Thursday, March 4, 2010

Friday Fiction for March 5, 2010

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Karlene over on Homespun Expressions. Find MckLinky and more stories for your enjoyment over there!

My apologies for making you wait an extra week for the next installment of Reef, Her Madness (I really should come up with a better, more fitting title), but with the return travel last weekend, I didn’t get much chance to work on the story. I think this one will have maybe one or two more parts, though it will depend on how the rest of the story plays out. Sometimes, my characters have different ideas than mine.

If you’re new to the story, you’ll probably want to start back at Part 1, and read your way to this week’s chapter.

Reef, Her Madness

Part 5

By Rick Higginson

Timothy was in a twilight sleep state when the faint tapping came. He continued to lie with his eyes closed, trying to decide if the sound had been part of a dream. When it came again, louder and more insistent, he opened his eyes and looked around the dark bungalow. The tapping had been crisp, unlike the slightly muffled sound of someone knocking on a wooden door.

It repeated a third time, and he localized it on the sliding glass door leading out onto the beach-facing patio. He crawled through the dark room, and then pulled the blinds aside to peer outward.

Teresa stood on the patio, still in her bathing suit and holding the dive lights and her snorkeling gear.

He loosened the clip in the bottom track of the sliding door, and opened it. “Did you forget that we already went for the night swim?” he asked.

“I, um – Jenny locked me out,” she said, her voice softer and more timid than any other time she’d spoken to him.

“Wait – that’s your bungalow, too. How could she lock you out?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know if her and her boyfriend made up and wanted some privacy, or if she’s still that mad at me, but all the doors are bolted from the inside. I tried knocking, without any response.” Her look was embarrassed but hopeful. “I was wondering if you’d mind if I used your couch tonight.”

“The couch? What for?”

“To sleep on.”

He backed out of the way, and gestured for her to come in. “Why the couch? Why not the bed?”

“Well, because I’ve never been into the idea of sharing a bed with a guy that I’ve only known for a few days.”

He slid the door closed and tightened the clip to secure it. “I wasn’t implying that we’d share the bed. You’ll have it all to yourself.”

“I don’t want to displace you from your bed.”

He chuckled. “Come over here,” he said, and led her over to one corner of the room. “This is my bed,” he added, indicating a large pad on the floor, with a lightweight blanket and pillow over it. “Whether you’re here or not, I won’t be using the regular bed. While I could probably lift myself up into it, this is more like what the Pod has back on our island, and what I’m most comfortable with.”

“Are you sure?”

“I was snoozing right here when you knocked.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“It’s okay. It’s really not much different than when another Pod member crawls by me to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.”

“Well, I really do appreciate it. I was starting to wonder if I’d have to sleep out on the beach tonight. Is it okay if I use your shower before I go to bed?”

“Whatever you need; just make yourself at home.”

She put the dive lights and snorkel gear on one of the end tables. “It would have been nice if Jenny was going to kick me out, if she’d let me get clean clothes and something to sleep in first. I guess I can just sleep in my bathing suit for tonight, and hope she lets me into the bungalow tomorrow.”

“Would a t-shirt work for a nightgown?”

“It would, if I had one with me.”

“Look in the overnight bag by the television.”

She went to the bag, and opened the top. “Why do you have t-shirts? I didn’t think you ever wore anything.”

“I have them because human culture is weird. If I’m in an airport or a hotel lobby or something like this, it never fails that someone gets upset because I’m naked. If I wear a t-shirt, though, they’ll be satisfied because my human portions are clothed. They never care if the dolphin part of my body remains naked, just so long as my human part is covered.”

“You’re right – that’s just weird.”

“Eh, it’s not just the Pod that people are that way with. Think about fantasy movies. If a human character was running around naked from the waist down, the film would get a more adult rating. If the character is something like a centaur, though, nobody cares if his horse portions are naked.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not sure pants or even shorts would really fit the centaur image, and I wonder if the typical centaur could actually manage to twist the human torso around enough to pull shorts up over the horse hindquarters. That’s a rather long reach.”

“I suppose we should be glad Dr. Marcel didn’t get it into his head to create centaurs, then.”

“I’m betting if you were a centaur, you’d have picked a different place to go on vacation. I don’t think a centaur body would be very good for diving on a reef.”

“True, but at least I’d have legs.”

She held up a t-shirt with a large Ocean World park design on the front. “Is this one okay to borrow?”

“Sure. I have a lot of those shirts. I went on one of the appearance tours, and the park gave us all a bunch of shirts to wear when meeting the public. You can keep that one if you want.”

“What?” Her voice was playful. “You don’t want it back after I’ve worn it?”

“Are you kidding? Do you have any idea what some people would pay for a shirt worn by a Pod member? I doubt you wearing it one night will devalue it at all, so if you don’t want it, I can always auction it off online.”

She flipped the shirt over her shoulder, and headed towards the bathroom. “In that case, maybe I’ll go ahead and keep it and auction it myself. I might be able to pay for this trip with this t-shirt.”

He laughed, watching her walk away. She had a swimmer’s body, rather than a swimsuit model’s figure, and he found it a pleasing look. He especially liked the muscle tone in her legs, and for a passing moment, he wondered how she’d fit in with the Pod.

He was pretty sure Annette wouldn’t like her.

To be continued...


Catrina Bradley said...

I enjoyed this installment - your characters are so real!

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

Quite the creative story you have going!