Geli Oceana clenched her fingers to the sides of the bathtub and pulled her body up from the lukewarm water. Her long brown hair mostly dry except at the tips, and her exposed body ached and was bruised from the attack the day before. With a towel over her tan skin she wrapped her arms around herself, loss filled every curve of her body, every thought was on her dead husband Peter. When her eyes were open, and when they were closed she saw his face. "Take Alyssa and get out!" he shouted at Geli when the agent knocked on the door.
"I can't leave you." Geli had pleaded, pulling on his shirt to keep him close to her.
"Yes, you can," he said, tenderly kissing her before pushing her out the back door of the hotel room.
How can I raise our daughter without you? Geli looked at the gold ring around her finger, remembering her wedding, the birth of their daughter. All too happy memories until now. Geli pulled on her clothes, a tank top and shorts then pulled her long brown hair down from the bun that it had been in while she was in the bath. Several bracelets attached to each of her arms, dangling as she moved, and a tattoo of the words Arrosent Créature went around her ankle like a chain. Geli looked at herself in the mirror, trying to ignore her swollen eyes and puffy cheeks, and putting a fake smile on her face. How could this be happening? She asked herself, Peter was normal, it should have been me.
Geli opened the bathroom door, the laughter and antics of a strange cartoon played out on the TV at an enormous volume, and Geli approached it quickly to turned it off. "Ally!" she called out, searching the small hotel room for her five-year-old daughter, but not seeing her. "Ally," She called out again. No answer. With her eyebrows furrowed Geli approached the queen size bed in the center of the room, pulling up the covers and looking under them at the space underneath but still not seeing the little girl. "Ally, come out now!" Geli demanded, fright in her voice as she feared for her daughters safety, again images of her murdered husband shot through her minds eye, he was taken away from me, I can't lose Ally to.
Geli looked around the room again quickly before seeing the clear glass fish bowl on the table near the window, and noticing a small gold colored fish floating inside. Geli breathed a sigh of relieve and dropped her sore body on the bed. "Ally, I see you, now come out."
The small fish swam around the bowl once more before stopping at the bottom, then with a great thrust the fish swam up from the water and over the side of the bowl, hitting the floor below the table with a thud. At first the fish seemed dead, its wriggly body unmoving. Geli watched anxiously as the scaly fish began to move, its gold scales aglow with a golden light, and with the light the fish began to grow. Getting larger and larger and transforming itself from a fish to the shape of Geli's little girl. It took about a minute for the transformation to take complete effect and Ally to become normal again. Her clothes and hair completely soaked through and her skin still glowed with the golden light. "I thought I told you never to do that again." Said Geli, anger and disappointment in her voice.
The little girl lifted her eyebrows and bit her lip, "I'm sorry Mommy," she begged, lifting her wet human form up from the damp carpet where she laid, then embracing her mother with care.
"Look at you, now you're all wet." Geli spoke sarcastically; she could never stay mad at her little girl for long. Both girls laughed, and Geli embraced her daughter tightly. You look so much like your father, she thought, stroking her wet, long wavy blond hair, that dripped onto Geli's toes below her daughter.
"Where's daddy?" The little girl asked, her face resting comfortably on her mother's shoulder.
"I told you baby," Geli reassured her, "God needed him in heaven."
"I miss him;" Ally choked, the little girl's eyes swelling with tears as she thought of her father.
"I do, too Baby," Geli held on to her daughter tighter, she too feeling tears behind her eyes. "Come on," she said, anxious to change the subject, "we've got to go."
Ally pulled herself away from her mother, going back to the fish bowl that was still filled with water and taking it to the bathroom to dump it out. Geli too began to move as well, placing the last few thing that were still out into either her duffle bag or her daughters small suite case. Ally came back from the bathroom and packet the bowl safely in her suitcase and grabbed her brown bunny stuffed animal that he father had given her when she was a baby and that she had playfully called fishy all her life and held it tight to her chest.
When Geli was sure everything had been packed, she pulled the black bag over her shoulder, and took hold of Ally's hand, leading her outside. The arid Arizona night hit Geli with force and she longed to be near water again. Once they were near their old beat up station wagon Geli pulled a cold bottle of water out of her bag, giving it to Ally first. The girl poured some of the water over herself, then handing the bottle back up to her mother, Geli did the same.
