Watered Down

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Chapter Thirty Eight

I used the long flight to go over my plans.

By no means was I getting cold feet about it, but I did want to be smart. I know Alana is a tricky person, and I need to be mentally prepared for her schemes. Everything thus far had worked out so well, and I was beginning to worry that my luck was going to run out before I actually even need it.

I did a lot of worrying while I was in the air. Even though I am choosing this myself and no one is pushing me into it, I am still a little terrified to be going back. I still have a lot of anxiety of being back in the water, and what my plan will ultimately result to. On top of worrying about that, I’ve also got Theon to worry about. I’ve been very careful not to let him catch on to the fact that I am up to something, because I know without a doubt he would never let me go through with it if he knew what I was planning to do.

The thought of him being angry with me hurt, but not half as much as thinking of him and Tally being stuck in Alana’s services. I was lucky enough to get to have a life like so few do, and I wasted it away. Theon and Tally can do better than me.

The plane landed on Tinunglo Isle just after two in the afternoon. The weather was beautiful, the cloudless sky over my head and that familiar salty air all around me. As I walked with my luggage to the waiting cab, I admired my cute little denim shorts and flowy pink top, frowning as I thought of that annoyingly perfect white dress that would likely be my new attire in a matter of hours.

I asked the cab driver to take me to the nearest bank and as we got on our way, my brand new phone began to ring, a picture of Theon popping up on the shiny screen.

“Hey, hottie!” I said happily into the phone, not wanting to give anything away.

“Hey.” He said softly. “What are you up to today?”

My heart instantly began to beat erratically. “Oh, um, nothing much really.” I said quickly. “I’m just running some errands today.”

“Errands?” He laughed. “Like what?”

I pulled at my hair and began twirling it around my fingers. “Going to the bank, and then seeing an old friend.” I decided to take the honest route.

“Well, that sounds like fun.” He said and I could hear the smile in his voice. I only hoped he’d still be smiling later.

“So, what are you planning on doing today, Mr.?”

“Just working all day.” He said. “I’ve had to pick up extra shifts since I’ll be leaving again in a couple of days.” I could tell he wasn’t smiling about that. “I’ve barely been home in weeks.”

“I’m so sorry, Theon.” I whispered. “How late will you be working tonight?”

“Until about midnight.” He sighed. “I should get going, though.” He said quickly. “I just wanted to hear the sound of your voice before I headed in.”

“I hope today turns out better for you than you expect.” I told him. “I miss you.”

“I miss you too. Bye, princess.”

I felt a little sick about deceiving him, but I know I can’t tell him the truth. There’s just no way around it.

At the bank, my smooth sailing had some hiccups. Apparently doing what I was trying to do took a little bit more paper work than I had anticipated, and I ended up spending hours there before I got everything arranged correctly. You’d have thought I was trying to steal hundreds of thousands, not give it away.

After finally leaving the bank was when the real sinking feeling came, and I tried to hide the way my fingers shook even from myself. I knew that Theon wasn’t home, so I had the cab driver help to deliver all of my things to the little house, leaving them around back just in case Theon got home earlier than he had expected. I didn’t want him to find out I was here until after the deed was done.

“Isn’t this where the Craftner boy lives?” The cab driver asked me when we entered the clearing.

“Theon?” I asked and he nodded.

“You know the kid?” He asked and I narrowed my eyes and nodded, not bringing up the fact that if I didn’t know him, I probably wouldn’t be leaving my luggage outside of his house. “Brave girl.” He shrugged then smiled, showing off his golden front tooth. “I hear the kid is a freak.”

It took everything I had in me not to yell at him, or even ruin my final manicure by punching him in his pimple covered jaw. “I don’t know what you’ve heard, but Theon is an amazing person, and that little comment of yours just lost you your tip.” I said as I crossed my arms over my chest. “Goodbye.”

The guy spit on the ground and stomped off into the trees. His attitude about Theon, the kindest most amazing person I have ever known, only further solidified my plan and lit the fire under me to get it over with. I sent one last I love you text to my parents, just in case things didn’t go in my favor, then I left my things and walked towards the beach…slowly.

It really hadn’t been long since I’d been here, but being back on the white sand and seeing the clear blue waves crashing up over the rocks of the cove made me feel like I’d been gone for ages and was just now rediscovering it. I had mixed feelings about it. There is so much beauty here, but also so much sadness.

I slid off my shoes, took a few calming breaths, then walked out into the water. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure how this part of the plan goes. I’d never be able to swim all the way down to Alana’s cavern, so I waded out into the deeper water, then held my breath as I went under. “Hello!” I tried to yell, but of course my mouth filled with sea water and I came back up gagging. “Hello!” I screamed again, this time above water.

I waited a few minutes, my face being pelted over and over by waves, but then I saw a red glimmer of light beneath the waves. “Armela?” I called out, feeling a tad crazy. “Is that you?” I swam out closer to where I thought I saw the light and then I felt the sting on my foot. “Ouch!” I yelled. I held my breath and went under the waves and sure enough Armela was there, just a little lower than me. She got closer to me again, stinging me higher up on the thigh. “Stop that!” I called when I came up for air, but she did it again. “Listen, if you can understand me, then sting me twice.” I said quickly then closed my eyes tight. Two stings. “Ok, good.” I nodded trying to ignore the burning. “I need to speak to Alana.” She stung me again. “Stop that.” I scolded her with a wince. “I have another proposition for her.”

