Chapter 16: Survival Skills
“Well, I’m still waiting,” Seth said, water dripping from his clothes. His long sleeved shirt was plastered to his body, and I could see the shape of is beautiful pecs. I wanted to roll up that shirt, touch and count all the muscles he had, I wanted a close glimpse of that ripped body. The urge to do so was as great as the impulse of the voice which had almost drowned me. I was simply mesmerized, and uncontrollable as I got up, in all my weakened state, and took a step towards him. “Yes?” he reminded, me waking me up from my stupor.
I stopped, even if it took me all the effort I possessed to do so. I was about to attack him, me the sensible Sierra... What the heck? This was so not acceptable, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I turned my face sideways, to top my undeniable attraction. I swallowed a few times, and took deep breaths to steady my heart. The sounds coming from him reeked impatience as he shuffled his feet, and kicked up dirt.
“You see,” I said, taking a shot at this weird explanation. “I keep hearing this voice telling me to find her. It happened to me at the warehouse, by the lake when I was taking a bath. I thought I was hallucinating at the time, but then it happened again tonight when I was sleeping. The voice was as clear, and as loud as though it belonged to someone next to me. I found myself following it as it led me to the lake, prompting me to enter the water and find her. I felt she was there underneath it, and I was filled with the need to meet her. I think it was about the mission, Seth.”
“Screw the mission, are you listening to yourself? What the...?” he said, pausing just before a series of curses effused from his lips. His fingers threaded through his wet hair in frustration, letting a few water droplets fall on the ground. “There is something insanely wrong in here and the fact that you can’t even see it, freaks me out. You could have died there tonight, thinking you were mounting a sacred mission,” he raged.
“I know, but if this was the only means I could get instructions for my mission?”
“You are mad, Sierra. There is no damn mission, you’ve been born here, you’ve been raised here and you’ll probably die here. This is it, Rawonia is it, it’s all you’ll have, all I’ll have, all anyone’s going to have! The fact that your friends recognized you here should tell you something. Do you think anybody would know you had you been thrown here from some other world? Think about it!”
“It’s not like that.”
“How is it then?” Seth said, exasperated.
“Look, I don’t know much, okay? But, I know that I had another life somewhere far away and I need to do everything to get back to it. And, I don’t give a damn whether you believe me or not, but I’ll do whatever is necessary to accomplish that. If it requires me to drown, heck I’ll do it without a blink of an eye.”
“This is nuts, you are nuts,” Seth said, throwing up his hands. He walked away muttering under his breath, leaving me like that, looking behind his back, in shock. Where had he gone? Would he be back? Had I driven him to so much rage that he’d leave me by myself in the middle of the night, in this forlorn place? Who would do that? Tears sprang behind my eyes, I rubbed my eyes in frustration. I’d be okay, I didn’t need him, I could do this on my own. I sat down, wet, cold and shivering. I had to try to make a fire somehow, too bad I’d never been interested in Girl Scout activities back at high school. I picked up two twigs, tried frantically rubbing them against each other, but nothing happened. Wasn’t this about making enough friction, why the hell wasn’t anything happening? “Damn it”, I cursed as the peeled bark from the twig cut my finger.
“What are you doing?” he asked me as he suddenly appeared beneath the trees, carrying a burning stick in one hand. “Let me see that,” he said, as he gave me the burning stick while he took my injured finger in his mouth, sucking the blood from it gently. I felt the tip of his tongue brush it a few times, then he let go. “You’ll be fine”, he said.
I knew that, it wasn’t as if I’d die from a cut. But, weird enough, the pain seemed to have disappeared completely.
“How?” I asked, indicating the stick.
He just shrugged, he was silent as he gathered leaves, twigs and small fallen branches. He put them together, then he grabbed the burning stick from my hand and knelt down to put it in the middle of the pile and then started blowing on it to ignite a fire. Soon, we had a huge fire burning.
“Take off your clothes, we need to dry them,” he said, nonchalantly as if he wasn’t asking me to get naked.
“What?” I said.
“Do you want to catch cold?” he asked, his eyes blazing with fire, as he started taking off his shirt, exposing me to his fascinating torso and abs. I was feasting my eyes as I ogled him, when he began to take off his pants. With first Baran, and now with him, I had gotten my share of inspecting male anatomy in the last two days.
“Sierra, take off your clothes, I will not have you die of sickness,” he reprimanded me.
He had a point, and I turned around as if that would make it easier for me. I took off my clothes, leaving my bra and panties on. I saw that he had kept his underwear on as well, and we then spread our clothes around the fire. He was doing his best to avert his eyes from my body. I wish I could say the same, but an uncontrollable force seemed to be gluing my eyes on him.
