UPDATE: 9/17/2009 – Yes! I am continuing this story! I've had several requests to write about what happens after all this occurs, so I am changing this into a multi-chapter story. As per usual, my updates will be erratic, I'm sure, but I promise to you all that I'll try my damndest to be regular and not…errr…irregular.
Also, this story is nominated for Best Written, Best Plot, Best Non-Mainstream Creature Story, and Judge's Pick on the FP Supernatural Stories Awards! YAY!
"The Longest Moments" (when it was still a one-shot) was nominated last season for Best Non-Mainstream Creature Story and for Best One-Shot. Sadly though, no awards were won. However, this year, we're gonna kick some butt! YAY! Vote for us!
(http://) (fpsupernaturalawards) (/) Just remove the parentheses.
"The Longest Moments"
The Four Seasons: Violin Concerto in G Minor, RV 315, "Summer": III. Presto(Vivaldi – Performed by Janine Jansen)
Cool and smooth, the hard wooden barrel beneath her fingers provides her only support. The grasping waves of the fierce ocean are tearing at her, but the barrel is a safe, fragile haven. Screams are ripped from her throat in a desperate and entirely futile attempt to save herself. They are unnatural, painful, and blood curdling.
As she bobs from side to side, her fingernails grip the wood so that splinters dig painfully into her hands, and something brushes her bare foot. It is smooth and soft, in the way that silk is after being soaked in water. She chokes helplessly on another scream when the salty water violates her throat. It brushes her leg again, this time sharp ridges countering the silkiness with painful jabs. Her own blood is beginning to well up in the water, surrounding her, turning the world a terrifying red.
The tempest above her is in no condition to let out. The lashing winds, the furious waves, claiming their debt from mankind. She just hopes that she will not be claimed as well.
The monster of the deep touches her again. This time it curls around her legs, squeezing in a reassuring manner that is completely alien in the climate it is offered. And even that is frightening in the intelligence that has deigned to offer it. The pressure is released, the beast undetectable. Only to have another animal come close enough for the sense of touch - this one scaly and hard.
She knows what it is, and more panic over whelms her brain. She has heard stories, caught the flash of tooth, and it is a shark. The entity of fear drives her to flail her legs madly, despondency making her unreasonable. Lightening flashes overhead as a sign from the gods. She thinks to die as something clashes roughly with her weakening legs. The unexpected pressure throws her completely off balance, her wet fingers almost losing the barrel keeping her afloat.
More blood comes to join the amount already floating on the surface. It's a darker red though, and she knows it is not hers. The answer to her question is provided when a gray fin bobs past her face. Another chunk of animal drifts a short way away and she imagines the monster ripping apart the predator. More screams dive from her burning throat into the chaotic expanse. The panic and confusion collide within her mind, fighting with one another. One intends to drive her into the sea, one tries to provide the adrenaline necessary to get to the far away shore.
Rain pounds with a fury not capable of earthly creatures and she snaps her eyes shut as the barrel momentarily goes under, coming back to the surface facing the other direction. One hand is spared to pull the long, heavy hair off of her face; while the other still fights to counter the deathly pull of her heavy skirts. Her eyes open to face a terrifying sight that so few are able to encounter. And even fewer live to stutter about.
It's the monster, the silken thing that so easily comforted her earlier. And also ripped a large shark in half. It is huge, awe-inspiring, towering over her so that it appears to reach the sky. Ridges flow down its back like the very tempest it dominates and its tail thrashes about behind it. Great eyes, glowing and black, gleam in the next lightening strike. Regal, the head looks down, studies her, the tilt arrogant and powerful. But it is intelligent, it knows her; knows her fear, her helplessness.
Her surprise is what nearly kills her. With barely a chance to scream, the grip her fingers had achieved slacken, and she falls from the barrel, drifting down into the blue, unruly grip of the sea. Her hair, long ago released from its confines, floats like a halo around her head. One last parting beauty bestowed to her before her sure death. Then time begins to drag, long moments pulling her farther into the dark, unknown depths. Fingers sting and arms try futilely to lash out to grab anything, but they are too tired. Near deadweight.
But then she is lifted up, miraculously pulled above the surface till her heaving chest is able to attain as much oxygen as it needs. Her fingers run over the creature below her and find it silken. The flesh is sloped and rounded like a snake, her body presses against the firm ridges of its back. Rain drops still litter her body, finally beginning to gentle, as if satisfied with its work. The debt temporarily fulfilled.
The serpent has swept her up, saved her from a watery grave.
The air rushes past her as the animal surges toward the shore. The largest waves pluck determinedly at her dangling legs and skirts. But that soon is stopped as she is unceremoniously dropped back into the water. She begins to flail again, but sand is blessedly solid beneath her back. Then strong arms, soaking but secure, lift her, deposit her a safe distance on the beach.
She struggles to open her eyes, strains to view her rescuer. The world is hazy as she opens them and begins to fight against the still pounding rain. But she can see his eyes clearly. Intelligent, black, with a handsome face that is barely distinguishable. The firm mouth is curved slightly, reassuring. "You are safe." A voice that did not seem to belong to him echoed. The strain of holding her eyes open for so long when she was so tired combined with the dull throbbing of her torn leg finally forces her to drop into a deep sleep.
When she finally wakes, the rain is gone, vanished, though the skies are still dangerously overcast. The sand is curiously warm beneath her damp person, the world feeling as if it's been quieted. Her body sits straight up on its own accord, but her eye catches the flash of silk because she is meant to. The black eyes meets hers for fleeting seconds, amused and pleased with itself, before disappearing beneath the choppy, black waves of the ocean.
I felt like writing, but had absolutely no idea what to write about. When the first two lines came out, I knew that I had to finish it. I'm very happy with the way this turned out for a half hour's work. I just wanted to mention that I envisioned this happening hundreds of years ago when magic and superstition were still a large part of the culture.
So perhaps that was a young Irish maid you just read about, at around time of the Vikings. The boat she was on, traveling between the two enemy countries of Britain and Erin, back to her homeland. Her ship is caught in a storm, and she has an otherworldly encounter…
So tell me what you think by reviewing!
6/19/07 – Thanks to Jesse the Storyteller, I've corrected several mistakes having to do with the tenses. Also, Medieval-Rogue has graciously posted this story on her C2, called, "Rare Gems". Thanks to both of you!