Armela finally swam away after an oddly long staring match between a human and a human trapped inside of a jelly fish. When she returned I felt that weird tingling sensation all over my body, and I slowly lowered my face to the water and tried to breathe again, this time not taking any water into my lungs. The feeling was hard to get used to again.

“Why have you come back?” Armela asked me.

“I had to.” I told her. “I need to make a new deal with Alana.”

Armela laughed. “Alana will never make another deal with you after the way you tricked her last time.” She said. “She despises you more than anyone.”

“All of those are reasons that I think she’ll be willing to take my deal.”

“It’s your funeral.” Armela mumbled, then floated away. “Such a waste.”

I nodded. She could be right, but I have to try.

The ominous glow of the green orb was calling to me already and I wasn’t even in the cave yet. I came around the corner slowly, and I was stunned again at the hideousness I was faced with. I had forgotten that without a completed circle Alana can’t be in her human form.

“You truly are the dumbest girl I have ever come into contact with.” Alana’s voice filled the cave and her monster form crept closer to me slowly. “I’ve dreamt of all of the ways I want to kill you.” She told me. “I knew you’d come back to the island, you couldn’t possibly stay away from your lover boy.”

I backed up just a little. “I want to make a new deal with you.” I said firmly, but my voice gave away my fear with the tremble at the end.

“Never.” She snapped. “I’ll never make another deal with you, I will just watch you die here in my cave, and I will take pleasure in the moment your eyes bulge and the last bubbles leave your mouth.”

My spine shivered, and I legitimately feared she’d steal my breath before I even got a chance to lay out my plan. “I volunteer to be your pure one, Alana.” I said quickly. “I have conditions, but I will start, right here, and right now.” I told her. “Just hear me out, if you don’t like the plan, then you can kill me.”

“I’m listening.” Her voice echoed.

I sighed, at least I have her attention. “I know what your plans are for Tally.” I said. “I’m here because I want you to let her go, Theon too, and take me instead.”

“You truly have lost your mind.” She laughed. “I will have that little girl.”

“Why do you want her so badly?” I asked. “If you let me take her place, I will be your pure one…forever.”

“Forever.” She repeated me.

“Yes.” I nodded slowly. “Let Tally go.” I pleaded. “You don’t need her, and if you think about it, you can have me right now, no waiting. If you turn me down, then you’ll still be stuck waiting for years for Tally to come of age to begin using her. I’m standing here, right now, ready to make a deal. I just have a few conditions.”

“No.” She snapped. “I don’t trust you.”

“How can I make you trust me?” I asked. “I swear to you, I will stay here and serve your purpose for the rest of my life. I won’t agree to any amount of killing, because I honestly don’t plan to be doing any of it, but I will encourage the other girls to. I will be your pure one, you’ll never have to search for one again, because you’ll have me.”

“I want assurance that you won’t sabotage me again like you did before.”

“I swear to you.”

She laughed. “Your words mean nothing to me, silly girl.” She told me. “If I’m even going to entertain this idea of yours, I’ll have to safe guard myself.”

“How?” I asked worriedly.

“Your mouth got you in trouble last time, so I want your voice.”

I was having bad Little Mermaid flashbacks. “My voice?” I asked, instinctively bringing my hand to my throat.

“Without that condition, I guarantee we will never have another deal.” She said, her tentacles spinning around her.

I sighed. “Fine.” I whispered. “But, I have some conditions of my own to add.”

“Of course you do, spoiled little brat.”

“I want Tally and Theon freed from you, and I want my voice to tell him goodbye.” I said. “I’ll need to explain to him what happened, then you can take my voice from me.”

“Is that it?”

I sighed. “I don’t want anything else.” I told her. “I’m giving myself to you in exchange for them.”

“How noble of you.” She said with little interest. “You better not burn me again you little bitch.”

“I won’t.”

She came to me, her scary face looming in front of mine. “Do we have a deal?”

“Yes.” I whispered.

She swam back, going behind her orb. “You know what to do.” She muttered as she waited for me.

I stepped forward, placing my hand against the orb and letting it pull my hand in, the light flashing, but not startling me since I knew it was coming. As I backed away, I looked down at my body, now wrapped in my flowing white gown, then I touched my hand to my green stoned amulet.

I did it.

Alana swam out of view, but her voice rang out. “Go tell lover boy the good news, then come straight back here. I’ll need to take your voice before you meet your sisters and I bind the circle.”

That hadn’t been part of my plan, but I should have known that she would come up with something to make my life even more difficult. Dodging my parent’s calls wasn’t going to be easy, but texts and letters will have to do.

I went from the cave, knowing I’d made a good choice, but now was when the sick feeling in my gut kicked up. I may have just traded my soul to a witch, again. But now I needed to tell Theon the truth, and that was the truly scary part.

I thought I had a little more time, some extra room to think before I got to his house to really go over what I am going to say, but I hadn’t expected him to be here.

I walked out of the water slowly, seeing him sitting up on the beach, his knees pulled up to his chest and his hands covering his face.

“Theon.” I whispered as I got close.

He slowly lifted his head, taking me in from bottom to top until his eyes met with mine. “Serena,” He whispered. “What have you done?”

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