“We should dry a bit, and then try to get some sleep,” he said.
“Your tattoo,” I exclaimed. “It’s exactly on the same spot.”
He attempted to cover it with his large hands, as if it could be covered. Did he think I’d be repulsed by it?
“It’s beautiful,” I said, smiling, as I approached him to touch it.
There was a brief surprise flashing in his eyes, and then his fingers uncurled slowly, uncovering the green dragon shape rippling across his forearm, as though alive.
“Where did you get it?” I asked, as my fingers traced the edges of the dragon. I felt a tickle on my birthmark which was now openly visible beneath my bra, and on my naked skin, and I touched it with my other hand reflexively.
He inhaled sharply as if in pain, then said in a whisper, “It’s a birth mark.” He closed his eyes, as if trying to compose himself, he was literally shaking.
“Are you okay?” I asked, concerned.
He nodded, but he spared no words.
“Wow, I’d never seen a birthmark like this,” I said, furrowing my eyes. Perhaps, in this world, tattoos manifested themselves as birthmarks, they were a creation of nature rather than human artwork.
“We should get some sleep,” he said, as he pushed my fingers away. He turned around, as if to hide his face from me.
“Oh my God, you also have a tattoo on your...” I said, not delivering the word, but pointing at the dragon head popping up beneath his underwear.
“Yes, my ass,” he replied. “I have an identical birthmark right at my ass,” he said, rather annoyed.
“Uhm, yeah,” I said, thankful that the night covered the reddening of my cheeks.
“Time to go to sleep,” he said.
“But, our clothes are still wet,” I muttered.
“You’ll be fine, cocooned between my body and the fire,” he snapped. He fed the fire one last time with the twigs which he’d gathered and piled around us.
“Okay,” I said, as I lay on the ground, waiting, craving the touch of his naked skin on mine. When the moment came, it was as if I was having a seizure, my whole body trembled, my birthmark burned and my heart would not stop pounding. I heard his sharp intake of breath, as his hands brushed softly up and down my arm, his fingers drawing small erotic circles. He turned me slowly, and I saw the firelight paint his beautiful features in a magical hue of yellow and red. I was taken aback by the intensity in his eyes, and I felt his breath touch my skin as he slowly lowered his face, his mouth now inches from mine. I stopped breathing as his lips finally touched mine, his tongue seeking entry. With a small moan, I opened my lips. He flicked his tongue across my lips, teasing my bottom lip by snatching it up between his teeth before accepting my invitation. My body flared into a million weightless pieces, my mind riveted on him, and him alone. The kiss was familiar, and so were the feelings he ignited in me. Pleasure coiled in my belly, affecting all my nerve endings. This was another vision I’d seen. But, I didn’t care, not at the moment. I also didn’t care about what Payal would think back home. I simply savored his kiss, right now, right at this moment. The first drops on my face and body were small, and I was far too gone to notice them, or to be even bothered by them. But, within a few seconds, the sky had opened up, waking us up from this dream. It was a cloudburst and rain was pouring in big fat drops now, washing over our faces.
“Fuck,” Seth cursed, as he jumped off me, pulled me off the ground, grabbed our clothes and started running, hand in hand, with me.
“We need to find a place to hide,” Seth shouted beneath the rain and the wind. “This is so not happening,” he kept saying.
The wind was slamming the rain against our eyes, making it impossible to see where we were going. I almost stumbled, but Seth steadied me, forcing me to move again.
“Here, C’mon hurry” somebody said, as we heard the opening of a hatch door on the ground. I followed Seth who kept pushing me towards the sound. Without really seeing what I was doing, I descended the stairs, I heard the hatch door close. When the water drops finally cleared from eyes, I could see that we were in some kind of a tunnel.
“Welcome to our safe house,” the blonde guy said. “That was one hell of a rain,” he chuckled as his eyes wandered on my body. The guy’s gaze reminded me that I was half naked. Seth handed me my soaking wet clothes, as he immediately put his body in between me and the guy. I had no other choice, but to put them on. Seth’s look was territorial, aggressive, and raw power emanated from him with his every movement, from the way he anchored his body in front of mine, to the confident stride of the step he took towards the guy. I noticed in surprise that he’d already managed to put on his own wet shirt. I had no clue when he’d found the time to do that.
“I see that you managed to escape the Drakon attack,” the guy said. “Follow me, and we’ll get you some dry clothes right away,” he promised as he led the way in the dimly lit tunnel.
“Lovely,” Seth murmured sarcastically, as he clasped my hand firmly.