.

He shook off the distraction, and put every bit of energy he could into his tail. The surface seemed to rush towards them, and he held tighter to keep her from slipping away in the force of the water.

They departed the water nearly straight-up, and he leaned backwards to take the brunt of the splash. With just the slightest flick of his tail, he brought her to the surface.

“That was incredible,” she said, still holding him around the neck.

He released his grip on his wrists, and rested his hands lightly on her back. Yes, it was. Why hasn’t jumping ever seemed that incredible before?

“There’s still the reef to explore,” she said.

He nodded, and removed his arms from around her.

Her hands started to slip from his neck, and then she suddenly placed one on the back of his head and kissed him, before diving away towards the reef.

Here I go again, chasing her.

To be continued…


Yvonne Blake said...

Ahhh..that sounds like fun! *waving hand* My turn next!

Catrina Bradley said...

What great descriptions of the scene and the action! (I'm next up after Vonnie.)

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

I enjoy picturing all of this. Your descriptions are vivid.