When they were both seat belted in the front seats of the car, Geli started the engine, looking back at the hotel room one final time. Goodbye Peter, she thought, sending her love to whatever plane her husband now called home. The station wagon was the only car on the road for most of the night that Geli drove, and Ally had fallen asleep after the first five minutes, leaving Geli alone with her thoughts for the rest of the night.
Am I doing the right thing? She would ask herself, glancing at her sleeping daughter beside her in the front seat. Can I live without my daughter? At first when she and Peter left their home in Washington she was sure that once they got far enough away, the government would just forget about them and they could live like normal people again. But now, with Peter's murder, she wasn't sure if either of them would be alive come morning. What if they find her and I'm not with her to protect her? Geli's mind reeled; her choices were not easy. Give up her daughter to be raised by strangers, hopefully forgetting about who she really is and what she is and growing up normal? Or staying with Geli and living life on the run, permanently attached to her mother's past and future, she'll never be safe, and never have a normal life, but we'd be together.
Before Geli knew it the sun had risen and the long and hot Arizona night was over. Geli longed to be in different circumstances, she longed to be with her husband, and to just be normal. She remembered her own strange childhood, luckily she didn't have to worry about the FBI or agents chasing and watching her every move, all she had to worry about was a father who had no idea what his wife and daughter really were. Geli's mother Kalina never told her husband that she was an Arrosent Créature, or water creature.
As a child all Geli wanted to do was change, any water creature, it didn't matter she found that she could change into any creature of the water that she wanted, and with great ease. Geli confronted her mother about it, who only made her swear never to tell her father about it.
Geli's father did find out, after Kalina's death when Geli was eighteen, Geli hadn't spoken to him since. He wouldn't take her calls or answer her letters; he just cut her off completely when he found out that she was different. I'm still his daughter, she thought bitterly, I was always like this, and he loved me before, I am still the same after. Geli sighed; her father's rejection of her hurt her more then she let on. Peter never cared, he loved me for who I was, Arrosent Créature and all, but look where its gotten him.
Geli wiped her dry forehead with her warm hand; she could feel her skin closing around her from the heat. She quickly grabbed the water bottle from last night and poured the now warm water over her head. The water dripped on to her skin magnificently, opening her pores back up and putting her at ease. Out on the horizon beyond her the sun rose further up, Geli turned away, looking at he daughter. Ally was now stretched out on the seat, her long pink night gown covered most of her skin, except for her legs where on one of her ankles Geli saw the tattooed bracelet of words circling her leg, Arrosent Créature, identical to Geli's tattoo. In Ally's arms her brown stuffed bunny named fishy was clasped tightly, and her long hair was still moist from her transformation last night.
Near midday the old station wagon entered Las Cruces, Arizona. Geli immediately shook Ally awake as they got into the town, "we're here Sweetie." Ally woke up slowly, her eyes blinking with sleep as she tried to lift herself up in the seat.
"Where?" Ally yawned, hugging fishy closer to her skin.
"Las Cruces," Geli said blankly, realizing what the town meant for herself and her daughter.
Geli pulled the station wagon into a parking space across the street from the Las Cruces Orphanage. She took a deep breath in quickly and promised herself that she was not going to lose it. "Ally," she choked, feeling a burning sensation at the realization that this would be the last day that she would spend with her daughter. "I want you to know that I love you, and that everything I do, I do it for you. I want you to promise me that you'll stop changing into water creatures, ok? can you promise me that?" Ally shook her head and Geli smiled, extending her arms to the small child and embracing her for what she was sure was the final time. "Now don't be sad," Geli began, still holding on to her daughter, "you must promise Mommy that you won't be sad, you must make the best of this situation. Embrace life, Ally, don't hide from it."
"I promise Mommy."
Geli smiled, letting go of her daughter, "here," she said pulling off her gold banded wedding ring from her finger, and pushing it onto Ally's, the ring was too big, but one day it would fit. "You remember who you are, and that Mommy and Daddy love you."
Ally began to cry, not sure what was going on but sensing that a great sadness was taking hold of her mother. "Come on," Geli choked, turning away from her daughter, and opening the car door. When Geli got to the other side she opened the passenger's door and helped Ally out, the little girl clutching tightly to her stuffed animal. Geli pulled Ally's small suitcase from the backseat, and took hold of her daughter's hand, leading her across the quiet street and to the other side.
When they got to the sidewalk on the other side, Geli knelt in front of her daughter, taking hold of both of Ally's small hands. "Ally, I want you to go in there ok, there's people there who will take care of you." Ally shook her head and Geli embraced her again, kissing her daughters tenderly warm cheeks, then standing up again. Geli smiled as Ally turned and began to walk up the stairs to the door.
