Thursday, February 4, 2010

Friday Fiction for February 5, 2010

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Joanne, on her blog An Open Book. Open it up to find MckLinky and the list of other stories for your reading enjoyment.

This week is part 2 of the new Pod short story, Reef, Her Madness. If you’re coming to the story for the first time, you’ll probably want to click over to Part 1 before reading this week’s entry. For those continuing on, we now rejoin Timothy on his tropical island vacation.

Reef, Her Madness

Part 2

By Rick Higginson

Dinner was ordered, and would arrive shortly, so Timothy occupied the time while waiting by watching the lagoon. The lights of a boat receded into the distance, carrying the scuba divers out for a night dive, and he considered the idea. Maybe I should get a dive light, and see what the reef is like at night. There were a few guests down on the beach, and some even ventured a dip into the water, but from what he could see, none were wandering too far from shore. What would it be like to be out there in the dark, without any of the dolphins staying close to watch over me? The idea was both frightening and exhilarating. All my life, I’ve trusted the dolphins to keep me safe from what I couldn’t see, but regular people go out all the time in dive gear, with nothing but normal human senses and bright flashlights to guard them. Why couldn’t I do the same thing?

He chuckled, thinking of what Eva and Marta would say to the idea. ‘Keep the dolphins close, and listen to their sounds – they’ll alert you to any threats in the area.’ Dr. Marcel had taught them that, and it had been repeated with the determination and reverence of a religious truth. Maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe we depended on the dolphins so much for so long, that we’ve robbed ourselves of the heightened senses we should have been developing all along.

The light of the waxing, crescent moon shimmered across the nearly smooth surface of the lagoon, and he found the effect enticing. Tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow, I’ll look into a dive light, and if I can get one, I’ll enjoy a night swim to see what the reef is like in the dark.

He didn’t bother turning at the sound of knocking on the door. “It’s unlocked,” he called over his shoulder. When he heard the door open, he added, “Just put it on the low table by the chair.”

“Excuse me?”

He shifted position. The woman from the reef stood on his porch, peeking tentatively around the slightly ajar door. “Sorry,” he said. “I thought you were room service.” Why is the Crazy Reef Girl here?

“Were you expecting them to deliver a woman to you?” she asked.

“No, I was expecting them to deliver the Shepherd’s Pie I ordered for dinner. Were you afraid I’d need a buddy for safe eating?”

“Um, no, I was, um, just-” She looked down at the floor. “I was kind of hoping I could hang out here for a while. I got back to our bungalow after dinner, and my friend was having a big fight with her boyfriend. I’m not sure what it’s about, but after hearing her yell my name before I even got to the door, I decided I’d rather not find out.”

“Why did you think to come to my bungalow?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know anyone else here at the resort. I thought about going to the lounge, but I’m just not really into that whole, ‘girl alone at the bar is looking for a date’ perception that most guys have. They buy drinks whether I want one or not, and then act like I owe them big time for it.” She gave him a hopeful look. “So, can I come in?”

What do they call that look? ‘Puppy-dog eyes?’ How am I supposed to say no to puppy-dog eyes? “Yeah, come on in,” he said.

She stepped through the door, and closed it behind her. “I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”

“So long as you don’t mind me eating in front of you, no. Until dinner arrives, I was just looking at the lagoon and thinking about getting a light for a night swim tomorrow night.”

“I’ve thought about that, but it kind of scares me.”

“That’s part of why I want to. I’ve been in the dark ocean before, but the Pod was always right there. We had the dolphins to rely on, and each other, but we never really had the ability to just go out and see what the ocean was like at night. I just watched a dive boat go out, with all these people who weren’t created for the ocean like I was, and they’re going to do something that I’ve always been conditioned to be afraid of doing. If they can do it, I should be able to also.”

She came over and stood by the sliding glass door, looking out at the sea. “Would you take me with you, if you do?”

“Would you stay away if I said no?”

“Considering you could easily leave me behind if you wanted to, it wouldn’t make any sense for me to try and come along if you didn’t want me to, but wouldn’t it be more fun with someone to share it with?”

As much as I hate to admit it, it was more fun chasing around the reef with her earlier today. “Yeah, it would. Do you have a dive light?”

“I need to rent one from the resort dive center, too.”

“I’ll make you a deal – if you do the leg work to go pick them up, I’ll cover the cost of the rentals.”

“That sounds fair.”

“You know, if you’re going to stick around, I should probably know what to call you besides ‘Crazy Reef Girl’.”

She giggled. “Oh, I don’t know. ‘Merman and Crazy Reef Girl’ has a certain ring to it, like a super-hero and sidekick.” She affected a deep, theatrical voice. “Protecting the oceans from profiteering polluters and felonious fisheries!”

“Okay, point taken. You are Crazy Reef Girl, but you’re still going to need your secret identity that I can call you in public.”

“Teresa,” she said.

“Timothy,” he said, and then tilted his head to one side to listen. “If I’m not mistaken, that sounds like a cart right outside the door, so if you wouldn’t mind, Teresa, let room service in so I can have my dinner.”

To be continued...

1 comment:

Sara Harricharan said...

I had to chuckle at that last line. I like T&T it has a nice ring to it too and the joke of "Crazy Reef Girl" fits just right. I'm glad you're continuing this! ^_^