Quickly Geli ran back to the car, fearful of anyone seeing her, but she waited at the car for Ally to ring the bell. Before she did Ally turned around and searched her mother out, who now stood by the car. From the top stair Ally waved her small hand toward her mother, and Geli smiled back cheerfully, waving back to her daughter. Go in, she mouthed to Ally and watched as Ally pushed her finger on to the button and hearing the bell from across the street. Geli quickly dove into the car, gripping the steering wheel with such force that her knuckles bled, "oh my God, oh my God," she whispered over and over again, trying to control herself.
With a shaky hand she started the car and pulled out of the parking space, dreading to look in the direction of the door, fearful that seeing her daughter still standing there would make her cave and she would take Ally back. Geli shoved her foot on the gas and shut her eyes, knowing that if they were open she would look at the door. By the time she opened her eyes she was at least a block down the street, and surprised that she hadn't hit anyone. As she drove through the Las Cruces boundaries a flood of tears fell from her eyes and she said a silent goodbye to her daughter, and prayed that Peter, wherever he was, would look out for her.
Nearly a week later Geli pulled her car into the parking lot of FBI headcounters in Washington DC. She hadn't even reached the front door when two agents, each dressed in black approached her with serious looks on their faces. "Mrs. Oceana, wont you come with us?" One of the men asked.
Geli smiled, "that's why I'm here."
The men lead her through the building with speed, each man held onto one of her arms and walked on either side of her as they stepped into an empty elevator. One of the men stayed at the door, making sure that no one else entered until the elevator doors had shut, then he moved back to his position beside Geli. While the man had stayed watch at the door the other man had opened up a secret compartment in the wall by slicing his access card through a slit near the floor buttons. Once the small door had been opened the man pushed in his access code and the elevator began to move down. Through the lower levels of parking and storage, further down to at least eleven stories underground.
Geli took a deep breath as the elevator stopped and the doors sliced open, revealing a metallic corridor that led to adjoining offices and rooms at each side. The men lead Geli down the corridor silently, Geli felt a great amount of fear in this place, but she refused to let anyone that she met here see it.
Geli and the men made a sharp turn at the end of the corridor and entered a large room with a pool size tank full of water in the middle of it. The tank was large, as Geli moved closer to it she realized that it towered over her by at least two times. Standing beside the tank was an all too familiar man to Geli. Geli felt a sudden surge of fear as she recognized the man's thin hair line and stringy body that was covered in a dark suit like the two men who stood at either side of her. "Corrigan," Geli announced, hiding her fear well enough that the man in charge couldn't sense it.
Corrigan had been chasing her family for the three years that they had been on the run. He was the man who ordered the deaths of not only herself but also the deaths of her husband and her daughter. He was the man that she had feared for years, and feared still, but she refused to let it show in front of him.
"I've come to make a deal with you," she snapped. A twisted smile turned on Corrigan's face at hearing her words.
"Have you know?," he asked, his face twisting further with another smile. "What deal could you possibly strike with me?"
"You stop hunting my family;" she breathed, laying out all of her charms as a woman and hoping that she could appeal to him that way. "And I'll hand myself over, letting you be free to do whatever you want with me."
"What ever I want?"
"Do we have a deal?" she demanded, glancing around the room casually in case he didn't accept and she would have to escape.
Corrigan smiled another twisted smile, "we have a deal," he breathed, "but first things first." He hissed, "transform!"
Geli wasn't surprised, and with the slight nod of her head the two men beside her let go of her arms, letting Geli move freely. Slowly she stalked around Corrigan who watched her with a suspicious gaze, and made her way to a ladder behind him that led to the top of the water filled tank. Geli stepped up the steps slowly, and seductively as all three men watched her, she knew that she had to appeal to some touchable form of Corrigan and this was the only way that she found reachable.
Once to the final step at the top of the ladder, and with her eyes still on Corrigan and his men she sliced her hand through the warm water. Feeling the moisture around her fingertips was sensational and she allowed her eyes to close and for her mind to be at ease as she concentrated. In her mind's eye she saw the clear outline of a dolphin, a creature that Geli had often transformed in to. Without a second thought Geli jumped into the water and as the tips of her toes hit the water her body transformed into that of a dolphin. From the water Geli watched Corrigan and his men with amazement on their faces, and shock at what they had just seen. Even from her Arrosent Créature form she hoped that by doing this she would give her daughter a better life.